After the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) division of aviation held a workshop with emergency management personnel from around the state of North Carolina in January, NCDOT has released a final report on the best practices and recommended policies for agencies in the state using UAS for first response operations.
Via Unmanned Aerial, Bobby Walston, the director of NCDOT’s aviation division, highlights the importance of the January exercise by saying, “the exercise produced several key findings and recommendations that support the immediate, safe integration of drones into the National Airspace System.”
Walston adds, “the need for this type of exercise has never been stronger. Ensuring the use of this technology is properly coordinated is top priority in guaranteeing operations are conducted safely and effectively.”
NCDOT has noted several advantages of using UAS for disaster response, including providing a quicker response time, and the ability to conduct search and rescue missions at a cheaper price.
UAS also eliminate the need for larger aircraft, which reduces the human risk that comes with using larger aircraft, and smaller aircraft also allow access to areas that might not be accessible by larger aircraft.
A statement from NCDOT says, “the division of aviation’s goal is to ensure that drones flying within North Carolina are flown safely and responsibly. The purpose of this resource page is to provide state and local governments the appropriate tools to create and manage UAS programs to support their specific operational needs.”
While the Federal Aviation Administration has exclusive authority over the use of airspace in the United States, including the airspace being used by UAS, NCDOT has the authority to manage and implement regulations that surround state laws in regards to operations in North Carolina.
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