The Federal Aviation Administration started gathering public input to choose several test sites to begin integrating unmanned aircraft systems in U.S. airspace in March and has since yielded 52 responses, NextGov reports.
David Bourdon, a pilot who said he has flown surveillance missions in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003, said he opposes drone use in U.S. air space since he has had five near misses with drones on his own.
Bourdon said in his comments to FAA that unless drones are restricted to a specific airspace or for border control, he believes the limited vision that drones provide is problematic.
He describes drone pilots’ view as akin to looking through a soda straw.
When a drone loses its data link with the operator, it frequently changes altitude and then violates other manned aircrafts’ space, he added.
The focus of drone cameras makes it difficult for pilots to adhere to the see-and-avoid rule, according to Stefan Werner, who said he has flown on Predator unmanned aerial vehicle test flights in Southern California around Edwards Air Force Base.
He said UAV cameras do not allow for scanning above and that limitation is a danger to other aircraft.
Drones should be restricted to operate in higher altitudes and away from manned aircraft, he told the FAA.
Thomas Buchner, a pilot who patrols pipelines for Southern Union Co., said the FAA should consider the location of natural gas pipelines before it selects drone sites.
Pipeline patrol pilots should not have to worry about UAVs during their routine work in addition to other obstacles, he said.