Now that the FAA has changed their rules to allow police and public safety departments to fly small drones, and Homeland Security is giving away $500 billion this year to fund projects like drones for the Seattle Police Department as part of their Urban Areas Security Initiative, you may be wondering “How do I become a drone cop?”
Far more than simply building and flying RC vehicles, Sprague advises the seriously-interested officer to join an AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) sanctioned RC club. Merely by being at the flying field with other club members, the hobbyist will be surrounded by experienced pilots who have a wealth of knowledge and insight into design and development of unmanned aircraft. There, the new hobbyist will be exposed to safety guidelines, aviation etiquette, and the FAA.
“There is not a flying field anywhere in this country where the FAA and current UAV regulation is not a topic of discussion and education. In this world, an aspiring UAS Operator will learn the pros and cons of basic fixed wing platforms as well as rotorcraft platforms. This is an important foundation needed before venturing into the world of advanced, autonomous systems,” Sprague said.