More Drones Appearing in North Texas Skies

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    NEWSLETTERS

    There are more and more unmanned aircraft in the skies over North Texas, and the Federal Aviation Administration is giving a clearer set of rules about the usage of drones. (Published Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014)

    There are more and more unmanned aircraft in the skies over North Texas, as evidenced by the amount of videos popping up on YouTube of videos taken by drones.

    Now, the Federal Aviation Administration is giving a clearer set of rules about the usage of the devices.

    "It just seems like a really cool piece of technology," said hobbyist Michael Torres. "I typically try to fly when there's not people around or, you know, I'm always nervous whenever I send it up regardless how many times I've done it!"

    A quick search of "Dallas drones" shows dozens of videos taken by drones.

    Already in North Texas, there are companies selling drone video. Some are using it to market properties in DFW.

    The FAA said companies have to be given permission in order to use the unmanned aircraft for commercial use. Only two companies have been allowed to do so thus far, and they are allowed to fly them in the Arctic and Alaska.

    There are also rules about where drones are allowed to fly. They're not allowed to use controlled airspace, ruling out all of Downtown Dallas because of Love Field and DFW airports. They are also not allowed to fly higher than 400 feet, roughly as tall as the Magnolia Hotel.

    The FAA is looking into updating its guidelines. It's also investigating several high-profile cases, including one last month, when a man got his drone stuck above AT&T Stadium.

    The agency said it prefers education over punishment, which could come in the form of fines.

    "I think most people try to be safe and try to not, you know, push the limits on these things," said Torres.

    A draft of new rules is expected by the end of this year and will be open for comment, with the rules going into effect in 2015.