North Texas

Experts Offer Drone Usage Classes in North Texas

“If it’s a question, don’t do it.”

That's the message Tony White wants to spread to the masses who are expected to head to stores in coming weeks and purchase drones — the remote-controlled copters that can be so much fun and cause so much trouble.

“You can buy a high-level drone, not know how to fly it, and, if you’ve never flown before, that’s where we get trouble,” he said.

A study by Fort Worth-based Aero Kinetics indicates that toy drones pose a more costly and dangerous risk to airplanes than bird strikes do.

"The impact of a toy drone, made of plastic, metal and engineered materials, with a manned aircraft in a collision would be even more catastrophic [than a bird strike]," the study stated.

White — an experienced unmanned aerial vehicle pilot and instructor — has partnered with Hobby Town USA in Hurst to teach what may be a first of its kind course in North Texas: "Drone Basics 101." The classes are offered on the second and fourth Sunday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m.

White told NBC 5 there is a lack of information regarding drones, adding that he believes most stores will sell a customer a drone and offer little to no support for how to safely operate it.

At his “Drone Basics 101” course, White told NBC 5 he wants to supply customers with knowledge regarding airspace regulations, which can be the source of many drone pilots’ mistakes.

"You've got to know what you want to do with it prior to just flying around, because now you’re in the national airspace," he emphasized. "You’re not flying in a guarded community anymore, or the middle of nowhere. You’re flying amongst all the other air traffic."

The FAA revealed its preliminary plan Monday to register drones sold in America. A panel of aviation experts wants to know who is using unmanned aircraft to make sure they know drone flight rules. The FAA hopes to have the rules in place before Christmas.

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