The reason behind the DroneFight website
This site was created by Gary Clites, technology columnist for the Dow Jones News Fund's quarterly publication for journalism teachers, Adviser Update. The News Fund has been following the issue of FAA regulations preventing the use of small drones on school campuses for some time.
While small drones that can serve as a platform for video and still cameras have become very affordable over recent years, current FAA regulations make all uses of them outdoors on school campuses illegal. Scholastic journalists across the country have experimented with the use of drones for newsgathering, but so far all of those uses outside the school building have been illegal under federal law. Uses of small drones in STEM education are also proscribed under the law.
In February, the FAA released a new set of proposed rules for the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). While more workable than the old regulations, they still require licensing of UAS pilots, only allow persons over 17 to be licensed, and do not permit the use of drones over any persons not involved in the operation, all things that would make their use on school campuses untenable.
Students and teachers in journalism and STEM education need to act now to make sure these regulations are altered so that educational uses of small drones are included. This site is designed to provide teachers and their students with the information they need to understand the issue and to comment knowledgably to the FAA.
Send your comments to the FAA now and share the link to this site with everyone you can to fight for our cause.
For more information or to comment, email Gary Clites at email@example.com.
Students at South Elgin High School in Chicago using a drone to film football practice.