Thu, Apr 27, 2006
Calls On Gov't To Remove TFR While UAVs Are Grounded
Stating that an
accident Tuesday involving a US Customs and Border Patrol Predator
B UAV reinforces their position that UAVs must meet manned aircraft
safety standards, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is
calling on the FAA to revoke TFRs currently in place along the
US-Mexico border while the fleet is grounded as investigators
determine why the unmanned plane crashed.
"This crash highlights the safety concerns we've voiced all
along," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of
government affairs. "The FAA should not permit UAV operations until
they are certified to the same level of safety as manned
"Thankfully, in this accident no one in the air or on the ground
was hurt," Cebula added. "But just think that if a pilot had been
flying legally under the TFR and the UAV hit the aircraft from
behind and above -- the pilot would have had no chance to see
and avoid the uncontrolled UAV."
As Aero-News reported, the
Predator B went down in southern Arizona Tuesday morning, while it
was conducting operations along the US border with Mexico. The
Border Patrol uses the UAVs to monitor illegal immigrants
attempting to cross the border, as well as aiding in catching drug
AOPA has been a strong opponent to UAVs over US skies. The
organization has alerted Congress to the threat UAVs pose to GA
pilots and voiced members' opposition to restricting civilian
access to airspace for UAV operations.
The UAV TFR stretches across 300 nautical miles of Arizona and
New Mexico and extends from 14,000 feet MSL to 16,000 feet MSL.
The airspace was cordoned off to prevent a midair collision
because UAVs cannot see and avoid other aircraft. But when the
UAV's operators lose contact, no one is in control to bring it
safely out of the TFR and away from other aircraft.
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