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Seeking to boost “public awareness” of legal small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) operations, the U.S. FAA is urging sUAS pilots to wear reflective safety vests when flying their aircraft. “By taking this simple action, sUAS [pilots] can demonstrate that they are accepting responsibility for the activity and that they are intending to operate in a safe and compliant manner,” the FAA said in a newly released safety information for operators bulletin.

The move comes as the FAA attempts to cut down on the number of nuisance reports and general concerns tied to sUAS flying. “With the rapid increase in sUAS activity, combined with the technology and regulations being relatively new, the general public and law enforcement can be uninformed of what, when, how and where sUAS are legally permitted to be flown,” the FAA said. “Additionally, the public perceives some sUAS operations as threatening to their safety or privacy, in part because remote pilots are not easily identifiable.”

It recommends that vests contain wording such as “Drone Pilot, Stand Clear” to easily designate operators and encourages people not to disturb them. “The vest may reduce the likelihood that someone will approach or query an sUAS crew member engaged in safety-sensitive duties and will also help preserve a ‘sterile cockpit’ for these operations,” the agency said.

Sean Broderick- AIN