The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed new regulations for drones but Mercyhurst’s drone use will likely not be affected, as it is primarily used to take aerial videos and photographs for marketing purposes, officials from Mercyhurst say.
The focus of these regulations is to keep drones away from airports and in interfering with any aircraft or airport activity.
Drones cannot fly within five miles of an airport without specific permission, according to FAA regulations. Mercyhurst is about eight miles from the Erie International Airport.
Another focus of the new regulations is the safety of people around drones. FAA regulations state drones have to be within sight and below 400 feet at all times. Drones are also supposed to avoid people and stadiums.
“We always keep the drone in sight when flying and we don’t get too close to people or buildings to be dangerous,” Executive Assistant to the Provost and Office Manager of the Department of Anthropology/Archaeology Dionne Veitch said.
FAA regulations fine offenders if the unmanned aircraft are used recklessly. Drone technology is new and its use still being explored.
Mercyhurst’s drone is used market the school to potential students. It is used infrequently and follows all of the new FAA regulations.
“In a nutshell, we’re fine,” Veitch said.