Those of us living in urban areas rarely see jets streaking across the sky days. But if you’re an outdoors lover, you may begin seeing more and more of their replacements, drones, in a number of state and national parks.
There are already a few sites near Grand Forks, North Dakota, Rapid City, South Dakota, and others in Ohio, Idaho and Missouri, as Wired notes. But the fact that these unmanned aerial vehicles, with scary names like the Reaper and the Predator, are playing a major role in the nation’s military means that unfortunately more training sites are needed.
Image: Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson/Wikipedia Commons
And who is leading the way on the new additions? Senator Chuck Schumer in New York and Ron Wyden in Oregon. are proposing a bill that would allow drone practice in airspace over national parks. Schumer wants Reaper drones to be able to practice in the airspace of Adirondack State Park in New York State, one of the largest state parks that measures even bigger than many national parks like Yellowstone. Wyden would also like drone test flights to run in Juniper Military Area.
What this means for travelers for now is a bit unclear. There are not many reports of issues with drones operating in civil airspace, but much of that is related to the fact that drone aircraft usually operate in less populated areas. If Schumer and Wyden’s bill succeeds, expect to find a few test flights near these parks. And for private pilots, it could mean new instructions about how to approach airports in New York and Oregon, as the Post-Standard reports.