Aero club hears about drones

By  Gary Vacin 

Andricks Drone

Doug and his Drone

The president of the Phoenix Area Drone Users Group addressed a Sun Lakes Aero Club (SLAC) gathering of 80 aviation enthusiasts March 21 with an overview of where these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) typically fly and how to avoid them.

Doug Andriuk recently retired from a 20-year career in the US Air Force. He became interested in drones after visiting with a high-ranking Air Force general.  “I asked him what was his biggest regret during his military career,” Andriuk said.  “He told me he regretted not weaponizing drones sooner.  This piqued my curiosity, and led me to launch a career in this direction.”

For the past two years, Andriuk has devoted his life to investigating the development and potential of drones in commerce and industry.  He has founded a company that leverages drones to create real estate values for business and society.

New regulations require that drones be registered with the Federal Aviation Agency, Andriuk said.  More than 400,000 drones are registered, compared with 300,000 aircraft, he added.

“Drones typically fly at parks or private fields near the city,” Andriuk said.  “Rules require that drones do not exceed 400 feet in altitude, fly during daylight hours, and must be within sight of the operator.”

The best way for pilots to avoid drones is to avoid flight at less than 500 feet except for take-offs and landings, he said.

Commercial drones must have an N number assigned by the FAA, just like any other aircraft.  Operators must be licensed pilots.        

The Phoenix Area Drone Users Group started out with a couple guys in Chandler talking about drones.  Now the group has 480 members, and the number is growing. SLAC has more than 80 active members, but new members are always welcome. 

 Additional information is available by calling president Cannon Hill at  509-539-7857 or Gary Vacin, program director  at 480-298-7017 or at the club’s website, sunlakeseroclub.org.