Aviation group pushes drone safety campaign

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As drones become more popular, the federal government and aviation associations are trying to figure out ways to regulate the use of the flying machines. (KABC)

While the government tries to figure out how to regulate drones, more and more people are buying them.

Ski resorts are using drones to scout their slopes, winery owners to monitor their vineyards, and there are even drones designed to take self-portraits.

So it is now surprise that drones are flying off the shelves at this year's Academy of Model Aeronautics Expo in Ontario.

Michael Toscano with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, said this past holiday season drones were a popular gift.

"This past Christmas and the holiday season we saw a tremendous flux of drones being given as Christmas presents of gifts," he said.

But many drones are quite heavy and can fly fairly high. Consequently, the association is pushing a new safety campaign called "Know Before You Fly."

"If you took a hammer and threw it into the middle of a crowd, you would be held accountable if something bad happened with that. The same thing is true if you fly a drone into a crowd and something bad happens," Toscano said.

Here is another example: if someone bought a boat, car, or motorcycle, there are laws to make sure the vehicle is operated safely. But if someone purchased a drone there is a much bigger gray area.

Among other things, the people at "Know Before You Fly" are reminding people who use drones to fly no higher than 400 feet, to contact the control tower before flying within five miles of an airport and not to fly over unprotected people or moving vehicles.

For now, Federal Aviation Administration officials are still trying to come up with specific laws to manage how people use the technology.

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