WICHITA FALLS, TX - Those people flying drones for commercial or personal use must now follow and be in compliance with new federal regulations for the devices set by the Federal Aviation Administration. The rules went into effect earlier this week and its already had an impact on local businesses.
"We are a full service advertising agency with clients in over 14 states and we help determine where they are going to spend their marketing dollars," said Jackie Hoegger, Owner of Hoegger Communications.
These days, a lot of Hoegger's time and money have been invested in making sure they're in compliance with the new federal regulations. Drones have become a money making marketing tool for businesses but they've also become a safety hazard for airplane pilots.
According to some of the most recent data from the FAA, there were 176 drone incidents reported at 12 of America's biggest airports between August, 21st 2015 and January 31st 2016. Hoegger said that she's made sure her company and their designated drone pilot is certified and licensed to operate his Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) in the sky.
"We know where our parameters are, we make sure that the airports around us know that we have a drone in the air. We make sure we give them 24-hour notice and we make sure that we are not flying over the public and causing any danger," said Hoegger.
James Cocher is the full licensed and certified drone pilot for Hoegger Communications and while Cocher is used to flying airplanes thousands of feet in the air, the new FAA regulations require his drone to go no higher than 400 feet off the ground.
"Today, we were flying between 100-150 feet above the ground. It can go up to 1000 feet but that's against the law," said Cocher.
As an airplane pilot, Cocher understands the dangers drones pose to aircraft. He believes while the new regulations might seem stricter, they're also safer. Cocher said it's important and vital that the FAA know where he is operating his drone.
"All it takes is one drone being sucked up into an engine of a commercial airliner to bring it down and they say, "oh well how come we did not do anything about it earlier"," said Cocher.