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Together we are stronger

Drone safety is everyone’s mission

08 Jul 2019 1:43 PM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Mike O’Shea, Program Manager, Safety and Integration Division, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Office, Federal Aviation Administration and IPSA September Symposium Presenter

Drones are reinventing industries, creating new ones and bringing benefits to public safety agencies who are increasingly using them to support their mission. This technology tool can significantly advance and support search and rescue, fire and crash investigations, and other dangerous situations where airborne situational awareness can decrease hazard risks to public safety personnel and the people they serve.

Drones are not toys. They are, by law, ‘aircraft’ and their use requires that public safety agencies know the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), state and local regulations, laws and statutes governing their use.

The presentation at the IPSA’s Natural and Man-Made Disaster Recovery Symposium this September 18 and 19 in Washington D.C. will provide the International Public Safety Association (IPSA) attendees with key information and FAA resources for public safety agencies that want to operate drones in our nation’s airspace. I will discuss the path to starting a program as well as many important considerations such as community outreach. The presentation will cover the FAA’s safety mission and how that mission impacts our actions and your proposed operations. I’ll cover the pros and cons of operating as a public aircraft operation (PAO Part 91) versus as a civil operator (Part 107) or operating as both.

We will also examine waivers and certificate of authorizations that allow greater uses of drones as long the operator can safely mitigate dangers to manned aircraft and people on the ground.

I’ll also introduce attendees to the FAA’s new Public Safety Small Drone Playbook, a great resource for public safety agencies that deal with possible unlawful drone operations. I’ll provide information that will help connect public agencies with the FAA’s Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) which is an incredibly useful field resource. Lastly, there will be time for participants to ask their specific questions regarding operating a drone in the national airspace.

Agencies operating a drone, starting a drone program, or are just curious as to if this technology might be a future direction for their agency, should attend this presentation.

Author Bio

Michael O’Shea is a Program Manager for the FAA’s UAS Integration Office’s, Safety & Integration Division where he serves as liaison, facilitator and resource for both public and civil unmanned aircraft integration efforts. 

Before joining the UAS Integration Office, Mr. O’Shea was a program manager in the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Science and Technology for 17 years where he managed the law enforcement aviation technologies program. As part of his duties at DOJ Mr. O’Shea sat on the Small UAS and Remote Tracking/ID Aviation Rule Making Committees. Prior to working at DOJ, Mr. O’Shea spent almost 15 years as a uniformed law enforcement officer.

Mr. O’Shea is a graduate of Baker University (Kansas) with a degree in Business and Marketing. Mr. O’Shea holds a FAA Light-Sport Pilot Certificate (Fixed Wing, Gyroplanes and Powered Parachutes) and a Remote Pilot Certificate.

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