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Drone Club not grounded by regulations

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Members of the Ohio State Drone Club at a meetup from the view of a drone. Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Cheston

Members of the Ohio State Drone Club at a meetup from the view of a drone. Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Cheston

Members of the Ohio State Drone Club are still flying high despite recent university regulations limiting the club’s activities.

When the Drone Club was first created in April, its members were allowed to fly their drones nearly anywhere on campus, but with the increased use of unmanned aerial vehicles, the Federal Aviation Administration and OSU have created new regulations to limit their use. The FAA now requires all UAVs to be registered, and the university complies with their policies.

OSU also made a few regulations of their own, the main one being that UAVs are not allowed to be flown on campus unless they get permission from the Department of Public Safety.

Anyone wishing to fly a drone on campus must submit a request to the department at least two weeks in advance and hope that the weather will accommodate flying, said Jimmy Gaydos, a second-year in mechanical engineering and member of Drone Club.

However, nearby Tuttle Park is public property not owned by the university, so people can go there to fly their drones whenever they want, as long as they comply with the FAA’s regulations, Gaydos said.

“I fully understand the new regulations,” Joshua Cheston, president of OSU’s Drone Club and a third-year in engineering, said in an email. “There are lots of students on campus, and student safety is always a very high priority.”

Cheston said the club would abide by all of OSU’s regulations.

The view of The ‘Shoe from a drones point of view. Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Cheston

The view of The ‘Shoe from a drone’s point of view. Credit: Courtesy of Joshua Cheston

Even if the club cannot regularly fly around campus on short notice, Cheston said he still hopes “to give people information about drones, answer questions, fly drones and have fun.”

Cheston founded the club in 2015 to create an environment where people who are interested in drones, flying drones and new technology can go to make friends and hang out.

“I created Drone Club because I wanted to educate people on drones and drone safety,” he said.

Gaydos said he got involved with drones after he saw some videos on YouTube of drones and thought, “I could probably build one of those myself.”

Gaydos and Cheston both said that they enjoy meeting all of the different people who are involved with drones.

“Everyone has talent and everyone is unique,” Cheston said.

Cheston said many people have misconceptions about drones; they think that they compromise safety and are just used to spy on people. He countered these assumptions by explaining that drones are a hobby for people who either just enjoy flying and building them or people who use them for commercial use, like photographers and researchers.

“Drones are an integral part of the future,” Cheston said. “Joining the club is joining a new world of technology and getting involved in the future.”

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