FAA Official Fears There Could Be ‘A Million Drones Under People’s Christmas Trees’ This Year

FAA to educate Walmart sales staff on how to inform customers that inquire about purchasing a drone.

The Federal Aviation Administration is preparing for a surge of drone sales this holiday season.

Rich Swayze, FAA assistant administrator-policy, international affairs and environment, told Air Transport World that drone sales could reach the one million mark according to information he’s received from several sources.

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“The talking point is that there will be a million drones under people’s Christmas trees this year,” Swayze said.

Swayze, speaking at the Airlines for America Commercial Aviation Industry Summit in Washington D.C., said the FAA is trying to get out in front of the sales surge to “educate people about the potential dangers” of drones.

The FAA will send a representative to a pre-Christmas staff meeting at Walmart to inform sales staff on how to educate consumers that inquire about purchasing a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), according to Swayze. Walmart sells a range of small UAVs online.

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“A lot of people who don’t have a pilot background are operating these things in the airspace,” Swayze said.

Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Mark Dunkerly went a step further, saying at the summit that there’s major concern a drone conflict is “going to end in tears.”

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