Jackson, Miss. — Drones come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. This year, the Consumer Technology Association expects more than 400,000 to be sold. CTA Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac says it’s because of growing interest among consumers, “Drones this season are showing up in the Black Friday circulars. We’ve seen them really start to resonate with consumers as holiday gifts this year.”
People are becoming more familiar with drones, they’re more heavily advertised, and prices are dropping. DuBravac says, “There really is a wide spectrum for drones. So for those looking to buy a drone this holiday season there will be something within your price point.”
Another reason drones are growing in popularity is that more companies, including some in the metro, are making them. At Hobby Town USA in Flowood, if you don’t see what you want on the shelf, they’ll make one for you. The drone industry is growing and interest in them is too. Dennis Lott started flying drones as a hobby 50 years ago. Today, he’s the unmanned aircraft system instructor at Hinds Community College where he teaches students everything about the high tech items. Lott says, “So at Hinds in our unmanned aircraft systems we teach them how to fly fixed wing aircraft, Multi rotor aircraft that are multi-mission, multi-role capable. They learn to fly, build, set up, tune, program and execute missions. So when they complete the course they’re able to go out into the workforce and and make a valuable employee to the industry.”
Whether you’re considering a career in the drone industry or just taking up drone flying as a hobby, there are some things to keep in mind. Right now, the Federal Aviation Administration does not require hobbyists to register their drones. But anyone using a drone for commercial use does have to register it. According to DuBravac, “There are certain areas were drones are not allowed to be flown. By airports for example. So before going out and flying that brand-new drone that you get this holiday season we encourage consumers to do the research to ensure that they’re flying it in a safe way and that they are abiding by the safety precautions that are important for that technology.”
The Department of Transportation is currently working on a new set of registration requirements, just in time for the thousands of drones that will be bought this Christmas.