Those requirements are probably imposed because, while the aircraft must remain in line of sight, "they will be testing beyond line of sight (BLOS) and see-and-avoid systems, and would consider this operation safer with a trained pilot at the controls should malfunctions occur," remarked Michael Blades, a senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
"Think of [the pilot] as a drone test pilot," he
told the E-Commerce Times
"is learning from practices that are already in place in Europe, Australia and Canada, and plans to use information collected from test sites and comments from the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to make safe and effective rules," Blades
FAA's Cautionary Stance
The certificate's overall requirements aren't too strict, Blades
maintained, because safety requirements are more stringent for experimental systems.
"Flying drones above 500 feet [puts them] in the same airspace as passenger traffic," he
Further, BLOS "still has several years of development before implementation," Blades
said, and methods for air traffic controllers to track drones, and systems for avoiding collisions, are "being developed but won't be robust enough for efficient or safe operation for five-10 years."
It will take "at least five years" for Amazon's plan to use drones for delivery, Blades
suggested, because "it will take at least that long to develop a system that ensures safety and prevents loss or theft."