DJI Says FAA's Data On Drone Weight Is "Poorly Chosen"

DJI has recently released a white paper expounding on the relationship of drones' weight and the risks that the units pose. This is in criticism to the current regulation of the FAA that sets 2.5 grams as the heaviest possible weight to consider a drone "low-risk". DJI said that the current details about the recommended drone weight were based on "deeply flawed assumptions" and "poorly chosen data".

As mentioned, the current weight limit that the organization has defined as safe is 250 grams at most. DJI on the other hand, believes that this figure is too low and should be increased to 2.2 kilograms. This suggested number will increase the threshold above the standard drone range. Note that the DJI Phantom 4 Pro weighs 1.39 kilograms and the more industrial Inspire 2 weighs 3.29 kilograms. The compact DJI Mavic Pro on the other hand, weighs at 743 grams, as per Digital Trends.

As per the source, the FAA-appointed 250-gram threshold was set back in 2015 when registration guidelines for drones were still being created. The set threshold means that any drone that weighs 250 grams and below is considered to have a low-enough risk and no longer warrants registration. DJI, however, said that further research have shown that FAA's standard was based on inaccurately picked data including the almost 50-year old casualty model from a nuclear war. The company's white paper then specifically concludes that UAS's or unmanned aircraft systems that are up to 2.2 kilograms can be considered low-risk and can be safely flown.

DJI's VP of Policy and Legal Affairs, Brendan Schulman, said that the 250-gram figure was set merely for registration-purposes. This number was just inappropriately adopted for drones' safety guidelines. The company's white paper emphasizes that 2.2 kilograms is a more appropriate limit, given that there are far more valid factors that determine the safety of drone-flying apart from the units' weight. Apparently, people and pilot aptitude are more likely to determine the drone-flying safety outcome compared to the drones' kilograms.

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