Pilot Reacts to FAA's Drone Delay in RGV

He may be the Director of Homeland Security and the Emergency Management Coordinator for Weslaco and Donna, but George Garrett is also a commercially rated pilot with army combat experience. He supports the use of unmanned aircraft vehicles or UAV's along the United States border with Mexico. "I think it's a good idea because it gives us an ability to see what's happening on both sides of our border without interfering with the neutrality or crossing into another country TMs airspace," Garrett said. UAV's come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are remotely controlled by someone on the ground. They've proved their usefulness and reliability in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq by providing uncanny imagery while flying virtually undetected. And while the pressure is on to allow them to fly along the border from El Paso to Corpus Christi, the Federal Aviation Administration has been hesitant to act. "I don't see what the FAA's opposition to this project is... I think it would be beneficial to law enforcement and to border patrol and also securing our border," Garrett said. FAA officials are worried UAV's might plow into airliners, cargo planes and jets that fly at high altitudes, according to published reports. Other concerns include: lost communication between the unmanned aircraft and operators controlling them and the potential danger centered on lower altitude aircraft found in smaller cities that aren't equipped with collision warning systems. We asked Garrett about the risks. "I don't think the air traffic issue is even an issue," he said. Texas officials including Governor Rick Perry, Senators Hutchinson and Cornyn as well as Representative Henry Cuellar continue to push the FAA to approve requests to use drones here along the border.