FAA Launches New Pilot Program to Reach Spanish-speaking Drone Users
Credit: Wix Stock Library
As we move forward together, we make more progress in removing the barriers set before us, allowing ourselves and people like ourselves to take full advantage of previously inaccessible opportunities. Accessibility is an essential aspect of being in a community, and it can be granted through language programs and translating. It’s through these things that people can be more engaged with their community. Having access to materials in your native language facilitates inclusion. When the community supports these actions, they show their non-English speaking community members that they are seen and have a voice.
According to the FAA, “nearly 25.6 million people in the U.S. have Limited English Proficiency,”. LEP.gov identifies Limited English Proficiency individuals as “[i]ndividuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English”. On the LEP.gov website, you can also find data as recent as 2015 showing that many states have a considerable population of people who speak English less than “very well” and speak Spanish at home. Additionally, data analyzed by the Pew Research Center confirms that Spanish is “the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes”. Looking at the numbers, you can imagine how access to Spanish materials and resources would impact these populations.
To reach this group, the FAA has launched a new pilot program that has translated some of its web pages into Spanish. The goal of the FAA’s new program is to “remove barriers”. By “translating content into Spanish”, they are giving Spanish-speaking citizens with LEP access to information that would facilitate their involvement in the drone community. This program targets recreational flyers and aims to provide them with “basic drone safety information”. Unlike commercial airline pilots, who must adhere to regulatory and legal English language requirements, recreational pilots do not have to be fluent in English.
You can access the Spanish web pages with only a few clicks. Starting on the FAA’s homepage, click the green button with the white quadcopter icon labeled “Drones/Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)". Looking at the menu on the left, the last menu option is “UAS en Espanol”. Click there, and it will bring you to a page titled “Para Empezar”, the first Spanish page. This will also open up a submenu on the left under “UAS en Espanol”. This submenu has the option “Matricule su dron” under “Para empezar” and other items: Restricciones del espacio aéreo, Pilotos aficionados y organizaciones comunitarias, and Contáctenos.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining the drone community and is more comfortable accessing information in Spanish, take advantage of this program and what it offers. In their announcement, the FAA states that they “will analyze the results of this outreach effort and may consider additional project phases in other languages in the future.” This pilot program’s success could lead to other language projects by the FAA, opening the drone world up to even more non-English populations in the United States.
I am a writer and an artist based in Georgia. Specializing in illustration, graphic design, and video art, I love to explore the new ways technology intersects with art. I think drones have done amazing things for photography and video art, making what would previously be costly and difficult more accessible. As a complete novice, it was only recently that I saw what independent artists could do with their drones, and I continue to be impressed by the sights that drones are able to explore and the images they can capture. Instagram: @tyesha.ferron