Featured NewsTrending NewsFounders ColumnOpinion: The Argument Against Banning Chinese Drones


20 February 2024

By Stuart Smith, Founder and CEO, The Droning Company

The Droning Company has recognized the political threat brewing in the United States that is possibly going to disastrously effect more than 90 percent of the drone pilots in the country unless it is stopped. This threat is based on misinformation, fear mongering, greed, ignorance, shady backroom deals, and outright lies.

It is for this reason that Jon McBride, Stuart Smith, and Chris Fravel from The Droning Company have joined forces with Greg Reverdiau of Pilot Institute, Vic Moss of the Drone Service Providers Alliance to bring you a series of articles within their respective disciplines to shine a light on the problem and to let you know what steps, you personally, can do to help avert it.

Join in the coming days to see what each of these well-respected experts and leaders have to say about this issue.


It is a sad fact that we live in a world whereby a person or entity can say or post something on social media that is completely untrue, and half the country believes it as gospel fact without seeing, researching or demanding any proof or evidence of the facts.

There is a bill coming up from the U.S. House of Representatives called H.R. 2864, the Countering CCP Drones Act which would revoke FCC authorization for all existing or future DJI drones. Plainly speaking anything that transmits a radio frequency, which all drones do, has to be authorized by the FCC and if this bill passes DJI products will not work within the continental United States. This would not only effect drone pilots flying for recreational purposes but also drones used for infrastructure inspections, search and rescue etc.

H.R. 2864 is sponsored by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL), Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), and Rep. Brandon Williams (R-NY), and I can almost certainly guarantee that not one of these representatives has ever flown a drone let alone have any knowledge on how they work. To say that Chinese made drones can transmit critical security information to the Chinese military, compromising our national security, without a shred of proof is complete bullsh*t. It’s like saying the tires on your Toyota can give critical sensitive information to the Japanese. It’s pretty much the same thing as banning TikTok. What are we worried about? The Chinese intelligence services getting hold of videos of teenagers dancing? Ridiculous you say? Unfortunately, there are even drone pilots that believe this nonsense. There’s a company I know that makes an effective drone detection and jamming system to defeat threats and stop drones delivering drugs and contraband to inmates in prisons, but they can’t sell it to any government agency in the U.S.A.  Want to know why? Because the power switch and part of the chassis is made in China. Yes, it’s that ridiculous.

Surely, if any of this was true that a $1,000 drone could disrupt our nuclear capabilities then the problem lies not with the Chinese drone, but with our digital security systems. Trust me, the Chinese intelligence services can get more information from Google Earth than they can from a drone, but the fear mongering continues.

Technology and Tariffs

The fact of the matter is that DJI drones far outclass anything made in the U.S. and they’re cheaper. Basically, they’re technologically kicking our ass and make better products for less money—which is the real reason these representatives are trying to ban them completely, not because they’re a threat to our national security. Did you know that a 20 percent tariff is put on every drone coming from China and they’re still cheaper. What I want to know is where is that 20 percent tax going to. Why has it not put into a fund that American drone manufacturers can apply for as grants to research and improve their drone products. This is one of the questions that we, as American taxpayers and drone enthusiasts, should be asking.

Fueling the Ban

In the drone world, the single biggest contributor to the lobbyists who are fueling efforts to ban DJI products is alleged to be Skydio. According to Open Secrets, who list how much money companies spend on lobbyists, Skydio reportedly spent $560,000 trying to influence politicians to ban a competitor whose only crime is making a distinctly better product, and they’re not the only one. Surely, Skydio and these other companies would be better served putting that money into research and development to manufacture a drone that comes anywhere near as close to DJI’s capability and quality. Aside from lobbying, certain companies have been contacting some of the agencies or purchasing officers and creating fear mongering tactics to have them cancel their already approved orders for DJI or Autel.

If we are to continue this attack on competition and follow through with the ban on DJI, how long will it take for these US companies to start doing it to each other at the sacrifice the drone industry.

The problem that Skydio will have if this bill passes apart from their supply chain is the question of where are they going to get their batteries from? Currently, they get their batteries from China, and the last thing we want is for those batteries to be transmitting classified nuclear secrets to the Chinese military. I guess they want their cake and be able to eat it, too.

What Can YOU Do About It

It is vitally important that every single person reading this article contact their congressmen and senators to tell them not to approve this bill and it will take one minute of your time.

Go to the Drone Advocacy Alliance and click here https://droneadvocacyalliance.com/about/ to sign the petition and send a clear message to your representatives. There’s strength in numbers and there are over one million of us that own drones so your voice can make a difference. Tell these politicians that if they vote in favor of this bill that they will lose your vote when it comes time to keep them in office and if you can’t be bothered to speak out now then don’t come crying to me when your DJI drone sits on the ground like a doorstop because if this bill passes that’s all it will be.


To read the second article in this series by The Drooning Company's Cheif Columnist Chris Fravel please click here.

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