By now you have heard some discussion, news reports and hype on Drones, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). Specifically, amateur devices, that are readily available and easily flown. Under the law as it stands, any unmanned, remotely piloted vehicle in the United States flown for hobby or recreational purposes is a model airplane. Per the 2012 FAA re-authorization act. In 2015, the FAA will suggest new, drone-specific regulations, at which point model airplane law and drone law will probably diverge.
Good, bad or indifferent this technology is advancing quickly. At some point these devices will need to be incorporated into operations. In many cases to advance the operation, as a useful tool, in some cases to defend against nefarious use. As a way to better understand the technology we purchased one from Amazon.
It arrived a few days later and this footage was shot within 15min of opening the box. 400 up, 1500ft down the road It is remarkable technology, basically a flying smart phone but until you see one first hand it’s hard to understand the real risk either inadvertently or by nefarious uses.
As a casual user we could of misused this device very easily, it comes out of the box with a 1600ft ceiling and can easily be flown into roadways or other hazardous locations. If purchased for a teenager the liability could be worse than driving. With an additional 200$ we can add way point and AI capabilities. The FAA said recreational drone use is generally permitted as long as pilots don't fly recklessly. Voluntary guidelines for model aircraft created in 1981 suggest flying at safe altitudes and distances away from airports, and avoiding crowds.
Recent examples of inadvertent hazards include:
•at the large fire, a small civilian drone crashed into an trooper car, narrowly missing the trooper
•In St. Louis a drone was found on the 30th story of a building, owner/operator unknown
•Journalist using a drone to film a car accident flew in the path of a life flight helicopter
•Raging Hockey Fans Destroyed A Drone In LA
•Aerial Drone Camera Over DUI Checkpoint http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF58tnUMveo