Step 1) The FAA should stop hyping the "threat" of drones.
Step 2) The FAA should get off its hands and make some sane rules.
The FAA is asleep at the switch and grossly negligent. Their blanket ban on the commercial use of drones is basically an invitation for people to go do what they want. If there are no sane rules to follow, then the rules won't be followed. It isn't that fucking hard. Here, let me do the FAA's job for them in like 2 minutes by using a touch of common sense.
No drones of any flavor within X feet of airports.
No drones above X feet in altitude within Y miles of an airport.
Now, split drones up into classes by weight and whether they are camera controlled, visually controlled, or autonomous.
Heavy shit can't go over populated areas.
Autonomous shit can't go over populated areas unless it is very light.
Use a little common sense. Is it less dangerous than a baseball? Chill out, it is probably okay and not worth wasting taxpayer money stopping it. If someone wants to fly around an AR Drone in a city park or even over the neighborhood, let them. They are less dangerous than some kids playing baseball. If I can stick my hand in the blade, and walk away with nothing but stung fingertips, it isn't dangerous enough for the FAA to waste a second of their time with. If someone is using the drone like an asshole, treat it like kids throwing baseballs at people. I am sure there is some rule that police can go slap people with if they are being dicks.
Mid sized drones are cool in rural areas unless there is a fire hazard.
Large drones are allowed, they just take a license. The license involves stating what you plan to do with it, showing you have control over it and it isn't going to hurt someone, and having insurance so that if you do hurt someone or property, the cost is covered. Obviously, the proof of burden is higher if you want to circle over Boston 24/7 at 2,000 feet then if you want to do the occasional fly over at 10,000 feet of some forest.
All of the above rules can be waved at anytime for a period of time for companies or individuals if there is a compelling reason to do so.
If these rules are not tight enough, tighten them later, but for fucks sake, use REAL safety and privacy concerns. Again, if it is less dangerous than a child with a baseball, fuck off and let the cops deal with it.
There are real concerns with drones. Some of it is probably even in the FAA's domain, like at what weight/altitude does a drone need some sort of transponder so that air traffic control can see it? What are the rules for flyovers of private property? Does intent matter (i.e. is it cool for the neighborhood kids to fly their drone around the block, but less cool for a paparazzi drone to do the same)?
The FAA should spend less time with their porno scanners and freedom fondles and more time getting it the hard and painful process of working out sensible rules that avoid absolutisms, with "no commercial drones" being the stupidest absolutism of them all.
And in the case of companies, compelling reason will always be 'we want to make money'.
Pfff! Too much work! The FAA should just ban all private and corporate drone use, and only authorize them for anti-terrorist police initiatives. Duh.
If they are not hurting anyone or being a nuisance, good for them. Make some money. I won't complain when the first aerosat drones float quietly overhead tossing blasting my communications on lasers or something, bypassing the cable monopolies. There is nothing wrong with making a buck if you are not hurting or screwing others.
Problems with drones near airports?
Use predator drones! They will intimidate regular drones, who will flock away in fear to a less dangerous habitat, like the Everglades or down-town Miami.
Now all you need is a bunch of predator drones operators to train them not to attack commercial liners or microlight aircrafts.
Where is the legal line between drones and RC model planes, for which there ARE regulations? Arguably there already ARE rules for small drones.
Exactly. The vast majority of "drones" in the hands of the public are classified as RC (remote control) aircraft, and are subject to those rules. RC enthusiasts have been well aware of those rules for years (at least in the RC clubs I've been associated with in Canada), and I think it's more that quadcopters/drones have become so popular that people don't educate themselves or realize the responsibilities involved in operating them.
Although apparently, there really aren't many regulations beyond "no commercial use."
I think this equating of a drone with a line-of-sight operated R/C aircraft is disingenuous at best.
No airline pilot is going to be very very concerned about damage done by lightweight poly frame RC plane (and I mean -after- they knew it wasn't in the engine).
The FAA has investigated the incident, but said it had been unable to identify the drone's operator.
and, stepping into tinfoil hat territory for a moment, there is a real linguistic difference between "had been unable to identify" and "could not determine"... just ask Don Rumsfeld, king of mendacious government press releases.
In the USA the line in drawn in section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. See www.modelaircraft.org/files/HR658_020112.pdf
Model aircraft are already exempt from most FAA regulation. You are not the only one asking the FAA to speed up things. www.modelaircraft.org/.../AMAandAUVSIIssueSmallRuleLettertoAUVSI.pdf
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