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British Pilots: Poll Data Says Public Wants Strict Rules For Drones 110

According to the Guardian, a survey of members of the British public conducted on behalf of the British Airline Pilots Association reveals support among those surveyed for strict rules governing drone flights in urban areas, and (probably less surprising) calling for serious consquences in the form of jail sentences for those who endanger passenger aircraft with drone flights. A slice: The study, which will be presented on Monday at a drone safety summit organised by UK pilots, revealed that about a third of those polled think no one should be able to fly drones over urban areas.
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British Pilots: Poll Data Says Public Wants Strict Rules For Drones

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  • by JimMcc ( 31079 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @08:12PM (#49660853) Homepage

    Without knowing how the questions were phrased, the survey is pretty much meaningless. For example:

    1) The pilot's association believes that drones present a real and tangible threat to air safety. Do you think they should be permitted to fly in areas where airplanes may be flying?

    2) Do you believe that drones which have been proven to be safe should be allowed to be flown by trained individuals in urban areas?

    Those two questions essentially ask the same question but will illicit opposite answers from most survey takers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People want to be free to make their own choices and live according to their own values. However, nobody wants their neighbors to be free to do things that are threatening or disturbing. That second inclination tends to override the first, driving most people to want more laws that further restrict freedom (rather than fewer laws, or more laws that protect freedom). The end result is a steady trot towards a police state.

      • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday May 11, 2015 @12:39AM (#49661897)
        Or maybe the technology has outpaced our ability to responsibly use it.

        There's an old concept called The Ring of Gyges [wikipedia.org], as an idea from Plato that essentially boils down to one's good behavior is dependent on one's likelihood of being caught, and should one have the ability to get away with things, one would probably do things that are not acceptable. This idea has been expounded upon with stories like The Invisible Man.

        The drone concept has finally reached a point where one can anonymously violate the privacy of others and those others might not even know that it's happening, and the burden to do this is so low that nearly everyone in western society can afford to do it. This required significant advances in both radio-controlled aircraft and in camera technology, and we're now there. The development of the technology has outpaced the ability to detect it at the same casual level.

        It's a tough call. The US federal rules that prohibit the use of radio controlled aircraft for anything short of recreational use has meant that there could be penalties for using them to spy on people for profit from taking pictures. Unfortunately it doesn't mean that there aren't other abuses already being committed.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I never really bought that idea. Outside my girlfriend's place of work in Japan there is an unofficial bike parking area. There are maybe 100 spaces. None of the bikes are locked, and people move them all the time to make a bit more space. Anyone could easily take one and there would be almost no chance of getting caught.

          People don't for some reason. It can't be fear of getting caught.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            I never really bought that idea. Outside my girlfriend's place of work in Japan there is an unofficial bike parking area. There are maybe 100 spaces. None of the bikes are locked, and people move them all the time to make a bit more space. Anyone could easily take one and there would be almost no chance of getting caught.

            People don't for some reason. It can't be fear of getting caught.

            I believe that reason is called, "respect". For oneself and for others. It's in remarkably low supply in most of the world.

          • I never really bought that idea. Outside my girlfriend's place of work in Japan there is an unofficial bike parking area. There are maybe 100 spaces. None of the bikes are locked, and people move them all the time to make a bit more space. Anyone could easily take one and there would be almost no chance of getting caught.

            People don't for some reason. It can't be fear of getting caught.

            Unfortunately, this would not be the case in most parts of the worlds, including the UK where I live. Japan is obviously the exception that proves the rule.

        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          one would probably do things that are not acceptableThis might be true for some and is often used as basis of religion.

          Sometimes you do things, even though you know you wil be caught. And sometimes that is even the reason you do them.

          The thing here is that the people doing the spying do not believe they are doing something wrong and that what they do should be acceptabel.

          So this is not about getting caught at all. This is about what you should be caught for.

        • Or maybe the technology has outpaced our ability to responsibly use it.

          Morality and ethics seem to have disappeared as our technological dissemination increases, and I'd have to agree. Just because you CAN do a thing, doesn't mean you should; whether someone complains or not.

      • by Barsteward ( 969998 ) on Monday May 11, 2015 @01:25AM (#49662019)
        yes, i want to be free to be able to take out any drone that flies over my property, break it into little pieces and throw the bits into my neighbors garden (even if its not their drone). Is that the kind of freedom you are asking for?
        • yes, i want to be free to be able to take out any drone that flies over my property, break it into little pieces

          Check your local laws. You might be allowed to. All but the illegal dumping thing, that is.

        • This xkcd [xkcd.com] could hardly have been better timed for this thread.
    • Exactly.

      I would be almost certain these are "So, have you stopped beating your wife yet?" style questions.

      Still, the media will love it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The pilots association has a vested interest in restricting replacements to their jobs in the fields of remote sensing and photography.

    • by Trongy ( 64652 )

      Classic Yes Prime Minister scene [youtube.com] on survey rigging.

    • Not to mention location, if you ask me while I'm seated on the plane how I feel about drones interfering with passenger safety, I'll be against it. If you ask me while I'm in the park playing with my drone, probably not so much.
    • The problem is, airplanes fly everywhere. Sport aviation pilots often fly at low altitude, and not necessarily with a fight plan. E.g., one might fly an amphibian plane from one's ranch to a lake a few hundred miles away and land in the lake. Many people also fly for recreation, doing loops and just enjoying the experience of flying. This is a longstanding activity, since the birth of aviation. This is especially true in rural areas. The problem with drones is that you can't see them - they are too small. I
      • one might fly an amphibian plane from one's ranch to a lake a few hundred miles away and land in the lake

        This is while one is not driving one's Ferrari to meet one's supermodel girlfriend at one's town residence, one assumes.

        • In many cases yes, but in many cases no. People who live in rural areas have things like this that are accessible. In Alaska, for example, it is not unusual for people to own sea planes and be bush pilots. Small planes are not unaffordable to a successful doctor or rancher. E.g., the Icon A5 is coming out soon and it lists for $140K. That is not cheap but it is affordable to most professionals.
  • I bet the people who are against it are the ones who don't own one.

    More elucidation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • Poll data (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Poll Data Says Public Wants Strict Rules For Drones "

    Poll data also showed no Conservative majority.

  • RC Rules (Score:5, Interesting)

    by multimediavt ( 965608 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @08:44PM (#49660999)
    When I was a youngster I had RC cars, boats and planes. I got to aircraft last in the lineage and didn't get an RC plane until I was about 13. I had a few friends that were avid fliers and one that was a competition RC helicopter pilot who was nationally ranked. When my parents bought me my first RC plane I immediately read the rules of operation that were available at the time because my friends had told me what some of them were, but also told me where to find the FAA rules. Fly over your own property (or someone's large field that you got permission from, or an abandoned airport that was designated for RC flight), fly below 400 feet, stay 3 miles or more from airports were the three main rules. AFAIK, until idiots started violating these rules (mostly because they never bothered to find out what they were) those rules were still in place and governing the operation of RC air vehicles.

    Now these nimrods have ruined RC aircraft for everyone because they never bothered to find out what the FAA rules were for operating such craft. I see YouTube video of people flying over active streets, other people's property, well above 400 feet and even in public places like parks. Those were all no-no's that would get the cops on you and possibly get you charged with a felony when I was a kid, and we avoided doing that not only to keep our parents from having to get us at the police station, but because it was the best way to keep doing something we loved doing.

    So my question is, when did everyone decide that they could do whatever they want wherever they want thinking there were no consequences? I'm 43 and I see people my age and older doing some of this stupid stuff and it blows my mind. Are people really that unaware to think that there aren't rules and regulations for these devices? They've existed for longer than I've been alive so I just don't get why no one knows or bothered to ask about them and now everyone gets the shaft. It's sad that my children won't be able to do the fun things that I used to do, all while playing within the rules. The new rules are almost certainly require RC pilots to have full FAA pilot licenses in order to operate them. That's just outrageous, and it's because of ignorant, selfish assholes that did whatever they pleased and spoiled a hobby for everyone.

    Oh, and get off my effing lawn!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Are people really that unaware to think that there aren't rules and regulations for these devices?

      Yes actually, and it's not that surprising. If you get a new toy are you really going to think that there are laws written specifically for a TOY? I mean you said it yourself, you only thought to look up the rules for these TOYS because someone told you about them. What if you hadn't had friends who played with RC toys when you first got one?

    • The thing with drones today is that its at a bit of a cusp in the technological capability.

      Personally, I see 'drones' which you have to control manually, with joysticks, as 'RC toys'. Whereas the new generation of programmable drones (fly a loop at this orientation, this diameter and centered at this altitude) are flying robots. Its this later generation thats going to (er) take off. Likely to be MUCH safer, more precise.

      One very interesting application I read about was 3d printing; quadrocopter drones with

      • quadrocopter drones with cans of foam which can be sprayed at programmed points building structures.

        Foam? Spray paint!

        I'm totally tagging the 91st floor of the Freedom Tower...

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        I see it another way. If you have a RC drone then chances are you won't let it out of your sight because if you can't see it you can't control it. So you are naturally more cautious about where you fly it, how you fly it and to what distance you allow it to fly.

        Conversely these "set it and forget it" drones can be programmed to fly miles. You set a course, off it goes and you'll see it again 20 minutes later. Assuming it hasn't hit a tree, power / cable line, or a bird, or a plane, or been flipped by the

    • The impression I get from some of these smartphone quadcopter "pilots" that any and all of these rules are believed to be largely unenforceable in most areas of the country except for extremely dense public spaces... maybe.

      Airports shouldn't be a problem for enforcing these rules, but in other places... I don't think they will fare well.

      Admittedly, it would be pretty difficult without the right tech and a good set of eyes on the skies all the time in the city, countryside, and every other place around the c

      • So, your argument is that if no one sees it, it's ok? Sorry, that just doesn't fly. Pun intended. That's a rather juvenile justification, don't you think?
    • ... the answer to you question is because, "cameras."

    • Are people really that unaware to think that there aren't rules and regulations for these devices?

      Yes. People are. Hobbyists aren't. There's the key difference. I bet you could count on 2 hands the number of people who were hobby flying RC aircraft in your city when you were young. These hobbyists take an interest, they read rules, they want to expand their hobby.

      RC toys nowadays are just that. Toy drones, highly capable, cheap, disposable, and every idiot has one.

      • by Ozoner ( 1406169 )

        > I bet you could count on 2 hands the number of people who were hobby flying RC aircraft in your city

        Utter rubbish.

        When I was a kid (rural Australia, in the 1950's and 60's), RC modeling was a huge hobby. Most of us progressed from Free-Flight, to Control Line models, to RC flying. Not to mention RC boats and cars.

        Admittedly the gear was rather basic with only one or two channels. We could only dream of owning the expensive USA gear, hence our homemade Valve (Tube) Transmitters, Receivers, servos, tone

        • I have. Now how many people do you know now with RC toys who buy into the books etc.

          I remember clearly a time where you could only buy RC kits from hobby stores and stores dedicated to the hobby. As opposed to now where you can buy them at hobby stores, online, at electronics stores, at ToysRus, and a myriad of other places including small ones at general stores like BigW.

          If you think that the RC users from 20 years ago weren't a small fraction of what they are today then you're living with your eyes closed

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        When I was a kid, miniaturization was a big thing. There were some tiny piston engines, and miniature turbines. Well, at least as small as they can make it. The electric ones were more limited in the '80s because the batteries were a bit heavier than now. So people were pushing the envelope for IC engines in RC then.
      • I bet I could name more than I have fingers and toes, or did you miss the part where I said I had friends that were competitive RC flyers? I went to club gatherings and competitions and got to know A LOT of local people that flew RC planes and choppers. There was an abandoned airport not five miles from my home where competitions were held, and club meetings were every week until the land was sold and a housing development went in. I was, and still am, a very avid aviation fanatic from a very early age.
        • I bet I could name more than I have fingers and toes, or did you miss the part where I said I had friends that were competitive RC flyers? I went to club gatherings and competitions

          I was speaking figuratively, but you also suffer from observer bias. You have friends and know people from clubs?

          I know colleges who are engineers, administrators, web designers, photographers, people who don't do this as a hobby or for racing, people who never gave it another thought other than the fact you can buy an out of the box ready to fly (shit I don't think anything was ready-to-fly back 20 years ago) for under $400. These people are very different from aviation fanatics, racers, or other people wh

    • by Rinikusu ( 28164 )

      I can't wait until the peeping toms start posting videos all over youtube captured using their remotely piloted quad+ copters.

  • In other news, a survey of members of the American public conducted on behalf of the United Auto Workers Union reveals support among those surveyed for buying new American-made cars.
  • BullShit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MrL0G1C ( 867445 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @09:26PM (#49661179) Journal

    The British public don't give a flying fuck about drones, just because some people picked the answers in a quiz that sounded good doesn't change this.

  • Please tick the box that sums up the way you feel about drones:

    [ ] People should be able to fly drones near airports where they can crash into planes.

    [ ] People should be able to fly drones at night causing a noise nuisance.

    [ ] Drones should be regulated so they can't fly near my house at night or crash into planes.

  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Sunday May 10, 2015 @09:33PM (#49661205)
    One of these things operated by some idiot, flying it where he shouldn't, is going to go down the intake of an airliner. Obviously you shouldn't fly them where this might be a possibility. Hence the FAA rules. But some fool will.
    Just like laser pointers. 'Toys', right?.Obviously you should not point them at aircraft. Yet asshats still do it. On purpose.
    • Like this asshat example: Near miss with rc plane and virgin jet at perth airport [youtube.com]
    • Idiot or malicious person. Honestly I don't think that's even thinking far enough outside the box. Unmanned drones could be used to wreak all kinds of havoc with low risk of getting caught, especially as lifting capacity increases. They're already being used for smuggling operations, but I suspect they will be used for offensive capabilities in the near future, targeted or otherwise. Hell, they could use the devices themselves as a weapon [dailymail.co.uk], or drop heavy objects on unsuspecting persons below, where "heav

  • "We need the government to protect us form terrorists, hobby pilots with their killer drones, 3D printers, GMO foods, hold on a minute..... Yes officer? What do you mean I'm not allowed to talk on my phone while driving? Why should I put on a seatbelt? ..... Hey mate I'll need to call you back."

    Humans suck at risk quantification, news at 11.

  • The only time the public is asked prior to legislation, is to use their ignorance to further the agenda of someone already intent on banning "drones".

    Polls are useless for factual data, they are however handy for manipulating public opinion.

    Public Opinion: http://www.teebweb.org/media/2... [teebweb.org]

  • Does anyone else think this is a bit like the the Red Flag Traffic laws from over 100 years ago?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R... [wikipedia.org]

    • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

      Not really. These drone proponents seem to want to be able fly over everybodies head with impunity. I remember reading a post the other day where someone had a dream of ruining other bather's peaceful enjoyment of the beach just to have a towel delivered to him.

  • When they should be worried about 3d-printed propellers. That's that's the only component of a drone that can actually be improved. The rest can be built with cheap consumer parts. Single drones will get out of the communication range of most hobbyists though before reaching any place where they can do any harm to any passenger plane.
  • The laws of physics for starters.

  • They are not going to go away. Establish rules and regs and let the technology grow.
  • This reminds me of the recent outcry of "3d printed guns".

    There have been radio controlled planes for AGES. Why is this suddenly a big deal?

    Because the military now uses them, so they're scary now? Because the media buzzword "Drone"?

    Why is a subject that was a complete non-issue a few years ago suddenly so scary and must be regulated more?

    • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

      Why is this suddenly a big deal?

      Because these idiots want to have these things flying over everyones heads without regard for their rights. Whatever happened to your rights end at my nose?

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      There have been radio controlled planes for AGES. Why is this suddenly a big deal?

      Because ages ago, the various regulatory agencies left rule making up to the hobbyist groups themselves. And with the only people building and flying RC aircraft being a small group of people with an interest in actually flying and doing so well, that solution worked.

      Fast forward to the newer, cheaper 'drones'. More accurately, RC aircraft with some stability enhancements, making them easier to fly. Now, lots of people are buying these things, not so much for the thrill of flying them, but because they ca

  • Is there really a need for new regulations? Or are government bureaucrats just feeling their oats?

    Endangering a commercial aircraft? There are already laws covering that. Spying on your neighbors? "Peeping Toms" are nothing new. Flying over other people's property? Existing trespassing laws can be applied, since people have rights to their airspace immediately above their property. As other posters have pointed out, there are also all of the old rules for model aircraft and model rocketry.

    "The new rules are

  • Really, ask the wrong group that has an interest only on one side of the issue and get a grossly unbalanced answer. Although I think I am probably being unfair to the butchers.

  • I was just thinking about this the other day when I realized a know four or five guys who just got one of these drones for their sons (supposedly). How long until any public event is ruined by swarms of camera drones? Things like fireworks, public music or theater performances, beer festivals, and so on? This will probably be the next generation of 'people talking in the movie theater'.
  • about a third of those polled think no one should be able to fly drones over urban areas.

    It's much easier to disallow something than to disable it. It's all well and good to disallow people from flying unmanned aircraft in urban areas, but is there any way to actually stop it? If not, it's useless to disallow it, and the best you can hope is to regulate it. Perhaps a more practical solution is required, and one day we will have nets covering all of our streets and houses.

"The urge to destroy is also a creative urge." -- Bakunin [ed. note - I would say: The urge to destroy may sometimes be a creative urge.]

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