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Technology

Drone Hobbyists Find Flaws In 'Close Call' Reports 124

An anonymous reader writes: The people and agencies pushing for strict drone regulation have no trouble coming up with a list of dangerous drone-related incidents. This includes not only the recent drone crashes that have been picked up by the media, but also reports of "close calls," where drones have allegedly approached full-size aircraft. But a new study by drone hobbyists finds that most of these "close calls" were anything but. Of 764 such incidents reported to the FAA, only 27 were actually described as "near misses" by the pilots involved. None of the incidents involved mid-air collisions, and some have involved military drones rather than hobbyist ones. The people who did the study suggest that we should find a better way of classifying these drone-related situations so legislators have accurate information from which to design regulations.
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Drone Hobbyists Find Flaws In 'Close Call' Reports

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  • drone hobbyist (Score:2, Flamebait)

    a new "do not fly" TSA classification
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Drone hobbyists" redefine "close call" as "near miss". News at 11.

    They can stick their heads in the sand until they get some collisions and it's too late to have any reasonable regulations or they could start figuring out how to keep drones out of aircraft corridors.

    • Near miss? They oughtta call it a near hit.
      • by niew ( 133188 )

        Near miss? They oughtta call it a near hit.

        *boom* Look... They nearly missed...

    • by mcl630 ( 1839996 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:57PM (#50528123)

      You obviously didn't read TFA... the pilots reporting the incidents are making the distinction between "close call" and "near miss", not the hobbyists behind the report.

      • And we base decisions based on individual recall over data since when? Oh, never, that's the year when the human memory and ability to judge was deemed perfect.

        I would trust data, and we all should. Pilot nor hobbyist.

        • by rioki ( 1328185 )

          AND that is what TFA sais. In 3.5% of all reports, the incident was classified as a NMAC (near mid air collision). The remainder of the reports where either air space violations, flying above 500 ft AGL in C or B airspace (5 nm from an Airport), incidents with military drones, that have a special FAA permission or vague reports that my not have been a drone at all, like a "drone" at 51,000 ft.

          The only thing the hobbyist are pointing out is that the report appears to be way worse than it actually is.

      • If you can see another plane, that's too close.

        For rotorcraft on take-off or landing, being able to see another aircraft isn't necessarily a near miss, as long as one or both are near stationary and not one above another.

        The rules haven't changed, and I still don't see a reason for them to change. Quite why drone fan-boys want to fly their toys in the couple of percent of the country within sight of an airfield is something awaiting explanation and justification.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sycodon ( 149926 )

      The approach speed of a 747 is somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 MPH.

      A drone is a meter across at best (at least the ones they are whining about) and doesn't fly anywhere near 200MPH

      No way a pilot is going to see some drone off to their side. It would have to be an almost head on collision to even have a chance to see it.

      • And then the 747 would hit it like a bug on a windscreen. 747 = 1, Drone = 0. Every time.

        They haven't banned birds from the sky and they generally aren't considered a threat.
        Replace bird with drone and for some reason it's completely different.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps because birds are not loaded down with lithium ion batteries, carbon fiber arms and potentially rotors, or even magnesium fittings, much less the rather dense lumps of copper and other crap that is a modern motor. A bird is essentially meat and bone. A drone is rather denser in it's main body, and is made from harder materials. You can eat a leg of turkey, but not a spanner. Planes already have trouble with birds, and many attempts are made to keep them away. Now drones, which are piloted by p

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            You really shouldn't eat turkey bones.

          • Obviously you've never seen a drone, or a bird, or both. A drone is *not* denser in it's main body than a bird, pound for pound, of comparable sizes. And someone didn't pay $1-$5k per bird to set it loose around an airport runway. Fact is, that FAA list is *sightings*. For some unknown reason (unknown my ass) anything a pilot sees anymore is automatically considered a drone. I eagerly await the testing of throwing a 2.5 lb Phantom against a Cessna windshield, and then throwing a 5 lb chicken carcass at t
        • didn't we have an example last week showing what happens when an engine decides to come apart?
        • well, they haven't successfully banned birds from airports... doesn't mean they wouldn't love to.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      No. Near miss is a well defined term. The pilots making the reports are declining to characterize the events as a near miss (a much more serious matter than a simple sighting). The press and perhaps the FAA are presenting these sightings as if they were near misses. All the drone pilots are doing is actually reading the reports.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:32PM (#50527991)

    >> we should find a better way of classifying X so legislators have accurate information from which to design regulations

    Why start now? Besides, it's not the legislators that get involved in "regulations" these days, instead its often committees full of unelected people working for this or that agency.

    • On top of that the current method of classification plays exactly how they want to design the regulations. OMG! Terrorists and idiots trying to bring down airliners! Legislate! Legislate!
    • Good luck with that.
      People want to regulate things THEY dont do that could possible be seen as a threat.
      Most people dont fly drones (or think their kids toys somehow dont 'count').

      Try pointing out to people the well in excess of 10,000 bird HITS that happen each year in the US (and yes, thats official numbers from the FAA)
      and watch them start making excuses for why that doesnt matter, and magically drones will be making airliners plunge from the sky real soon now.
      Wonder why a couple of drones stops firefigh

      • Re:Why start now? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @07:08PM (#50528485)

        watch them start making excuses for why that doesnt matter, and magically drones will be making airliners plunge from the sky real soon now.

        Just as soon as the average bird is made of hard plastic, metal, and possibly flammable/explosive lithium ion batteries, your comparison will be reasonable and accurate.

        Yes, bird strikes happen. They can be quite dangerous - the widely reported-on landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009 (the so-called "Miracle on the Hudson") was caused by a couple bird strikes that caused the engine to fail. They're very risky for pilots and passengers, and they DO make airliners plunge from the sky. We can't "regulate" bird strikes out of existence unless we want to engage in wholesale slaughter of every species of bird in existence. We CAN, however, regulate drones, and thus vastly reduce the possibility of a drone strike taking down a plane.

        Now, why don't you explain to us why a drone strike is magically NOT a risk to commercial aircraft, just because you think you have some sort of inalienable right to fly your little quad copter anywhere your heart desires?

        • Show me your testing, before you spout *your* comparisons. Otherwise, it's as fictional as the 'sky is falling' fear the FAA is trying to promulgate.
      • You do know that they actively try to lesson the number and severity of bird strikes. Unfortunately getting birds to listen to the FAA is slight, but not by much, harder than expecting some of the drone nuts to start acting like adults instead of spoiled self-entitled children.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The problem is that drone strikes on aircraft are not tested for. Aircraft must be able to survive bird strikes safely, but are not tested for drones. We can guess that a plastic drone probably isn't too bad... Maybe depends on the size of the lipo battery, how much metal is in it, that kind of thing, but there needs to be some proper research.

        Someone needs to develop a standard test drone and crash it into some aircraft and some engines. Safety of existing aircraft needs to be determined, and manufacturers

      • There may be 10000 bird strikes a year without causing a crash, but it doesn't mean those strikes are harmless. AVHerald has three bird strike incidents listed for the last calendar week that have results in the aircraft returning to the airport and then being grounded for 2-3 days while repairs to radomes and other panels are carried out. That's repair costs and lost revenue for the airline because of a relatively unavoidable incident.

        Incurring the same repair costs and lost revenue for a completely preve

    • Uh, I don't know what you're putting scare quotes for, but that's just the definition of regulation. You're right that the summary is mistaken in describing legislators as the people who need "accurate information from which to design regulations".

      "Committees of unelected people working for the agency who make rules" is a decent definition of a federal agency. The job of the legislature is to pass the law establishing the agency and, by passing a law saying "it is the law to follow the regulations they crea

  • by Puls4r ( 724907 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:33PM (#50528001)
    A operator running a drone that can hover near motionless may not consider things a 'near miss'. On the other hand, an airline pilot flying a jumbo jet that can not be maneuvered travelling at several hundred miles an hour is something completely different. At the speeds Jumbo jets travel, by the time they see something as small as a drone it's already passed by them. That's a near miss. They saw it. There's no time for them to avoid an object like that. So while the drone operators are bitching that - hey I was near a half mile or a mile away. Or even two miles away. The airline pilots are saying - get the hell out of my way. I can't turn and by the time I see your little hobby I'm either running it over or passed it putting my entire crew and my passengers at risk. It's not even an argument.
    • by bughunter ( 10093 ) <bughunter@@@earthlink...net> on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:46PM (#50528071) Journal

      hey I was near a half mile or a mile away. Or even two miles away. The airline pilots are saying - get the hell out of my way.

      First, how the hell can something two miles distant be in your way? Christ, you can't even see a drone from two miles.

      Second, RTFA. The FAA is classifying pilot reports of model rockets and buzzards as civilian drone near misses, as well as military drones and unidentified objects at altitudes impossible for hobby and commercial UAVs to reach.

      • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @06:40PM (#50528331)

        I have just finished the article and where I don't fully agree with the previous poster, his point is valid.

        The operator of the drone and the Academy of Model Aeronautics are hardly unbiased observers of what's happening in the air. What seems to be totally safe for the drone operator is downright dangerous incursion to even small aircraft. Where it is obvious that the FAA is being alarmist here, that's how the organization works, that's how the FAA has made air travel as safe as they have, and I don't think we should change it.

        The FAA looks at any avoidable risk, especially one that has zero impact to the cost and efficiency of aviation operations, as a risk that should be avoided. This is how it should be. The FAA's work is about saving lives and if flying your drone endangers the lives of those flying around in some aircraft, they rightfully conclude that your drone needs to go away.

        IMHO, being a pilot AND an AMA member who flies radio controlled aircraft, drones (and RC aircraft) need to be operated as far away from full sized aircraft as possible. They also need to be operated away from people and structures for safety's sake. Those who don't realize this and insist on pushing the separation between models and real aircraft are going to ruin this for everyone. Heaven forbid that some "I have my right to fly my drone anywhere I want" yahoo causes an accident and kills somebody, because you can bet there will be a huge push for some serious regulations and fines. But the FAA is going to be forced into making some rules here and going after the nut cases with huge fines, just like they do with the laser pointer wielding idiots blinding pilots for kicks.

        Idiots are why we cannot have nice things without oppressive regulations...

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          The FAA looks at any avoidable risk, especially one that has zero impact to the cost and efficiency of aviation operations, as a risk that should be avoided. This is how it should be. The FAA's work is about saving lives and if flying your drone endangers the lives of those flying around in some aircraft, they rightfully conclude that your drone needs to go away.

          It isn't the job of society or even drone operators to enforce the viewpoint of the FAA. They are one of many viewpoints and they should still need to justify any claims or actions they made. And someone needs to show that huge "if" in your above assumptions.

          The story in particular is about a rather generous exaggeration of the risk of drones. You should think about why the FAA would want to do that. I doubt it's because they want to protect society from all that death that drones are creating right now.

          • Please understand.... The FAA does what it does for a good reason in most cases. Elimination of risk in aviation is their mandate and they literally have absolute authority over anything that flies or could affect something that flies starting at the ground and up from there.

            The FAA won't hesitate to remove a risk factor like this. Drones have ZERO importance to the FAA, none. A hobbyist Operating a drone has no pull with the FAA. A drone carries nothing that the FAA traditionally cares about, they are n

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by khallow ( 566160 )

              Please understand.... The FAA does what it does for a good reason in most cases. Elimination of risk in aviation is their mandate and they literally have absolute authority over anything that flies or could affect something that flies starting at the ground and up from there.

              Please understand, I already knew that (though their authority does stop at space).

              The FAA won't hesitate to remove a risk factor like this.

              Which is why we have to curb their authority here.

              IF the FAA finds that letting the hobbyist have and operate these small aircraft constitutes a risk to their main mandate (aircraft safety) you can be sure as the sun rises in the east they will put regulations in place to limit that risk.

              They already have such regulation in place. We're not operating in a regulatory vacuum here.

              A drone carries nothing that the FAA traditionally cares about, they are not airplanes carrying people and there are no companies that have any financial interest in things that have traditionally driven the FAA's decisions.

              Actually, that's probably already false with the presence of military and police drones out there.

              • I'm going to stick out my tongue and call you stupid here...

                The FAA must retain the ability to make any rule it likes from ground level up to space and if that impacts your need/want to engage in a hobby when and where you want to, so be it. Yes, congress can step in and tug on the reigns and direct the FAA, but we simply cannot allow a *hobby* to endanger existing aviation activates.

                So if the FAA wants to put limits on the operation of paper airplanes you fly in the front yard, they can do it, as stupid

                • by khallow ( 566160 )

                  but we simply cannot allow a *hobby* to endanger existing aviation activates

                  Today's hobby is tomorrow's vital technology.

                  So if the FAA wants to put limits on the operation of paper airplanes you fly in the front yard, they can do it, as stupid and ill-advised as it seems to you.

                  And it should seem not only stupid to you, but a solid indication in that situation that we should curb the power and mandate of the FAA. Why am I called stupid, when you advocate this sort of silliness?

                  If you take the regulatory authority away from the FAA, then you will be compromising their ability to keep air travel in this country safe, which is a stupid thing to do in the long run.

                  Unless, of course, that doesn't actually happen as you claim.

                  • but we simply cannot allow a *hobby* to endanger existing aviation activates

                    Today's hobby is tomorrow's vital technology.

                    Which justifies nothing. Just like you cannot run a GPS jammer because of the danger to others, you cannot justify the idiots who endanger others with their hobby activities. Or perhaps you'd like to argue that YOUR desires for having fun outweighs the health and safety of those around you?

                    So if the FAA wants to put limits on the operation of paper airplanes you fly in the front yard, they can do it, as stupid and ill-advised as it seems to you.

                    And it should seem not only stupid to you, but a solid indication in that situation that we should curb the power and mandate of the FAA. Why am I called stupid, when you advocate this sort of silliness?

                    You assume the FAA is operating improperly and argue they should have their existing power curbed so you can operate your hobby device as you want. I say they are being responsible to their mandate to keep aviation sa

                    • by khallow ( 566160 )

                      Again, it COULD happen that a hobby device brings down an aircraft, as improbable as it may be.

                      The degree of improbability is quite relevant. When you stop caring about the size of a risk, then you no longer do sensible risk management.

                      but we simply cannot allow a *hobby* to endanger existing aviation activates

                      Today's hobby is tomorrow's vital technology.

                      Which justifies nothing. Just like you cannot run a GPS jammer because of the danger to others, you cannot justify the idiots who endanger others with their hobby activities. Or perhaps you'd like to argue that YOUR desires for having fun outweighs the health and safety of those around you?

                      Sure, it does. There are plenty of examples where someone's fun-seeking behavior causes a small increase in the risk to others. Driving for fun is a good example.

                      And at one time, airplanes were a very risky hobby. Imagine how much better off we would be, if we had banned that (because it's just a *hobby*) and never developed flight at all.

                • How can you profess to be an AMA member, and a pilot, and yet buy in to every single paranoiac fantasy spouted by the FAA and the Airline Pilots Association? When was the last time you had a legitimate reason to fly above 500feet with your RC aircraft? I can barely see the damn things that high, and if I can't see it, whats the point of flying it? I've been flying RC since the 70's but apparently because you can buy a drone at the mall we have to lower the air ceiling to 2 feet and call a tower for prior ap
                  • Look, just because you and I don't do stupid things with that RC aircraft, doesn't mean there are folks who WILL do stupid things.

                    I won't fly my RC airplane above a hundred feet or so and I certainly won't fly anywhere near an airport, but that doesn't mean the idiots out there don't and I've seen guys busting the 500' limit for fun and seen idiots out flying their RC aircraft in places I don't see as safe.

                    But this report shows that there ARE issues. The report does unfairly group stuff that obviously is

              • You're not providing a good reason to reject FAA authority. To do that, you really should provide examples of the FAA misusing its authority, and it looks to me like you're thinking of potential misuse only. Currently, the FAA, which does have authority, has issued regulations that affect drones, and specify how and where they may be used legally. It hasn't tried to ban them. It appears to me to be proceeding cautiously but reasonably, and of course you may have a different perception.

        • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @11:31PM (#50529477) Homepage Journal

          They are basing their complaint on a comparison between what the FAA is saying vs. what the actual pilots reported. That makes the commercial pilots the observers, not the drone operators.

          Some of the reports the FAA claimed bolstered the need to do something about drones included objects seen at 51,000 feet, according to the pilot that filed the report.. That would be well beyond the capability of any hobbiest drone.

          Other sightings as described by the commercial pilot described drones operating within the rules.

    • by waTeim ( 2818975 )
      You're missing the real-real point. Is billions and billions in profit worth the the death of some people? It sure is. Won't even be an argument. I hope I'm not one of the dead ones though.
  • Government, along with its corporate masters and its enforcement arm, stand to lose in a big way if they have to endure the same kind of "eye in the sky" scrutiny they subject the public to on a regular basis.

    It only stands to reason that they'd contrive excuses to forbid average people from having access to the same kind of toys they use.

    And they aren't about to make the same kind of mistake they made with cell phones. If police and their masters had known how effective cell phone cameras would be in ex

    • And they aren't about to make the same kind of mistake they made with cell phones. If police and their masters had known how effective cell phone cameras would be in exposing widespread physical abuse of civilians, they'd have made it illegal to point any kind of recording device at a cop years ago.

      Yeah... No. They saw all that with video cameras thirty years ago. Ill-behaved cops tried to get us to not record then and it didn't work. The difference now, is that more people are paying attention and recording. Maybe,.

  • Accuracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bughunter ( 10093 ) <bughunter@@@earthlink...net> on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:39PM (#50528039) Journal

    so legislators have accurate information from which to design regulations

    Pfft! Since when have legislators ever cared about the accuracy of information when drafting bills? If Congress decides it wants to demonize hobbyist drones, it's going to do so regardless of what the FAA reports.

    Since 9-11, concresscritters on both sides of the aisle have habitually either knowingly and willingly consumed disinformation, or ignored accurate information when it didn't support their predetermined goals.

  • drones are bad! that's the mantra and the panic that ensues. I say follow the money and see who stands to gain or lose from drone users (from hobbyists to professional and government uses). There you will find your real motivation for such panic.

    I've struggled with how pilots flying at 100+ mph can honestly report sites of hand size drones and consider it legitimate information. I remember a fire fighting pilot being interviewed about how unsuccessful the fire fighting effort was because of drones--

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If there are drones spotted over the fire area, by pilots or ground personnel, they cant fly.
      Why do you need to be flying over a fire area that badly.
      Apparently that is why they need big fines. Because you feel that you have it under control.
      You can deal with that fact it was never your choice to make.

      let's see there's smoke, fire, debris,.. Yes things that stop you from seeing drones.
        That is why they cant fly when they are there.

    • actually common sense would say get your toys out of the way of the adults trying to do their jobs. Even you admit that there is a lot of stuff for them to keep track of. the laast thing they need is to have to worry about some overly important idiot trying to get a good you-tube clip for his friends.
      • actually common sense would say get your silly toy computers off the internet and out of the way of adults trying to do their jobs. Even you admit that there is a lot of stuff for them to keep track of. the laast thing they need is to have to worry about some overly important idiot trying to get a good you-tube clip for his friends.
  • Who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @05:53PM (#50528099)

    Who are these hobbyists?

    Did anybody think to ask the AMA? The organization that kept RC hobbyists out of these kinds of troubles for 50+ years before RTF quads became the latest craze.

    Quad hobbyists need only pay attention to the god damn rules that were set before they were born, not get all self righteous about things they apparently don't care to understand.

    It's really pretty simple: Don't fly near airports, stay under 400 feet, if you see _any_ traffic, land, don't fly directly over crowds

    They could be doing something productive like me, flying a scale predator drone near paranoid groups protesting.

    • by mcl630 ( 1839996 )

      Did you read TFA? The point is many of the reports of drone "close calls" were either cases where the drone operator *was* flying within the rules, or the drone was government or commercial or military, not a hobbyist, or it wasn't even a drone to begin with. The FAA is lumping all these reports together, added fuel to the panic.

      • Did you read TFA? The point is many of the reports of drone "close calls" were either cases where the drone operator *was* flying within the rules

        What part of "don't fly near airports" did you not understand?

        • by mcl630 ( 1839996 )

          What part of "most of the reports didn't involve hobbyists flying near airports" did you not understand?

          • What part of "most of the reports didn't involve hobbyists flying near airports" did you not understand?

            Didn't read the article, did you? It enumerates only two reports that were not near airports. Out of 764. The rest are dismissed by the reporter because the "pilot didn't see the drone". Well, fuck me. You expect a pilot in a plane making an approach to be able to see your dinky fucking Syma RC quadcopter?

            Stupid, stupid drone-bros. Can afford to buy a quadcopter on Amazon but can't read a simple fu

            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              Actually, it enumerated a number of sightings that weren't drones at all, 2 that were drones but were flying within the rules including being appropriately distant from an airport (5 miles in one, 13 miles in the other), more than a dozen incidents that were military drones, another was a police drone. The FAA claimed all of those reports (even the object at 51000 feet and the "mini blimp") as relevant to hobby drones.

              Also dismissed was the thing that "looked like a large vulture". Best guess, it was a larg

              • Actually, it enumerated a number of sightings that weren't drones at all, 2 that were drones but were flying within the rules including being appropriately distant from an airport (5 miles in one, 13 miles in the other), more than a dozen incidents that were military drones, another was a police drone. The FAA claimed all of those reports (even the object at 51000 feet and the "mini blimp") as relevant to hobby drones.

                Also dismissed was the thing that "looked like a large vulture". Best guess, it was a larg

                • Please read the frigging article.
                • by sjames ( 1099 )

                  Not necessarily. We'll need to look at the full list to see if there are any actual incidents left that show an actual drone violating airspace. If the FAA was desperate enough to fluff up their argument with the examples given, it really leads me to wonder if they have a point at all.

                  So the drone operators need to be careful of airports and the FAA needs to quit lying.

            • by mcl630 ( 1839996 )

              You only read the parts of the article you wanted to, didn't you.

              It said more than a dozen of the reports involved military drones. It said a half dozen were far too high to be hobbyist drones. Some were commercial drones. Some weren't drones at all--there was a "mini blimp", a vulture, and model rocket specifically mentioned, but it didn't say how many weren't actually drones.

              BTW, I don't own a drone at all. I just think the "drone panic" is ridiculous. And legislating based on that panic is even more

              • Wait a minute. This is what you said:

                What part of "most of the reports didn't involve hobbyists flying near airports" did you not understand?

                I want to know where in the story it said anything about "most of the reports didn't involve hobbyists flying near airports". Did you read that in some other article or just make it up completely?

                Can I at least get you on board with a law that people not fly anything at all near airports?

                • by mcl630 ( 1839996 )

                  I just explained a lot of the reports were either not hobbyists, or not near airports. My earlier comment should have said "many" rather than "most."

                  There are already laws against flying drones near airports. No need for another, just enforce the existing ones.

  • Private use of drones should be banned.

    • by mcl630 ( 1839996 )

      Why? According to TFA, over 500,000 hobbyist drones have been sold in the past few years. 27 actually incidents (and not all of them were caused by hobbyists) is a very low number. Why should the 99.999% of drone owners who are responsible be punished? There are already laws to punish the irresponsible, and as TFA points out, some have been. Also, why should corporations, government agencies, and military by allowed to fly them (they caused some of the incidents too), but not civilians?

    • ONE commercial airliner crash caused by a "drone" and you can bet they will try that. Nothing like a hundred people dying to motivate folks to get something done about it.

      IMHO, drone operation should be severely limited by common sense and not just the law. 5 miles away from an airport and under 500 feet isn't enough to keep the idiots from ruining this hobby for everybody. Common sense says you operate these things as far away from airports as possible, as low as possible and also away from buildings and

  • If one of them suckers comes over my land, it is coming down. Before you drone jockeys get your knickers in a knot, my shotgun has a range of less than a 1000 feet. Even less when pointed upwards...

  • "so legislators have accurate information from which to design regulations" Why on earth would they start using accurate information now? It's never stopped them before from passing laws on subjects they know absolutely nothing about.
  • Who listens to reason? If God wanted us to have drones he would have given each of us four tiny propellers.
  • 1) Drones are NEW.

    2) The US government uses them to spy on and kill people.

    3) Tools used by spy agencies to kill or spy on people need to be regulated.

    4) Because they are new, we don't have any real regulations on them.

    It seems obvious to me that we need not regulate drones. That does not mean outlaw - it means regulate. Forbid them from flying over private property without the owner's permission, forbid any technology designed without appropriate safety measures.

    But there is surely room to allow us

    • 1) Drones are NOT new. They've been around for about 80 years. Longer depending on your definition.

      2) Most countries use drones. You are only reading about the US produced ones. They've been used heavily as far back and including WWII
      3) I'm sure spy agencies use cars, cell phones, restaurants and probably social media sites like this one
      4) Again, they are not new. Did you know that Marilyn Monroe worked assembling drones in WWII? It's true
      http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com... [gizmodo.com]

  • The model aero club determined that only 27 constitutes near misses. It is not FAA that investigated the reports and dismissed 96.5% of the report as not near misses.

    FAA rules on aircraft separation is quite strict. 1000 meters, horizontal separation and 1000 feet of vertical separation between aircraft. Any violation of this rule will be deemed to be an incident. It does not matter whether it results in any kind of accident or near misses. Any violation of separation has to be reported to the FAA and investigated by FAA. Not sure how the hobbyist organization determined separation. Also not sure if the hobbyists understand the significance of the rules and compliance by FAA.

    It looks like some kind of lobbying, astro-turfing and pressure to be applied to FAA to go lenient on the drone industry. 20 pound soft birds do enormous damage to airplanes, 50 pound hard metal drones are really a serious threat.

  • There have been two wildfires within 60 miles of me in the past week. In each fire there was a point when firefighters had to ground helicopter operations because of interfering private drones. The helicopters can't safely land with all the fire retardant they take off with, so they had to waste 500 gallons of fire retardant, just dumping it in the middle of nowhere. In one case the delay allowed the fire to make major progress and probably delayed containment by a couple days.

    I'm all for declaring a perman

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I vote for kamikaze drones to take out rogue drones. Financed by selling the footage.

  • by youngone ( 975102 )

    The people who did the study suggest that we should find a better way of classifying these drone-related situations so legislators have accurate information from which to design regulations.

    I think the people who did the study have missed the point then. The point is that the FAA want to regulate drones, and so they need data to the support the need for drone regulation. Accurate data might prevent this.

  • This just happened in Pasadena California on September 13th.

    Baby girl in stroller slashed by shrapnel from falling drone in Pasadena [mynewsla.com]

    A drone fell from the sky in Pasadena, injuring an 11-month-old girl being pushed in a stroller by her mother, police said Tuesday.

    The infant was struck by shrapnel when the privately owned “quadcopter” fell to the ground on Marengo Avenue near Union Street, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.

    “The drone shattered, sending shrapnel flying toward the

    • No one is saying mistakes aren't being made by asshats flying drones. What is *being said is*, all drone fliers are asshats. The outrage machine and paranoia industry are running at full throttle here, and I want to know exactly who stands to profit from all drones being grounded.

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.

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