Attack of the Drones! Number of Amateur Drone Pilots Set To ‘Explode’

Homemade Camera DroneUsually I favor allowing hobbyists and amateurs more freedom for technological development but having more of these in the skies does creep me out. Like most things in life, these drones can be used for positive or more nefarous means. Sarah Ryley writes in the NY Post:

In New York City, someone’s always looking down on you. Low-tech, miniature versions of battlefield drones have come to the boroughs. Only here, they are controlled mostly by hobbyists and photographers, not soldiers shooting insurgents from the sky.

There are only 282 official permits to fly drones nationwide, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. They range from $4.5 million jets that can fly for two days without landing, to hand-launched helicopters that fit in a book bag. The FAA would not say if any of these permits have been issued in New York City.

But the number of drones patrolling the nation’s skies is expected to “explode” if the agency, as expected in December, relaxes restrictions on law enforcement for aircraft weighing 4.4 pounds or less.

Until then, hobbyists are the only people who can launch unmanned aircraft without a permit, as long as devices aren’t being used to make money, said an FAA spokesman. They’re supposed to fly below 400 feet.

Read more in the NY Post

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  • myth_slayer

    Oh no! I can just see the future newspaper headlines:

    Drone loaded with Semtex flies into JP Morgan Chase in NYC.
    Drone loaded with Semtex flies into Goldman Sachs hq. in NYC.
    Drone loaded with Semtex flies into Blackstone Group.

    This could be serious….

  • Anonymous

    Oh no! I can just see the future newspaper headlines:

    Drone loaded with Semtex flies into JP Morgan Chase in NYC.
    Drone loaded with Semtex flies into Goldman Sachs hq. in NYC.
    Drone loaded with Semtex flies into Blackstone Group.

    This could be serious….

  • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

    FAA rules or no, anyone with minimal skills and build a drone (AKA r/c aircraft) and fly it anywhere they please. With the advent of miniaturized transmitting cameras, one could easily spy on neighbors, pack them with incendiary devices, or explosives and cause considerable havoc whenever they choose. So much for HomeLand Security (Hopelessly Simple) and the TSA (Terminally Stupid Association). Neither has done anything to make America safer. But they have provided a kind of Federal Welfare for those too stupid to hold a regular job.

  • Anonymous

    FAA rules or no, anyone with minimal skills and build a drone (AKA r/c aircraft) and fly it anywhere they please. With the advent of miniaturized transmitting cameras, one could easily spy on neighbors, pack them with incendiary devices, or explosives and cause considerable havoc whenever they choose. So much for HomeLand Security (Hopelessly Simple) and the TSA (Terminally Stupid Association). Neither has done anything to make America safer. But they have provided a kind of Federal Welfare for those too stupid to hold a regular job.

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