The FAA has it right. The entrepreneurial drool to use drones for a myriad of functions is dangerous—not only in the airways, but to personal safety and privacy on the ground.
In view of crowded skies and telephonic eavesdropping, Internet hackers and the like, our personal safety and privacy is quickly eroding. Most importantly, in terms of aviation, drones in the sky are extremely hazardous. Bird strikes, clear air turbulence, power lines, air traffic and weather are just a few existing threats aviators have to deal with.
Now, we have to worry about a slew of unregulated drones flown by anyone, trained or not.
According to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta,
'These aircraft operate very differently and they operate in the same airspace with a wide variety of other users. We see the potential of these and we're going about it in a very thoughtful and deliberate manner to ensure that it is done safely.'
Indeed, air traffic controllers already have their hands full with commercial ‘heavies’ and general aircraft. A swarm of drones manipulated by freewheeling, remote joystick operators is frightening in and of itself.
Imagine drones being used by vandals or even terrorists. How can law enforcement respond?
Certainly, drones can be used for many applications of 'convenience', and for homeland security purposes. Military drones are used for specific national security purposes, for which we can all be thankful, but commercial drones polluting domestic airways has little to do with national security. Furthermore, they are small, invasive, evasive and hard to see with the naked eye. They are a formidable nuisance to real pilots and anyone flying in real airplanes.
Until common sense rules are in place and for the sake of safety and privacy, perhaps drones should be severely restricted to physical boundaries--such as in flying model airplanes, especially away from populated areas.
Albeit a slow process, let the FAA do its job.