THE DRONES ARE COMING! THE DRONES ARE COMING!

The first time that I recall any public mention of drones was in 1983, during the Beirut War.  When the joint Multi-National Force Barracks was bombed by two trucks filled with explosives, killing 299 American and French Marines.  The U. S. Marine Corps Commandant visited the barracks shortly afterward.  The next day, Israeli Intelligence sent the Commandant a film of his activities that day, which were taken by an airborne Israeli drone that followed him around.

Since then, the many uses of drones have become quite common:  flying surveillance or firing missiles in Combat Zones; police departments detonating bombs; being sent into dangerous underground mine conditions; small deep-diving subs; etc.  And, nowadays, it seems that both sides in Warfare are starting to have them.  So far, drones have been used mostly in dangerous situations–by professionals–where the risks are known.

Recently, however, Amazon has suggested that it was considering the use of drones to delivery books to customers.  Think about that!  If books can be delivered, how about:  pizza; Chinese “fly-out”;  your laundry (perhaps both pick-up and delivery); flowers; and the list could go on…   So, how do you feel about having numerous drones flying around in your immediate neighborhood?  Might your neighbors try to shoot them down?

It’s my understanding that thousands of drones are in the United States Airspace at any given time.  You might have heard about the one that narrowly missed an airliner.  What if a drone is sucked into a jetliner’s engine in-take, like birds sometimes do?  I do not believe that there are any FAA Requirements as to the “pilot’s” qualifications or the reliability of the control system.   What happens if they collide with power lines–near a home?   What about overhead noises or interference with TV, computer or cell phones?

Just wait until the Drone Lobby gets the ear of Politicians!  To give you a flavor, here is the link for: HobbyKing.COM, and its Predator UAV 74in Spy Plane ARF: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/%5F%5F5455%5F%5FPredator%5FUAV%5F74in%5FSpy%5FPlane%5FARF.html. So, what happens when you are flying one around your home and the neighbors start to believe that you are spying on them?  I just don’t trust a product where part of the on-line marketing sales pitch includes:  “Watch people run for cover in fear of a pending missile attack with the Predator! Model comes with detailed instructions.”  Hey, it’s only $64.06.

Now, the various “consumer-friendly” drones may or may not have much of a travel range or air speed, which the various drone hobby web sites don’t specify. But, what about the commercial versions?  So, exactly when will Public Safety–and Sanity–win-out over an individual’s “right” to do as they please?

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