These days, drones are exploding in civilian use, and there is no doubt in my mind that people, probably many, many people, are going to get hurt and killed because of them.
There were 193 “reported” drone encounters since January. Thus far, the Good Lord and Providence has smiled down, and there have been no reported deaths.
Everybody from drug dealers to hobbyists to private investigators to photography buffs have used drones, often for deliveries. Mega-retailer Amazon is well known to be considering drones for big-time delivery use.
Perhaps even more troubling are drone incidents around airports. For instance, there have been 13 around the busy, busy JFK airport in New York. In one, a Delta pilot saw a drone way too close to his incoming plane’s left wing. In another, a Virgin Atlantic pilot caught sight of one at 3,000 feet. In a third report, there was a drone within two miles of a heavily used runway.
It is long, long past time when the government should do something to control this festering fear of major catastrophe. The FAA has already blown an August date promised for rules and regulations, although a few companies were given the green light for drone use just this week. How long will the hardly overworked Congress take to act?
Here are some possible improvements to the situation: a rule that drone operators must have a pilot’s license and experience flying manned aircraft; a rule restricting drone flights to daylight hours; a rule restricting drones to 400 feet; and, of course, let’s not forget background checks.