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How You Too Can Be Shut Down By the Feds For Flying Drones

timothy posted about a year ago | from the fame-and-fortune-await dept.

The Media 195

An anonymous reader writes "University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Matt Waite waived a government cease and desist letter recently received for his experiments using 3-pound, $500 drones for news reporting (specifically, for a story about drought in Nebraska). He gave journalism organizations the lowdown on what they can expect from the government on this front going forward and said he's posting his experience in trying to get certified by the FAA on GitHub so they can follow along."

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God (-1, Troll)

TempleOS (3394245) | about a year ago | (#45181519)

God will win.

Re:God (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181737)

Which one, Zeus? G-Zeus? Anubis? Yahweh? Thor? Brahma? Quetzalcoatl? Ba`al adh-Dhubab? Vishnu? Me?

My bet is on myself.

Re:God (-1, Offtopic)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#45181939)

Always bet on black.

Re:God (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182003)

I'm pink. And invisible. Furthermore, I am a unicorn!

Re:God (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182011)

Never play roulette. Worst odds ever.

Re:God (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182085)

Yu.

Re:God (1, Offtopic)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45182395)

Obligatory...

Jackson: The second Goa'uld representative we're expecting is Yu.
O'Neill: Me?
Jackson: Yu is the name of the Goa'uld.
O'Neill: Ah. Sorry.

Re:God (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182001)

Sexist!! The Goddess will win, not your God.

3 pound $500? (0)

Skiron (735617) | about a year ago | (#45181523)

£3.00=$500 - Let me know where I can get them exchange rates please!

Re:3 pound $500? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181561)

£3.00=$500 - Let me know where I can get them exchange rates please!

I think your looking for 3lb

Re:3 pound $500? (1)

augahyde (1016980) | about a year ago | (#45181609)

I think your looking for 3lb

I think it's you're you're looking for. ;)

Re:3 pound $500? (1)

augahyde (1016980) | about a year ago | (#45181627)

Great, a night at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower will run me $167K. Where's my AMEX Black?

Wrong (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45181543)

No, that's not what news organizations can expect. That's what people trying to report on actual events can expect.

The government selectively enforces rules like this. It has been for some time now. We have to keep you away from the raw and unadorned truth... it's dangerous to democracy you know. You will receive an edited and redacted version suitable for consumption within 3-5 business days. Thank you for your cooperation, Citizen.

Tin foil (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181591)

No, the FAA is being very deliberate about shutting down everyone who is deliberately breaking the law by commercially flying uavs. They should prosecute instead sending a C&D

Re:Tin foil (4, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45181653)

My hobby eye in the sky is legal. His professional eye in the sky is illegal.

Mine is a scale predator drone. I use it to 'real world troll' groups with paranoid populations. e.g. Occutards, gun shows, teabaggers, privacy advocates, protestors in general.

Completely legal as I'm doing it for fun.

Hint for anybody thinking of joining the fun. Put a plant in the group to spot the drone just as it completes an orbit and disappears. Otherwise they won't see it. At 400 feet AGL a five foot wingspan drone is about right.

Re:Tin foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181875)

Never happened. You don't have friend to use as a plant.

Re:Tin foil (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#45181967)

I think they would actually have a complaint if it were a guided missle cam. Drones in the hands of newsclowns are about as benign as news trucks or hang gliding newsclowns. But NO ONE wants these f*ckups turned loose with guided missle tech. It would be a very bad thing. Our government not only lacks an appropriate grasp of priority, but also will bend over backwards and look like assholes to keep from looking like assholes over their carefully thought out policies. Perhaps they'll outlaw electricity as the work of the devil next. No electricity, no internet, no leaks. Fixed THAT! Federal style. Who's the man baby?

Re:Tin foil (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45182103)

Putting a guidance system on any kind of rocket is already a ten year federal charge. Same as possessing an unlicensed machine gun.

Re:Tin foil (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45182145)

Putting a guidance system on any kind of rocket is already a ten year federal charge. Same as possessing an unlicensed machine gun.

Yes, launching a rocket without any kind of guidance system is much safer for the general public. Government logic: Don't ask what it's being used for, just make it illegal.

Re:Tin foil (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45182199)

Fins make a model rocket stable.

Unstable rockets where called 'whistling rat chasers' when I was a kid and fun fireworks were legal (or at least readily available). Truth: they were called something else.

Re:Tin foil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182239)

Citation please. I've heard this several times before in the rocketry scene and as far as I'm concerned it is an urban legend.

Re:Tin foil (1, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45181657)

No, the FAA is being very deliberate about shutting down everyone who is deliberately breaking the law by commercially flying uavs. They should prosecute instead sending a C&D

Well, I'm deliberately telling the FAA's deliberate actions against the deliberate law breakers that they're deliberately being wrong. Deliberate.

Re:Wrong (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#45181837)

No it enforces this rule pretty evenly across the board. I suspect in 5 years this won't be an issue becasue they will have proper regulation.

Drones are cheap. That means there will be a lot of them and we don't want a swarm of unregulated drones flying all about because it would be a hazard.

Re:Wrong (-1, Offtopic)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#45182125)

No it enforces this rule pretty evenly across the board. I suspect in 5 years this won't be an issue becasue they will have proper regulation.

When the German soldiers loaded Jewish citizens into train cars and shipped them to concentration camps, they enforced the rules pretty evenly across the board then too. They were, in fact, marvels of government efficiency.

That did not make them right.

Fight godwin with godwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182503)

Oh, so you're against the rules being enforced evenly huh? Well, you know who also felt that some people should be able to do what they want, while others should be punished severely?

Anything police can use should be restricted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181551)

If the police can use it; if the military can use it; then it must be kept out of the hands of civilians.

After all, its government vs. civilians, right? That's what passes for democracy these days?

Anyone interested in Metagovernment [metagovernment.org] yet, or are we still all happy with the behavior of Congress these days? That's how our "democratic" republic is serving us.

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (5, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45181697)

It's illegal to fly an RC model for any kind of pay.

As long as you are doing it for fun (and follow AMA safety rules), RC camera work is legal.

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181821)

It's illegal to fly an RC model for any kind of pay.

As long as you are doing it for fun (and follow AMA safety rules), RC camera work is legal.

So apply the same rules as with political bribery and tell the employee go have fun with the RC plane on company dime? Any work getting done while at it is completely incidental and uncordinated.

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181841)

Really so AMA rules are law. I didn't know non-profit hobby groups were able to dictate law.

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45181957)

FAA regs specifically mention AMA rules. So yes, they are included in FAA regs.

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#45182263)

Citation needed, please. Specifically the 'illegal' part

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (3, Interesting)

grep -v '.*' * (780312) | about a year ago | (#45182507)

It's illegal to fly an RC model for any kind of pay.

That's what *I* thought, too. So why don't we take a page direct from the politicians: I fly for myself and take pics, and then give them to you because you ask. (Presumably I'd need to give them to all comers, but then again not Every Single Person I meet is my friend. So I don't see that saying "No" is that bad. A judge may disagree.)

You, then, contribute to my fund (charitable, PAC, LLC, something) that I just happen to control. No no -- it's not MY money at all, it's the funds' money; I just happen to be the one in control of it. Or my friend is, whatever.

Now, could the feds come in and take control and arrest me before, during, or after the fact? Yep, because the men with guns always win, especially if they have enough bullets [forbes.com] .

By the way, I think that's great: "I use it to troll 'real world' groups... Completely legal as I'm doing it for fun." But mightn't fun have consequences [cbslocal.com] ? Just because you're having fun doesn't mean everyone else is. Aren't you responsible if you hurt someone else? And if there's not some kind of ID (owner sticker, serial number, etc) on it, how are they to know who owns it? Do you walk up and say "Sorry about that" and claim ownership and responsibility? Or do you just write it off as perhaps a bad battery and disappear?

Fun is by yourself or with friends, and perhaps with a few strangers accidentally nearby. Fun does not consist of ONLY strangers. Then again I'm an old fogie, so get off my lawn. And by the way: I'm practicing [nbcnews.com] .

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182029)

democratic republic? You must be new here. This is the fucking abuse department. Now bend over while I break out the paddle for your sorry ass. It needs some heavy toning to even be close to ready for your butt munching.

Re:Anything police can use should be restricted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182455)

Therefore... why don't you follow the link in the op: http://metagovernment.org/ [metagovernment.org]

Your options are:
1. bitch about it. And indeed bend over, as you say.
2. Work on Metagovernment and free yourself.

1001 things to do with a RC Camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181553)

....
#1000: rename radio controlled machine with a camera eg drone, robot
#1001: start this list again

Want all kinds of new laws or lose the rights you (1)

Ralph Ostrander (2846785) | about a year ago | (#45181585)

Have use them to report on the feds.

RC plane? (2)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#45181633)

I didn't RTFA, but the price sure makes me believe these were RC model planes and not actually drones. Or is anything that's remote controlled a drone now? Do RC cars count? If I use a wireless keyboard & mouse, my computer should. My television certainly should qualify, it does nothing but drone when it's on.

Re:RC plane? (4, Funny)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year ago | (#45181663)

My television certainly should qualify, it does nothing but drone when it's on.

In that case, my wife would also qualify.

Re:RC plane? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a year ago | (#45181799)

My television certainly should qualify, it does nothing but drone when it's on.

In that case, my wife would also qualify.

Really? You can control her with a remote? You sir, are my hero.

Re:RC plane? (2)

smartin (942) | about a year ago | (#45181923)

Sure, he hands her the remote and she shuts up :)

Re:RC plane? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181889)

The things that make an RC plane into a drone are the GPS and autopilot. If you have to be there with a controller making it move, it is an RC model. If it can move on its own according to a pre-determined flight plan, it is a drone.

What's the difference between a drone & R/C pl (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | about a year ago | (#45181639)

At what point is a hobby shop R/C Airplane or Helicopter a drone? I used to enjoy flying R/C planes as a teen. I mean they were the "trainers". I never had the space to dedicate a workshop towards building the larger model planes until recently. And delicate (and easily breakable) R/C planes and young kids probably wouldn't matter much.

I now wonder if by the time kids get old enough to know better if I'll be able to get back into the hobby due to every R/C plane being classified as a drone...

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45181733)

RC Plane: no camera and needs to be in direct line of sight of the operator.
Drone: real time camera and can be operated out of line of sight of the operator.

See the difference?

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (4, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45181777)

You can have a real time camera, as long as you operate it in line of sight.

You can't operate it for profit. e.g. Aerial photography of real estate.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45181989)

can you rent it for personal photographing of real estate?

it sounds though like this is actually lobbying by commercial small time pilots though... shooting real estate and sending people offers for them to buy them(the pictures) is so easy money.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181819)

Umm RC planes have had cameras for quite awhile now. And they are rc planes not drones and have been used for decades. Heck RC pilots have been using video feeds to fly for quite awhile as well.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45181853)

Drones have existed for quite a while too.

Heck RC pilots have been using video feeds to fly drones for quite awhile as well.

FTFY

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45181761)

Modern electric RC trainers like a slow stick are almost unbreakable. If your kids are old enough to shoot a 22 rifle they are old enough to fly RC. I'd say age about 8 to get started, depending on the kid. The slow stick is also surprisingly aerobatic.

If they're still at the BB gun stage you could try them with a 3 channel indoor slow flyer. Those are dirt cheap. $50 bucks complete.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182213)

Hmm, if you have two kids you could test if the slow stick is unbreakable to .22 rifle rounds.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181845)

I see it as a drone once it has autonomous functionality. Simple FPV (first person view) doesn't qualify in my book.

Basically, if it is GPS-enabled and can fly itself to waypoints, that's when I'll call it a "drone." Camera needn't be necessary.

Don't worry too much about being shut down by the man. Pick up an E-flite Apprentice S (trainer) ready to fly for $300 and get your kids flying and your skills tuned up! Also pick up a simulator. Then progressively move up. Smaller planes are twitchier/harder to fly but also much harder to break due to very low mass, so get progressively faster small planes before moving up to something big.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45181913)

I see it as a drone once it has autonomous functionality. Simple FPV (first person view) doesn't qualify in my book

Is a Predator [wikipedia.org] a drone? It is continually piloted from the ground.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182259)

Not in my opinion. It's a military RC plane.

Re:What's the difference between a drone & R/C (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182505)

There is no difference. The "drones" you hear about in the news are remote-controlled aircraft. The negative vibe associated with the word results from an al-Qaeda propaganda campaign to make "drone" a dirty word because drones do a very good job of eliminating their operational leaders with minimal risk to U.S. forces. They learned from the Vietcong that it's possible to persuade the American public to make their army stop fighting.

wrong verb (2)

burgundy (53979) | about a year ago | (#45181645)

s/waived/waved/ – it makes a difference.

Re:wrong verb (2)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#45181789)

In fairness, the summary carried that error over from the actual article. But in the article one could recognize the meaning from context. In the summary, it sounds like he simply ignored the feds.

Re:wrong verb (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#45181795)

s/waived/waved/ – it makes a difference.

Thank you, I couldn't figure out how a private citizen "waived" a government cease and desist order, but it makes much more sense that he "waved" it.

Too Good To Live (5, Interesting)

b4upoo (166390) | about a year ago | (#45181661)

Drones have an ability to make truth more evident. Not only people but governments do not like it when truth is available. Any effort to make good use of drones will be met with huge resistance. For example we are willing to spend billions of dollars on a border control as long as it does not work. Imagine what a fleet of drones could do to halt illegal immigration. Now tell me just how likely it is that drones will be heavily used to patrol our borders. I have seen this same phenomena in police work where a couple of cops came up with a great way to curtail drunk driving. Two cops simply waited outside popular bars and stopped drivers who pulled out of the parking lot late at night. Almost 100% of the stops resulted in a valid drunk driving arrest. The city quickly halted the practice. The problem was that the town bordered another town and when word got out people simply drove a few hundred yards to get drunk in the next town's bars. In other words the real working policy of the city was to make a show of stopping drunk driving while making sure that they really did not stop drunk driving.
                Drones work too well. By using drones we can expose situations and that endangers all kinds of social institutions. With a good swarm of drones on patrol we could really knock out almost all home burglaries at night. But how many companies and jobs depend on a busy criminal justice system? Society really is that perverted.

Re:Too Good To Live (2)

popoutman (189497) | about a year ago | (#45181775)

Most home burglaries are during the daytime - but your point is still valid.

I am a pilot... (4, Insightful)

jgreen1024 (975555) | about a year ago | (#45181719)

Nothing stops these UAVs from flying in the same airspace as planes carrying people - all it takes is a little software malfunction. They are small and hard to see, aren't in radio contact with air traffic controllers, and don't show up on radar. There's a reason the government is concerned about them, and I suspect it's not about supressing truth.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181797)

um the drones being discussed here don't have software, they have pilot and they are not going to be flying in commercial airspace unless your plane is aboput to crash anyway. these are tiny and really don't have long flight times. We are not talking military drones but modified quadcopters.

Re:I am a pilot... (4, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45181803)

Those rules are simple. We stay under 400ft. You stay above 1000ft. We don't get anywhere near airports. We don't fly if we see any traffic.

Even under those rules, RC is strictly non-commercial. Amateur reporters can continue to use eyes in the sky.

Re:I am a pilot... (3, Interesting)

jgreen1024 (975555) | about a year ago | (#45181979)

I didn't know those were the rules. Are they well-known and well-understood? I've been out in fields in the middle of nowhere with two different people who were flying drones well above 400ft - nobody made any mention of a 400ft limit. I'm just curious.

Re:I am a pilot... (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45182135)

The rules (400' ceiling) are well known by people who care about the rules.

I've seen more than one Cessna flying well below 500'AGL far from airports, often with friends whooping and hollering from the ground... it will happen regardless of the rules and how well they are known.

Re:I am a pilot... (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45182269)

The difference is that the offending Cessna has a tail number that can be reported to the FAA. A pilot caught breaking the rules could get his license pulled. An unregulated drone would not have that kind of identification or consequences.

Re:I am a pilot... (3, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45182161)

Those are AMA rules which are included by reference by the FAA.

400 ft AGL, line of sight, weight limits (which escape me at the moment), airport standoffs, traffic rules are all spelled out.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/ [modelaircraft.org]

Most flying fields won't let you fly without membership (which comes with liability insurance). Rules are often printed or at least referenced in kit instructions etc.

400ft is pretty high for a model. Often barely visible.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#45182293)

AMA means nothing to me, show me the LAW on a .gov site

Re:I am a pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182601)

Here's the law I'm aware of (pdf links):

Here's the policy clarification [faa.gov] stating that commercial uses don't come under AC 91-57, which is the normal RC plane rules.

And here's AC 91-57 [faa.gov] itself.

Nothing there includes AMA rules, AFAICS. To me, this seems to be one of those common-knowledge things where many people "know" it, and merrily expound it as absolute truth, but nobody actually gives any reason, so I'll remain unconvinced until I see it. If someone does *know* it, and can provide a citation to prove it, I'm willing to be convinced.

Re:I am a pilot... (2)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | about a year ago | (#45182341)

400 feet is *not* high, you need to get some telemetry on your models.

Whenever I've flown a telemetry equipped model and shown other RC fliers just how low 400 feet AGL is, they are surprised.

Given the low cost of telemetry these days, every club should have a model they can use to demonstrate how low 400ft AGL really is and that can be done by investing in a stand-alone system like this Wireless Copilot [wireless-copilot.com] or adding an altitude sensor to any RC gear (such as Hitec, FrSky, JR, etc) that has inbuilt support for such.

As for the FAA's assertion that earning a single red cent from flying a model turns that model into an "unmanned aerial system" equivalent to a predator drone... well here's all I have to say about that: Trappy vs FAA [youtube.com] (Youtube vid with ads I'm afraid).

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#45182509)

I didn't know those were the rules. Are they well-known and well-understood? I've been out in fields in the middle of nowhere with two different people who were flying drones well above 400ft - nobody made any mention of a 400ft limit. I'm just curious.

Well known enough that they're brought up in every /. discussion on the topic. Well known enough that a brief Google check of various R/C aircraft clubs and associations shows that they list them on their websites. A check of a couple of manufacturer's websites show the rules listed in the manuals that accompany their models.
 
People breaking the rules and failing to mention that they're doing so is not, IMO, sufficient evidence that they are unaware of the rules.

Re:I am a pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182159)

Tell that to the idiots posting on Youtube showing off their 'skills' while flying in big-airfield CTRs, not giving a damn about aircraft safety.
A simple glitch is all it takes to make these hobby drones cross paths with GA or commercial flights. It's disaster waiting to happen.

Re:I am a pilot... (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45182181)

Ypu seem to be a very conscientious pilot. Not all pilots are like you. What happens when someone finds an unlicensed drone above 400 ft or near airports? Nothing because there is no way to identify the owner.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#45182283)

People have been arrested for shining laser pointers at aircraft.

The odds of getting arrested for being an idiot are generally pretty low.

That said: This hasn't been a problem. I know of no cases of RC to full sized aviation mid-airs. I know of a couple of near misses involving military drones.

The RC world is much more electric and foamy now then ever. Those are less of a threat then many birds.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45182501)

People have been arrested for shining laser pointers at aircraft.

The person arrested was at the source of the laser. A radio transmission is much more difficult to trace.

That said: This hasn't been a problem.

Which does not mean there won't be a problem when the number of drones explode. Will you be one of the many decrying the lack of regulation when there is a problem?

Those are less of a threat then many birds.

Since we can't regulate birds we should not regulate lesser threats? That logic seems flawed to me. We regulate what we can to decrease threat.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

killkillkill (884238) | about a year ago | (#45181807)

While we are at it, we should start strictly regulating the millions of other objects [wikipedia.org] with the same properties that you described.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45181949)

By that same logic you shouldn't license urban dogs because you can't license urban raccoon. You regulate what you can.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year ago | (#45181817)

Nothing stops these UAVs from flying in the same airspace as planes carrying people - all it takes is a little software malfunction. They are small and hard to see, aren't in radio contact with air traffic controllers, and don't show up on radar. There's a reason the government is concerned about them, and I suspect it's not about supressing truth.

Of course, the same is true of geese and other birds and there are a *lot* more 10 pound geese in the air than 3 pound UAV's.

Re:I am a pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181909)

So what you're saying is that we should criminalize geese?

Re:I am a pilot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182351)

There are some places it is illegal to keep geese.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#45182117)

Birds also fly in the same airspace as planes carrying people, they are small and hard to see, many of them weigh more than 3lbs, and they often fly in large flocks.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about a year ago | (#45182485)

There's the solution then, make sure your flying RC camera looks just like a soaring condor.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#45182219)

There's nothing stopping an RC plane from doing the same. The definition of "drone" here is an RC plane capable of being operated outside LOS of the controller/pilot.

Re:I am a pilot... (1)

NewtonsLaw (409638) | about a year ago | (#45182481)

No, the official definition of a drone is an "unmanned aerial/aircraft system" and if you dare to fly an RC model for financial reward, it automatically becomes a UAS, regardless of whether it's flown right in front of your face or 100 miles away beyond visual LOS.

Re:I am a pilot... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 10 months ago | (#45182771)

So Estes model rockets from the '70s were "drones" (as they were unmanned aerial systems)? When a paper airplane is a "drone" then the definition is broken.

The guy selling helium balloons needs a permit, as he's making money selling drones, and any kid who lets one go is a felon, operating drones without a license.

WTF? NON COMMERCIAL ONLY PEOPLE (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181755)

How the heck did he think what he was doing was legal? Right now, its ONLY LEGAL FOR HOBBYISTS. NON-COMMERCIAL ONLY ARE THE ONLY DRONES ALLOWED IN THE SKY. I hope this news reporter gets grilled.

Hypocrisy? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45181809)

Is this the same place that was in an uproar about licensing drones all over the US? There are people who seem to think that anyone should be able to use drones except the government. Interesting dichotomy there.

Re:Hypocrisy? (1)

killkillkill (884238) | about a year ago | (#45181883)

The uproar I remember (I'm not implying it was valid concern) was about the government using armed drones to kill Americans on American soil with nothing more than an executive order. Unless the news agency was flying armed drones, I see no hypocrisy.

Re:Hypocrisy? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45182027)

That is incorrect I am referring to this [slashdot.org] discussion about the use of unarmed commercial surveillance drones in the US.

Re:Hypocrisy? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#45182329)

Why is that strange to you. There are MANY rights the citizens have that the government does not.

Re:Hypocrisy? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45182437)

Such as? Citation please. By the way, flying a drone is not a right.

Re:Hypocrisy? (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#45182467)

Do you even understand the word Liberty?

Re:Hypocrisy? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#45182553)

If you mean "do what I want when I want how I want" that is not Liberty it is Anarchy. What does Liberty have to do with the government not being allowed to do things that the people are allowed to do.

I looked a a few of your other posts. Part of the time you are demanding citations from others and part of the time you are defending not having citations yourself. Maybe you need to look up the term hypocrisy [thefreedictionary.com] .

article is troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45181893)

Going forward may we expect more troll articles going forward, going forward?

ESL? ETL? EFL more likely. (3, Funny)

rueger (210566) | about a year ago | (#45181971)

You know, even by Slashdot standards this summary is remarkably incoherent. And that's ignoring the waived/waved confusion.

"he's posting his experience in trying to get certified by the FAA on GitHub so they can follow along."

Likely his problem was that the FAA doesn't use Github for certification. They have their own computers and application forms and stuff.

Re:ESL? ETL? EFL more likely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182157)

Git Hub? Is that on Facebook?

I favor drone regulation, here's why (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about a year ago | (#45182089)

Regulating the parts of the airspace routinely used in interstate commerce is the job of the Federal government.

I don't know what the actual "airspace" that the feds claim jurisdiction over, but common sense would say it's anything at or within the safety margin of the lowest altitude a commercial aircraft flying from one state to another or flying in or out of the United States would routinely use over that spot, or the lowest altitude a military or other federal-government-owned aircraft would routinely use over that spot. In most areas the "FAA floor" should be a few thousand feet at the lowest (I suspect it's much lower, but I digress). For areas within a few hundred feet of runways, helipads, etc. this may be all the way to the ground (sorry kiddies, no radio-controlled toy airplanes for you without FCC approval).

However, FAA regulations should be safety-oriented, not use-oriented.

States should and do have the right to impose safety regulations below that height.

Now, when it comes to radio transmissions, the FCC gets involved. They can and for all I know do impose rules that would prevent a ground-based kiddie-toy remote-control aircraft transmitter from interfering with other, higher-priority, licensed radio users including radios used by commercial aircraft.

For aircraft which emit pollutants into the atmosphere, the feds also have the right to impose pollution controls.

One other thing that can come under regulation is the actual purpose of the drone's use and the harm to society by allowing the drone to fly at all. I'm thinking noise pollution from low-flying drones and invasion-of-privacy issues from drones with cameras aimed at your backyard swimming pool or aimed at your windows. Most of this should come under state regulation, but things like flying near one state's border and photographing inside someone's window who lives across the border would reasonably come under Congress's purview, as would photographing into the backyard of a home located on a military base even if the drone were flying over private property with that landowner's consent.

Now, would I favor my state banning camera-less or camera-turned-off drones flying over private property with the owner's consent, or flying so high and so quiet that they are not a nuisance but not so high that they interfere with interstate commerce? No, but I would expect my state to ensure the safety of such craft. Would I favor my state banning photography from a drone if the subjects of the photograph and/or their owners consented, and the photography wasn't creating a nuisance, safety, or other issue for anyone else? No.

Is this a second amendment issue? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45182143)

It seems to me that guns aren't the only things that you can shoot with. Drones, as the government uses them are "arms", whether used offensively or as intelligence gathering devices. Perhaps it's not a weapon in the deadly sense, but it could certainly be used to provide for the common defense and in the defense of persons and property when carrying nothing more than a camera. If we hold the ability to shoot someone sacrosanct, why not extend that to the ability to see them coming?

Re:Is this a second amendment issue? (2)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about a year ago | (#45182491)

Mount a gun on your drone and the NRA will step in and make it legal...

Second Amendment Solution (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#45182471)

Just tape a handgun to your drone. Then maybe you can get the NRA to cover your legal costs and Republicans to fight for you in Congress.

A Barrett M82 .50 caliber semi-automatic sniper rifle with 60,000 rounds of ammo is legal, but a quadracopter with a webcam isn't?

I could make a case that there's something a little out-of-whack in the good ol' USA.

Re:Second Amendment Solution (1)

clay_shooter (1680300) | about a year ago | (#45182599)

Over the top much?

Without seeing the letter... (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#45182541)

Without seeing the letter, and knowing more about the context... this article amounts to nothing but flamebait. It's entirely possible that Professor Waite, being quite inexperienced, has violated one or more of the existing regulations and has mistaken that for 'repression'. Digging around the relevant websites fails to discover any evidence that's he actually done any work or research on said regulations, only that he's an advocate for their use in journalism.

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