BAN ALL DRONES! - Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Inverted Vantage, Aug 1, 2015.

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  1. Aug 1, 2015 #1

    Inverted Vantage

    Inverted Vantage

    Inverted Vantage

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    I haven't read this but it popped up on a Facebook group I follow (The Mini Quad Club).

    The replies from the group ranged from "Yep and I'm not even sure a Phantom can get to 1700 ft agl, which is where the pilot of this most recent incident claimed it was." to "we need some serious rules and regulation for the asshats to be punished .."

    To which I replied:

    What do you guys think about mixing things up a bit in the GA space?
     
  2. Aug 1, 2015 #2

    Doggzilla

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    Good lord, this is getting out of hand.

    The RC industry is $1.7 billion industry. If it was a sport, it would be the EIGHTH LARGEST SPORTS LEAGUE ON THE PLANET. The fastest drones are about as fast as a WWI biplane, while RC planes can break 700kph and chopper do over 275kph in some cases.

    The problem is that people are being ignorant, and its not being helped by people buying drones not know ANYTHING about RC and helping to spread the ignorance that this is some new dangerous field. They act like they are rebels for owning them, when they are actually extremely poorly performing RC aircraft USING PARTS NOBODY IN RC WANTS TO USE.

    The stabilization, the components, everything... comes from RC. This is not some new dangerous field.
     
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  3. Aug 1, 2015 #3

    mcrae0104

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    Aircraft with souls on board take priority. End of story.
     
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  4. Aug 1, 2015 #4

    Inverted Vantage

    Inverted Vantage

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    @Doggzilla;

    Chill out. :)

    @
    mcrae0104:

    No one was suggesting otherwise, but let's save the whole "what is a soul/will machines have them one day" discussion for PM or another thread. ;) :) I'm interested to hear what your thoughts are on why people have been so quick to pick up quadcopters in particular and not other types of R/C aircraft (like helicopters or airplanes)?

    Do you think multirotors could be used as a way to springboard the public into a greater understanding of aviation?

    If this were to happen, what sort of ramifactions do you think it will have on our communities?

    Good night guys, I'm going to bed for now. Looking forward to reading more!
     
  5. Aug 1, 2015 #5

    TFF

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    Quadcopters take no skill and has nothing to do with aviation. All about augmented flight. It has to do with technology not flying. Just like video games have taken kids off the playground, drones have taken the hobby out of RC. The end game of RC or any model airplane discipline has been about flying an airplane. Quadcopters have nothing to do about that, they are about delivering a platform for another end, usually cameras. I heard Amazon is now lobbying to get 200-500ft agl restricted for drone use only. As a big RC person, that just pisses me off. Quadcopters are about dumbing down aviation; we are already too stupid. We dont need the help.
     
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  6. Aug 1, 2015 #6

    Doggzilla

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    How is explaining why they ARENT some new big threat somehow the thing that needs to chill? People need to at least do a little googling before they go one some absurd crusade based on absolutely no hard statistics.

    Drones are no more dangerous than birds, and outnumbered millions to one. Drones arent some huge threat. And people need to stop being so dramatic and freaking out. The people making a huge deal about drones are more of a problem than the drones.

    Can you think of any other aviation related issue that has people pulling guns on each other? I sure cant. But the anti-drone crowd somehow thinks this is appropriate.
     
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  7. Aug 1, 2015 #7

    ScaleBirdsScott

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    The moment you could throw a thing in the air and control it with your smartphone via POV, and it not just crash and burn if you take your eyes off it, is when the whole thing kicked off the ledge from "niche hobbyist activity" to "this has broad-spectrum appeal and applicability."

    It's entirely a different thing when a person can throw a quad-copter out the window of a building, and spy on someone on the other side of the building from the same Samsung Galaxy they use for sending nude photos to innocent bystanders on Omeagle.

    Someone can throw any RC plane out the window of a tall building and fly it around but that actually takes some skill and the risk of injury is pretty great if it's any heavier than a Park Flyer (and even then a Park Flyer in full uncrontrolled freefall is probably a risk) bottom line: it's not a common thing because most people have better ways to waste their money, and people with the skill to do it are smart enough not to do it. But since anyone can get the bright idea to go to Brookstone and find a cool quad-copter that will terrorize the neighborhood, some people are apt to do it.

    It's not about the technology, or the hardware, or the actual facts and physics. It's about the way its presented to the public and the types of inspiration they're given, and the cost to entry. If you live in a city, you probably aren't flying RC planes but the quad-copter is perfectly viable for an urbanite.

    There's privacy concerns, and whether you have the right to shoot down a drone in your property or what: I think it needs to be made clear where the boundary is. If a drone is under 500' over your house I say that's perfectly viable grounds for trespassing. I would say a company that could invent a 'drone gun' that will pull them from the skies if they don't leave the area without being otherwise a deadly weapon (maybe its electrical signals or a kill-code or who knows) could stand to make out OK.

    Personally I think the positive possibilities are great for drone and RC technology. The abilities of things like this to be more integrated and more autonomous so that the skill of the operator goes down, the range and capacity goes up, and the stability improves... we could see a lot of good. From delivery drones or courier drones in urban areas flying over the traffic, to search drones that can find people lost or hiding in remote areas, potentially saving the lives of lost hikers through crowd-searching operations where a few dozen amateur drone operators with increasingly-affordable FLIR cameras can canvass an area that an average remote agency could only dream of covering.

    But the other part of me feels like the things are heralding in an age where drones are just a serious bane on our existance and any RC flying vehicle will require significant regulation and control. Forget 3D printers, these drones can actually cause harm and mayhem now. And it doesn't take much imagination to think of ways to use these for mischief or harm. Without ways of being able to defend against drones in public or private we are really on the wrong side of technology and human nature.

    I can imagine a few scenarios:

    A guy is really upset that his neighbor's lawn is greener than his. So he rigs up a quadcopter drone with a payload of grass killer and has it programmed to every night fly discretely over the yard, dispensing the product in patches. Since he never has to leave the house to walk around, there's no obvious evidence. It'd be a miniature (and hypothetically real) version of chemtrails.

    A bunch of pranksters have already proven that you can attach spraycans to a drone and program it to tag a billboard with graffiti, like a flying printer. If that code is open-source and plans/files for making the spray-can manipulators are available (I imagine it all will be if it isn't) then any kid with some fancy toys can vandalize pretty-much anything from the comfort of a parking lot nearby.

    Someone could essentially just strap a small improvised explosive to a drone and fly it over/around your average security checkpoints and have a personal cruise missile for less than $2000.

    All these are things that more or less are totally possible today and for the last number of years to anyone with the technical time and know-how to implement it, without having off-the-shelf drone tech: and certainly equal or worse results are more readily achieved with common items that we've had sine the middle ages or earlier. These are just arguments that we need to either choose to arm ourselves in defense of these threats that will now be available to anyone who can figure out basic computer tasks like ordering things from Amazon, or maybe governments have to start trying to restrict and regulate access to the technology to people who are trained and registered with it, like they do with everything from radios and spray paint to guns and aircraft. I'm in favor of being able to just go to a shop and buy a drone/quadcopter/RC whatever from a local hobby shop, but I would also be in favor of maybe some card required to purchase and operate big units. Some of this seems like its already being implemented in various places.

    But now consider this last one, some 'malevolent' company could spend a few billion dollars on flying 'battle droids' and bring about a Star Wars Trade Federation type operation on some small countries that they have interests in. And then we'll all be reminded that The Phantom Menace was not simply fantasy but a straight-up prophetic warning that we're screwed. Traditionally it seems the limitation of a company to fielding a standing army is the logistics of building troop numbers is rather apparent. But they won't need human recruits when small choppers can patrol the streets with small 9mm machine-guns with significant loiter times. They just have to develop the technology under the guise of innocent-looking delivery droids and then arm them and code them. Bam, those UPS-like delivery trucks that base the drones are now replaced with armored resupply vehicles, and you're basically gold.

    OK, is that last thing probable? Who knows, it's somewhat a topic for a different thread. We can't be luddites or put the genies back in the bottles; we have to rely on humanity to find ways to improve itself and use technology for good. I am ultimately an optimist on most things and humanity has, over the long term, a good track record of improvement. We developed nuclear technology and it took a while but it seems the threat of using it to wipe ourselves out is rather remote. So I'm hopeful for drones to do the good stuff and improve lives, even if a few situations are found where they do the opposite. But design seems to teach you to always try to plot the most diabolically bad way things can go or be taken, put your mind as far in the gutter as possible, and use that perspective to inform how one proceeds with the next big thing.
     
  8. Aug 1, 2015 #8

    don january

    don january

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    Simple: It's not the Drone's fault on where it's flown.......
     
  9. Aug 1, 2015 #9

    Wayne

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    I say we follow the money on this one. Google is talking big about drones as an additional revenue stream and between them and the other transportation/logistics companies they have a hell of a lot of clout. I can't figure out how they would pull off drone delivery in places like Chicago during the Winter but they have probably had very smart people working on this for years. Here we have the population density to make it worthwhile. Some of you guys will escape it all being so remote I bet.

    If they succeed a lot of delivery people will be gone - what about the Post Office? We all know change is inevitable and that technology is used to increase efficiency and reduce cost - these guys want to restock your fridge automatically. You'll hear a "ding" and open the front door and your pint of milk will be there right when you need it. Sounds great until you think about the good old days when you drove your own car and walked the grocery store.
     
  10. Aug 1, 2015 #10

    kent Ashton

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    Aircraft flies through a flock of buzzards: no story.

    Aircraft sees a drone: national news.

    Solution: Drones that look like buzzards.
     
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  11. Aug 1, 2015 #11

    Toobuilder

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    Drones arent the problem- people are. I think the best we can do is educate people about proper use and get some real laws with real teeth in place for violating the laws. We had another fire in California recently (one of many to come this season), and the fire tanker support was suspended because of some moron flying a drone. How many homes or lives will be lost because the tankers cant get in there due to some asshat getting footage of a fire? These people need to be tracked down and sent to prison.
     
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  12. Aug 1, 2015 #12

    Aerowerx

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    You are assuming that people will think logically when they have the facts. Most people think emotionally about such things.

    "Don't confuse me with the facts. I've already made up my mind."

    Did you know that you are more in danger riding a bicycle than having a nuclear reactor in your back yard? That's what your "hard statistics" would say.
     
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  13. Aug 1, 2015 #13

    TFF

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    Drones are not the real problems. The small actions that make the news are making the news because it is a hot topic, but the public is given the switchero. They dont realize it is paving the way for airliners to be pilotless, the swarms for package delivery, think 100s of thousands of them over cites like LA just to get the delivery volume, real spying like high altitude not visible to us but on us. Everyone is worried that an airplane will crash into their house. GO outside and look up. The % is so low that you can dare the fates for it to happen. If a block altitude is given to these people, needed so the can ignore ADSB, They will be 100s every minute over your house and the no fly will be come eminent domain like the power lines and water pipes in your neighborhood. If they deem it is needed they will do it under that law. Money is in control and money will buy what it wants and we dont have a say because all the moo cows who want their canned corn and are too lazy to go get it ,want someone to do it for them.
     
  14. Aug 1, 2015 #14

    litespeed

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    Which makes me wonder, what is the risk level of flying a water bomber in a area where there is a small spindly drone?

    Is it possibly a overreaction to let homes and lives be at risk, compared to the danger posed of a midair from a big water bomber or even chopper and a small drone?

    Or is that the point they want to make, regardless of the facts and real danger posed.

    But I do support not having numb nuts drone pilots compromise rescue/fire operations.

    The elephant in the room has already been mentioned- the full potential of drones for nefarious means. This can be anything from nation states, crime syndicates, business interests (see crime) privateer contractors to terrorism or even that geeky kid around the block.

    The Genie is out of the bottle and we need some good understanding of how to regulate for the benefits and a little of the detriments as possible. Nobody wants to live in a world of no privacy, but after getting a pizza, you can get assassination on order or a drug/gun/explosive delivery- a simple app on your phone. All taken care of by one of a multitude of designs.

    We see the potential of these technologies is dramatically growing in ability , load, range and potential capability. All at a reducing cost and greater availability. The potential is only limited by our collective imaginations. Unfortunately many have much darker ones than others. So I agree wholeheartedly, we must imagine the worst case scenarios and think how to thwart them. People not corporate or government centric regulation is a must.

    In a unregulated world without real sanctions we are entering a world of unimagined futures, with the people the losers and the corporate and nation states having far greater control.

    It is all worthy of deep thought.

    Litespeed
     
  15. Aug 1, 2015 #15

    Topaz

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    Ask the pilot and crew of the water-bomber. IMHO, they're already putting their lives at sufficient risk just doing their jobs, without the added risk of taking 4-5+ lbs of hard metal and plastic into an engine at a critical point in the drop run. Sure, engines and windshields are designed to take birdstrikes in that weight range. Doesn't mean you want to do it "casually", and there's a difference between 4-5 lbs of soft, organic bird and 4-5 lbs of hard metal and plastic. Remember the old joke about the guys doing bird-strike windshield tests: "First, thaw the bird."

    In general, I'm with dogzilla on this one: "drones" are nothing more than an extension of more-sophisticated R/C aviation, and that's nothing new except for the scary name it's been given. In about 80% of the cases, people are overblowing this, and rather severely.

    However, the "democratization" of R/C through things like quad-copters means we're getting a larger proportion of people who dont learn the "rules of the road" by being associated with other R/C folk as they learn the skills to build and fly remote-controlled aircraft. And those people are doing some pretty stupid things, and I think we need to "democratize" the penalties as much as the technology. I don't think it requires new law. Surely there are already statutes against interfering with firefighters in the performance of their duties. Find the morons who flew into the fire zone and throw THAT book at them. Publicly and very, very hard. You're never going to stop "stupid", but at least you can make more people aware that there'll be consequences.
     
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  16. Aug 1, 2015 #16

    N8053H

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    They use carbon fiber on most of these and very little plastic. Some of the cheaper ones have more plastic. Some of the very expensive ones have very little.

    Comparing Birds to Drones:

    A bird has a par of eyes that are on a swivel. The bird will try and avoid being killed. Sometimes they screw up and collide with an airplane as we all know. The drone while it might have a FPV system. Its locked in a very tight range of view. It will not move to keep from getting killed or hit. Its eyes are not on a swivel. No brain aboard the drone. There is a brain aboard the bird.
     
  17. Aug 1, 2015 #17

    BJC

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    Jon Ferguson and don january like this.
  18. Aug 1, 2015 #18

    nickjaxe

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    Its only a matter of time till their is loss of life...licence them all.....all forms of flight...sorry PPC guys.
     
  19. Aug 1, 2015 #19

    RPM314

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    I take it that you've never seen a heated 250mm quad race or a zippy tricopter whipping around in a funnel. As a multirotor pilot myself I can say that they do require a significant amount of skill, and I think they are a form of flying in their own right.
    Unless you fly them in autolevel or GPS gimbal mode, that's for wusses. It's just shuffling a camera around on a skyhook.

    While I don't think that a fatality is likely in the near future, if the number of multis out there keeps growing a PPL analog might be the best way to go. All the lobbying power in the drone world rests with the r/c veterans (ie people who can pass such exams) so it could certainly be done.
     
  20. Aug 1, 2015 #20

    Himat

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    It is probably not that easy to introduce licensing and regulations on "drones". At least not for all at once. Licensing "toy" drones and the powers in charge may get ridiculed, step down to fast the wrong way and it will flash authoritarian police state a long way.
     

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