Pressure builds for/against civilian drone flights in U.S. airspace.

Image: Pictured are (front to back, left to right) RQ-11A…

Image: Pictured are (front to back, left to right) RQ-11A Raven, Evolution, Dragon Eye, NASA FLIC, Arcturus T-15, Skylark, Tern, RQ-2B Pioneer, and Neptune. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain

Civilian cousins of the unmanned military aircraft that have tracked and killed terrorists in the Middle East and Asia are in demand by police departments, border patrols, power companies, news organizations and others wanting a bird’s-eye view that’s too impractical or dangerous for conventional planes or helicopters to get.

Drones overhead could invade people’s privacy. The government worries they could collide with passenger planes or come crashing down to the ground, concerns that have slowed more widespread adoption of the technology.

“It’s going to be the next big revolution in aviation. It’s coming,” says Dan Elwell, the Aerospace Industries Association’s vice president for civil aviation.

Source: Joan Lowy for the Associated Press.

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  • Jimmy Mullin

    Can we shoot them down?

  • Matt in Oklahoma

    Big Brotherish

  • Jeff

    Not all drones have to have cameras pointed at the ground and those that do have cameras don’t have to keep them turned on. At the same time manned helicopters with similar cameras are already used so is the concern one of increased presence of survailance aircraft?-Since thats really a different issue.

    If commercial aviation is the concern, than it can just be a requirement that these be programed to keep out of a 5 mile circle from commercial transponders, just like other commercial aircraft are expected to.

    When I hear people argue about this its about “want” and “don’t want” not about how to make it acceptable.