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6/2/2020 2:34:59 PM
Posted: 1/1/2003 7:46:10 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2003 7:47:15 PM EDT by DzlBenz]
[url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A60876-2002Dec31.html]Story Here[/url]
Drones at Home: Big Market, Big Concerns
Regulators Consider Allowing Use of Unmanned Planes in U.S.
By Renae Merle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 1, 2003; Page E01

Federal regulators have begun considering rules that would allow drones, the pilotless planes being used in the war in Afghanistan, to fly in U.S. airspace.

Supporters envision the use of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, for such tasks as moving cargo, pinpointing traffic problems, patrolling the border, searching for fugitives or fighting forest fires -- creating a domestic commercial market for drones that some believe could be worth more than $2 billion during this decade."There is a pent-up demand for civil and commercial application" of drones, said Scott Dann, president of an industry group that is pushing for commercial drones, which includes Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp.

But critics worry that they drones could endanger the millions of travelers who fly in thousands of private and commercial aircraft. They also question whether the aircraft are reliable enough to fly in domestic airspace.

"To even contemplate mixing unmanned vehicles with the commercial sector is widely premature at best," said John Carr, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. "Yes, there has been some success in Afghanistan but that's a long way from Chicago O'Hare."

Drones are typically operated by pilots on the ground or computers. For years, the industry has tried to introduce drones to the domestic sky, but the limited track record of the aircraft failed to catch federal attention. Emboldened by military success in Afghanistan, industry groups have recently begun talking with the Federal Aviation Administration, hoping to turn greater public awareness into regulatory approval.

Already, some in Congress are beginning to consider the idea. [b]"I have long supported the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) by the U.S. military, and I believe that the potential applications for this technology in the area of homeland defense are quite compelling," Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a prepared statement.[/b]

Warner called for a White House study on the use of drones by domestic federal agencies, acknowledging that there could also be privacy concerns -- drones are used by the military for surveillance in a way that might not be acceptable to American civilians at home. "We must . . . meet our national security needs without unduly sacrificing the privacy rights of our citizens," Warner said.

There is currently no commercial market for drones, but they are flown sporadically over the United States for testing. Flights require FAA approval, which sometimes comes with the caveat that the drones stick to a carefully constructed flight path that keeps them out of regular air traffic and be trailed by a "chase aircraft" -- a piloted plane that ensures that it stays clear of other traffic. The FAA has about 30 certificates outstanding allowing such flights in the past year, although some certificates cover more than one flight.

Acknowledging the potential of the market, the FAA is already contemplating how it would regulate such uses, said Alton Scott, manager of special operations, air traffic planning and procedures.

"The usefulness of this type of vehicle is infinite. Anything that a small aircraft can do, can be done with a remotely [operated] aircraft," Scott said. "I think one day we will get to that point . . . but the rules and regulations have to be put in place" first.

Critics worry that a commercial airplane encountering a drone would be in danger.

"The technology is not sophisticated enough to assure the safety of other vehicles," said Carr of the controllers group. "It is not the unmanned drone that I am worried about; it's the commercial aircraft that has to operate in the same airspace with 200 people on board."

The Pentagon has been experimenting with pilotless planes for half a century, and for the past 10 years has deployed them in combat missions in areas including the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. A Predator drone, which can linger for 20 hours over a battlefield beaming back information to commanders on the ground, recently fired on suspected al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen, killing six. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has labeled them a "transformational" weapons systems, ensuring them a place in his defense budget.

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Link Posted: 1/1/2003 8:12:21 PM EDT
What,..... everybody figgered the new Domestic Security spy agency is just gonna sit around and loaf?? They'll earn the UNION $$ your gonna pay 'em, never fear. And, if ya got nothing to hide this shouldn't trouble you, it's for "National Security" after all........
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 8:16:41 PM EDT
"We must . . . meet our national security needs without unduly sacrificing the privacy rights of our citizens," Warner said.
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And who decides about this "unduly" qualifier, anyway?
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 8:23:00 PM EDT
Don't hold your breath...The biggest obstacle to Predator's use is lack of FAA certification to overfly populated areas. Right now, flights are restricted to military ranges. Predator does not have enough reliability or fault tolerance to get permission to overfly towns and cities. Lawyers would have a great time when one craches in a schoolyard and kills a bunch of kiddies. The Feds know this too.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 8:27:54 PM EDT
You are looking at the future.
They want to use UAV's that fly at SR71 heights for airborne relay stations, voice/data/TV transmissions, cell phones.
It's coming....
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 9:32:40 PM EDT
Some PVC pipe and some model rocket engines with a slide rule..... hell this could eclipse cow tipping as a new rural pastime.
Link Posted: 1/1/2003 10:42:02 PM EDT
Pull!!!!!   BAm!
Got anoder one Cletus!!!!
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 6:28:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By azcopwannabee:
Pull!!!!!   BAm!
Got anoder one Cletus!!!!
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Link Posted: 1/2/2003 6:34:19 AM EDT
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