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FAA Taking a Look At News Corp's Use of Drone 252

Posted by samzenpus
from the they-have-a-drone? dept.
nonprofiteer writes "The News Corp iPad newspaper has a drone they've been using for news gathering — mainly flying it over disaster zones in N. Dakota and Alabama. However, FAA regulations on drones are very restrictive at the moment, and they're not supposed to be used for commercial purposes (law enforcement is free to use them). The FAA is now examining The Daily's use of its drone. Could this set a precedent for how private businesses can use drones?"
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FAA Taking a Look At News Corp's Use of Drone

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  • scary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sunfly (1248694) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:28PM (#36979854)
    As a private pilot, drones scare the #$%@ out of me. Planes are hard enough to see at over 200mph closing speed.
  • Re:Drone vs. RC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @07:41PM (#36980010) Journal
    When it remains a toy, it has certain market size, R&D effort, usage numbers. When it becomes commercial, the market size and the development takes a completely different path. Basic assumption is that as long as they are toys, the numbers and sizes will remain small. If and when toys get out of hand, they come under regulation. When the jet-skis came in first, they were toys and were not regulated. Once they became really big, fast and powerful and started running a few swimmers over, they come under regulation.

    Of course, it can't be explained in a 30 second sound bite. Sorry if I have exceeded your attention span.

  • Re:Terrible summary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:10PM (#36980232)

    They are jackasses, but the summary could have at least used the title of the magazine rather than "News Corp iPad Newspaper", when further down in the bit taken from the Forbes blog named the Daily, but didn't have a URL to it.

    That said, the Daily is pretty good, not much News Corp bias in it, a far-left coworker who hates everything Fox News/NI turned me onto the Daily after trying it out when it launched in March.

  • Re:Drone vs. RC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:20PM (#36980308) Homepage

    Drones have no pilot, and often suffer from doing incredibly stupid things, such as running into things, flying too low, and coming close to other aircraft.

    Your point is a good one, but drones may or may not have a pilot. Predator drones for example do have a pilot -- he's just hundreds or thousands of miles away.

    Ultimately, the only practical distinction between drones and R/C planes is that R/C planes are flown by pilots who always have line of sight to the plane itself (and when they lose this, the planes typically crash.) Drones often do not. And yes, people do put FPV (first person view) gear onto R/C planes and fly them like drones -- which basically turns them into drones.

    The FAA is expected to clarify the distinctions between the two further soon. The R/C community is hoping that they don't get caught up in any regulations the FAA puts down, but we'll see how it goes.

  • Re:scary (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @08:21PM (#36980318)

    As a private pilot, drones scare the #$%@ out of me. Planes are hard enough to see at over 200mph closing speed.

    It was worse in Iraq. More than one A-10 flying ground attack missions struck loitering drones. Thankfully the Warthog is a lot tougher than a drone. I'd hate to think of a 737 engine swallowing a small commercial drone and shelling a turbine. Very scary.

  • Re:FAA Shutdown (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2011 @09:19PM (#36980772)

    I have a feeling that if I thought my job was keeping planes from falling out of the sky, I'd probably keep doing it through a "blip" in my paycheck.

    And this is where people get you.

    "Your job is important and saves lives. We're gonna cut your pay."
    "Well I'll quit then."
    "You don't consider saving lives more important than money?"
    "I do. I guess I'll keep working for lower pay."
    "Alright, we'll see you in a few months when we cut your pay again."

    If a job is so important that it would cost lives if people went on strike or quit, why are you messing with their pay in the first place? Why aren't they being paid an INCREDIBLE amount, equivalent to at least, I dunno, an entertainer?

    I'm pretty sure the work that any competent FAA employee is worth more than a vast majority of sports stars, popular movie/television stars, popular musicians, and other celebrity figures. And yet they get paid a pittance in comparison.

  • Re:FAA Shutdown (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 04, 2011 @07:08AM (#36984102)
    a) The tea party isn't like anonymous. First if all it is a registered, organized political party that claims their platform is based on reduction of government spending. In reality the tea party is more like lulzsec: a bunch of teenage 'anarchists' that are 'doing it for the lulz' b) This isn't the same as doing your job through a blip, this is paying to do your job despite your employer being incredibly negligent and incapable of doing their own jobs. These FAA folks aren't just taking one for the team, they are paying their own airfare and expenses to do the job. c) You would think the least the commercial airlines could do is belly up some free flights for them, since it is their customers and their planes the FAA is protecting. Where's that self regulating free market I was promised?

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