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Drones You Should Know About

Posted on December 11, 2015

I am filming in the California desert with YouTube's Field Day crew and a drone. Now if we see any other aircraft flying near here, we are going to be grounding immediately, because that's the safe thing to do. There's a small municipal airport a few miles away, but there's no traffic, and visibility's perfect today. Here is a rather scary statistic.

Reviewing close encounters with drones

In the US, there are more than 100 close encounters between drones and manned aircraft every month this year. That means that the plane or helicopter was close enough that its pilot could spot the drone visually, because they don't show on radar. Now anyone can pick up a drone these days, just look at all the drone reviews of the top drones out there.


Quadcopters are common

Now, given that there are 30,000 passenger flights every day in the US, that's not much cause for alarm. That's only about 1 in 10,000 pilots who even see a drone, let alone get close to one, but there are tales of drones swooping past passenger aircraft as they're coming in to land, just to get a good picture, and fire-fighting helicopters being grounded until some jerk with a drone stops putting his YouTube hit count above actually fighting the fire. In the UK, you need permission to operate a filming drone commercially ... Even if that's just with YouTube ads ... And you need special approval to operate within 50 meters of anyone or any building that you aren't in complete control of.

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