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FAA Report Details Problems, Close Calls With Drones

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droneDrone delivery services have been in a holding pattern for a while now, waiting for the FAA to release regulations, particularly with regards to commercial drones. The FAA has delayed releasing those regulations for a number of reasons, including its desire to solicit comments and questions from the public regarding the applicability of the FAA Modernization Reform Act of 2012, which regulates “model aircraft,” to drones. A recent report released by the FAA details the number of drone incidents reported this year — unsurprisingly, there are a lot, and that number only seems to be growing.

The tally involves all the times air traffic control has reported a drone-related incident, so the report doesn’t include unreported drone incidents, or those handled by local law enforcement. After looking at the list, it’s easy to see why drones have been a sticking point for the FAA, and why people are increasingly concerned about safety issues. While commercial drones are currently still illegal, recreational drones are legal, provided they stay within an elevation of 400 feet and avoid airports, airplanes, and dive-bombing people. Easier said than done, though.

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SpaceX Plans To Use These Drones For Reusable Rocket Landings

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landing pad droneIf you’ve been following Elon Musk and SpaceX, you know that one of the ways the company drastically decreases the cost of transporting cargo (and eventually humans) into space is by the implementation of reusable rockets, such as the Grasshopper and the Falcon 9, the rocket that will eventually launch the Dragon capsule. EMusk recently announced a new addition to this plan: autonomous landing pads that serve as movable launch and recovery platforms for those rockets.

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This Kickstarter Campaign Aims To Make Tornado-Chasing Drones, Here’s Why

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droneWhen I was two, a tornado plowed through my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan, blazing a trail of destruction through the downtown core. The damage was so bad that a few months later, someone in town started printing, “Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo” t-shirts, affirming that the city was still there. My parents tell me that the mess in our yard made me cry and that I was afraid I’d somehow get in trouble for it. We also dug a Kentucky Fried Chicken mashed potato spoon out of the ground (there was a KFC about a mile away) and I still use it as an ice cream scoop. Even though it’s not in tornado alley, Michigan gets it fair share of twisters, but even more than that, it gets a slew of scares. But now there might be a way to more accurately predict tornadoes: drones.

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Drone Causes Brawl At Soccer Game

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serbia-albania-droneDrones are causing all kinds of problems, from impatience regarding the lack of FAA regulations, to angry citizens gunning them down, to narrowly averted collisions with airplanes. On Tuesday, a drone prompted a massive brawl and forced the termination of a European Championship soccer match.

Tensions were high enough given the match-up: Serbia versus Albania. To try and recap the entire tumultuous history between these two countries would involve another post entirely, but in a nutshell, Serbia and Albania have fought over the borderland known as Kosovo for a while now. After World War I, Kosovo was absorbed into Albania, but shortly thereafter Kosovo joined the Republic of Serbia, and eventually became autonomous (more or less). But Kosovo Serbs were then angry about not being under Serbian rule, and Kosovo Albanians felt discriminated against. Under Slobodan Milosevic’s rule, Serbia regained control of Kosovo, and the region eventually asserted its autonomy again — but who knows how long that will last. Suffice it to say, there’s serious bad blood between Albania and Serbia, which set the stage for a bitter rivalry on the field.

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No, You Still Can’t Shoot Down A Drone, Even If It’s Coming Right For You

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droneThere’s been lots of talk about the legality of drones lately, especially when it comes to the FAA regulations commercial drone manufacturers are waiting for. But it turns out that’s not the only legal question in this area, regardless of whether they’re flown for commercial or private purposes. Now the question seems to be: what can we do about drones that might be flying over our homes or private land? The answer: sorry, but you can’t shoot them down.

It’s hardly surprising that pissed off citizens are resorting to shooting drones out of the sky like modern-day equivalent to skeet shooting. It happened just last week on the New Jersey Shore when a 32-year-old resident got fed up with a drone flying over his home, and riddled it with bullet holes, which did the trick. The owner says he was trying to get some aerial photos of a construction job on a friend’s home nearby. He heard gunshots, lost control of the drone, which crashed, and then called the cops.

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Drone And Airplane Nearly Collide In Florida

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drone warsBack in March, U.S. Airways Flight 4650, flying from Charlotte, North Carolina to Tallahassee, Florida, nearly experienced an historic disaster. The aircraft, which accommodates 50 passengers, nearly crashed into a camouflaged drone. The remotely piloted drone was 2,300 feet in the air — much higher than it should have been.

The incident was kept under wraps until last week, when Jim Williams, head of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems of the FAA, spoke at the sUSB Expo, otherwise known as the Silicon Valley Drone Show. He urged the FAA to respond to the quickly increasing number of questions and incidents regarding drones, and then mentioned the near-miss between the drone and the airliner, which occurred roughly five miles from the Tallahassee airport.