Models today are nothing like the ones of our youth or even a few years ago. Now with HiDef camera's and first person view piloting as well as GPS asssited flying it's a whole new era. Old model airplanes could not hover in one spot and take detailed video or pictures. We have every right to be concerned with personal privacy violations using these. I have no problem with model drones at the park radio control field. I have an issue if that same drone is hovering outside my daughters window.
Luckily a 12 gauge with 00-Buckshot will easily dispatch a drone over my "garden". I would have no hesitation doing that. In fact it could be a lot of fun. Think of it as a huge misquito and your just using a flyswatter! LOL LOL
This whole drone discussion reminds me of a SF novel Arthur C. Clarke wrote back in 1971 called "A Meeting with Medusa". The first chapter describes the crash of a gigantic airship caused by an out-of-control camera drone remotely operated by a news reporter.
The second chapter reveals the problem - the drone's remote control link had been routed through a satellite channel with a resulting half-second delay, causing control-loop instability on a human time scale. As ACC so elegantly describes [quote] "...It was the turbulence over the Grand Canyon that did it. When the platform tipped and he corrected for that - it had already tipped the other way. Ever tried to drive a car over a bumpy road with a half-second delay in the steering?"
Arthur C. Clarke is well known for his technology predictions. This is just one more that is currently in fruition.
Welcome Bob. So there's more? Okey Dokey! Let's face it, we want to see spectacular crashes. I see a model helicoptor demolition derby in our near future. With very flyable $49 helos, there could be one in a town near you soon!
"Have you wondered who really owns above your garden and who owns below your garden?"
In many places, the mineral rights - essentially, the ground underneath - are owned by someone other than the home owner. The US government has sold portions of the RF spectrum. In the state that I live in, all shorelines are deemed public, however in many states, they can be bought and sold.
How long until the government, or large land owners start to sell air space rights, in the same way that mineral rights can be sold?
Model airplanes in my day were fragile, and took a long time to build. You never flew them on windy days, or in the clouds or rain. They certainly never had cameras, or other sensors.
Today with most flying devices, cameras are no big deal, and quite common. Like any other situation, what you do with images of people matters. You cannot film people on the street and use that commercially without their permission. You may show it in your home, with minimal repercussions.
Drone operators and manufacturers always talk about how perfect their devices are. Drones are pretty good when new and well taken care of. They are easy to control on days when the sun is bright and the winds are calm. Over time the batteries become weak, and various parts wear, making the device less stable and harder to fly. Throw in some wind, rain and turbulence and they are much more difficult to control, and may pose a bigger threat to the innocent people below.
There are talk about minimum altitudes, but aircraft may be operating in the same airspace as the drone. Imagine a traffic accident, with various news helicopters or medical aircraft in the area, and the drone will be operating right with them. It is important that any aircraft operating in the vicinity of another aircraft operate using the same rules, just so they stay out of each others way.
Training and certification is going to have to happen before drone operations can be performed on a wide scale. Pilots, operators and aircraft are going to have to know what it takes to keep drone operations safe. Maintenance programs are going to have to be established, and certified. It won't be the wild west.
Not only model airplanes, but also model rockets have been able to take photos from a few hundred feet above ground level for many years. Perhaps it is the privacy aspects of drones with onboard HD video cameras rather than any actual danger to aircraft or to the public that has governments in a tailspin over this.