THE DRONE DRAMA INTENSIFIES


href=”https://therogueaviator.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/airlan7271.jpg”>A PILOTLESS AIRPLANE

The drones shall soon dominate life on planet Earth. Disregard the concern about extraterrestrial aliens taking over. The man-made sci-fi device, commonly referred to as a drone, but more accurately described as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), will be playing a bigger role in our lives at a rapidly expanding pace. Currently a front-and-center news media issue, that is already fraught with controversy, the issue of drone usage and the resulting consequences will potentially create very seriously heated debate on an issue that is a classic example of the “double-edged sword.”
Just recently, the pilots of an Alitalia Airlines commercial aircraft on approach at JFK International Airport in New York reported seeing a drone. The description of the drone was consistent with that of the very popular drone device called a quad copter. These quad copter critters can be purchased and used by anyone. They are designed to be a toy, but they are already proving to be a menace. It will certainly be a menace to more than commercial aircraft as their potential for wreaking havoc has no limits.
These high-tech toys are often equipped with a small, but technologically advanced camera that can provide illegal surveillance, particularly by men who are afflicted with the voyeur syndrome. For those folks that enjoy nude sunbathing, too many of them will discover that they are the stars in a highly provocative YouTube video that reveals, pimples, scars, and sagging tissue, along with very private nooks and crannies, and perhaps tattoos that were not meant to be shown to the general public. Considering man’s natural inclination to lust after women with youthful attractive bodies we may see numerous midair collisions of these snooping quad copters. And this just represents one small arena of the potential abuse of unregulated civilian drones.
On the bright side, drones can be used for certain rescue missions, a variety of functions that will assist farmers, the oversight of pipelines and electrical wires, the transport of needed supplies or medicine to a remote location, monitoring of traffic flow, and most importantly, the rescue of little kittens who are trapped high up in their trees. Law enforcement will be greatly enabled with drone use and we can hopefully eliminate the high speed and frequently counterproductive high-speed car chase. Drones are already being used very effectively to monitor the Mexican-American border to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. As drone technology continues to improve we will find an endless variety of functions for these remote-controlled UAVs.
The use of military drones has been in effect for more than 20 years and now dominates the United States warfare activity in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it is extremely controversial, and justifiably so. Several international organizations have published figures that indicate far more innocent people are being killed by drone strikes, primarily with Hellfire missiles, than the US government would like to admit. The concept of “collateral damage” is a very sticky wicket. Although the US military-might remains dominant there are now nearly 50 countries that have drone technology and perhaps as many as 10, including Iran, that have operational drones that can be used for military purposes. The UAV technology is relatively simple and the proliferation of drones operated by nongovernment agencies as well as military organizations has opened a Pandora’s Box. We have just seen the tip of the iceberg. A US predator drone operated by Homeland security was recently hacked by a University of Texas college professor. Iran has captured an American Predator drone. Its computers were most assuredly hacked as it landed in Iranian territory without being damaged.
A discussion of the intended use of UAVs as commercial passenger-carrying aircraft is too lengthy to be covered in this blog. An interview with author and web talk radio host Ace Abbott will provide the listener with some interesting insights and information on this topic. To access this interview go to: http://webtalkradio.net/ and select Ace Abbott’s Aviation Affair.
This blog is prepared by retired commercial pilot and aviation author, Allen Morris, aka Ace Abbott (pen name). His books can be accessed at http://www.therogueaviator.com

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