(Image Credit HuffingtonPost.com)
A few days before Christmas a World Cup slalom ski competition in Italy was racing along quite nicely when a drone, carrying TV equipment through in the air in an attempt to raise the intensity level for the viewing audience, leveled off, fell from the sky and exploded into pieces on a section of slope crossed a micro-second earlier by Austrian ski star Marcel Hirscher.
No sooner had the wreckage of the drone and its camera been scraped off the snow…the International Ski Federation had banned television drones for good.
This whole drone thing perplexes me. I have not been able to figure out in this age of heightened security and concern of terrorism how drones have been readily made available to anyone with little or no regulation. One day Amazon just up and announced delivering packages to people’s properties via drone was not just something for the day we all ride like “The Jetsons” to work…but for the here and now.
That must be one powerful lobby drone-ing on about drones in Washington.
Anyway, we finally appear to be on the road to regulation in the US via a lawsuit filed this month by the owner of a drone who saw his blasted out of the sky by a homeowner in Kentucky last summer. Originally, a judge ruled the homeowner was well within his rights to shoot down the $1,800 aircraft because it was over his property and he had no knowledge of its owner…or its intent.
The Federal Aviation Administration has always said it has sole authority over the national airspace. (They say a lot of things, don’t they?)
Kentucky state law provides for landowners the right to use force if necessary to prevent trespassing on their property.
According to a recent story in USA Today the Supreme Court has not addressed air space issues since 1946 when a North Carolina farmer was ruled able to claim property rights up to eighty-three feet in the air – and get compensated by the military – for aircraft flying so low they were annoying his cows and chickens. (Eighty-three feet is awfully specific…but it’s a start…)
The problem is these drones just showed up and were embraced by a number of groups…including law enforcement…ironically under the premise they would help make all of us “more secure.”
This drone privacy issue is very much up in the air right now but I’ll say this. The fact there is a drone industry and the average man or woman is able to buy one and send it aloft without significant checks and balances is one of the great embarrassments of this so-called Homeland Security effort we allegedly have in place in this country.
Boggs (drone owner) vs. Merideth (“drone slayer” – he calls himself that) will likely be the start of a flight to the Supreme Court…not a minute too soon. Boggs’ lawyer, (in the understatement of the New Year…or any Year for that matter) citing Amazon’s master plan to have drones deliver packages onto people’s lawns…
“If every property owner has a right to take a shot at them that pretty much ends that business model.”
Do you recall the Secret Service recently went on high alert after one guy flew a drone over the White House…while another crash-landed one on that same property owner’s lawn?
What is the world of our nation’s common sense is happening here?
I refuse to drone on because we’ve got a long way to go until this gets settled…and considering the way drones just showed up one day it’s now guaranteed a portion of the populace will steadfastly declare their right to bear drones…oh yeah, we’ll be hearing much more about this going forward.
Fasten your seat beats…it’s going to be a bumpy flight fight.