“The FT editorial “A drone is not just for Christmas but for life” – ‘Naïve’ – or worse? writes Paul Miners (Lutry, Switzerland) who takes the un-named writer to task:
“Your editorial “A drone is not just for Christmas but for life” (December 24) is naive. Drones are the simplest weapon to bring down planes and drop bombs. They must be banned”.
Advertiser induced profit motive?
Earlier this week, after extolling the cheapness, versatility and lower environmental impact of drones, the writer of FT View deplored the ‘reckless users’ of commercial and hobby drones who might cause this ‘promising technology’ to be grounded:
“The list of ways in which drones have been irritating people is almost endless. Hobbyists have been using drones to deliver drugs to prisoners, to hover over bank cash machines to film people entering their PIN numbers, to snap topless celebrities and, more alarmingly, to buzz aircraft. In the 10 months to October this year, there have been more than 50 near-miss incidents with aeroplanes in the UK.
“Drones are rapidly acquiring an acceptability problem. Just think of the epic resistance to developing a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport. Now imagine the public irritation aroused by thousands of drones buzzing over Richmond Park (the deer certainly would not like it)”.
Industry-related profit motive?
Robert Garbett is Chief Executive and co-founder of SUAS-Global, which ‘provides a hub for operators, industry and regulators to communicate and share best practice’. He explains that ‘under-resourced regulators have fallen behind against an increasingly massive tidal wave of operators seeking guidance, public complaining about every sighting and the government requirements for direction and information’ and hopes to allay misgivings with the news that the International Standards Organisation (ISO) is currently in the process of developing a far-reaching standard for the manufacture and operations of commercial unmanned air systems (UAS), which is expected to provide an integrated safety framework designed to enable manufacturers to produce safe drones and commercial operators to fly said drones in a safe, responsible manner.
The elephant in the room – the greatest unmentioned hazard
Accidents are not the greatest hazard: will the ISO be able to restrain America and its friends from using drones to destroy infrastructure and assassinate people in several countries?
How many readers will agree with Mr Miners, who says (we repeat): ‘Drones are the simplest weapon to bring down planes and drop bombs’ and concludes,
’They must be banned’.
In 2014 Mark Shapiro drew this site’s attention to records obtained by the Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.
They revealed that more than 400 large U.S. military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001 due to reasons including mechanical breakdowns, human error, software bugs in the “brains” of the aircraft, poor coordination with civilian air-traffic controllers and bad weather.
Military drones have crashed into homes, farms, runways, highways, waterways and, in one case, an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport plane in mid-air. Search engines also reveal reports of large numbers of accidents caused by commercial and hobby UAVs.