Crackdown on drones goes local

Daily News Article - February 26, 2015


Note: Before answering the questions, watch the interview with Mr. Garodnick under “Resources” below the questions.

1. What potential positive uses does NYC Council Member Dan Garodnick see for drones?

2. What concerns does Mr. Garodnick have with the use of drones in New York City?

3. a) Although he acknowledges many important uses for drones exist, why does he want the City Council to block drone use right now?
b) Is this a reasonable idea? Explain your answer.

4. a) How many states have enacted laws restricting drones in some way, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state laws?
b) What types of drone laws have various states passed?

5. What types of drone laws/rules has the federal government enacted through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)?

6. On Feb. 9, CBS Los Angeles reported:

A pilot reported having a close encounter with a remote-controlled device at 4,000 feet while navigating a Southwest Airlines flight to LAX. He told air traffic control: “Hey, there was just one of those radio-controlled helicopter things that went right over the top of us at 4,000…”

…retired United pilot Cpt. Ross Aimer says drones are a growing concern to pilots. “Everybody’s worried that it may be something worse next time,” Aimer said. “As these drones start getting bigger and more complicated and more in numbers, we are gonna have huge problems – unless we come up with a real solution.”

Aimer says commercial pilots are talking about the recent near-collisions with drones and planes from Dallas to Chicago, all flying well above the FAA allowance of 400 feet.

And on Tuesday, London’s Daily Telegraph reported:

Police spotted at least five drones flying over sensitive sites in Paris including the US embassy and the Eiffel Tower between one o'clock and six o'clock Tuesday morning.

The first drone was sighted by police guarding the US embassy near the Champs-Elysées around 1.00am. Others were sighted during the night over the Eiffel Tower, the Invalides military museum and the Place de la Concorde, a police source said.

"It could be a coordinated action but we don't know yet," the source said. Police reinforcements were called in but failed to capture the drones or identify those controlling them, the source said.

Last month a drone flew over the president's official residence, the Elysée Palace, and drones have also been spotted flying over 17 nuclear sites in France.
All the drones spotted were described as standard, small models of pilotless aircraft available commercially, which police say are too light to cause significant damage if crashed into a building, even a nuclear power plant.

However, the sightings have raised public [concern] that terrorists could find a way to attach explosives or toxic chemicals to the drones.

a) Does this change your view of cities (or towns) banning unmanned drones? Explain your answer.
b) Ask a parent the same question.