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Popular Mechanics Sept. 2013 cover article Good Drone / Bad Drone


Dedicated foam bender
I haven't read it but it would appear that PM is biased towards "Bad Drone" since "- or invade your privacy" is in a larger font than catching criminals...
It is actually open minded and even handed. It goes into a good amount of detail about current FAA regulations and how they are being pushed to change and adapt to what is becoming a growing number of commercial uses of drones. If anything the facts point out the somewhat hypocritical or obtuse state of current regulations.


Dedicated foam bender
That is great! I was only pointing out what the cover made it look like, but as they have said for years; "never judge a book..."
I wouldn't think that PM would take that route, meaning bad drone, based on their past stands on controversial tech. They are usually very supportive of innovation.


Dedicated foam bender
I am surprised at the lack of responses with this one, especially considering how the anti-drone laws could crush our hobby. But I guess that's how some of the more ridiculous laws get passed, a simple lack of support, or maybe it's just people generally not knowing and/or not caring.


Dedicated foam bender
That's what I'm talking about. There are many states that are using fear tactics to get drones banned and our models are being lumped into a lot of the legislation. I know that most of the states that already have passed laws banning drones, have a private sector caveat that sort of protects our end of the hobby, but there is still so much lobbying to scare people into thinking all drones are bad and just want to spy on them. We aren't out of the woods yet. Have you noticed certain areas of the country have started issuing Drone hunting permits? It seems ridiculous to us, but to the sheeple out there who only hear how the drones will be an end to their privacy and other such tirades, it's become a real fear. Unwarranted? Absolutely! But that doesn't change the fact that they are seeing only what drones can do in the wrong hands, not the benefits possible with the tech we have now, and so much more when the power systems make the next leap forward. I like flying FPV and don't want it taken away because the sheeple are scared. That's the same way we're going to lose our guns!
I'm surprised this thread hasn't been more active as well. Especially since the Florida TV News "Drone Cam" thing that happened a few months back. Maybe it has to do with the article actually being in a print magazine and not directly available (for free) online? The cover absolutely plays on the fearmongering, buy this magazine nerve but it does really point out the generalization in the media today.

I have a more stratified view or set of definitions.

Requires an operator to have direct view and control of the aircraft 100% of the time (Think FPV):

Has onboard systems that can allow the aircraft to navigate on it's own, without active human control, for any length of time:

From there it seems to break down into what you add to it and it's intended uses. The fact that either of these can be weaponized or fitted with imaging is where the hackles start to get raised. The weaponization has a pretty obvious intent but imaging is where it gets twisted by the media and those with a specific agenda.

I lived in Phoenix for a while and Camelback Mountain is completely surrounded by neighborhoods and the city. But there wasn't a month that would go by that we didn't see something on the news about some 'hiker'(link to a news report where it happened twice in one day) getting stuck or gone missing up on the mountain. A mountain that you can drive all the way around via neighborhood streets. Now think about a drone system that the fire rescue could engage that would be dispatched by an operator to search for these people. The operator could have two, one spotter with built in search paths that follow the main hiker paths as well as wider patterns for anyone who's gone off or fell off. Once the missing person is found a 'rescue dog' drone could be dispatched to deliver a small rescue package with water, food bar, first aid kit, and 2 way radio. The missing hiker's GPS location would be sent to rescuers and could be used to help coordinate the actual extraction.

With the laws the way they are now any system like this or even just a basic FPV tricopter would not be allowed to operate.

I just started building my first Tricopter and I'm considering adding some foam core to the airframe and maybe making it a happy pink color like this.

Photo Aug 12, 10 26 15 AM.jpg
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Rocket Scientist


Jason, terminology is important, in the fact it creates a picture or image in the readers mind as to what it is. You hit on the two basic types: RC (remote controlled) and AC (autonomous controlled).

The use of the term: DRONE as opposed to RC, etc., is so confusing, it shows the difference between a news reporter and a journalist! News reporters report the facts, journalists create a story about the facts. Recent Example: (News): An RC Quadcopter was found on the White House lawn. (Journalism): DRONE TARGETS AND CRASHES INTO THE WHITE HOUSE!

Most vehicles are RPV (remotely piloted vehicles) and there are VERY few ACV (autonomously controlled vehicles).

RPV - you build it, turn it on, and a human operates/controls it. (NOT DRONE) You think for it.
ACV - you build it, turn it on, and it operates/controls itself. (DRONE) It thinks for itself.

99% of all the vehicles out there are RPVs in some form, I only know of a few "DRONES" worldwide!

Yes, we can build "DRONES" but their functionality/practicality in the real world is not tested and proven, that is why we continue to design, build, test, evaluate,.....and repeat!