Online Response to the ‘Drone Dread’ Feature from the June 2014 Issue  

By Staff Writer | July 1, 2014
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EC155 shared by Danny Haqim Looi.

You should enlighten your readers to the definition of drone. It’s become a catch-all word that is misleading.

The article is nice and gives the impression of friend not foe, which is exactly what the industry needs. It’s a bit fantastic, though, and a little more reality might do your readers well.


One reason companies have joined with aircraft manufacturers and have created a hybrid of a manned/unmanned aircraft is the manned version has already proven itself. It’s also an option to keep it manned/unmanned or optionally manned for maintenance test flights, transport to distant locations well out of line of sight or perhaps to comply with certain airspace restrictions as the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) evolves or to cross those 40 states that are showing discomfort with the technology.

EagleMed 6, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, shared by Joe Watkins.

Also there is a large pool of mechanics and pilots who have experience with the manned version, which easily crosses over to unmanned.

I’m a rotary wing ATP currently flying an unmanned platform and you are correct, one does not equate to the other and never will. I would love to see this wrap around video display with stunning vivid color the authors speak of, it sounds amazing. The reality is the screens are similar to a basic television or computer screen and the video feed is only as good as your camera, which may be 200-300 lbs but also with a price tag of about $1 million.

They are not video games, they don’t fly or act or respond like a video game and gamers don’t necessarily make good operators. My recommendation for anyone interested in a career piloting an unmanned aircraft above 400 feet is to become a pilot – no less than private, but I recommend commercial minimum and preferably instrument as well. To me and many in the industry, the writing is on the wall – these will all require IFR flight plans to operate in the NAS before all is said and done.

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