In recent years hobby-drones have become quite a popular past time for many people. Whether you are a novice or a veteran drone operator there is lots of fun to be had. Some enthusiast just enjoy the relaxation of flying them around without plan or purpose, not unlike flying a kite or sailing a remote operated sailboat.
Keen photographer/cinematographers can spend hours flying their drones to capture great views and images from the sky.
Drone enthusiast clubs are becoming more popular with members meeting regularly to show and talk about their drones. Events are held to demonstrate the drones abilities and for members to learn tricks and new techniques.
One of the downsides is the criminal element. Unfortunate as in many other areas of society there are those that will use things for illegal gain. In several instances individuals have attempted to deliver contraband to inmate in prisons using drones flying over the outdoor areas. In 2015 more than 6 pounds of methamphetamine was recovered in a parking lot in Tijuana, Mexico after the drone that had been carrying it crashed.
In 2015 a drone sparked panic when it flew and crashed into a tree on the lawns of the White House. Whilst no harm was done it did raise the question of security and what could have happened. The issue of drones being used as a tool for terrorism has security analysts worried. Drones are a potentially lethal device in the wrong hands as they can easily access restricted areas and despite measures to detect them with radar, CCTV and other avoidance systems they’re small nature means they can easily be mistaken for birds.
Another possible danger with flying drones is if they lost signal and crashed into people, vehicles or buildings. Most countries have laws prohibiting flying within close proximity of people and vehicles for this reason.
An example of why it’s important to stay a safe distance from people is an incident that happened to an Australian Triathlete.
Raija Ogden received facial injuries that required a trip to the hospital and several stitches after a drone lost control and went hurtling towards her. There are conflicting versions of the story as to whether the drone directly hit her or merely caused her to fall in an attempt to avoid being hit, but either way she still needed facial stitches for the resulting injuries.
Equally drones need to be kept a safe distance from airports, buildings and other vehicles. There have been several documented accounts of near misses between drones and passenger planes. A drone flying too close to an Airbus A320 in July 2014 at London’s Heathrow Airport could have ended quite differently if the drone had have been sucked into one of the larger air crafts engines.