Conflicting Flight Paths for Hobby Drones

Today there seems to be two conflicting flight paths open for hobby drones – one leading to progress, the other to destruction.

Hobby drones are getting more and more accessible, portable, cheap, and user-friendly, what with the rise in the number of consumer drone manufacturers. Drone applications are increasing as well, so they can be practically used in any field.

Hobby drones – as implied – are often used for recreational flying. But with most small drones mounted with or having the capability of being attached with cameras, such as GoPros or the Zenmuse Z3, hobbyists and enthusiasts are also into aerial photography/videography. The more entrepreneurial among them even venture into the business of providing drone photography services.

DJI Phantom 3 – a camera-mounted drone

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Not only that, with the growing popularity of First-Person-View flying, a new sport is born – the First person view (FPV) drone racing, and is fast catching up with drone afficionados. In fact, the Drone World Championships was recently concluded.

The inaugural World Drone Racing Championships (aka Drone Worlds) is the culmination of over a year’s anticipation for a truly global, world-leading first-person-view drone racing competition, and expectations were high. The event was held on Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii on the island of O’ahu. – Read more at:

Drone photography, drone racing – these are just among the legitimate flight paths hobby drones can take that has the approval of the FAA and serious, responsible drone users groups.

Hobby drone flying has indeed come of age. Its evolution has remarkably gone from being a weekend fun of indulging one’s passion for tinkering with, building, and flying remote controlled model planes, into a developing industry today. For some, it’s even become a 2nd career, as in the case of Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired, founder of DYI Drones, and co-founder of 3D-Robotics.

However, there’s a more sinister path these small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAVs) are forced to get into – being used for terrorism.

The terror group’s ability to innovate and use small aircraft for nefarious purposes underscores how the off-the-shelf drone technology could supply extremists with a potent platform on our own soil to deliver explosives. Moreover, there is evidence that international terrorists have looked at other ways to weaponize drones. Read more at:

A report last year said this was (and surely still is) the main concern of the US government that had been consuming them privately for years: the potential use of hobbyist drones as weapons of terror or assassination.

While there’s every reason to promote the advancement of drone technology for recreational and commercial purposes, this new threat of terrorist use of drones should be mitigated with strong measures without, at the same time, unduly putting the legitimate hobby drone industry at risk.

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