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Letters: Drones, coming to a sky near you

August 09, 2012

Re "Drones tested as tools for police, firefighters," Aug. 5, and "Making room for drones in U.S. skies," Business, Aug. 8

Acting Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta is "very optimistic" that America's drone makers will soon see the way cleared to have their products flying across our skies.

Is he also certain that a poorly constructed, badly maintained or amateurishly controlled hunk of plastic isn't going to come down through a bedroom window or onto a busy freeway? Can he assure us that those with or without authorization aren't going to keep track of who we have over for socializing or political meetings?

Even left-leaning administrations can't help but use spying tools when they're available. And only a fool would think there aren't going to be horrible accidents involving out-of-control drones.

If Congress OKs widespread drone flying in U.S. skies, it's just another case of corporate money trumping citizen safety.

Jon K. Williams

Goleta, Calif.

Worrying about the privacy aspects of drones in the U.S. seems to be a primary concern of those considering their use. There is a more real danger to general aviation pilots who will be sharing airspace with these drones.

When I was taking flying lessons many years ago, one of the primary safety rules was "see and be seen." The small size of these drones will make them hard to see, and they obviously have limited capabilities to see the airspace around them.

Until these potential hazards to general aviation are resolved, the FAA should move cautiously in approving the proliferation of these drones.

Mel Watson

Mission Hills

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