Drone humming on your shoulder: List reveals where planes are set for domestic use
At least 63 active drone sites have been revealed
Drones, unmanned automatic planes commonly used in U.S. battlefields to
gather information are on their way from Afghanistan to your
neighborhood. Don't laugh. Those nifty helicopters that George Orwell
said would be peeking into windows in his novel "1984" have arrived,
albeit 28 years late.
Not pictured: the University of Alaska's drones are the most distant from any major urban centers. They are, however, the closest to Russia.
According to the Federal Aviation Authority, most of the active drones are deployed from military installations, enforcement agencies and border patrol teams.
Most surprisingly, 19 universities and colleges are also registered as owners of what are officially known as "unmanned aerial vehicles."
Many of institutions of higher learning, which include Cornell, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech and Eastern Gateway Community College, are developing drone technology. In addition, there are also 21 mainstream manufacturers, such as General Atomics who are registered to use drones domestically.
The University of Connecticut is the drone site closest to New York City. The North East is the region with the highest concentration of such sites.
As well as active locations, the FAA also revealed 16 sites where licenses to use spy planes have expired and four where authorizations have been disapproved, such as Otter Tail County, Minnesota.
The Beltway around Washington D.C. has the highest concentration of urban and suburban drone sites, including the U.S. Marine Corp base as Quantico Station, Virginia.
The authority revealed the information after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Electronic Frontier Foundation. Its web site hosts an interactive map that allows the user to zoom in to the area around where they live to see if any sites are nearby.
The FAA has yet to reveal what kinds of drones might be based at any of these locations, saying it will release this information at a later date.
Most of the drones are likely to be small craft, such as the Draganflyer X8, which can carry a payload of only 2.2 pounds.
While few citizens object to rural areas being monitored for wildfires, there are fears of privacy violations if drones are used to spy over cities.
Among the many slightly disturbing factoids revealed by the list, chiefly police and Sheriff Departments are registered to use drones in Florida State. Border agents are registered to use drone in North Dakota, just a few hundred miles from Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada.
In addition, the University of Alaska's drones are the most distant from any major urban centers. They are, however, the closest to Russia. Texas has one of the highest numbers of drone sites, and there are comparatively few drone sites in California and Western states.
Other drones - likely to be operated only by the armed forces may include the MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator, which was used to kill American Al Qaeda boss Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen last September.
The FAA released two lists of public and private entities that have applied for authorizations to fly drones domestically.
Certificates of Authorizations (COAs), issued to public entities like police departments, are active in 42 locations, expired in 16 and disapproved in four, while Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs), issued to private drone manufacturers, and are active in 21 locations and not active in 17.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Drones, drone site Federal Aviation Authority, list
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