Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:07 AM
Mutatis Mutandis (90 posts)
NBC News: Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs + more
Randal Franzen was 53, unemployed and nearly broke when his brother, a tool designer at Boeing, mentioned that pilots for remotely piloted aircraft – more commonly known as drones – were in high demand. Franzen, a former professional skier and trucking company owner who had flown planes as a hobby, started calling manufacturers and found three schools that offer bachelor’s degrees for would-be feet-on-the-ground fliers: Kansas State University, the University of North Dakota and the private Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
He landed at Kansas State, where he maintained a 4.0 grade point average for four years and accumulated $60,000 in student loan debt before graduating in 2011. It was a gamble, but one that paid off with an offer “well into the six figures” as a flight operator for a military contractor in Afghanistan. Franzen, who dreams of one day piloting drones over forest fires in the U.S., believes he is at the forefront of a watershed moment in aviation, one in which manned flight takes a jumpseat to the remote-controlled variety.
While most jobs flying drones currently are military-related, universities and colleges expect that to change by 2015, when the Federal Aviation Administration is due to release regulations for unmanned aircraft in domestic airspace. Once those regulations are in place, the FAA predicts that 10,000 commercial drones will be operating in the U.S. within five years.
Although just three schools currently offer degrees in piloting unmanned aircraft, many others – including community colleges – offer training for remote pilots. And those numbers figure are set to increase, with some aviation industry analysts predicting drones will eventually come to dominate the U.S. skies in terms of jobs. At the moment, 358 public institutions – including 14 universities and colleges – have permits from the FAA to fly unmanned aircraft. Those permits became public last summer after the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
related new articles and some older flashbacks
Send In The Drones: The Predator State Goes Domestic
“Eventually, we’ll have to put an end to this, one way or another.”
Sheriff Kelly Janke of North Dakota’s Nelson County http://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/rural-north-dakota-agencies-question-homeland-security-grants/article_f1dc8d8e-17ea-11df-bb45-001cc4c002e0.html uttered that ominous sentence in mid-September, http://www.valleynewslive.com/story/15463154/lakota-familys-ties-to-radical-group during what the local media giddily described as a stand-off with local farmer Rodney Brossart and his family. By that time, Sheriff Janke, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Air Force, had already run the table where “non-lethal” means of compelling the family to surrender were concerned. This included everything from the Taser used during Brossart’s June 23 arrest to the precedent-setting use of a Predator-B drone to conduct surveillance of the home several days later to facilitate the arrest of the farmer’s three sons.
The most recent conflict between Janke’s department and Brossart began when a half-dozen stray cattle wandered onto the family’s farm, which is located near the tiny village of Lakota (roughly 100 miles northwest of Fargo). Brossart, who reportedly believed that the cattle were unclaimed and thus belonged to him under a disputed interpretation of open-range law, refused to turn them over to the Sheriff.
A team of deputies tasered the 55-year-old farmer and took him into custody. His daughter Abby, frantic for the safety of her father, tried to intervene; for “striking” the sanctified personage of a deputy, she was arrested and charged with assault. When Brossart’s wife Susan refused to help the deputies locate what they described as “illegal” firearms, she, too, was arrested and charged with lying to law enforcement officers (who are trained to lie http://www.officer.com/article/10233095/training-cops-to-lie-pt-1 and can do so without legal consequence). http://www.republicmagazine.com/news/dont-help-the-police-put-you-in-jail.html When deputies returned the following day, they were reportedly confronted by Brossart’s three sons – Jacob, Alex, and Thomas -- who were allegedly carrying the rifles the police had tried to confiscate the previous day.
This led Sheriff Janke to escalate the confrontation to a full-spectrum military response – including, in the words of the Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-drone-arrest-20111211,0,324348.story elements “from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances, and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. He also called in a Predator B drone.” That unmanned aerial vehicle, identical to those used in CIA-directed missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, was supplied by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency http://www.uasvision.com/2011/06/06/u-s-customs-and-border-protection-agency-predators-exceed-10000-flight-hours/ (CBP), an affiliate of the Department of Homeland Security. http://www.cbp.gov/
Congress Passes Bill to Proliferate Drone Use in US Airspace (FAA says up to 30,000 by 2020)
Ready to see drones flying over your house? A new bill passed by Congress will give commercial, private and military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) greatly increased access to U.S. airspace that’s currently reserved only for manned planes. Right now drones are mostly limited to the U.S.-Mexico border and military airspace, as well as use by around 300 public agencies located far away from cities and airports. That is now scheduled to change by September 30, 2015.
The main focus of the bill is the FAA’s adoption of NextGen, a program that will allow commercial aircraft to install and use GPS technology for steeper, more efficient take-offs and landings instead of the ridiculously outdated way things are done now. All in all, this should help make air travel a lot more time efficient. We shouldn’t, however, ignore the implications of letting drones into airspace that was previously off-limits. While the military and local police forces have long been able to use UAVs in operations on U.S. soil, the prospect of commercial and privately owned drones presents plenty of new questions.
First, there’s the issue of privacy. Rigging a cheap drone with a video camera was no problem for an Occupy protestor; http://techland.time.com/2011/12/21/occupy-wall-streets-new-drone-the-occucopter/ how hard would it be for someone with deeper pockets to finance a drone with even more powerful surveillance equipment to monitor, well, who knows what? How will we know what purposes any private citizen has for deploying a drone overhead?
Then there are the corporations. Forbes http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/07/congress-welcomes-the-drones/ points out that companies like Google could ditch their Street View cars and start deploying advanced, autonomous drones to roam the country for incredibly thorough mapping. If the idea of fleets of corporate-owned drones monitoring us from above doesn’t scare you, then you are a much less paranoid person than I.
Interactive map reveals where drones are being flown inside the US right now
Thanks to new documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, we're starting to see a clearer picture of the rapid deployment of unmanned aerial drones by military, state and local law enforcement inside the domestic United States. Using data obtained through their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FAA, the EFF have constructed an interactive map https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?viz=MAP&q=select+col2+from+1WuTyH62PmUF97oxo6IreT1BL_aw9HJN5pocwmwg&h=false&lat=44.08758502824518&lng=-85.5615234375&z=4&t=1&l=col2&y=1&tmplt=2 showing the locations where police, military, and others are currently authorized to fly drones in national airspace, as well as some details on the drones themselves and how they're being used.
Civil rights groups have been trying to obtain as much of this information as possible after a Congressional mandate and a Department of Homeland Security initiative earlier this year made clear the US government's intent to "facilitate and accelerate the adoption" of drones by public and private entities on US soil, including police. Use of drones has already been documented in several places, including local police in areas of Texas and Florida. But the new data reveals that both police and military drone flights have become a regular occurrence in many areas of the country, and many more public and private entities are still hoping to get in on the game.
NBC News ARGUS drone spots you from 20,000 feet — with camera-phone sensors
Paranoid delusions about black helicopters hovering over an area will soon be out of date: The latest scary spy apparatus lives 20,000 feet up, turning 30 or more square miles into live video sharp enough to spot individual people walking around.
The system is called ARGUS, after the 100-eyed god of Greek myth, and fittingly, it works by hooking together hundreds of inexpensive image sensors like those found in mobile phones. The non-classified parts were featured last week in an episode of the PBS show "Nova" all about drones and surveillance (the ARGUS segment starts at the half-hour mark).
ARGUS has appeared in earlier reports, but in a much less detailed fashion. The "Nova" program shows how it might actually appear in action.
Yiannis Antoniades of BAE Systems, the British company that makes the ARGUS system (with help and funding from DARPA), told PBS that although BAE would have liked to design a whole new sensor, it was cheaper and more practical to use an array of smaller, off-the-shelf ones.
PBS Nova Rise of the Drones
BTW, I despise how the NBC article tries to slam anything to do with 'black helicopters' and military force used inside the USA as 'paranoid delusions'. Pure rot and psy-ops as these news reports of this exact thing in drill form show.
NOT a Dupe, another one just last week
0 replies, 626 views