Number of Amateur Drone Pilots Set To 'Explode'

The New York Post has two stories today about hobbyists and amateurs building and flying their own drones around New York. Sounds like fun! Relaxed restrictions mean "the number of drones patrolling the nation's skies is expected to 'explode.'"

This is comforting:

Low-tech, miniature versions of battlefield drones have come to the boroughs. Only here, they are controlled mostly by hobbyists and photographers, not soldiers shooting insurgents from the sky.

There are only 282 official permits to fly drones nationwide, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. [...]

But the number of drones patrolling the nation's skies is expected to "explode" if the agency, as expected in December, relaxes restrictions on law enforcement for aircraft weighing 4.4 pounds or less.

In the other story:

Amateur drone-makers rarely attract police attention, unless of course their contraption weighs 3,200 pounds and is designed to carry Hellfire missiles and an M134 mini-gun.

In 2007, a concerned citizen called Riverhead, LI, police after spotting men rolling the drone, with a wingspan of 17 feet, down the Calverton Enterprise Park tarmac at night.

These guys parlayed their homemade killer robot into a business, which now has government funding for flight tests. What ever could go wrong when you have bored men building remote controlled aircraft that can carry explosives and then letting them lose in America's skies? Answer: plenty.

Want to see what drones do best? Check out the Year of the Drone.

[Image via AP]