Drone dilemma continues in the U.S.

David Stoltz, Staff Writer

The ease of purchasing an unmanned aircraft has recently come under scrutiny in the United States. Many Americans believe they are a direct threat to our nation’s national security.

Flying a drone is quite a difficult task and, contrary to popular belief, it is much harder to operate or build a drone than it is to control an RC car. However, one is not required to undergo training before purchasing and operating a drone. In fact, anyone has the ability to purchase a drone from the comfort of his or her home on Amazon.

Currently, there are little to no restrictions on where one can fly a drone outdoors. This gives criminals a chance to revolutionize the way they commit crimes. Physics Teacher Mr. Cantatore said, “People can use a drone for almost anything.”

The fact that drones have so many uses is the main reason many Americans feel they are a direct threat to our National Security. In fact, recently a drone was flown over the White House fence, causing a serious security scare and a temporary lock down. The drone was undetectable by Secret Service radar and although it was harmless, it could have caused serious damage if it was armed with a bomb or weapon.

On major misconception about drones is that they need to have weapons or bombs attached to them to cause serious damage. If a drone is flown over a highway and either has a mechanical error or crashes, it may cause a serious accident and threaten the lives of drivers. Another potential accident could occur if a drone is flown over an airport.

On Sunday February 8, a drone was flown over the Los Angeles International Airport. Southwest flight 366 reported a small-unmanned aircraft to air traffic control as it hovered over flight 366. If it had collided with the plane, the lives of many civilians would have been threatened.

Mr. Cantatore shared that he feels it is “a little strange” that the federal government does not regulate drone usage in the nation. Mr. Cantatore made it clear that complicated drones could become dangerous if the person operating it does know how what he or she is doing. He firmly believes that a person who is interested in operating a drone should have to undergo training before using one.

“The positives outweigh the negatives,” said Mr. Cantatore in regards to appropriate drone usage. “I fully support the use of drones for education, recreational, and government purposes,” he explained.

It is clear that drones can easily become hazardous if put in the wrong hands, but whether or not the federal government will take action to regulate drone usage still remains to be seen.