If journalists want to use drones to gather news here in the United States, they need to pay attention to the safety issues the Federal Aviation Administration is studying.
In February, the FAA posted on its website a "Notice of Proposed Rule Making," or NPRM, that invited 60 days of public commentary on how to regulate the non-recreational use of drones operated by the American public. The NPRM's aim is to determine whether "certain unmanned aircraft systems may operate safely in the national airspace system," according to the document--and, if they can, the Secretary of Transportation must then "establish requirements for the safe operation of such aircraft systems in the national airspace system."
Writer Arthur Holland Michel, in a story dated Feb. 16 and posted on the website of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College (dronecenter.bard.edu), took a look at the NPRM and drew up a list of "31 Questions the FAA Wants you to Answer." Here's a sample of the questions asked by Michel, who helped found the center at the Annandale-on-Hudson, New York-based institution in 2012:
* How much money would these rules...