Most Americans are probably unaware, for example, that the US Air Force now trains more UAV operators each year than traditional pilots. (Indeed, the Air Force insists on referring to drones as “remotely piloted aircraft” in order to dispel any suspicions that it is moving out of the business of putting humans into the air.) As I write this, the US aerospace industry has for all practical purposes ceased research and development work on manned aircraft. All the projects now on the drawing board revolve around pilotless vehicles. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies around the country eagerly await the moment when they can start operating their own UAVs. The Federal Aviation Administration is considering rules that will allow police departments to start using them within the next few years (perhaps as early as 2014).
PUBLISHED: Sept. 20, 2011
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3733 words)