Monday, June 11, 2012

Drone Crashes in Eastern Maryland: Get Set for Many More!

I no sooner had finished my lunch than the 'breaking news' banner erupted on CNN with the lead story that an "unmanned Global Hawk Reconnaissance drone had crashed near Salisbury, Maryland".  For those who may not know, Salisbury is on Maryland's eastern shore. The unmanned drone was purported to be "on a training mission" and "apparently crashed near a marshy area and no one was injured."

The news brief also indicated these recon drones are able to fly 11 miles high and do so for at least 30 hours at a stetch. What caused it to crash, no one knows.

What we do know is that it follows close on the heels of a near collision in the Denver area, e.g.

And we can expect thousands upon thousands of these unmanned, semi-controlled artifacts to fill our skies by 2015, as a result of a furious lobbying push by the drone makers - who comprise an up and coming player in the out of control military-industrial complex, now seeking to shift drone applications and operation to the U.S. of A. as the Afghanistan adventure winds down. See, e.g.

There doesn't seem to be much the average citizen can do right now, but what I'd advocate is setting up a statistics tracking scheme to monitor these sort of incidents.

Though this drone crash (evidently) resulted in no lives lost, we can't be sure that this will continue. What if the drone had veered much more wildly off course and plowed into a residential neighborhood? What if by some freak chance, it careened into a commercial airliner leaving the BWI airport near Baltimore, and resulted in a major disaster?  We know one thing: As thousands of these damned things are added to our skies the probabilities for major grief and disaster will increase. Hell, the FAA hasn't even provided strict guidelines for their use and control.

To paraphrase the Chinese saying to reflect recent events, "we are living in interesting times."

Maybe too interesting! Stay tuned!

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