March 05, 2013

All Your Drones Are Belongs to Someone Else

First, the FBI is saying that a drone spotted over JFK yesterday wasn't one of ours:

On Monday, March, 4, 2013, at approximately 1:15 p.m., the pilot of Alitalia Flight #608 spotted a small, unmanned aircraft while on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport. The Alitalia flight was roughly three miles from runway 31R when the incident occurred at an altitude of approximately 1,750 feet. The unmanned aircraft came within 200 feet of the Alitalia plane.

The FBI is investigating the incident and looking to identify and locate the aircraft and its operator. The unnamed aircraft was described as black in color and no more than three feet wide with four propellers.

“The FBI is asking anyone with information about the unmanned aircraft or the operator to contact us,” said Special Agent in Charge John Giacalone. “Our paramount concern is the safety of aircraft passengers and crew.”

I dunno, sounds more like a big model plane to me than a "drone". But, what is a drone if not just a big model plane?

It serves as a reminder that the technology for building "drones" has been around for a long time. I knew a kid back in grade school who's stepfather had two massive model airplanes. I'm not sure just how big they were since I was a kid and perspective changes as you grow, but I want to say that they had like four foot wingspans. Add a camera to them and call them "drones".

The second batch of "these are not the drones you are looking for" come from Pakistan:

When news of the two latest drone strikes emerged from Pakistan’s tribal belt in early February, it seemed to be business as usual by the C.I.A...

Yet there was one problem, according to three American officials with knowledge of the program: The United States did not carry out those attacks.

“They were not ours,” said one of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the drone program’s secrecy. “We haven’t had any kinetic activity since January.

As the cost of producing unmanned fixed winged aircraft comes down, we should expect more of them not only over our skies but around the world.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:10 PM | Comments |