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Unmanned drones coming to Delaware?

February 23, 2013-Presentation considers monitoring of wildlife, crops by unmanned aircraft.

A presentation on the monitoring of wildlife and crops by unmanned aircraft will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Delaware Department of Agriculture in Dover.
Speakers will consider the uses of unmanned aircraft in checking the health of crops and forests and monitoring wildlife populations.

The presentation is cosponsored by UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, the Sierra Club and the Society of Natural History of Delaware.
For reservations, contact Al Matlack at or 302-239-5383.

NOTE from me:

Hello Mr. Matlack,

I see that you are the contact for a program about unmanned drones this coming weekend.

I will likely be unable to attend the meeting, but I want you to know that I am SUPER CONCERNED about unmanned drones flying in airspace with manned airplanes. I am a pilot and president of Delaware Aviation Support. Our concerns are multi-tiered. First flying drones would cause airspace to be closed or restricted. Second that "pilots" of unmanned would not be fully trained in the intricacies of flight and fly in such a way as to be a hazard to pilots in the air and people on the ground. This point has a multitude of levels in which a small error could spell disaster. Third, drones are machines, and if not precisely maintained would further escalate the hazard.

I do not want you to think I am against nature or farming. In fact, I am also a member of the Sierra Club. Also, I have a great many friend who fly remote-control airplanes. Remote-control flight has the pilot within sight of his plane; he is aware of his airplane's surroundings, not just a restricted view.

Your truly,
Kimberley Shropshire


Dear Ms. Shropshire,

Many people share your concerns. Congress has passed a law to provide more airspace for drones. The FAA has the job of figuring out how to do it safely. Use on a crop would be done with the drone in site.

Yours truly, Al Matlack

This is true, BUT: "Drones operated by federal, state, or local agencies must obtain a certificate of authorization or waiver (COA) from the FAA. After receiving COA applications, the FAA conducts a comprehensive operational and technical eview of the drone and can place limits on its operation in order to ensure its safe use in airspace."