by Henry H. Perritt, Jr. and Eliot O. Sprague –
This is the third in a series of articles about drones by the co-authors. The first, Drones, introduces the subject and explores the technologies that makes microdrones so useful and so inexpensive. It provides an overview of technological, economic, political, and regulatory issues that the second article and this one explore more deeply. The second article, Law Abiding Drones, argues that the character of microdrones justifies simplified regulation as consumer products, with automated flight control and safety systems that make flying them easy, compared with airplanes and helicopters. This article focuses on the question of operator qualifications. It does not repeat the details of its overview of microdrone potential, the subject of the Vanderbilt article, or the analysis of microdrone control systems, the subject of the Columbia article. The three articles complement a number of magazine articles written by the co- authors.