Re: Feds under pressure to open US skies to drones (edited)
Originally Posted by RightinNYC
The second is harder, but I wonder if it could nevertheless be addressed. Since they're not being used for covert purposes, I don't see why they couldn't paint them bright colors and mount flashing beacons on them so as to ensure that other aircraft are aware of their presence. Also, having a second "pilot" present in the UAV command room charged with watching the sky around the plane rather than the action on the ground could help the UAV take proactive measures to evade trouble.
I look at it this way - police helicopters generally provide a very necessary service by helping officials understand developing crises and track fleeing criminals. It's very rare that a police helicopter actually lands to unload officers who get involved in the situation. If all it's doing is observing, why do we need a huge helicopter staffed by 2-4 police officers flying around up there? A smaller craft with one or two people in an office monitoring the scene would be both cheaper and safer.
Flashing beacons and bright colors don't actually help that much in daylight. Every aircraft is already equipped with flashing beacon lights, but in daytime these are really mostly useful for ground operations. Also, video screens aren't nearly as good as the human eye for spotting planes. Maybe some sort of non-visible spectrum camera would work. The equivalent to "night-vision goggles" except designed around spotting metal objects against a sky. Radar-cam, or something.