FAA To Rule On Domestic Drone Guidelines By May 14

James Johnson

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is preparing to issue a decision in May that will determine how domestic drones can be used for various purposes in the United States.

Among the unmanned aircraft are devices that can search from everything from missing-persons to searches for drug dealers and fugitives on the run.

Under FAA regulations operators will be told how far each drone can fly and who will be able to launch the aircraft.

The decision must include guidelines that are set by May 14 under Federal law which was recently approved and signed into law by President Obama.

In the meantime supporters of the domestic drone program say the program should launch soon in the public's "best interest" so it can begin catching criminals in the act. Opponents argue that the program involves invasive domestic surveillance. Safety advocates also worry that the drones will endanger other aircraft because pilots located on the ground will not be able to easily see and maneuver away from both commercial and private airplanes.

The FAA decision due by May 14 applies only to police and first-responder drones that weight less than 4.4 pounds each however domestic drones may one day be larger and used for other purposes such as crop dusting. The FAA is expected to set out guidelines for government and commercial use of drones in US airspace by 2015.

The Wasp III drone (pictured above) which has already been requested by police in Gadsden, Ala is currently helping police in the UK solve various crimes.

Do you think government drones used for various surveillance reasons is a violation of privacy rights or a good way to catch criminals and runaways as quickly as possible?