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Drones are creating quite a buzz, part one

By Jonathan Petramala, Weekend Evening Anchor/Reporter, jonathan.petramala@krdo.com
Published On: Jul 21 2014 12:31:16 AM CDT

Some say the sky is the limit for "drone" technology, but regulators are struggling to keep up with the emerging technology.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

You may have already heard the buzz…word.

Drones.

A popular new word that isn’t even the right one to define a technology that seems to have swooped in from out of the blue.

“I’m not exactly sure how drone started to get used, it’s actually an incorrect term,” said Stan Vanderwerf, who worked with the devices while he was serving in the Air Force.  “The appropriate term is UAV or UAS, unmanned aerial vehicle or unmanned aircraft system.”

Vanderwerf believes in the UAS technology so much, he is hoping his 3-D printing business can grow by printing parts for them.

“The association of unmanned systems international is stating that a mature UAS industry will be about 90 billion dollars a year in economic value,” Vanderwerf said.

That is if they can clear another three letter acronym…the FAA.

“The FAA, unfortunately, has been way behind on getting rulemaking out,” Vanderwerf said.

The FAA only allows hobbyists the right to fly UAVs if they follow rules that have been set for other radio controlled devices.

-Keep the device under 400 feet.

-Maintain visual contact

-Stay away at least five miles from an airport, or notify air traffic control if you fly any closer.

-Absolutely no COMMERCIAL use.

The FAA is expected to outline new guidelines regarding UAS models by the end of the year, including protocols including commercial use.

But concerns over privacy and national airspace safety have left this process up in the air for years, although it hasn’t stopped people from breaking the rules, including in Southern Colorado.

Please stay tuned on Monday night at 10 pm for the second part of our story on the technology that is taking off.

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