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Comment Re: "anonymous" and "secure" what a joke (Score 1) 57

I think the goal they are trying to provide is sincere and valid. But, looking over their company, I don't see a reason to trust their implementation. Check the 'about' page and you'll see no description of anyone being a true data scientist with a Masters or Phd. To be credible, they would need to have a third-party security audit performed on their source code. No mention of that anywhere.

Because it's closed-source, you have no assurance the client and server are not juggling SSL keys and allowing a MITM attack to be performed at the request of a subpoena.

An easy step to credibility would be to publish their server's API and allow third-parties to implement their own mail client apps. Then they become a cloud service provider and leave the app development to others (in addition to a feature-poor POC app developed in-house).

Finally, not to beat a dead-horse here, but this phrase isn't confidence-building--

"By using open source encryption libraries, we can help guard against back doors designed to compromise your privacy."

No guarantee against back doors. They're just helping to guard against them.

Comment brick and mortar is an assett (Score 4, Interesting) 203

As the summary suggests, Walmart does have an advantage in its distribution network and storefront locations. At a greatly-reduced cost, Walmart could very quickly compete with Amazon for Same-Day delivery service if that proves to be lucrative.

Additionally, in the not-so-distant future, when autonomous vehicles become the norm, consumers could order online and send their own car to the Walmart distribution center to be loaded up with the groceries, etc. to reduce the cost of deliver.

Comment not a pool of geniuses (Score 1) 492

To some degree, the fact that nearly everyone else who's a hotshot in the tech industry is there means it's easier to find the talent you want there.

I think there's a widespread misconception that San Fran is this big mingling party of 'hot shots.' That talent pool is filled with clueless millennials as much as geniuses. Both groups of recruits think they are geniuses and will attempt to leverage unrealistic salaries.

As easy as it is to recruit from that genius pool next to the Bay, so too, is it easy to lose your genius back into the pool. Might make more sense to get them stranded out in Biloxi...

Comment Re:Hipsters fight over limited supplies of juice (Score 1) 554

I know you're only joking but.. As an EV driver I would much rather have the spaces far away from the building to minimize the chance of someone with an ICE car taking the EV spot for the convenience. When I need a charge, I really need a charge It saves them 100 feet of walking, but may be the difference of my making it home or not. Also, I would like to have laws that if an ICE car blocks an EV spot we can call a tow truck to have them removed. I must admit to having been tempted to letting all the air out the tires on an ICE car that blocked an EV spot when I was low on charge and really could have used a charge (I ended up driving 45 on the highway risking my life, but I made it home with a few percent left).

Comment Re:Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 1) 228

Yes, I do. And, even in the 4,000 pound helicopter I fly, a drone strike will absolutely take it out of the sky.

Did a little looking around and found one case of a 2.4 pound bird taking a helicopter out of the sky. The windshield had been intentionally replaced with a weaker one, and even then the helicopter only crashed because the bird hit the fire extinguisher, which then hit the engine controls. So don't swap out your windshield.

Yes, that was the accident I was referring to, but most helicopters don't have bird resistant windshields (neither of the two types that I fly do). Additionally, some more quick googling finds more accidents:

This one took out a pitch link on the rotor head with the same kind of bird as the PHI crash we referred to I found a paper with an interesting quote:

Most of the helicopters are damaged by small birds (more than 220 helicopters) and only a few helicopters have been impacted by large birds. As obvious in the plot, the small birds mostly cause minor damages and no helicopter has been destroyed by the small sized bird. The medium sized birds have destroyed most of the helicopters and have caused most of the substantial damages to the helicopter

Unfortunately it doesn't define the size of small, medium, or large birds, but my guess is that large would be a goose sized bird (which I found lots of fatal accidents, but those are clearly much bigger than the sized drones we're talking about. I'm guessing (but it's a guess) that when they talk about medium sized birds we're talking about birds in the relative size of drones, i.e. 2-5 pounds (but that's just a guess).

This is just totally made up and wrong. First of all there are battery powered ADS-B-IN systems (I use a Stratus 2 with about 8 hours of battery life while doing ADS-B plus AHRS plus providing a WiFi hotspot plus built in GPS) - an ADS-B system running for the length of a typical drone flight would use very little power.

The Stratus 2S, according to the web page, requires an iPad to work, is 10 oz, costs $900 on its own, and isn't a transponder anyway, so it's completely irrelevant. Their transponder with GPS is $3500, not battery powered, and looks like your average drone won't carry it.

The Stratus is designed to talk to a specific aviation iPad application: Foreflight (which we all love), so it does a lot of stuff a straight ADS-B doesn't need to do (like provide a WiFi connection to an iPad). I used it as an example to show that battery usage is low. Your comment about the transponder reminded me to mention that some people may not be aware that there are two frequencies in use for ADS-B. There is the 1090Mhz band which does use a transponder, but there is also the 978Mhz band which just uses a regular radio. I've been assuming all along that is what drones would use. Here is an example of a complete ADS-B IN/OUT system that I've seen Yes, it's $2,000, but keep in mind that this is a certified piece of gear for aircraft. Note that it weighs less than a pound (I picked it up at a trade show and it was very light despite being in a metal enclosure with heavy connectors etc.). Also note the total current draw: 0.2 amps @ 12 VDC. To put the cost into perspective, we once took apart an aviation clock from one of our helicopters (that costs $300.00) and my EE buddy said it was less than a dollar in components. You can imagine what's inside this FreeFlight ADS-B: a small microprocessor and a transmitter. If the Futaba type companies can't produce that for under $100 they aren't even trying...

Exactly. And there's no reason to expect the FAA to be any sort of reasonable concerning drones, since they haven't, instead first banning them entirely and now banning them unless you meet a rather ridiculously onerous set of requirements -- including being a certified pilot.

Probably a lot of drone operators are reacting this way because it's the first time they've dealt with the FAA. I've been dealing with FAA for 30 years and I'm not surprised at their actions, but I also don't think it's as dismal as you think. There are a few factors at work.

FAA, like many government agencies, is underfunded. Their people are stretched thin, and their assignments are to keep the current infrastructure working. They do have small groups working on future stuff (like NextGen) but those people are busy on those assignments. So, when a new thing like drones hits them, their first reaction is to ignore it and hope it goes away. When night vision goggles first came out I was interested in them but basically was told "don't even bother we're not going to let you fly with them". It took a decade of work by the medical helicopter community to get them certifiable/usable. So why am I hopeful? The drone community has not only the community of people who want to operate them for fun, it also has business and government agencies pushing for access to the NAS. It's high profile enough that there is no doubt in my mind that FAA is finally awake and has people dedicated to drones. We'll see what the timeframe ends up being, but my feeling is that this will be initially resolved in 2-3 years (trying to get FAA to react much quicker than that is difficult unless it's a true emergency). By the way, this is based on conversations with both operations type guys and also one guy who's involved in NextGen...

In my opinion, and given that the drone already has a functioning GPS system

Wait, what? Who said it does? A fully-autonomous drone which follows waypoints has to, but a simple camera drone operated FPV or LoS quite likely does not.

Yeah, probably a nomenclature issue there. When I say "drone" I mean an autonomous vehicle, thus my comment about the GPS. I recognize there are human directed RC vehicles as well. I don't see them as nearly the problem that the autonomous vehicles are, but they still should have access to the NAS. One question for you is what kind of distances people reasonably want to operate in LoS. If those distances are small enough, it might be enough to have a land based ADS-B beacon (i.e.. you could wear it on your belt or have it sitting next to your other gear). If I had an indication that the LoS aircraft is nearby, and you hear me coming in my helicopter, it's probably not a big deal. I'm a lot more worried about the guy who is inside a building operating an autonomous vehicle who isn't even aware that the helicopter is nearby.

I'd certainly like to fly larger ones, but I don't think the same requirements need to apply. If someone builds a drone as big as a Bell 206, certainly regulations similar to those of the helicopter (except those related only to crew and passenger safety) should apply. The kinds of regulations pilots would like to impose on all drones would eliminate small, inexpensive drones entirely, which is likely the point. You want a transponder which is a significant percentage of the weight of the drone, and you want the thing to automatically land when a piloted aircraft is around -- which not only rules out small drones, but means the drones have to be disposable, because much of the time it automatically "lands" it won't be recoverable.

I agree with you that really large drones probably aren't an issue, especially because ADS-B is a no brainer for them. If they are that big adding a 1 pound ADS-B system isn't a problem, but also if they're that big we can see and avoid them (at least until there are millions of them in the airspace!).

I also think that featherweight drones (the weight of a small bird like a sparrow) should probably be able to be operated without any required gear below some altitude like 500 feet with some common sense limitations like not right at an airport (but probably even 1/4 mile away from the airport should be okay).

It's the in-betwen size that becomes the issue: small enough it's not easy for pilot to see and avoid, big enough to be a danger if it impacts the windshield or other weak parts of the helicopter (pitch links, tail rotor).

When I said a drone might land when an aircraft is near I was envisioning using the (fairly standard?) "return to here" feature that lots of autonomous drones have for when there is loss of signal. Depending on the drone and the operation I could see either a return home, or a pre-programmed series of safe spots where the drone can come to a low hover while an aircraft is nearby. When I say "nearby" I'm thinking something like "within a mile and below 2,000 feet", i.e. close enough that simple overflights are unlikely to trigger the response, but your neighbor landing his airplane in his pasture would...

The pilots I know just want to share the airspace without getting killed by someone with a drone who doesn't know what they're doing. It'll take some time to figure out a good way to coexist, and all pilots want is to avoid loss of life while we're figuring it out.

Right. So initially ban drones, then drag this "figuring it out" process until the heat death of the universe. The FAA appears interested only in setting the barriers for using drones so high that only a multinational could afford to jump through their hoops. And that's probably a compromise; they'd rather just ban them entirely as they did before some recent laws were passed.

Yeah, like I said, I've been dealing with the FAA for 30 years and it really does seem sometimes like heat death of the universe is on their "pretty soon now" list :-)

Seriously, you have to understand how the FAA (and most bureaucracies) work. The prime directive is cover your ass. The guy who recommends a quick fix that turns out to have disastrous consequences loses his career. I once had an FAA inspector delay a certification for a year... given that he was retiring I think it was just his way to pass the risk onto his successor. The FAA sees it's main mission is to insure safety within the NAS. So, yeah, in their mind the way to proceed is to not allow the proposed action until it can be researched, tested, run up and down the flagpole several times, and finally promulgated as law. The thing is, I don't totally disagree with this because we are after all talking about human lives. If they institute a poorly thought out policy and some airliner crashes they are in deep doo-doo. (They don't care much about my helicopter, if I get killed by a drone it won't make enough of a stink to get anyone in the FAA in serious trouble).

The good part for drone operators is that I actually see that the subject is now being talked about in FAA circles - it's actually being thought about. This is actually a great victory for drones. It means the first step has already been taken. Believe me, it can be hell to get the FAA to take the first step (refer back to your statement about heat death). Now that this agency is finally moving, I expect they are putting together committees and teams to study the issue, talk to the NextGen people, and figure out how to make this happen. Thus my estimate of 2-3 years! (but that doesn't mean they won't relax some rules during those 2-3 years, just don't expect any kind of permanent rule changes in less than that).

If you'd like access to the airspace, I suggest you tone down your attitude and try cooperating with the people who are on the side of drone usage

Except drone pilots and manufacturers, there really aren't any.

I'm pro-drone, and lots of my pilot friends are as well, and some of them own drones, so it's not the vast pilot conspiracy that you fear. Right now I think the drone community needs to keep steady pressure (as opposed to shrill demands for instant action - that just won't happen). It doesn't hurt to have a lobbying group (GA has AOPA and NBAA) to help in setting up rules (drone manufacturers should be funding AMA or something like that if they seriously see a future in the business).

If I want access to the airspace in my lifetime -- hell, if I just want to continue flying my models non-commercially without paying the AMA's Danegeld -- I'm just going to have to disregard the regulations and risk a life-ruining fine. This will likely make things more rather than less dangerous, especially for helicopter pilots, but as the princess said "The more you tighten your grip, the more will slip through your fingers". Asking nicely won't get anywhere. That's been tried and the answer was "Are you a pilot? Do you have a special certificate of airworthiness? Then, no".

If you believe AMA is in the fight to get FAA to allow access, their $38/$75 membership charge is actually a pretty reasonable cost to have a lobbying group trying to get drone access to the NAS. If you don't think their goals align with yours, then by all means don't join them. As for operating outside the regulations, if you are pretty cautious the chances of getting a huge fine is unlikely, but it's certainly non-zero and as I mentioned previously, not only are drones on the FAA radar they are also on law enforcement's radar. The problem is the drone operator may think he's not presenting a risk, but he might not realize he's in some airspace that someone is using, notices his operation, and drops a dime on him. That could definitely earn him a knock on the front door. In talking with our Tower chief a couple days ago he mentioned that they are processing paperwork for drone operations - that there was a guy a couple miles from the airport (i.e. inside the Class-D airspace) that was given permission to operate his drone over his property. So, you might look into what it takes to file a request to operate your drone. Typically there isn't a cost involved, but some of the paperwork can be difficult to fill out and you might decide it's not worth it. I assume you've already read this FAA web page

Comment Re:Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 2) 228

1) I've been flying helicopters 30 years and I think I know what will and will not take down a helicopter. Ask PHI and the families of the 9 people who were killed when a 2.4 pound bird went through the windshield. You think a 2.4 bird is going to cause less damage than a 2.5 pound drone? And... are you willing to limit drones to a maximum weight of 2.5 pounds or would you like to be able to fly larger ones in the airspace?

By the same token, I expect private and commercial aircraft to stay the *F%$* above 500 feet unless taking off or landing.

2) You might expect aircraft to stay above 500 feet, but you have no regulatory basis for that belief. The current situation is that we are allowed to operate below 500 feet when we take certain precautions, even when not taking off or landing. You might not like it, but until you get the FAA to change those regulations (which they are very unlikely to do) the fact is that even at 100 feet you may be sharing the airspace with us.

Buy a drone, fly it, *learn how it works*, then you can contribute seriously to this discussion.

3) So, I have to buy a drone before I can contribute to the discussion? Do you have to get a pilot license before you get to contribute to the discussion?

Your attitude is exactly what is going to polarize people against drone usage. I was talking with our FAA Tower chief last night and he mentioned that MedFlight has been complaining about so many drones around the hospitals and around scene calls that the Massachusetts State Police air wing now is on alert to chase down drone operators who are not following regulations. They've specifically asked us to keep an eye out for drones and report them to the police, much like has had to happen with laser pointer attacks.

If you'd like access to the airspace, I suggest you tone down your attitude and try cooperating with the people who are on the side of drone usage, otherwise you could easily see people throwing up roadblocks. Sure, drones are going to eventually happen. Would you rather have it happen in the next 2-3 years or would you like to polarize the aviation community and have it delay drones for 10 years? Right now I'm still on the side of sharing the airspace with drones if the safety concerns can be met, but after the last couple of discussions on Slashdot I'm starting to wonder whether it's worth it.

Comment Re:Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 1) 228

You know how much damage my 2 lb "drone" will do if it hits your thousand pound helicopter?

Yes, I do. And, even in the 4,000 pound helicopter I fly, a drone strike will absolutely take it out of the sky. The rotor wash will not move the drone out of the way. This is the second time I've heard this (maybe you're the same person as last time). Your assumption is faulty on a number of levels. A helicopter produces thrust by either moving a smallish amount of air very fast (in a hover) or a large amount of air relatively slowly (when we are in motion). If I flew a few feet over your head at 50 knots you would only feel a very gentle breeze, because in this case the helicopter is moving a huge volume of air down just a little bit. It's certainly not enough to move an object, whether that be a bird, drone, or such.

Secondly, there's a time issue: With a 30-40 foot rotor diameter, that means 15-20 feet of it is in front of the rotor mast. If the helicopter is moving at even 40 mph (i.e. slow flight) or even if the helicopter is stationary and the drone is moving at 40 mph that's 58 feet per second (40*5280/3600), so the time the object is under the rotor disk before it reaches the mast is 1/4 of a second. Even if there was a lot of downwash (which there isn't) it wouldn't move an object significantly in 1/4 of a second. It's actually a lot worse than that, because the windshield is 10 feet in front of the mast - the distance from rotor tip to windshield is actually closer to 10 feet - less in some ships like a MDHC-500 so, maybe 1/8th of a second. It doesn't matter, the basic idea is that even at slow speeds like 40 mph, that drone (or bird) is going to go through the windshield. It's ballistics not aerodynamics at that point. The reason most birds aren't struck is because at about 100 feet away they actively dive out of the way. If a bird doesn't do that, trust me it will strike the helicopter (speaking from experience).

As for ADS-B, it apparently costs several thousand for a system (including transponder), there's no battery-powered version (you really want it sucking power from the flight battery?), and it's going to weigh more than the drone.

This is just totally made up and wrong. First of all there are battery powered ADS-B-IN systems (I use a Stratus 2 with about 8 hours of battery life while doing ADS-B plus AHRS plus providing a WiFi hotspot plus built in GPS) - an ADS-B system running for the length of a typical drone flight would use very little power. The transmitter required if you were going to implement ADS-B-OUT wouldn't need to have the reach of a full blown ADS-B system because you'd only be interested in talking to nearby aircraft, but even a full blown ADS-B OUT system would use a small amount of power because of the intermittent nature of the transmission. Lots (most?) drones implement a video downlink transmission - this uses tremendously more power than an ADS-B system would need (video encoding, and a constant bitstream requires a fair amount of battery). The only reason there aren't battery powered ADS-B-OUT systems is the FAA won't currently allow it, but there is no doubt in my mind that the power requirements of ADS-B for a 1/2 hour flight are extremely modest.

In my opinion, and given that the drone already has a functioning GPS system, adding a battery powered ADS-B IN/OUT system to a drone should be able to be done for well under $100.00. I think FAA will seriously consider an ADS-B Lite for usage by drones, ultralights, etc. in order to further reduce the cost (and frankly, to not flood the current ADS-B frequencies with drone data). There is no reason we can't have drones participate in an affordable and low overhead fashion.

Comment Re:Rules v. consequences (Score 1) 228

I really disagree with this. We were doing a lot of construction and real estate photography work which went 100% away to drones and no pilot I know ever complained or tried to stop it. It would be silly to try - the economic benefit is impossible to argue with. One person I knew who's entire business was aerial photography saw the business changing and just decided it was time to get out of that business, rather than try to be competitive with a low cost solution like a drone. She certainly never tried to obstruct the new way of doing that work.

The pilots I know just want to share the airspace without getting killed by someone with a drone who doesn't know what they're doing. It'll take some time to figure out a good way to coexist, and all pilots want is to avoid loss of life while we're figuring it out.

Comment Re:Rules v. consequences (Score 1) 228

For example, when it comes to drone flights, why should drone flights be encumbered by general aviation at all? Why are low-flying executive joy rides more valuable than energy efficient, low cost commercial drones?

Because General Aviation is a lot more than low-flying executives and it's been around and well regulated since the 1930s. Drones and GA can coexist. Why do you argue as if it's an either or situation?

Comment Re:Yeah, that's sound about right (Score 1) 228

Helicopter pilot here. I agree with you about geese vs drones. Not sure whether you meant that drones should require a full pilot license? I think maybe just a license that would take about 8 hours of study in order to pass the test. Make sure people understand the regs/airspace, and give the FAA something to take away if they abuse the privilege.

I also was posting recently in a Slashdot discussion on drones suggesting that requiring ADS-B is not such a big hardship, especially if they develop an ADS-B lite that is low power/low range. Also, I think it's reasonable for the drone to automatically land if an aircraft is close. I was a little surprised by the responses I got: basically, there should be no requirements on drones, even a small expense is too draconian. I think it's going to be an uphill battle with some people.

I also think that FAA should exempt smallish drones (say, the size/weight of a sparrow) if operated below 400 feet. Small enough that a collision with an aircraft is unlikely to cause a problem, low enough that it won't bother anyone but us helicopter pilots. Probably need to include some maximum speeds that the drone will move at (i.e. slow enough that it won't be slamming into a helicopter).

Agree with you we should fix this before someone gets hurt.

Comment Re:Why should the FAA allow drones without COAs? (Score 1) 184

Sure, as soon as we institute a mandatory death penalty for any general aviation pilot who causes any fatalities.

Well, that was exactly the point I was trying to make - that's exactly what we have now - when there is a collision in flight the pilot most likely is going to die. Right now there is a disparity in the taking of risks, in that the pilot and his passengers are in mortal danger, and in general the drone operator is taking no risk to his person at all. This, and the low cost of entry to having a drone, mean it's possible (likely?) for people to operate drones in a reckless manner endangering airborne people. I think that whatever solution we arrive at needs to take into account that the average person who buys a drone probably can't be relied upon to understand and respect the risk they can be placing upon the other users of the airspace.

Comment Re:Why should the FAA allow drones without COAs? (Score 1) 184

You make some good points, and I don't really disagree (except that the pilots will scream bloody murder) but I'd like to make a few comments:

1) I don't think General Aviation will be untouched, and in fact if what I hope happens (drones incorporated into the ADS-B system) there will probably be an expense to all of General Aviation to modify our ADS-B equipment. Additionally, we're already affected in that part of preflight planning for a mission now includes identifying NOTAM'd drone operation areas and marking them on the chart so that we're able to avoid those operations. As the numbers of drones increases, that workload will increase (I pointed out in another posting that currently there are 6 areas around my local airport). I would be surprised if in 10 years the airspace I work in (eastern Massachusetts) doesn't have at least 10,000 drones in the air when I go flying.

2) I agree that lots of stuff that was done in manned aircraft will be done better by drone. We've already seen this - construction progress photography work and real estate photography are pretty much 100% gone because it's now being done by drones. And you're right that some people will lose their jobs (or already have lost their jobs) and yet the pilot groups are not screaming bloody murder. We realize that there are jobs that are done better with a drone and it's pointless to argue against that.

3) What I don't want to see is tasks that can not be done by drones no longer be able to be done by aircraft (at all) because it would be too dangerous with all the drones around. For instance, if medical evacuation flights can't land at the site of an automobile crash because the area is swarmed by drones taking pictures, that would be a problem. Or the recent example of fire fighting being shut down because of the presence of drones in the area.

4) As an engineer I tend to think of technical solutions, and this one seems pretty easy to solve. We already mix it up with small drone like animals (birds). If you make a drone autonomously act like a bird (gets out of the way when an aircraft approaches) you'll be 50% of the way there. If you then allow the pilots to know of the presence of the drone through a cockpit system like ADS-B displays, I think you'd be 100% there. If the equipment is required on most/all drones the cost should be less than $100 (maybe closer to $25) and would give the added benefit of allowing drones to operate higher than 4-500 feet.

Comment Re:Why should the FAA allow drones without COAs? (Score 1) 184

I didn't mention the windshield because I truly don't think a quadcopter would remain airborne long enough to hit it (my assertion that the main rotor would move it), unless the pilot is intentionally trying to run through it. If that's the case, no amount of regulation is going to help.

No, it doesn't work that way. The downwash of the rotor at speed is not going to move something like a drone out of the way. It won't move a small bird out of the way, nor even a child's balloon. You're probably thinking of a hovering helicopter, not a helicopter that is in flight. In the case of a helicopter in flight if the object is at the altitude of the windshield, it's pretty much going to go through the windshield and take out the crew. Any bird larger than maybe a sparrow will go through the windshield. Certainly a DJI will...

In the case of the DJI F550 Hexacopter video, it's not a question of stability. It's not a question of whether it fell or not. It's a question of an object hanging in the air where an aircraft could have hit it. He says in the comments:

My arguments for performing a high altitude flight at all were as follows:
- No airplanes in this area ever fly as low as I did in the video
- There is generally not much air traffic in this area at all
- I checked with flightradar24.com before flying
- Military, police, and emergency flights are virtually non-existant in this area
- The multirotor was supposed to go straight up and straight down again

The problem with this is:

1) 99% of helicopter flying is done below 3,000 feet (so, he was definitely in the airspace we fly in).
2) "generally not much traffic" is not the same as "I know there was no traffic in the area"
3) flightradar24 (which is a relay of approach radar) only shows tagged aircraft - it's not going to show VFR/1200 traffic, and it's not going to show traffic at low altitude (where he was), i.e. it will almost never show my aircraft as most of my work is flying as untagged and often I'm below radar coverage anyway.
4) "Military, police, and emergency flights are virtually nonexistent"... But what about commercial operators operating off airway? How would he know?
5) "The multi rotor was supposed to go straight up and straight down again"... how would that prevent me from hitting it? If it happens to be there as I fly through the airspace, whether it's going up or down is immaterial. Just being there at the wrong altitude at the wrong time is a potentially fatal problem.

This also illustrates the problem with both him and you. He took these steps (like looking at flightradar24) not understanding that it wasn't showing the traffic that he was actually endangering. You think you know what you're doing, and you think you are taking precautionary steps, but in fact you don't know what you are doing and you're endangering people's lives .This is the best argument of all for the FAA to require an operator license in order to fly a drone. At least then there can be a course of training about how to avoid being a danger to air traffic, rather than people thinking they are being safe when they are not, just like your assumption that main rotor downwash or tail rotor downwash will help to avoid a collision which is totally wrong.

Apologies for the brashness, but is this lined with tinfoil, as well? Do you actually see them around Boston (directly see, not 'think you see'), or are you just playing into the media fear? You yourself even noted that the chance is low.

No, we don't see them and that's the problem!. We know they are out there: at this moment there are 6 NOTAMs for drones in the local area of my home airport. These are just the ones that people have bothered to notify the FAA about. There is no doubt in my mind that there are many many others. I can't see them. How do I avoid hitting them?

Your last few sentences are pretty much the only reasonable thing you've said. I am wholeheartedly with you on the need for better QA, both for public safety, and to protect the investment. Speaking about DJI products specifically, the motors are actually pretty solid, but the rest of it is very cheaply produced. I'd love to see higher standards. On the other hand, the fact that these are relatively flimsy is precisely why I think the blind fear and potential for serious damage is overstated.

It seems you are not understanding the problem at all. My point about the FAA requiring the manufacturer of my aircraft to achieve something like a billion to 1 chance against a mechanical failure that will result in a fatal accident means: I'm asking how you're going to guarantee me a billion to 1 chance against a fatal drone strike on my aircraft. I don't understand whether you are thinking this is extremely unlikely to occur, or whether you don't think a collision is going to cause a fatal crash. Drones are going to be very very popular, both with hobbyists and commercially. There will be a ton of them added to the airspace in the next decade. I think collisions are inevitable if we don't provide some sort of collision avoidance. If you don't think a small drone will take out a helicopter you only have to look at the fatal crashes due to bird strikes, like the 8 people who died in PHI's S76 that hit a 2.4 pound bird.

We can't mandate ADS-B for birds, but we certainly can for drones.

You have a massage (from the Swedish prime minister).