The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

March 17, 2014

US lags as commercial drones take off around globe

WASHINGTON (AP) — A small, four-rotor drone hovered over Washington Nationals players for a few days during spring training in Florida last month, taking publicity photos impossible for a human photographer to capture. But no one got the Federal Aviation Administration's permission first.

"No, we didn't get it cleared, but we don't get our pop flies cleared either and those go higher than this thing did," a team official said when contacted by The Associated Press. The drone flights ceased the next day. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named.

The agency bars commercial use of drones no matter how seemingly benign. The lone exception is an oil company that has been granted permission to fly drones over the Arctic Ocean, and it took an act of Congress to win that concession.

FAA officials say rules to address the special safety challenges associated with unmanned aircraft need to be in place before they can share the sky with manned aircraft. The agency has worked on those regulations for the past decade and is still months and possibly years away from issuing final rules for small drones, which are defined as those weighing less than 55 pounds. Rules for larger drones are even further off.

But tempting technology and an eager marketplace are outrunning the aviation agency's best intentions. Photographers, real estate agents, moviemakers and others are hurrying to embrace the technology. Drones have been used to photograph the two apartment buildings that collapsed in New York City this past week and a car crash in Connecticut. The AP, in fact, is one of several news organizations studying the possible use of drones.

Unless FAA officials receive a complaint or chance upon a news story that mentions drone flights, they have little ability to find out about violations. The ban was further undercut this month when a federal judge dismissed the only fine the FAA has imposed on a commercial drone operator. The judge said the agency can't enforce regulations that don't exist.

Text Only
AP Sports
  • Hall of Fame Strahan Football-6 [Duplicate] The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline HOF class COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy. Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats. Thomas, pitchers

    July 28, 2014 24 Photos

  • Clippers Sterling Basketball [Duplicate] It's all over but the arguing in Sterling trial LOS ANGELES (AP) — Only final arguments and a ruling remain in the trial to determine whether Donald Sterling's estranged wife can sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Lawyers for Sterling plan to argue

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NL Capsules SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Carl Crawford hit an RBI triple to back Hyun-Jin Ryu's third straight victory, and the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers completed a sweep of the San Francisco Giants with a 4-3 victory Sunday night. Ryu (12-5) moved within tw

    July 28, 2014

  • Baseball Capsules OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Brandon Moss hit a grand slam and the Oakland Athletics gave Jeff Samardzija more run support Thursday than he has had all season in a 13-1 victory over the Houston Astros. Jed Lowrie had three hits and drove in a run for the A

    July 25, 2014

  • Padres Cubs Baseball-6 [Duplicate] Padres rout Cubs 11-3 CHICAGO (AP) — You would never know the San Diego Padres have the lowest team batting average in the major leagues by the way they hit against the Chicago Cubs and starter Edwin Jackson. The light-hitting Padres broke out for a season-best nine runs

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Bears Emery Football [Duplicate] Bears aiming high in Year 2 under Trestman BOURBONNAIS, Ill. (AP) — This time last year, Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman was still something of a curiosity. He was a guy leading an NFL team for the first time as training camp started, plucked from Canada after spending several years out of

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Vikings Camp Football-3 [Duplicate] Punished Priefer: 'I went way below the bar' MANKATO, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings could hardly hold training camp without some kind of controversy or sideshow. This version came with quite the twist: special teams coordinator Mike Priefer in the spotlight. As players unpacked their vehic

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup ZURICH (AP) — FIFA has rejected calls to move the 2018 World Cup from Russia, saying the tournament "can achieve positive change." Russia's alleged involvement in shooting down a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last week prompted calls from some

    July 25, 2014

  • Padres Cubs Baseball [Duplicate] Wada struggles as Cubs fall 8-3 to Padres CHICAGO (AP) — When asked through a translator if he was nervous in his second big-league start, Tsuyoshi Wada said simply, "Yes." It showed as Wada (0-1) allowed five runs on five hits and four walks in four-plus innings in an 8-3 loss to San Diego

    July 24, 2014 5 Photos

  • Rays Cardinals Baseball-3 [Duplicate] Cobb outduels Lynn, Tampa Bay beats St. Louis 3-0 ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn was at the top of his game on Wednesday night. So was Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb and the Rays beat the Cardinals 3-0. Lynn gave up one earned run over 6 1-3 innings and continued a streak of fo

    July 24, 2014 3 Photos

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National