The following story has moved as this week’s Monday Spotlight, a feature showcasing the best off-the-news enterprise in the AP report:
DRONES AT HOME
WASHINGTON — 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 human photographer to capture. But no one got the Federal Aviation Administration’s permission first, and the flights soon ended. The agency bars commercial use of drones no matter how seemingly benign. 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 — and final regulations could be years away. 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. The use of commercial drones, most of them small, is starting to spread countries where authorities have decided the aircraft presents little threat if operators follow a few safety rules. The drone industry and some members of Congress are worried the United States will be one of the last countries, rather than one of the first, to gain the economic benefits of the technology. By Joan Lowy. 1290 words, photos.