No Seat Belts Required: Drone Hobbyists Talk Safety

Christopher Vo pilots his aircraft as local drone enthusiasts gather for a Maryland fly-in at an airport in Laytonsville, Md.

Last month, I got hit by a drone. No, it was not a giant surveillance robot, or a sinister armed device. It was a cute little quadcopter about the size of a coconut, operated by a professor who built it for fun.

The hobby of building and flying drones has grown rapidly over the last few years, as technology has gotten cheaper and open source autopilotsoftware has been smoothed out by thousands of users. With such rapid growth comes the growing pain that most nascent hobbies run into — when to come up with rules.

Recent incidents — on scales much larger than the little drone hitting me in the shoulder — have gotten amateur drone users thinking more about safety.

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