Over the past year, an increasing number of close calls with drones have prompted major airports to stop sales. However, our undercover investigation at Detroit Metro, found no shortage of them on shelves.
While drones seem to be innocent toys to some, pilots who’ve seen them up close know the real dangers.
“It was a four bladed drone, the color I’m not sure of. It just popped underneath our nose,” says one pilot.
That’s echoed by Retired USMC Col. Stephen Ganyard who tells us now, “Sooner or later we are going to lose an airplane due to a drone collision.”
The FAA has banned flying drones within 5 miles of airports. But, they still continue to pose serious problems. Throughout the country, they keep getting frighteningly close to planes.
Because of the close calls, there was an uproar in August, when drones were found for sale in stores at Kennedy and Newark. Officials in New York and New Jersey, moved fast banning the sale of drones immediately.
But here in Detroit, we found a very different picture.
Stroll into Brookstone in the McNamara terminal and you’ll find five different drones for sale. Among them, the $500 Parrot Bebop Drone which can fly more than a mile, and hit speeds of nearly 30 miles an hour. Some passengers are concerned.
“No, I don’t think it’s wise to sell them at airports, I think there is enough to worry about at airports in general,” says passenger Cristiana Chamberlain.
Passenger Robert Clay adds, “I wouldn’t sell them here, someone could easily walk out and send one up and it would mess with flights.”
But, others including airport spokesman Mike Conway disagree.
“What they sell at Brookstone is basically a toy. It’s not a concern for us. They’re in the secure area of the concourse. If you started flying around in the concourse, airport police would come and visit you and be very interested,” says Conway.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com