Drones over Arizona, the FAA rules remain up in the air - KMSP-TV

Drones over Arizona, the FAA rules remain up in the air

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The take off sounds like a thousand bees.

Hovering high above, gliding in the sky, capturing sweeping views.

"Drone is a negative term for them that people don't seem to like very much, so we try and stick with the term quadcopters," said Jeff Malefors.

But to the public and the FAA these are no model airplanes.

Jeff Malefors is among a growing group of toy-drone enthusiasts in Arizona flying into uncharted territory.

He's captured breathtaking footage of the Slide Fire, the fire's aftermath, and pictures from a recent protest at the State Capitol.

Drones, getting a bird's eye view for just a few hundred dollars.

"I could just pull out a course on Google maps, and it would fly the course for me and return to its home. So in 25 minutes I could have it flying, getting footage for me, and I wouldn't even have to do anything," said Malefors.

The FAA estimates about 8,000 drones will be in the United States skies in the next five years, but the rules regulating where these drones can go and what they can do remains up in the air.

"I really wish they would go ahead and regulate it so we can explore our options," said Ruby Byrd.

Options like selling the footage, the FAA has banned the use of drones for commercial purposes.

"They could shut us down, they sure could. I hope they don't, they are taking away a fun toy," said Eamon Doharty.

The main rules: drones have to be kept in line of sight, and you cannot fly near an airport or into someone's property.

But there's a lot of grey areas, and the FAA has to rule on like flying over crime scenes, fires, or national parks.

Meanwhile, the technology, and what these machines can do for this group, the sky is the limit.

"It's just amazing, you can fly them and take them basically everywhere... I don't feel limitations at all, even with the rules I've gotten," said Doharty.
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