Drone regulation is really up in the air - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Drone regulation is really up in the air

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – From photographers to model airplane enthusiasts, drones are becoming more and more popular. But the popularity comes with some problems, including how to regulate their use.

For a little club that meets in Carmel Valley, the hum never sounded sweeter.

"It's really the neatest thing I've ever seen," drone pilot Julian Jones said.

Spend five minutes with this group and it's easy to see just how amazing these machines are.

"Mine only goes about 30 miles per hour. I'm in the process of building a new one that will go about 50," Jones said.

Turn on the TV and chances are, something you see was shot with a drone -- news stories, commercials, even music videos. Right now anyone with a couple hundred bucks can go out and get one of them. The question is, should anyone be able to own one, and what about regulation?

With the ups of drones have come the downs. A little over a week ago, a drone crashed on the lawn of the White House, setting off a host of security concerns. A week before that, another drone loaded with drugs crashed near the San Diego-Tijuana border.

"What you could potentially do in the future with them is ridiculous," EZ Drone CEO Sean Daniels said.

For some insight we caught up with Daniels, CEO of San Diego-based EZ Drone. One look in his shop would have a gearhead drooling.

Sean's livelihood is built around an industry that is very new and highly unregulated. The FAA has started to roll out different rules, but by and large there's no enforcement of them.

"I definitely condone regulation. It needs to happen because there's always going to be someone doing something stupid with these. And right now they can technically get away with it," he said.

The question is, where will that come from? Another question is who will you regulate, everyone from production companies to kids at a park? Right now several states are considering legislation to regulate drones, but some worry it will be too stringent. Sean thinks the key lies with education.

"What I see is some sort of drone pilot certification emerging eventually. It's going to start as the commercial pilots because you need that certification to know the rules of the road when you're in the air," Daniels said.

Until then, you may find drones in commercials, and even clubs.

"The most unique request we had was from Jack Daniels to fly in clubs and large venues indoor and outdoor to drop shots with parachutes," Daniels said.

Next time you see a group of drone pilots, you may think of it as just a hobby. But remember, computers, even airplanes started out as just a hobby, and look where they are now.

"They're fun to fly. Honestly I think this is the future of technology," drone pilots Khoa Vu said.

Some of the footage used in this video story was shot using a GoPro camera.

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