A game of drones; flight rules still up in the air - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

A game of drones; flight rules still up in the air

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Drones can deliver a beautiful birds-eye view of San Diego but when they hover over homes or over backyards they can be intrusive and annoying.

Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick, an assistant professor of political sociology at the University of San Diego, recently conducted a study on drones and found a sharp increase in use across the country starting in 2012.

Drone regulations and rules are inconsistent but according to Choi-Fitzpatrick there are basic rules to abide by. Drones cannot fly above 400-feet. Drones cannot be used for commercial purposes unless the operator has an exemption and drones cannot be flown near airports.

The rest of the regulations are, so to speak, up in the air.

"It's governments. It's corporations and it's your neighbor. It's your neighbor trying to start a business. This opened up a whole new set of conversations about what kind of rules need to get added to the relative modest list of rules," said Choi-Fitzpatrick.

Cities, counties and states have adopted their own rules but the FAA is expected to release their long awaited list of official rules.

"There is no real way to enforce these things at the moment," said Choi-Fitzpatrick.

The Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego is a group of drone operators who are doing it the right way.

"Being a responsible drone owner is key because it seems the irresponsible operators are the ones you see in the news," said Jim Bonnardel with Silent Electric Flyers of San Diego.

For now, it's mostly about common courtesy - drone unto others as you would have them drone unto you.
 

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