Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Drones: Coming Soon To A Farm Near You?

Mar 24, 2014
Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just for spies or for the battlefield. Farmers all over the country think drones can give them a leg up, too.

Jim Hill / KUNC

A new $1 million loan program is looking to help small business owners bring their stores or restaurants to the Denver International Airport.

Oklahoma was hit particularly hard by two massive outbreaks this year in what's been another deadly season of tornadoes in the U.S. Despite technology and forecasting improvements, scientists still have plenty to learn about how and why tornadoes form.

Currently, one of the best ways for researchers to understand how tornadoes form is to chase them. So off they go with mobile science laboratories, rushing toward storms armed with research equipment and weather-sensing probes.

Two people died Saturday in the crash-landing at San Francisco International Airport of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, San Francisco's fire chief says.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White says everyone who had been on board the flight is accounted for.

National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Debbie Hersman said investigators were being deployed to the scene.

"Obviously, we have a lot of work to do," she said, noting that it was too early to tell what had caused the crash.

Unmanned drones aren't just a tool for governments anymore. By as early as this year, the Federal Aviation Administration expects to propose regulations opening up the use of small, unmanned airborne vehicles — or drones — for commercial use.

Tens of thousands of these little, civilian drones are sold and piloted by hobbyists in the United States every year. Right now these drones are flown almost exclusively for non-commercial uses by enthusiast like Pablo Lema. Lema spends weekends flying his quardracopter around the San Francisco Bay.

The FAA is expected to decide whether to allow people to fly drones in certain parts of Colorado. That would be in a proposed FAA test site in this state... and it’s part of a larger effort to better understand whether the remote controlled, unmanned planes can be safely used in the airspace above communities - like airplanes or other aircraft.

Jsalvador4 / Wikimedia Commons

As the domestic use of drones become more prevalent, Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall is introducing legislation to ensure that the privacy rights of Americans are protected.

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Now that automatic spending cuts are causing wider pain, Congress has begun finding ways to adjust some of them.

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Air travelers are growing less and less happy. Automatic budget cuts are now leading to hundreds of flight delays, about half of all delayed flights this week.

NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

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