Send in the Drones

Article excerpt

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an unmanned aerial pizza-delivery vehicle

UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES aren't just raining missiles on Afghanistan and Pakistan - they're coming to the skies near you. UAV makers are eager to launch their wares in US airspace, and everyone from cops to scientists to hobbyists wants one. The FAA is still figuring out how drones and planes can play nice, but the first domestic uavs are already taking to the air. Below, some current and anticipated flight plans. - Dave Cilson

Eyes in the Skies The Border Patrol has 7 unarmed Predators, which it says have helped bust 15,000 lbs. of pot and 4,000 ? undocumented ;" border crossers. ^¿ In2003,the American Border Patrol, an Arizona anti-immigration group, launched its own UAV, the Border Hawk.tolookfor "invaders."

Hanging Around AeroVironment says its Global Observer's abilityto "loiter" at 65,000 feet for a week makes it perfect for mapping, weather tracking, crop management...oh, and homeland security.

Air Spray Programmable unmanned choppers have been sprayingJapanese crops since the early 1990s.

Seeing Green The makers of the $17,000 Draganflyer X6 helicopter say it's perfect for golf course owners who want "stunning pictures" of their fairways

Drone Alone Private citizens can fly their own drones, so long as they stay below 400 feet. …