This Can’t be Good

I am not sure this is even worth giving attention to:

Some would say this video and a corresponding “secret” report shows a near collision between a remotely piloted vehicle (drone or “unmanned aerial vehicle” (“UAV”) to you and me) and a jetliner somewhere in Germany.  Others would say this is a hoax.

In either case, what is worth giving attention to is the concern of an accident involving a UAV and a piloted commercial jet.

Under a law signed by President Obama, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) is working to integrate UAVs into the national airspace by 2015.  Allowing small cars to join the road or highway on which big trucks drive is a good analogy of what this means fundamentally.  But, what will happen if (or when) an incident or accident occurs?

This scenario raises significant anxiety from an insurance, practical, and legal perspective.  Speaking of perspective, back when aviation first began in the United States, aviation and airplanes were considered “ultrahazardous activity.”  In other words, if you engaged in such activity, you would liable for any damages because you were knowingly engaging in an activity that was plainly dangerous.  It is an open question whether drones in the national airspace would be held to such a standard or something less stringent.

In any case, accident or no accident, a prominent and well respected political commentator recently opined that drones should be stopped entirely.