When you hear the word "drone," you may start seeing vaguely sinister images in your mind's eye of spy cameras invading your privacy. It's true that military drones in foreign countries have a scary reputation, but here at home, most drone pilots are harmless hobbyists enjoying a fun American pastime.
The reality is that remote-controlled planes and helicopters have been around for a long time. New technology has made them cheaper and easier to obtain and maintain. We've also started calling them "drones." Now that there are more of them in the sky, we're running into complicated issues of safety and regulation.
Today, the National Transportation Safety Board overturned an administrative judge's ruling that dismissed a $10,000 Federal Aviation Administration fine against a drone owner named Raphael Pirker. It was the FAA's first fine against a drone operator. The agency fine was for unauthorized flying, and in this case, it called the flight "careless or reckless."