Drones over Detroit

(WXYZ) - It's not something you see every day: a miniature helicopter darting across the Detroit sky.

It's called a drone and there is one equipped with a camera that Harry Arnold hopes will help firefighters.

"In a fire situation they can't see where they're aiming their hoses," said Arnold.

Harry has taken his drone to a number of big fires. He hopes to prove its value as an eye in the sky for firefighters and maybe show them where the trouble is before, unsuspecting, they walk right into it.

But drones are showing up in all kinds of places. Take, for instance, the demolition of the Brewster-Douglas Housing project. There was a  drone there operated by Detroit multi-media group "Hello Innovations"--giving us a spectacular look more intimate than even our broadcast helicopter can give.

And how about a flower delivery drone?

Wesley Berry was trying out the idea in Commerce Township right before Valentine's Day until the FAA grounded them, claiming that regulations don't allow for drone deliveries. 

By the way, a federal judge last week ruled the FAA has no jurisdiction over drone flights, and there's the problem.

Right now, drones over Detroit is kind of a novel idea. There aren't that many of them in the air but one can imagine a day when the Detroit sky is filled with drones.

So, in this Wild West phase of commercial drones--who's going to lay down the law? Well, the FAA, having been shot down in Detroit, is trying to come up with rules, regulations and licensing.

At first, Harry Arnold resisted the restrictions. Now, he welcomes them, thinking that licensed drone fliers

But for now, for an investment of as little as a couple hundred dollars, the skies the limit.


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