Drones in a Busy Sky Download PDF
Can technology protect airplanes from the new threat?
It’s exactly 3:45 A.M. on a blustery and unseasonably cold Tuesday morning in May when an armed military guard wearing a bulletproof vest waves me through the west entrance of Edwards Air Force Base. On a typical weekday at this hour, almost everyone here would be asleep. But this isn’t a typical weekday. I’m in a briefing room with some two dozen researchers—mostly aerospace and computer software engineers, along with three Air Force pilots certified to fly drones—at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, which is located on this Southern California military base. We’re guzzling coffee and chomping doughnuts while Dan Sternberg, a NASA operations engineer and former F/A-18 Hornet test pilot, leads the meeting, ticking through the day’s flight plan. Continue reading