12:52 PM

Do you really want to share the sky with these?

Is using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico a good idea? Some in Congress, the U.S. Border Patrol and at Homeland Security say yes, but AOPA questions their logic in a great article found here.

AOPA has also opposed creating restrictive airspace for UAV operations. A 15 nautical mile-wide TFR along the U.S. southern border, for example, would impact more than 100 airports, more than 1,300 based aircraft, and nearly 750,000 annual general aviation flight operations.
And when you read through Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Richard Skinner's written testimony before the a Congressional Homeland Security Committee, the cost of operating UAVs seems prohibitive:
One UAV requires a crew of up to 20 support personnel. The Hermes UAV, for example, costs $1,351 per flight hour to operate. A Cessna 182 with pilot would be about $200 an hour.
Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs, is their point man in this issue. As always, AOPA is on top of yet another very important problem facing GA, and as always, I am proud to be a member of such a vital organization.

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