The San Francisco Bay Area is home to a growing group of drone hobbyists — aviation fans who spend their free-time building and flying small, remote-controlled helicopters and airplanes.
While the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is still finalizing the laws surrounding the commercial usage of these flying machines, thousands of hobbyists have already taken to the skies. In June, the FAA granted BP approval to use a drone over land in Alaska.
As drone technology becomes more mainstream, the ranks of area drone photographers, engineers, builders and even sport fighters are likely to increase. The implications for industries from journalism to agriculture may be profound.
What are drone fans really like, and why do they love this new technology so much? We traveled to Oakland and to Stanford University’s UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) club to find out.