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Safety and security concerns about drones

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Police say operators flew a drone too close to an NYPD helicopter that was on patrol at the George Washington Bridge and forced the chopper to change its course to avoid a collision early Monday morning. As a result, the two men were arrested.

Daniel Rose is an aviation lawyer. He points out that a bird brought down the jet in the Miracle on the Hudson incident. So a drone could do that or worse.

"To have a piece of metal, essentially, that high up in the sky coming in contact with a plane, a plane's engine, a plane's flight control system, a helicopter, can do a myriad of different types of damages including bringing the plane down," Rose says.

Rose says drones are a fast-growing industry. Anyone can buy and operate one. He says the FAA is in the process of attempting to develop regulations, but that could take a year or longer.

"The FAA wants to be careful about it, exactly how they balance the commercial interests of people who legitimately use drones or unmanned vehicles compared to making sure the skies are safe and the people on the ground are safe," Rose says.

Security expert Robert Strang says the technology gives terrorists a useful tool, and New York is the No. 1 target. He says a drone could carry explosives.

"The size of the drone is small but it can carry plastic explosives and it can virtually go anywhere," Strang warns.

The head of the NYPD's counterterrorism bureau has also suggested terrorists could be looking at drones as a tool in plots against the city.

Drone buffs say the doomsday scenarios are far-fetched. They say most pilots are tech junkies who use the drones to take aerial photos.

Strang believes the New York Legislature shouldn't wait for the FAA to enact regulations. The state should pass laws of its own.

Strang thinks laws should include, "You can register a drone when you buy it. Not allowing it near New York City buildings, not using it near airports."

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