In response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, Norway banned Russian aircraft from flying over Norway, or the operation of non-Russian registered aircraft by a Russian citizen.

The bureaucrats interpreted the law to ban anyone with Russian citizenship from flying a toy quadcopter or model aircraft over any part of Norway.

A couple months back, Norway arrested someone for flying a drone – from his yacht – off the coast of the extraordinary remote Svalbard Island.

The individual left Russia in 2008, and in 2014 was granted citizenship in Britain, where he works for a university. However, he has dual citizenship with Russia, and his father had once been a Russian railway executive.

Based on a bizarro interpretation – we went from banning Russians from piloting actual aircraft over Norway to banning the use of toys by people who don’t live in Russia, and have citizenship in non -Russian countries … and calling the use of toys in an isolated, remote area – spying and terrorism.

A Court eventually ordered all charges dropped in this matter saying flight of small drones was never covered by the flight restrictions placed on Russians.

The original accusations received widespread international publicity (just search Google News). However, there’s been hardly any mention that charges were dropped. From a propaganda standpoint, this creates in the publics’ mind, a fear of drones.

We saw in the lead up to the FAA’s regulatory war on drones during 2018-2020, frequent reports of “drone sightings” – many of which made no sense or didn’t happen. The FAA’s rulemaking proceeding cited examples that were in other countries – not the U.S. But the FAA has no authority over operations in other countries, so these were irrelevant. But they sounded scary and that was the point.

This was a propaganda war by the US Department of Homeland Security to create political support for heavy handed regulations of toy model aircraft. Home built model aircraft have been flown in the U.S. for over 90 years! But HHS has “monsters under my bed” fears – which translates into toys turned into weapons of terrorism.

HHS wanted to track all toy model aircraft, in real time, once per second, flying anywhere in the US, even inside your home or garage. While they didn’t get what they wanted (they wanted each aircraft to connect via the cellular network to transmit its location once per second into a national database for real time tracking) – they did get a Congressionally requested mandate for real time “Remote ID” transmissions from each model aircraft. Separately, they (FAA, really) hired a third-party firm to develop systems to intercept and record all Remote ID broadcasts – creating the national tracking system through different means.

There’s more on where this is going over on my 3D blog (photography, video, drones).

Coldstreams Skeptic