Viewers of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show on Comedy Central are not accustomed to tuning in to learn about high-tech aviation developments. But in the episode linked here, Stewart conducts a lengthy (and amusing) discussion on unmanned flight with former F/A-18 Navy pilot “Missy” Cummings (callsign: “Shrew”), who is currently an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. She was on the show to promote a PBS Nova episode titled “Rise of the Drones,” in which she is featured.
Predictably, most of the discussion centered on military drone missions, but she did steer the conversation toward civilian use of unmanned aerial systems, predicting that within 10 years FedEx and UPS cargo airplanes will be flying without pilots on board. (Stewart expressed his relief that drones would not be used for actual home delivery of the packages, through an open window.)
As for personal drones, she said, “You can go to Brookstone or Amazon.com and buy one online.”
Check out this clip from The Daily Show; and the PBS website for information on the airing of “Rise of the Drones” in your area.