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    The Year in Hobby-Drone Crash Porn

    Written by

    Brian Anderson

    Features Editor

    I'd like to say that it was "a big year for drones," or some such sweepingly vague and recap-ready digestible, but that'd be an obvious understatement. Unmanned aerial vehicles are everywhere, now.

    And I do mean everywhere. They're gathering intelligence and raining Hellfire missiles across the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, of course, from which all the hotly-contested parameters of the US's shadowy counterterror campaigns, it seems, have finally bubbled over into popular consciousness.

    But they're also in the hands and over the heads of peoples and interests outside of wartime's new theaters. Indeed, more civilian and small-fry hobby drones than ever before took to American skies and beyond in 2012--when President Obama, to cite only the game-changer development here Stateside, formally tasked the Federal Aviation Administration with incorporating "small" (see: under 55 pounds) unmanned systems into US airspace by no later than August 14, 2013. The lion's share of this fleet will be going live for surveillance, search and rescue, and other various "dull, dirty and dangerous' missions (food delivery, anyone?), though thousands, if not tens of thousands, of these 'lil guys are already airborne. With cameras rolling, they lay bear a nagging reality that cuts across the unmanned game writ large: Drones are not perfect. In fact, drones crash. Often. 

    I spent a good part of the past year sifting through hours of gorgeous GoPro drone reels--r/fpv and DIYDrones have been endless sources of this other brand of drone porn. (Hell, you can even watch a small glider crash in Drone On, Motherboard's completely invasive nosedive into the domestic drone boom.) So before looking up at all the hopes, fears, and uncertainties that 2013 may hold for civilian and hobby drones, why not toast some of those small-fry unmanned aerials that tumbled down to Earth, gracefully or glitchy or otherwise, in 2012? Go ahead and enlarge these to full screen, now. Probably best to just mute all these, as well, and let this blare in another tab. And hold on. 

    Bixler Flying Wing somewhere over Sweden (crash at 2:03)

    'Peace drone' over Minnesota (crash at 2:39)

    Quadrotor over Australian wetland (crash at 1:52)

    *Video by Justin Welander, an Aussie Park Service ranger featured in Drone On

    Tricopter 700 ft. over Ohio (crash at 3:40)

    Tricopter over cemetery somewhere in Tennessee (crash at 2:38)

    I'm like 'Whoa, turn left!' Then I'm like oh crap game over!

    Reach Brian at brian@motherboard.tv. @thebanderson

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