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Questions remain about local drone flights

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Upstate New Yorkers are fortunate that the Reaper drone lost over Lake Ontario on Nov. 12 didn’t go down over land.

It’s unsettling that Reapers are now FAA-licensed to fly in the airspace over our cities (Watertown, Syracuse and Oswego) or in their vicinity (Rochester and Utica).

Those of us downwind of the toxically radioactive Oswego nuclear plants are particularly lucky that that disabled Reaper drone didn’t plow into those structures.

These weaponized Reapers, used domestically for “training” or internationally for extra-judicial assassination, are cloaked in secrecy.

This does not inspire confidence.

What chance is there that the Air Force’s own investigation will come clean about why and how this accident happened? Nor does Col. Greg Semmel’s lack of candor at his Nov. 12 post-crash press conference inspire confidence that that classified investigation will be made fully public.

At that conference Col. Semmel, commander of the Hancock Reaper Base just north of Syracuse, declared that the Reaper was as safe as other aircraft. However, as he must know, the Reaper accident rate reportedly is three times that of manned aircraft.

The Reaper kills hundreds and terrorizes hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. Do we really want them hovering our own skies?

Ed Kinane

Syracuse

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