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FAA is investigating YouTube video of a drone firing a handgun

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A mechanical engineering student from Connecticut has attracted the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration, and not in a good way. 18-year-old Austin Haughwout had a viral hit on his hands earlier this month when he uploaded a YouTube video called “Flying Gun,” which depicts a custom-built drone aircraft with a standard handgun mounted on the front section. Not only does it fly with all that added weight, it can fire without spinning out of control. FAA officials are reportedly concerned, and an investigation is underway.

The FAA has only recently waded into the murky issue of drone use in the US with a set of draft rules released several months ago. The rules cover requirements for commercial operation of drones, and are seen by many as highly restrictive. Drone operators would need to pass a licensing test every two years and keep drones under 500 feet. Additionally, the vehicle would need to be in eyesight at all times, which would make delivery services like Amazon’s proposed Prime Air impossible.

Haughwout is currently a student at Central Connecticut State University, and according to the family, the weaponized drone is just one of many engineering experiments the young man is working on. The 14-second video shows the drone hovering and firing the gun four times. After each discharge the drone compensates for the recoil and resets for another shot. The four widely spaced propellers probably help it remain stable.

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