The drones are coming.

That may sound scary, but the future is here when it comes to the commercialization of drones. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 gives the FAA the ability to grant certificates for the use of small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAV), unmanned aerial systems (UAS) or “drones” for certain commercial purposes.

“The Section 333 Exemption process provides operators who wish to pursue safe and legal entry into the (National Airspace System) a competitive advantage in the UAS marketplace, thus discouraging illegal operations and improving safety,” according to the FAA’s website, which was last updated Feb. 11.

The FAA seems to be opening the door to all sorts of ways for companies across the U.S. to innovate and adapt using drones.

So far, they’ve granted over 3,000 petitions for such entrepreneurs as of Friday.

The 333 exemption has important implications — not just for insurance companies, developers and inspectors and a host of other industries — but for those who give you your news.

Journalists are already using the law to cover everything from natural disasters, major accidents and other newsworthy media.

Established in 2011, the Professional Society of Drone Journalists is already carving out “the first international organization dedicated to establishing the ethical, educational and technological framework for the emerging field of drone journalism,” according to their website. The society boasts more than 500 members of the media in 60 countries around the globe.

Their site details a “hierarchy of ethics,” when using drones for journalistic purposes.

The hierarchy is presented as a pyramid on PSDJ’s site with newsworthiness at the base of the pyramid, followed by safety, sanctity of law and public spaces, privacy and traditional journalism ethics atop the pyramid.

So, if you hear the buzzing of four, six or even eight small propellers and look up to see a fancy flying photo factory, don’t fret.

Chances are, drones will soon be flying your Amazon packages to your front yard, taking your favorite family photos or inspecting our bridges and other infrastructure.

“It is anticipated that this activity will result in significant economic benefits, and the FAA Administrator has identified this as a high priority project to address demand for civil operation of UAS for commercial purposes,” the FAA website said.

cthorp@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7552​

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