If you want to go to college to learn how to design, build, fly or fix a drone, your time has come. Many institutions of higher learning around the Northwest are recognizing that unmanned aircraft could become a key technology of the future.

It's been about a year since Google (now known as Alphabet) first introduced its drone-delivery system known as Project Wing. The project now seems to have a timeline to become reality: 2017.

Reuters is reporting from an air traffic control convention:

The Boeing Company's unmanned aircraft subsidiary based in the Columbia River Gorge passed a milestone this week in commercializing drone technology.

Consumer drones look like child's play after you get a look at the unmanned, water-dropping helicopter that was pitched to the federal government Wednesday. The K-MAX chopper is the largest of several remotely-piloted firefighting aircraft to get a tryout this year.

This post was updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing to fine a Chicago-based drone operator $1.9 million for repeatedly violating FAA regulations and flying in restricted airspace. The FAA charges that the company, SkyPan International, conducted 65 flights in the skies over Chicago and New York, some of the nation's most restricted and congested airspace. Forty-three of the flights took place over New York, without clearance from air traffic controllers.

Idaho fish and game regulators want there to be no doubt that hunters cannot use drones. In Oregon as well, lawmakers have tried to head off a fair chase issue before it rears its head.

This year is poised to be a difficult firefighting season in the Pacific Northwest. Most parts of Oregon and Washington experienced the warmest January to June since record keeping began in 1890, and the drought that has devastated California is steadily advancing north.

Making the season even more tense, firefighters are reporting an increasing number of near misses with unmanned drones, many of which appear to be sent by hobbyists or photographers trying to document fires.

The Federal Aviation Administration has recently granted clearance for takeoff to big batches of commercial drone operators.

Charles Platiau/Reuters

Paris woke up to a mystery today. On Monday night, at least five drones — the kind you can buy at a store, not the military variety — were spotted flying above Paris landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. The city, still in shock over the Charlie Hebdo attacks, is taking it seriously.

"When you have something like nighttime flights of unexplained drones over the heart of the capital, it certainly might be designed to rattle the nerves of the security forces," says Time Magazine's Vivienne Walt, who's based in Paris.

Sales of small, camera-equipped drones are soaring. Aside from air safety issues, these remotely-piloted aircraft can raise privacy concerns if they fly uninvited over your backyard or past your bedroom windows.

Advanced Aviation Solutions , an Idaho-based startup, has become the first company to win federal approval to use drones in farm settings.

Wildlife biologists in Oregon could soon have a new tool to count hard-to-reach salmon and coastal birds after the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the purchase of two drones to conduct aerial surveys.

A new letter from Amazon to the Federal Aviation Administration indicates the e-commerce giant is getting frustrated with the wait for approval to test package delivery drones.

New data from the FAA shows the frequency of close calls between manned aircraft and small drones is soaring.

Judging from holiday advertising, lots of teenagers and grownups will find a drone under the Christmas tree this year. But the increasing affordability and popularity of remotely piloted airplanes and choppers is leading to conflict in Northwest skies.