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Flying A Drone Through Fireworks May Land You In Prison

Discussion in 'News' started by seminole360, Jul 5, 2014.

  1. Elginet

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    Interesting article. Bottom line is Common Sense.....period.
     
  2. Jenn348

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    The way I think of it is this: would I put $1300 on a balloon and send it through a fireworks display?
     
  3. macheung

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    Responded to article with:

    I am disappointed that this article did not reflect the quality, accuracy and neutrality that I would expect from a quality publication such as Forbes. The matter is presented in an alarmist fashion and many of the points lack common sense or are just plain wrong.

    As a licensed pilot and engineer, I do enjoy model aircrafts as a hobby. The “drone” or RC copter used to film this video is lot more like a fancy toy than anything else. It is made of mostly plastics and at weight of just over 2 pounds, can fly for about 15 minutes. Model aircrafts much larger and capable than these have taken to the sky for years; it is just the recent advances in electronics and reduction in camera cost that allows us to witness such amazing videos from a new perspective.

    I’ve examined this video in detail and must conclude that the only thing put at risk is the actual RC copter (aka Drone) itself and no one else. The operator filmed the fireworks over water which as the article states, is in a safety zone where people and vessels are not supposed to enter. If the RC copter does get hit and falls to the water, no one will likely even notice given all that fire and debris raining down over the same area. The assertion that the RC copter could deflect a firework into the crowd is rather ridiculous given the low likelihood of impact and the even lower change that a 2 pound piece of plastic near the detonation altitude would have any significant effect on the firework’s trajectory. Note that even a small Canada goose weights 6lb, about 3 times as massive as this aerial camera platform. That puts us to the 3rd point; the assertion that the fireworks operator should stop the show due to an “intrusion” to the safety area just lacks common sense, as this would have meant they would stop the show for a single goose or large bat (we’re not even talking a larger bird like a heron or pelican) that strayed in the area.

    As a pilot of full sized aircrafts, I do understand that these new technology shines a spotlight on the need for safety and rules. However, we as a society should embrace development and give freedom the benefit of the doubt, least we become a police state much like those we tried to change the regimes of. We must be fight the urge to over-regulate in the name of “safety”, as any reasonable regulations will not prevent a person with mal-intent from causing harm (they would just ignore the rules) but would have a serious chilling effect on this emerging technology and the various innovations plus business opportunities it will bring.

    Model aviation is not just for fun and games. The hours of building, tinkering with electronics and radio equipment leading to a few minutes of flight provides invaluable inspiration for the next generation of scientist and engineers. These are the people who will continue to push the envelope of technology and help ensure this nation remains a leader in this field.

    Let’s just enjoy the fireworks, from the ground and from the air.
     
    skyeboysteve likes this.
  4. pyrophantom

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    This is silly. There is not a single valid reason a drone of this size and weight would effect or contribute to any malfucntioning of the fireworks, partly due to the velocities involved in certain firework projectiles, and the inherent safety distances the companies must introduce as a result of their risk assessments.

    To think otherwise is just silly and ignorant of the way displays operate.

    :roll:
     
  5. seminole360

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    I think some of you might be missing the point of the article which is that doing this might land you in jail and/or left with a hefty legal bill at the end. Or at the very least having a show stopped by the pyrotechnics operators for an unexpected hazard into their safety zone. The personal opinion of the author on the level of safety is irrelevant when there are likely regulations against doing it.
     
  6. steveeds

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    If commenting on utube I'd say one thing, commenting here I'd say how irresponsible all that was with a "how stupid" thrown in..but dare one say out loud..whew that was brilliant and just what an inspiring thing he did for us to view. I wouldn't say that of course.

    It was an absolute stunning use of a flying disposable machine.
     
  7. pyrophantom

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    Sorry m8 you are missing the point - a phantom flying in amongst the fireworks will not be a hazard if the risk assessment and safety distances are adequate !

    The only risk is losing a phantom !

    and this is the last time I am saying it !

    :roll:
     
  8. jodaddy23

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    WE CAN'T guarantee what the phantom will do on a perfect day , let alone hope to think we could control it in this situation . just luck that it didn't go bad , just wait , things will go bad ..
     
  9. thongbong

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    I've seen my Phantom 1 (original) do a back flip in high winds and make a quick recovery. My Phantom 2 (non vision) has proven to be a lot more stable. It would take a very substantial hit to actually kill the bird. I think we've all dropped our Phantoms from considerable heights, only to realize it didn't do anything but scratched the hull or blades a bit. I tend to agree with PyroPhantom on this. Maybe I'm biased because I just came back from Pensacola and filmed the fireworks there. :lol:
     
  10. jodaddy23

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    it doesn't have to destroy the bird , just loosen a wire or two .
     
  11. johnbrowning

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    Once again, someone writing, or purporting to make decisions, about something they know nothing and have no experience with. Just like the US Parks head claiming "how would you like a drone flying 3 feet from your head while trying to climb El Capitan" (I'm paraphrasing the quote, but that was the gist of it).

    However, one interesting perspective of the article is the lack of clarity on the legalities. Frankly, i'm a little nervous any time I take mine out of the designated RC flying park near my house. (But sure enjoyed flying over Newport Beach on the 4th! - i stayed primarily over the water, FYI). And, there are probably other laws the Forbes author hadn't thought of that might be applicable to flying through a fireworks show.

    Great discussion though... love these forums! (And who the hell would fly their DJI in harms way!!!!)

    JB (esq)
     
  12. sar104

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    As already stated by others, anyone asserting that a 3 lb aerial photography platform flying through a fireworks display is a significant hazard is completely misunderstanding the relative risks involved. The fireworks comprise thousands of pounds of pyrotechnic materials, in up to tens of pounds packages, launched on ballistic trajectories to altitudes of hundreds of feet. A small RC aircraft falling out of the sky in the protection zone would not even be noticed.
     
  13. Jaybee

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    How about this; the Phantom gets nailed by a firework (fairly high risk of that) then crashes into one of the vessels launching the fireworks (a possible scenario) and is unlucky enough to land in a dangerous spot (lots of explosives on those boats, right) and the battery / electronics spark a fire... a life threatening situation ensues.

    It would be an unfortunate and freak situation, sure, but could happen -- and if it did, there's no absolutely no doubt this while thing would be looked upon very differently.

    Just throwing another perspective in here.
     
  14. sar104

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    You didn't read and/or understand my point at all. The airspace above the display is full of much more potent fire-starting material already, raining down across the entire area. That hazard is already mitigated - they don't leave flammable solids lying around unprotected on the launch vessels. And you think one small plastic aircraft significantly increases the risk?

    Aside from that, if you start worrying about the extreme tails of probability distributions then nothing is safe. Your Phantom, potentially, has a range of several miles laterally and thousands of feet vertically. Think about where it could end up, and what it might hit, if it flew away. To borrow your comment, [insert imagined disaster] would be an unfortunate and freak situation, sure, but could happen -- and if it did, there's absolutely no doubt that flying model aircraft would be looked upon very differently.
     
  15. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Fireworks fly off on unintended trajectories, prematurely explode, set other fireworks off, etc. all the time. That's why they do it on the water and/or with the fire dept. on the ready. A Phantom can't possibly introduce any more risk to that scenario.
     
  16. Jaybee

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    I did read and understand your point, I was just adding a scenario no one seems to have considered. Clearly you didn't get that, your statement about the mitigation is true -- but only in terms of the fireworks debris NOT a unconsidered outside risk, i.e, Joe Public flying a Phantom over the show. So who mitigated the risk I pointed out? not the people in charge of the display thats for sure -- that was left to the flyer, who probably only really considered the worst that would happen would be loosing the Phantom.

    I'm not trying to break up the party, it's great footage -- but responsible flying means considering things that may not be immediately obvious.
     
  17. sar104

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    No, I don't think you did understand. My point was that the risk that you pointed out is already mitigated, because the protections already in place (for other reasons) are more than adequate to deal with it. Unconsidered scenarios only change the risk if they introduce hazards not already mitigated. This one doesn't.

    I suggest that we just agree to differ on this topic.
     
  18. w0by

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    I was a little annoyed when I saw the video last week. I would never go flying my Phantom or anything else through a firework show. That's just dangerous, what if it got hit and fell outta the sky or went crazy? I don't know, people that are running into skyscrapers, trying to film professional soccer teams practicing and getting yelled at, going over historic landmarks and hitting them are all going to just make the government put new laws where we won't even be able to fly them anywhere except 50ft above our front yard.
     
  19. macheung

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    The only thing that is at really at risk here is the Phantom 2. If it crashes, it crashes into the water in the safety zone and no one will notice given all the fireballs and debri already landing there.

    The argument that the Phantom would deflect firework and the crew should stop the show makes no sense. The Phantom is no more massive than a medium size bird or large bat, would someone stop the show just because a bat or bird flew in the area?

    We need to use common sense and not take any examples to the extreme.