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Two drone pilots ticketed for 'Orca Protection Violations'

Discussion in 'News' started by GoodnNuff, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. GoodnNuff

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    http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/two-drone-pilots-ticketed-orca-protection-violatio/nnRmM/

    Mr. Shih has posted previous videos on this forum.

    Was just watching our local news when this story came on, preceded by a story of Ferry Captains here in the Puget Sound reporting drone flights. One captain claims the drone was trying to film inside the control room of the ferry - not even the news crews were allowed in that area with their cameras due to "security issues."
     
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  2. shipdriver

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    I love how the article quotes NOAA, but NOAA proudly proclaimed how they were using drones to track orcas and had several great close-up shots.

    http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/podcasts/2014/10/aerial_vehicle_killer_whale.html#.Vd5tYjZRFPY

    There is a selective enforcement going as well. I have been on a whale watching tour in that very same area and we were much closer than 200 yds. In fact, remaining 200 yds away means the pictures will suck and the tour boat won't get business and on top of that when whale watching, the whale watching tour operators tend to congregate in the vicinity of whale sightings. Not to mention the fact that the environmental impact of boats is orders of magnitude greater than any drone in the air at any altitude (unless it is actually touching the creatures). Boats are much louder and actually in the water. I say this as a former Tactical Action Officer who has heard many a ship and boat (and a few subs) with passive sonar. A helo hovering a low altitude can be heard on sonar as well, but it isn't in the same league as ships and boats and helos are ungodly louder than drones. I even wonder who WDFW is protecting, the whales or the tour boat operators. My focus with drones revolves around the fact that drones are by far the least environmentally impacting way to observe nature (other than hidden fixed cameras*).

    *actually, setting up fixed hidden cameras does involve humans trampling through the wilderness.
     
    #2 shipdriver, Aug 26, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2015
  3. snerd

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    'Eh, ya think?! Follow the money. It's always about the money. First planes reported drones, now boats are reporting drones................... I reckon it will be automobile drivers next! "Yes, I was just driving down the road, and I saw a drone!!" If you see something, say something! This is getting just soooooooooooooo ridiculous.
     
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  4. Oscar

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  5. johan

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    Well I will certainly sleep more soundly now knowing the orcas are protected from 'other objects'.
     
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  6. GoodnNuff

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    Since your local, you should watch the coverage on Channel 7 KIRO, they show the drone right above the whales in numerous shots.
    If you go whaling often here you'll see them enforce the distance rule over and over - at least that has been my experience. We prefer using Orcas Island Eclipse Charters out of Orcas Island. They will simply park the boat 200 yds from the pod and hope their curiousity brings them closer - which it often does. The law allows the whales to approach you, i.e. you are not required to retreat to maintain that distance. So cut the engine, let them approach you, get some great photos. I'm sure that is what you've seen, not the boats chasing the whales.
     
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  7. GoodnNuff

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    You did read the article you reference right?

    NOAA used a high resolution camera mounted on a hexacopter and shot from an altitude of more than100 feet (no "close up shots").

    The ticketed men shot with a Phantom right above the water surface.

    There really is no comparison.

    I feel bad for Mr Shih who has posted some incredible video of our area.
     
  8. shipdriver

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    What is the acoustic difference for marine life between 30 feet and 100 feet altitude? Especially when the drone at 100 feet (well inside 200 yds by the way) is much bigger and more powerful. My real point though is that a boat (including the one carrying the WDFW officers) running at 200 yds has a massively bigger impact on the marine environment (in multiple ways, not just acoustically) than a drone at any altitude and distance. Would I fly my drone 10 yds over a pod of whales? No, but the citation was based on a broadened interpretation not based on hard scientific evidence (which is the going trend for all new drone regulations at the local and state levels), and contrary to many scientists' own activities. I was swimming at Lake Sammamish State Park a few weeks ago and when I put my head underwater, it sounded like boats were zipping around right next to me, when in fact the closest one was at least 1/4 mile offshore. Forget about military sonar, it will hear boats that aren't even visible to the naked eye. A hovering helicopter? Not so much. You can check out the hydrophones at the Seattle Aquarium yourself. Boat and ship noise is the dominant sound in Puget Sound, especially in the summer. Try listening for aircraft there. Boat and ships hulls, because they are actually in the water, are outstanding sound transducers for engine and screw noise. Even a small air gap plus the air-water boundary will reduce airborne noise massively.
     
  9. GoodnNuff

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    Perhaps you could contact Mr Shih and offer your expertise in fighting the fine?
     
  10. shipdriver

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    Unfortunately, and this applies to much more than just this case, he needs a good lawyer and that will cost much more than the fine. So the "perpetrator" (as they were called a few times in the FAA reports :) ) will have to both have the resources and consider it enough of a crusade to fight.
     
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  11. Oscar

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    I would be in jail right now trust me
     
  12. GoodnNuff

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  13. davis

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    good point. sound through water vs. sound in the air. drone is not in their true environment.
    also good point about whale watching. you sit, they come to you.
    or you hover, they swim by.....
    they will pick and choose what they want to enforce.
    hobbyists lose, a paid oceanographer/photographer pays for a permit and its okay.
     
  14. GoodnNuff

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    Some more factual information on how whale protection is enforced.
    Orca patrols protect 81 whales from half-million watchers