This was taken on November 28th 2015. It is not edited… Mostly just has the drone (Inspire1) sitting up there watching the sunset.
I wanted to share this and my experience. I came with my wife this past weekend… from Utah for a visit to San Diego. Much of San Diego is a no fly zone (without checking in with the aircraft controllers at the airport first) this is kind of funny as there are two model aircraft parks in the county, one is right next to Sea World and the others runway parallels Miramar’s runway.
In any case, here in Utah I am on the planning commission with my local municipality. I know the FAA rules backwards and forwards and am a very careful pilot. I have been asked to help draft some supplementary drone use rules for NICA (The National Interscholastic High School Mountain Biking Association) meets. I have flown my drones for about 140 hours so far. I am not going to make a rookie mistake and crash the thing into people. Sure, an engine could fail… Things happen… even to real aircraft carrying people.
I was pretty sure I knew what the rules were here in La Jolla as I had done some internet research upfront but I actually sought out a police officer on duty at the beach and asked if there were any specific ordinances I needed to be aware of. He said there were none. However…. The FAA does not like pilots to be flying over crowds of people… so I carefully selected a place to launch from where there were no people within 100 feet and then as you can see I kept the drone out over the ocean.
Lots of curious onlookers. I answered a ton of questions and I am ok with that… I enjoy it actually… This drone will park itself in the sky if I stop to talk to someone for a moment. When I landed it I did so by hand catching the drone on the rocks below the boardwalk to make sure that I did not get it anywhere near any people.
This is why I have written this missive though… On the way back to the car some twenty something aged punk walking with his girlfriend makes some snide remark about how they were against the law. Plainly, they are not…
As time goes on there will be many adjustments to drones as they are a new part of our world and what we deal with. Just as cars were… (and they were banned in some areas for a while as they scared the horses.)
Understand, people out here were doing all kinds of risky things. They were walking too close to the cliffs, (recently one woman died doing this here did she not?) They were harassing, even petting seals… They were throwing footballs and frisbee golf frisbees hard, close to kids… and wedding parties and while we were there there was a bus that was at the curb leaking gas. The fire department came… I saw a dog get off his leash and he began running all over harassing wildlife and scaring people.
All of these things are dangerous. Drone’s can be dangerous. They can be annoying. Most communities have nuisance laws that preclude them from being dangerous noise generators in the wrong place at the wrong time…. just as they would address anyone who brought a gas powered weed eater and started kicking up dirt and flipping rocks around small kids who were here to enjoy the view.
By all means, if someone is acting recklessly… I will call them out on that. We are a community… and should act like one but that also means that you probably should not assume that all drone’s and all drone operators are evil and irresponsible. Some of us are just photography nuts who love the angles we are able to get with these flying tripods. They are NOT spy tools. Look how small the people are… To carry a big lens which would allow you to zoom at all you would need a drone that would cost about $60K.
Please do not over react like this dumb kid did… I tried to engage him… but he was not interested in any more than dropping some criticism and moving on… believing he was correct.
He was not. I hope drone operators will be responsible. Plainly some will not… but some bystanders are jerks who are making a fuss even when people are responsibly and safely flying. It goes both ways.