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(Forbes)   "It should be obvious that flying a drone through a July 4th fireworks display is unsafe and illegal." With video from people with drones who obviously didn't get that memo   (forbes.com) divider line 91
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8165 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Jul 2014 at 7:20 PM (2 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-04 06:38:23 PM
Ok, that video was amazing, I'll never look at fireworks the same again after gaining that perspective and Forbes can SAD on it's authoritarian boo hoo fest of finger wagging.
 
2014-07-04 07:23:21 PM
Here, hold my beer and watch this ...
 
2014-07-04 07:25:27 PM
TFA aside, flying a drone into the middle of a fireworks show seems awfully foolhardy since those things are expensive, and you're basically inviting its destruction.
 
2014-07-04 07:26:28 PM
That was awesome. I love the song too, one of my favorites.

That said, if this fireworks display was held like the symphony of fire out here, it's done on a barge that is a fair distance from the crowd and that even in the event that the helicopter gets hit by a round, it'd lose trajectory rather quickly, before it can reach the beach. The only people that would possibly face any sort of danger would most likely be the ones in the boats. But even then, the show's coordinators usually have a large area plotted out around the barge so that they aren't too close just in case something does happen to go wrong. I'm not a sciencologist, so I could be wrong. I think the laws the author is citing are ones about flying rc helicopters around airports and stuff like that.

So, I dunno. The author might be a bit too much of a worry-wart.
 
2014-07-04 07:27:29 PM
Unsafe and illegal... and also AWESOME.
 
2014-07-04 07:27:43 PM

wxboy: TFA aside, flying a drone into the middle of a fireworks show seems awfully foolhardy since those things are expensive, and you're basically inviting its destruction.


I take it as one of those things that you say "well, that sucks, but daaaaaaaymn, that was so worth it!"
 
2014-07-04 07:27:54 PM
Wow - amazing vid.  Can't believe that drone was blown out of the sky given how close it was to some of those bursts.
 
2014-07-04 07:29:39 PM

wxboy: TFA aside, flying a drone into the middle of a fireworks show seems awfully foolhardy since those things are expensive, and you're basically inviting its destruction.


It's from West Palm Beach. The 1500 dollar cost of a quadcopter with Gopro is pocket change to them.
 
2014-07-04 07:30:05 PM
I'm curious: does anyone at Forbes know of the Streisand Effect? All the hand-wringing in the world won't stop people from noticing what an AWESOME idea this was.
 
2014-07-04 07:32:00 PM

InterruptingQuirk: Ok, that video was amazing, I'll never look at fireworks the same again after gaining that perspective and Forbes can SAD on it's authoritarian boo hoo fest of finger wagging.


This. Plus Forbes can SABFD for not allowing me to expand the frame. Here's the youtube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9KZ3jgbbmI
 
2014-07-04 07:33:16 PM
*Makes mental note not to invite Gregory S. McNeal to any parties*
 
2014-07-04 07:33:50 PM
In New Murica,

on the 4th of July you won't be arrested for anything unless it actually results in theft, murder, physical injury or destruction of property.

Also, every day will be the 4th of July.

USA!
USA!
YOUESAY!
 
2014-07-04 07:39:47 PM
No, really, it's not all that obvious.
 
2014-07-04 07:41:29 PM
The author of TFA obviously has no clue how fireworks work. The fireworks only fly for a limited time until the explode. If your drone is at the height at which they are exploding, at worst the shell will fall a few feet before exploding. Did he not see the barges surround by quite a bit of river? There's no way that drone would fall and hit someone.

That video was amazing. The close calls with the exploding shells and the streamers going past were amazing!
 
2014-07-04 07:42:22 PM
California laws are so strict on fireworks that there is no point in bothering with any of the legal ones since they are so boring. And they cost at least twice as much as the illegal ones.

Ive got a few packs of firecrackers this year (yard sale find) but I also live 1000 feet from the local fireworks at SSU so it seemed pointless to buy more.

/ the best legal fireworks are the piccolo petes (or whatever they call them now). Wrap them in electrical tape, smash them a little with a hammer and then light the fuse and run. You will have a rocket that may shoot in random direction and try to kill people while it whistles
 
2014-07-04 07:42:32 PM

Gyrfalcon: No, really, it's not all that obvious.


Agreed.  Why would it be illegal?
 
2014-07-04 07:42:47 PM

Enormous-Schwanstucker: InterruptingQuirk: Ok, that video was amazing, I'll never look at fireworks the same again after gaining that perspective and Forbes can SAD on it's authoritarian boo hoo fest of finger wagging.

This. Plus Forbes can SABFD for not allowing me to expand the frame. Here's the youtube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9KZ3jgbbmI


It worked fine on my iPad, even after it interrupted the video to load some ads.
 
2014-07-04 07:45:46 PM
Oddly enough I see planes flying around fireworks all the time. Wouldn't knocking a plane out of the air onto a crowd be more dangerous than a little quadcopter being hit?
 
2014-07-04 07:47:59 PM
The guy obviously missed the part where the drone might have been authorized. We don't know that it was, but just because a drone is flying through fireworks doesn't mean it isn't supposed to be there. If I did firework shows for a living, I'd be going to the store right now to buy a drone and film my show tonight from inside the blast area.
 
2014-07-04 07:49:58 PM
FTA: "Flying A Drone Through Fireworks May Land You In Prison"

Welcome to the land of the free. Somebody did something that might, maybe, potentially, under some circumstances, but didn't, cause harm to someone else. Lock his ass up.

Gotta watch Raging Bull again.
 
2014-07-04 07:50:24 PM

Nasty Celt: Oddly enough I see planes flying around fireworks all the time. Wouldn't knocking a plane out of the air onto a crowd be more dangerous than a little quadcopter being hit?


They can fly around but not too close. My flight instructor once pointed out some smoke and told me to go see what was burning. He then pointed out that we should really keep an eye out for other planes since smoke is to pilots what a bright light at night is to bugs.
 
2014-07-04 07:51:23 PM

cc_rider: *Makes mental note not to invite Gregory S. McNeal to any parties*


Yeah, that guy just drones on and on and won't shut up.
 
2014-07-04 07:52:00 PM

DrPainMD: FTA: "Flying A Drone Through Fireworks May Land You In Prison"

Welcome to the land of the free. Somebody did something that might, maybe, potentially, under some circumstances, but didn't, cause harm to someone else. Lock his ass up.

Gotta watch Raging Bull again.


Land of the free doesn't mean you can do whatever you want, dumbass.
 
2014-07-04 07:52:29 PM
I saw either a drone or a street lamp...who knows...last night at a fireworks show in Tennessee. I half wanted it to get shot down by fireworks just for the show
 
2014-07-04 07:53:46 PM
I know a couple guys who do pyrotechnics  for a living.  I can safely say that flying a drone through their display and knocking a few of the shells/rockets off course might get you a stern talking to.  If you happen to fark up one of the main parts of the performance / one of the main displays, you might get your ass kicked.

VERY awesome video, though.

I'd highly suggest talking to the fireworks guys before you try anything like this.  Keep in mind this is what they do for a living and it's very reputation dependant; if you screw up their show, it might affect their ability to get bookings in the future.  I'm pretty sure a lot of them would LOVE to have a video like this shot of one of their displays.
 
2014-07-04 07:55:10 PM
Between this video and the kid in Nice, France who filmed the town with a drone, there are some awesome videos out there made by talented people. Too bad the French kid got into some trouble, because the video he did was great.
 
2014-07-04 07:55:42 PM

Tobin_Lam: Enormous-Schwanstucker: InterruptingQuirk: Ok, that video was amazing, I'll never look at fireworks the same again after gaining that perspective and Forbes can SAD on it's authoritarian boo hoo fest of finger wagging.

This. Plus Forbes can SABFD for not allowing me to expand the frame. Here's the youtube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9KZ3jgbbmI

It worked fine on my iPad, even after it interrupted the video to load some ads.


Hmm...interesting. It must be because I blocked all those craptastic beacons, analytics, ads, widgets and the 21 additional ads it tried to feed me. I tried it in FF and it behaved better.

Gracias.
 
2014-07-04 07:57:12 PM
This video made me feel so patriotically full of firework love that I was singing along to the music even though I had no clue what the hell they were saying.
 
2014-07-04 08:04:01 PM

420Gabriel: California laws are so strict on fireworks that there is no point in bothering with any of the legal ones since they are so boring. And they cost at least twice as much as the illegal ones.

Ive got a few packs of firecrackers this year (yard sale find) but I also live 1000 feet from the local fireworks at SSU so it seemed pointless to buy more.

/ the best legal fireworks are the piccolo petes (or whatever they call them now). Wrap them in electrical tape, smash them a little with a hammer and then light the fuse and run. You will have a rocket that may shoot in random direction and try to kill people while it whistles


A that brings back memories. Every time I ever set one of those off it just whistled really loud. Except for the ONE TIME I lit one on our covered porch. At the very end something blew out of it and left a huge scorch mark on the patio cover. My mom was NOT happy.
 
2014-07-04 08:07:29 PM
Author seems to have a hard on for drones
 
2014-07-04 08:28:48 PM
Amazing footage. I can't really feign too much outrage at the illegality of it. So I'm supposed to be cool with the surveillance drones, and the corporate delivery drones, but if someone decides to use one for personal amusement, it's a terrible thing? Gotcha.

/I guess it could have been dangerous.
//like these 5 year old fireworks I'm contemplating detonating.
 
2014-07-04 08:37:34 PM
Meh, I bet the police have some drones out there.
 
2014-07-04 08:40:19 PM
Excellent
 
2014-07-04 08:45:22 PM
This country needs to pull its collective stick out of its ass. That was pretty damn cool.

/ Oh sheepdip! The drone might crash into the water where nobody is! Maybe a fish will get konked on the haid!
 
2014-07-04 09:00:11 PM
How did the drone not get buffeted by all the air bursts going on around it?
 
2014-07-04 09:01:51 PM
quick call jack and chloe
img.fark.net
 
2014-07-04 09:02:30 PM
I agree that video was full of awesomeness, but unless it was authorized, I personally think the author has a very valid point.

Can some of you not see the potential for a situation like this to turn pear shaped in a hurry?
 
2014-07-04 09:05:49 PM

basemetal: Meh, I bet the police have some drones out there.


Of course they do, complete with chem trails.
 
2014-07-04 09:06:45 PM
It must just be an accident that we've managed to exist as a species for this long.
 
2014-07-04 09:07:14 PM

jpo2269: I agree that video was full of awesomeness, but unless it was authorized, I personally think the author has a very valid point.

Can some of you not see the potential for a situation like this to turn pear shaped in a hurry?


Honestly? No.
 
2014-07-04 09:20:57 PM
its only a matter of time
img.fark.net
 
2014-07-04 09:21:21 PM
After seeing that bet fire works company's are thinking about doing it themselves.
 
2014-07-04 09:30:32 PM

MadCat221: How did the drone not get buffeted by all the air bursts going on around it?


Fireworks are not designed to destroy with a shockwave of force. They are designed to make lots of light and sound. Granted, you can't make sound with out moving air, but it isn't like the explosives which are designed to kill where the shockwave is measured in thousands of meters per second instead of what I imagine is for fireworks hundreds of feet per second.
 
hej
2014-07-04 09:34:46 PM
Neither of those two things is obvious to me.
 
2014-07-04 09:45:21 PM

Tobin_Lam: DrPainMD: FTA: "Flying A Drone Through Fireworks May Land You In Prison"

Welcome to the land of the free. Somebody did something that might, maybe, potentially, under some circumstances, but didn't, cause harm to someone else. Lock his ass up.

Gotta watch Raging Bull again.

Land of the free doesn't mean you can do whatever you want, dumbass.


In the US, "land of the free" means that every single person is a criminal.
 
2014-07-04 09:48:27 PM
Egoy3K,

Really, you can't imagine one or more people with egos bigger than their talent level trying to pull something like this off?  Seriously?  You must be trolling...

Here is a link for your edification...

http://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=drone+crashes+into+crowd
 
2014-07-04 09:54:59 PM
Drones: the cause of, and solution to, all of lifes problems. - Obama
 
2014-07-04 09:55:39 PM
OK, a smart guy thought of this and pulled it off spectacularly. Now comes the dumb copycats and the crashes.
 
2014-07-04 10:16:12 PM

MadCat221: How did the drone not get buffeted by all the air bursts going on around it?


Fireworks don't generate a lot of overpressure.
 
2014-07-04 10:20:28 PM

jpo2269: I agree that video was full of awesomeness, but unless it was authorized, I personally think the author has a very valid point.

Can some of you not see the potential for a situation like this to turn pear shaped in a hurry?


No, no I can't.

So if the drone gets hit by a chunk of pyrotechnics and gets blasted out of the sky...

Looking at the USCG exclusion zone, there is a minimum 1200' buffer between the fireworks barges and anything else and most professional fireworks displays take place at roughly 900' altitude (for the biggest ones).

Once launched, fireworks are basically nothing but a bag of powder with a timed fuse. The bigger ones contain small bags of power with their own timed fuses. They don't actually have a lot in the way of mass and are pretty delicate. If one hits a drone, one of 3 things will happen:

1- Impact the powder against the fuse upon impact with the drone and immedialty detonate.
2- Break up and disburse into aerosolized powder, becoming totally harmless.
3- Change trajectory a few degrees and explode in a slightly different orientation.

The thing isn't going to ricochet off the drone and wildly change course towards the crowd. It doesn't have the structural integrity to do so and a drone weighs almost nothing.

What of the drone? Well, these things are relatively inexpensively built, very lightweight, extremely delicate rotary wing aircraft. The quad rotors are very delicate and do not have the ability to free spin. Unlike a real helicopter, they are unable to autorotate and glide.

Once the drone gets hit with anything, chances are that it's toast and is going to plummet out of the sky in an extremely vertical fashion. Normally, one would take wind into account, but if it was windy, the fireworks display would be called off in the first place.

So it's going to be falling vertically... onto a 1200' diameter exclusion zone filled with water. There is nobody on the fireworks barges (and the probability of the drone falling out of the sky and onto one of the barges is very low anyhow).

Worst case scenario? Guy loses $1500 drone setup.

I literally cannot see any likely scenario in this equation where property or people would have been at any increased risk.

But clearly, thinking through the question doesn't matter - anything that *sounds* remotely dangerous MUST be stopped and the scofflaws involved should have the government boot put to their throats.
 
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