A public display of irresponsibility by a major newspaper

The Orange County Register has just published a slide show of  50 aerial shots taken over Orange County, California from an unspecified quadcopter. While they are beautiful and very nicely done, quite a few are counter to FAA guidelines. Some are just downright boneheaded (Flying over freeways? Really??).

There are a number of shots taken over crowds and dense urban areas. The images of the Orange County Fair are all less than a mile from the very busy John Wayne Airport and appear to be directly under the airport's traffic pattern for the westerly runway. The night time image of Angel Stadium in Anaheim is a violation of the 3 nautical mile radius Temporary Flight Restriction that would have been in effect during that night game.

It could be argued that expecting a major (?) newspaper to know these constraints is asking a bit much. However the text accompanying the slide show states the photojournalist who did all the shots is a licensed private pilot!

Link to the OC Register slideshow.

Views: 1930

Comment by Erlendur Konradsson on August 21, 2015 at 7:47pm
Do you know for sure this is not done in full cooperation with the local authorities and air traffic control?
Comment by Tom Mahood on August 21, 2015 at 8:01pm

I do not know for sure, but it seems unlikely, especially in the case of the TFR in place for the stadium. If permissions were obtained (what agency is empowered to allow flight over freeways?)  one would think that would be a pretty important bit of info to include in the story. Otherwise the MWMs (Morons With Multicopters) reading the story would think, "Gee, that looks really neat, I'm going to try that too!"

Comment by technicus acityone on August 21, 2015 at 10:35pm

I think that this picture makin via much more dangerous maner - through poorly maintained heli under control of low qualifies amateur pilot w the badly hold camera in hand =)

Comment by Sam Spade on August 22, 2015 at 6:04am

Where are the pictures?  It's hard to make your case without showing the pictures.  Maybe I just got Windowed, but none showed up on my browser.

Comment by Tom Mahood on August 22, 2015 at 7:05am

Click on the link, then click on the first picture to start going though the pics. Not sure why it's not working for you.

Comment by Gabriel Sölvi Windels on August 22, 2015 at 9:08am

these guidelines are meant for powerless individuals, not "major newspapers". If you want to embrace the rule-cuckholdry of this system, you will have to learn your place in it.

Comment by Peter Seddon on August 22, 2015 at 9:30am

Orange County Register photographer Jeff Gritchen attached a camera to an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or “quadcopter” and during his two-month project sent it flying over freeways, bulldozers, beaches, the Big A, a train station and the Orange Circle. Gritchen, who has a private pilot's license, has been a photojournalist for more than 20 years.

You would have hoped he would know the rules with these credentials - maybe he has the necessary permissions - anyone asked him/the newspaper?

Peter


100KM
Comment by DavidJames on August 22, 2015 at 5:29pm

Looks like a lot of good photos.     The fairground shot at night is spectacular.   It appears to be a well set up shot with the quadcopter outside the fair, over the parking lot.

Not sure what the problem is with aircraft flying over freeways.  Aircraft fly over freeways all the time.    What is unsafe about it?    Just flew over a freeway and several highways in a hot air balloon.    Seemed pretty safe to me and I weigh a whole lot more than a quadcopter.

I fly at an RC airfield a short distance away from that fairground and I am familiar with the John Wayne airport.   The flight paths into and out of that airport do not go over the fairground.   In addition there is a flight curfew at John Wayne after 10pm.   There are no commercial flights leaving after 10pm and no arrivals after 11pm.    Lots of time to safely get aerial photos with a quadcopter.

Comment by Darrell Burkey on August 23, 2015 at 4:29am

@David - Comparing a consumer multi rotor being flown by a hobbyist to a commercial airliner being flown by a highly trained crew of professionals is a bit silly. Anyone who has flown a multirotor probably has also seen it fall from the sky at one point or another. They are dangerous and in no way certified as flight worthy. That's why you don't fly them over people or built up infrastructure of any kind.  


100KM
Comment by DavidJames on August 23, 2015 at 8:47am

@Darrell,    I was comparing flying a consumer drone over a freeway, to flying a hot air balloon over a freeway.   If flying a hot air balloon with a 2000 lb basket floating over a freeway is not a significant risk, how can flying a small drone over a freeway be a significant risk. 

These small drones, a Parrot, DJI Phantom, or 3DR IRIS, just do not weigh enough to be a significant danger to an adult.    My Parrot AR-Drone flying over a freeway is no more dangerous that a duck flying over the freeway.

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