I Was Contacted By FBI Terrorism Task Force about JFK Drone Siting

Yes, I'm serious. A detective who shall remain unnamed in this forum called me yesterday from the FBI Terrorism Task Force unit here in NYC. He was very friendly and I did what I could to help him. 

He was unable to inform me as to how he got my name and/or contact information but I had limited expectations in getting an answer to that question anyway. He said, "Do you fly a UAV down on the beach on the south shore", near Long Beach and I said "yes I do." He asked some questions about what I do with my UAV and some questions about recreational UAVs in general. I answered the best I could and I believe he was genuinely grateful for the information I provided and my candid disposition.

If you fly a UAV in the US, expect that the authorities are already paying attention or will soon be. They haven't found the guy yet but I'm sure they will. Please, let's all of us use some common sense and don't try to fly anywhere that could potentially put anyone in danger. It's really that simple.


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I agree, it is currently that simple.  Dont put anyone in harms way.  Think before flying. 

If they thought to contact you, it's probably a process of elimination and they'll find the guy. 

He said, "Do you fly a UAV down on the beach on the south shore", near Long Beach and

That's crazy.  How could he have known that?  Have you posted about that, or put videos on YouTube or something?

I agree entirely with Brenden's position and that of the previous commenters. If I can summarize the position, it's

  • Use common sense; be mindful of risks;
  • do no harm

My concern - partly informed by my background (attorney, former prosecutor) is twofold:

  1. The population of this website is going to tend towards the better-informed, people who, notwithstanding their own knowledge, always want to do more, tend to share information and to a greater or lesser extent, see themselves as part of the DIY Drones community and the larger community. Almost by definition this population is much less likely to recklessly do something which puts lives at risk. Beginners who don't have access to a community of expertise - or are indifferent to their own ignorance - are at the opposite end of the risk curve.

  2. Since we're talking about flight outside of stated flight paths, how do we make it easy for people to know where (horizontally, vertically) and when to operate equipment? Given uneven capabilities of transmission of information from vehicle to operator - and the possibilities of transmission lag, multiple vehicles using the same frequencies (i.e. inadvertent jamming), and the brilliant innovation which is creating wide variety in UAVs, it's probably reasonable to predict that we can't yet envision all the permutations which could lead to undesirable outcomes.

The best way to prevent those outcomes is by observation, sharing of information, and discussion. The community at DIY.drones.com (and other related, overlapping communities) is best situated to have that discussion, and more likely than government to articulate best practices. Whether or not there is eventual government regulation, your community (and I'm a fascinated observer, not an operator or maker, so I exclude myself) - clearly a group characterized by intelligence and enthusiasm - should be leading this discussion.

I'm looking forward to hearing/reading it.


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