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.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Worst case scenario: if you hit someone at the right spot, even with a not-so heavy object, sure they could get killed. I believe hockey puck and baseball ball collisions with humans have resulted in fatalities. A 250mm miniquad could weigh up to 700g, more than a hockey puck or baseball, and could potentially reach speeds of 60 to 90mph, so in the wrong hands and under extremely unlucky circumstances one of those minicopters could collide with a persons head, that would be extremely unlikely and very unlucky! But it's possible, right? 

  • @darrell, Actually, in their real test w/ flying drones, the consumer plastic camera drone didn't hurt anything.  Only a custom built monster x6 with a huge weight attached to it and carbon fiber props cut into things. 

    My copter w/ 16" carbon props flipped and bit my arm once...  It gave me a bunch of slices, but they were all surprisingly shallow..  I was bruised, so it was hitting me hard, but the slices barely bled and healed quickly. 

  • I saw quite a few that had to be well over 400 feet.  Especially if he used a standard lens.  Anybody see any wide angle distortion?

  • @Ken Williams -

    The Mythbusters disagree with you. I saw it on YouTube so it must be true. :-)

  • I just want to say that I can see both sides, but I must find myself on the side opposite the OP. Because he has no idea what permissions were obtained.

    Also, as was mentioned before. we're talking 5lbs of plastic and ~400 ft. In fact, many of the UAVs being flown for recreation are much smaller and never go that high. Most of the Video I want to shoot with my UAV when I finally get one will be <100 ft like perspectives of houses and stadiums and the like.

    Will that hurt? yeah. Will it mame or kill? not likely.

    I think some ppl are panicing too much.


  • @David - OK, you have convinced me. But let's do a controlled test just to be sure. I'll bring my 25b octocopter over to your place and you can sit underneath it. Worst case scenario you'll win a Darwin award.

  • 100KM

    @Darrell,  You are confusing frequency with risk.   Actually it is silly to compare the risk of a duck size drone falling out of the sky to the risk of a full size 2500 lb aircraft falling out of the sky.  Even the FAA has recognized that it is much less risk to fly a camera on a camera drone to take photos than it is to fly the camera in a manned aircraft.   A 5 lb drone is very little risk compared to a 2500 lb aircraft   

    As for the reliability this old flying tech, manned aircraft are falling out of the sky all the time.  The primary cause of many of the accidents is the pilot's loss of control.   Apparently these ancient technological marvels could use some $ dollar autopilot upgrades.

    "the N.T.S.B. reporting an average of 1,500 aviation accidents a year, resulting in about 450 fatalities."


  • @David - Ever heard of a motorcycle? How many commercial aircraft fell from the sky today? How many consumer level drones fell from the sky today? It's just silly to compare the two. Even a hot air ballon doesn't just fall out of the sky. Not to mention it has a trained/certified pilot flying it. But I can see you will never be convinced until one of these craft strike you. Such is life. 

  • 100KM

    @ Darrell,    The only way the duck strike can injure you as you are driving on the freeway is if you are driving with your head out the sunroof.   Same thing with the small drones.

    A manned aircraft is far more dangerous.   Even with the most reliable proven technology and a skilled pilot.   A manned aircraft crashing on the freeway is much much more dangerous.  Deadly.  Here is a recent manned aircraft crash:


  • @David - Get back to me after you've been hit by a duck on the freeway. I can assure you it's not a pleasant experience and can be quite dangerous. 

    As for the Cessna 172, it's reliable for exactly the reasons you mention. It doesn't use $2 sensors designed for mobile phones to keep it oriented in 3D space. You can get automated systems for it but they are going to cost a lot more than any of our RC models do. 

This reply was deleted.