*** The original video contained a close flyover at long range of a large crowd at Soundest 2014. Since posting the original link here en edited version of it has been reposted just showing the fireworks. I hope this shows that there is some recognition that at the very minimum some of the flight was not well thought out and that in future the pilot will hopefully not make the same choices.I know we can't guarantee that people will not fly recklessly but at least this seems to be a case of us making our voices heard (at some level) and having some impact on the issue.*******

Here is a video on YouTube of a DJI Phantom flying through fireworks at Sunfest 2014 which I think is in Florida. It also shows flying above crowds. Personally I think its a stupid idea but the footage of the fireworks is very unique. Dare I say, impressive?

Even crazier is that the pilot put the video up under his name. I hope he is ready for the barrage of comments and possible legal ramifications.

Is this another case of one person doing something that will negatively impact us all or will it ultimately show that small UAV's can be used to do things that other aerial platforms can't?


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  • It was a well done video. Unlikely to cause any damage as it is a well protected vehicle and would in any case just fall into the water. I like cutting edge stuff like that and often fly into areas that have some risk provided that it is calculated properly. There are those who talk about it and criticise those who can, then there are those who just quietly get on and do it. In my experience those who have nothing better to do than complain are the ones who are totally incompetent and have nothing to show themselves.  If the hat fits then wear it.....


  • I think the only way would be to ensure that it have passed a series test, more or less severe, of all the systems and whole system, stress test, high mean time between failures, some redundancy and certified operators. But basically similar methods of traditional aviation approval. That is, amateurs, we will have only authorization to fly on clubs.

  • I think its pretty much all being said.  However, having worked behind the scenes at several big fireworks displays there are a lot of explosives on barges with people on board used to launch the display.  I don't think the chances of a burning UAV hitting a barge are high and as the video demonstrates, even flying through an active exploding field of fireworks its pretty hard to hit a moving target the size of a Phantom.

    The question is how much risk is there to others in flying through the fireworks and if anyone is at risk are they aware of it and taken precautions to minimise that risk?

    The street and crowd flyovers of both this video and the official Sunfest UAV are far more risky in my humble opinion but likewise if there are steps taken to minimise the risk involved then is it ok? I am thinking of parachute failsafe, dual redundant power and telemetry etc.  I don't think we should just write off all of these types of UAV flyovers as long as we can guarantee that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure people's safety. We should be working towards making it safe to do so.  Its a little way off yet.

    I am pretty sure the a stock DJI Phantom or even a 3DR 8X would not meet these requirements at the moment.  However, as a fairly forward thinking bunch I can't see why we can't come up with the technology and the procedures to make it safe and acceptable to make more videos like this.  No other platform could get the shots of the fireworks.

  • I'm only talking about the video above. Obviously flying over people is too risky (May be even if you have a rescue system like that... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_2ghQRcFYM ).

  • If you guys had seen the original video of flying over streets crowded with people that was what all the previous discussion was about.
  • A bit risky, but very much beautiful. He/she is flying over the water, maybe 200 meters away from people. I don't see a big risk.

  • Wow it's awesome! He's flying really inside, fantastic! I just curiuos how loud big bang from exploded fireworks not affected the IMU? Anyone confirm of this?

  • Developer

    Not really much to discuss here in my opinion.

    Flying over/trough fireworks looks like great fun and totally acceptable. You are not risking anything but your copter.

    It's what under the copter while flying that matters. The canonical rule is to never fly over people, especially crowds.

  • I filed a report with the FAA Safety Hotline after finding video from a drone hired by SunFest. Here is news video about the SunFest drone, see http://www.wpbf.com/entertainment/drones-over-sunfest-whose-were-th...!6LGMZ

    Again Youtube video from the SunFest official drone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6mNcRkmYRY

    Can someone please tell SunFest they committed federal crimes?

  • SunFest paid a different videographer to fly a drone over people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6mNcRkmYRY

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