The New York Times has picked up on the theme we were discussing last week, of amateurs using UAVs (or FPV aircraft) to monitor police activity at protests. 


An important point raised in the article:

Despite the quality of the images, though, RoboKopter might not see a rush of orders from newsrooms just yet.

One reason is that while there is no doubt that similar aerial videos of the Occupy Wall Street protests would have gotten widespread airplay on American television this week, it is unlikely that the New York Police Department, which closed the airspace above Lower Manhattan during Tuesday’s raid, would have taken kindly to a flock of drone journalists.


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Comment by Rory Paul on November 18, 2011 at 8:32am

One big reason why a news organization or any corporation will be hesitant to use sUAS is the fact that you are going to have a very hard time getting any insurer to give you a policy that will cover their use. Can you imagine if that quad had failed and hit a pedestrian. A private individual may be willing to take the risk but large corporations I think not.


Comment by AVS on November 18, 2011 at 8:34am

Yep. And when some idiot with a half baked community beta copter injures or kills someone for the sake of a post on DIYd, we will know who to blame.

Get out there making films guys, Chris wants you flying over peoples heads. Oh wait a minute, better check your insurance first.

Comment by DaveyWaveyBunsenBurner on November 18, 2011 at 8:43am

"We will know who to blame"


Who would that be Fab?

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 18, 2011 at 8:50am

Come on Fab.  Where did Chris promote this activity?  He's just linking to a story that mentions the use of drones in this manner.


If you read the full article, it mentions how the most important footage of the event was captured by journalists on foot.  If you watch the video, it's apparent that the most common head injury is also caused the old fashioned way.


And speaking of that, I'm confused about what the video shows.  The lead-in says: "of protesters attacking bystanders and police officers kicking and punching protesters in their custody"  The video is not really clear what's happening.  The man in the brown coat starts kicking the guy in the blue coat for no apparent reason.  Is that a protester or a non-uniform officer or what?  Because immediately after it appears a police man runs up and continues the assault?


What is going on?

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 18, 2011 at 8:51am

@Dave: The New York Times?  ;)

Comment by T.D. Gonzales on November 18, 2011 at 9:05am

I can't wait until cops get their own and the epic air jousting that will occur. Although maybe I just live in a city that has really bad cops so I expect them to do stuff like that. 

Comment by DaveyWaveyBunsenBurner on November 18, 2011 at 9:07am

Why stop at blaming Chris? What about the company hosting DIYD? The Internet as a whole! Let's shut the lot down!

Fab: **THE PILOT** is responsible for the pilot's actions. No-one else. No-one is glamorising this, recommending it or anything else. It's discussion, it's what the board is for.

Comment by John Church on November 18, 2011 at 9:45am

Jousting quads... I like it!

Comment by AVS on November 18, 2011 at 10:22am

@Davey Many people love and respect Chris, especially students. When the head of the biggest uav community posts this type of arcticle without expressing his own views and concerns then it appears as an incitement to get the best footage knowing that Chris will post it. 

Two articles in a short space of time sends a clear message. The disclaimer by the times regarding mass journalism does not make any valid point in terms of this community. 

It was only a short time ago we read about a UAV accident on a motorway. How long before any civilians get hurt?

Chris has emailed saying that my comment was out of order and a personal attack that breaks the site rules. I am sorry he feels that way because I in no way meant to make a personal attack on Chris.

However, I do feel this type of post will incite many to attempt the same and therefore should be delivered with a nagative message to the community.

The question is, how can one lone sensible voice deliver any message when so many are so excited by this type of post? In future, I will try to say my peace as carefully as possible but it isn't easy to be heard!

Comment by Marc Ramsey on November 18, 2011 at 10:30am

the New York Police Department, which closed the airspace above Lower Manhattan during Tuesday’s raid

I've seen this mentioned in a number of accounts, and I'm confused.  the NYPD has absolutely no right to close airspace anywhere, only the FAA does.  Did the NYPD ask the FAA to issue a NOTAM closing the airspace?  If so, what were the grounds?  If it was some trumped up excuse with the primary effect of prevent news coverage of the event, it would be a classic 1st Amendment case involving government constraint of news gathering activities.  Too bad we don't have a news media here in the US that actually investigates the news...


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