I've never owned a quadcopter, but have often thought of getting one. I work in the remote robotics industry and have been a fan of quadcopters, FPV and personal "drones" for years. That may change, though, if what I experienced yesterday is what we can expect in the future.

My wife and I were at the beach most of the day yesterday. There were probably a hundred other people in our small area, mostly families with kids. People had their awnings set up, bar-b-ques grilling, and kids running around just having fun. About mid afternoon a fellow showed up with a DJI Phantom (I recognized it because I often thought of buying one) and full FPV gear, not 10 feet from where my wife and I were, and not more than 30 feet from all the kids running around. He then launched and flew the drone up and down the beach, sometimes hovering over people, sometimes flying over boats and paddleboards that were passing by.

While I was in the water, his drone buzzed over my head, hovering maybe 5 feet away from me and stayed there. Just out of reach but definitely "studying me" like a buzzing giant mosquito. It was my first experience like this and I gotta tell you, it was creepy.   I don't know this guy. I don't know his flying skills. I don't know how well he maintains his equipment. I don't know if he's shooting video of me and, if he is, what he plans on doing with that video.  Is he a convict?  Is he a child molester?  I know nothing about this guy who is flying his quad just feet above me and is watching me so intently.  The one thing I did know was that this guy's drone was invading my space and my privacy.  He was watching (and probably videoing me) and I didn't like it. And I'm a guy, I can only imagine how I would have felt if I were a woman. Or a parent watching this drone hover over my small child.  In that brief moment my feelings about personal drones reversed 180 degrees.

If what I just witnessed is the future of the technology, where people no can no longer live with any degree of privacy or space, I, for one, can no longer support it.

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  • That sounds like pretty standard DJI Phantom flying. These 'consumer' models seem to attract the dickheads out there.

  • Bigkahuna and others....almost every step you take on US soil is filmed is it? security cameras with face recognition all over and everywhere...

    do they ask you if is allowed to film you?

    do you know who is operator behind camera?

    do you know for what that video is used?

    do you know if there is security cameras with powerful zoom who can peak into your bedroom?

    do you know how good are gen5 or higher night vision cameras attached to government real silent drones flying around at night?

  • Either that or it's past your bed time!
  • @Peter Klimon: I think you have misread the tone of several of the people posting here today.

    I guess that's the danger of the medium.
  • Everything here is even MORE unacceptable with DJI, because of its stupid, unreasonable and very dangerous crashes.

  • Hi Peter,

    I wasn't talking about the FAA, I was talking about the normal legal system.

    Any jurisdiction anywhere can prosecute you for reckless endangerment and if they think you are a serious danger they can and will shoot you as in the case of the woman plowing her car into the barricades around the nations capital last year.

    And if you are flying a potentially dangerous multicopter over peoples heads, they have every reason to make that call.

    I am not speaking for every person on the beach, not any of them in fact I am commenting on a currently largely pervasive public perception of being both endangered and with a media driven frenzy of fear for their own privacy being violated even though for the most part it is highly bogus.

    My comments simply relate to the reality that we have to do more than simply be reasonable, we have to react to an unreasonable situation and compensate for it.

    It isn't easy and I still strongly feel that the demons, totems and icons (of drone) will win out over common sense.

    You really ought to read what I have actually said before you accuse me of spouting BS because I didn't actually say what you base it on.

    Where does that leave you?

  • Oh dear @Peter Kimon - you didn't understand my post at all. I have a good sense of humor - but calling us names over gun laws as well. Very amusing. Maybe it is tongue in cheek, maybe I don't get American humor :-)

    Thanks @Darrell Burkey.Scooter (p.s. I AM anti gun - oh damn, sorry, wrong forum)

  • Gary McCray - 

    Sorry but the FAA does not have any jurisdiction as you just described! You should get your facts straight before you spout such BS! You seem like a very wound up kind of person with statements such as: "The fact is that a lot of people are "creeped" out or feel exposed, and certainly even more so when they are stand around semi-naked on a beach as is normal." If you have such feelings why do you even bother to go to the beach? "semi-naked", gosh man get a grip!!!

    I think it is highly presumptuous of you to speak for everyone on the beach. Maybe you and your friends feel this way but I have spoken to many people during my past few years as a drone user and the majority of persons I have encountered during one of my many flights do not get freaked out as you describe as long as the person uses common sense and respects others stated misgivings. I am not aware of any drone user who blatantly refuses to abide by others if they feel their privacy or safety is at risk so where is the the problem? Although you will occasionally hear of reckless operation of drones I feel that the vast majority of drone users follow common sense and safety procedures and as such we need to point out when persons make claims of law which is not based on any fact?

  • @Peter - As a dual citizen of Aus and US I just had the biggest LOL reading your post. I thought bringing up pedophiles was silly enough but I knew it was only a matter of time before a Yank brought up guns. I was expecting someone to say it wouldn't be safe to talk to the operator because he might have a gun. :-) 

    Believe me, you don't know a thing about Australians. I'd explain it to you but being an American you would never get it. 

    Again, LOL!

  • I agree with the OPs concern about safety, but in terns of privacy, how is this any different to being in any public place? There is CCTV everywhere. How do you know there aren't weirdos taking home CCTV footage of you?
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