From the Associated Press:
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A man is facing charges after deputies say he was flying a video camera-equipped drone that hindered the landing of a medical helicopter at an accident scene.
Kele Stanley, of Springfield, said he’s been unfairly charged and would have landed it immediately if he knew the medical helicopter was en route.
“I’m not an idiot,” he said.
The hobbyist was flying the $4,000 drone over a crash scene on Saturday morning to shoot photos and video.
Authorities said both fire officials and a Clark County sheriff’s deputy told Stanley to stop flying his remote-controlled aircraft because the helicopter was preparing to land, and that he refused. The helicopter was able to land and depart safely from the scene.
Stanley is facing a felony charge of obstructing official business and misdemeanor charges of misconduct at an emergency and disorderly conduct. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance Monday and said he’s going to hire a lawyer to fight the charges.
Stanley, a 31-year-old copy-machine repairman and videographer, said he flew his remote-controlled “hexacopter” about 75 feet above where a pickup had hit a tree in Moorefield Township near Springfield. He said he was shooting the video as a hobby and would have turned it over to local television stations, as he has done before.
There currently are no regulations in Ohio governing private use of the unmanned aircraft, although law enforcement agencies must get special permits to use them. The Federal Aviation Administration bars the commercial use of drones.
(Photo above: Clark County Jail)
((Photo below:/Clark County Sheriff's Office)
Ummm... yeah. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you clearly don't know much of what goes on in a Volunteer Fire Dept, or you wouldn't speak so callously of them. We take the same training, follow the same regulations, and have to pass the same state and federally mandated standards as paid firefighters; the only difference is that we do it solely out of civic duty, and often spend large quantities of our own personal funds on gear, training, and transportation. AND we work a full-time job to support that habit.
At the time I retired from active duty due to a back injury, I was training in Fire Science & Forensics; so YES, I had clearance and access to a LOT of material not available to the general public, and I understood the difference between that and what was appropriate to release to the public. But I ALSO had access to a LOT of similar material even BEFORE I had access granted for investigative work. EVERY firefighter is a material witness; we are expected to be observant, and to report what we observe in the most complete and accurate manner possible.
As for Barney Fife, yeah, I had to work with him. And McGruff too. What's your problem with them? They're both out there, putting their lives on the line every day so we can walk down safer streets. Their worst days in the line of duty are still more valuable than any criticism you may have to offer. ;)
None of that has anything to do with the fact that the photos so often released to the public look like cave paintings; it's really not that hard to compose a photo such that it's legible without revealing information that's potentially dangerous. SOP is always to not release ANYTHING that might hinder any prosecution down the road, or that contains information which can be used to produce anything dangerous.
The important dangerous information is still there; rough size of the craft, configuration of the frame, what probably is a Taranis TX on the ground... It would have been better to release nothing than to release THAT photo; it just serves to make the photographer look incompetent, or worse, that he uses a cellphone to do all his work. That kind of poor reflection on the Dept is also something that is supposed to be considered when releasing material to the public.
*Salutes brothers from the Cow Palace lost at 9/11*
@paul The key wording in your statement is " photos they produce for public consumption". Lets face it being a volunteer firefighter does not give you access to quality surveillance and crime photos. Unless you are a hanging with Barney Fife. Seriously most of that stuff is for case investigators, Grand Jury and D.A eyes.
Somehow they manage to take the worst photos ever with the most expensive camera gear on earth.
On another note... why is it, when I see law enforcement documenting a crime scene (and I've seen a few... I spent several years as a volunteer firefighter in my youth) they always have camera equipment that makes me salivate; yet the photos they produce for public consumption always look like they were scribbled on the back of a napkin?
No one is suggesting a free for all. I'm suggesting that paid membership to an organization as a requirement to use my own personal things on my own personal property, on my own personal time, is unethical. You want to make common sense rules and regulations, good. But requiring a paid membership to the AMA or whatever, wrong.
Pauls got it right "the skies are not the internet". The problem is lots of anti AMA folks think they can go and do whatever they want and pull a bad attitude. Thing is you can't just go do whatever you want and fly around a college campus or public park. Everyone including little joey down the street with his 100 dollar quad copter must follow specific rules to keep property and people safe period. I own property and lots of it in a very rural area and have my own airport but even though I have a little more spectrum I still can go shooting off a drone up to 20K feet.
Wooh... a lot of relevant argument, and a lot of self-important puffery. Sometimes at the same time. ;)
Okay... first, there are reasons the AMA isn't taking up arms to defend Droners; and a big one is in the very definition of a "Drone" vs "Model Aircraft" (For the sake of this discussion, I'll make no differentiation between fixed wing, rotary-wing or multirotor aircraft; the concerns are the same no matter which type of aircraft is involved). The difference is that a drone is expected to be able to fly autonomously, while a model aircraft is expected to fly explicitly under the control of the hobbyist.
This is all boils down to the agreement with the FAA and the AMA long ago; the definition of "model aircraft" in the eyes of the FAA is that they remain "Mostly harmless" to real, people-carrying commercial and private aircraft. One of the VERY IMPORTANT limiting factors is that they are flown LINE OF SIGHT; this inherently limits their flight envelope to prevent interaction with commercial aircraft flying at speed, as their cruising altitude is much higher than LOS permits.
Other than that, private aircraft and commercial aircraft always have right of way within any airport's holding pattern, and none are expected to be flying in or NEAR those areas at such speed that the pilot of a "model aircraft" can't get out of the way.
It was a simple understanding, and it has held and worked for over 50 years in the hobby.
Now... we have consumer (and toy-grade) multirotor aircraft that are capable of autonomous flight; THIS is a whole 'nuther can of worms. Just like with flying FPV, the nature of the technology makes it possible to intentionally fly beyond the confines of that "LOS Ceiling"; wherein one's aircraft can be expected to interact with commercial flyways. On top of this, rotary-wing aircraft change the playing field AGAIN... by altering the expected flight envelope to include the areas normally restricted ONLY for takeoff and landing.
When little aircraft were mostly fixed-wing; the AMA restrictions regarding the flying field and flight line and "safe" spectator areas worked... because most of the aircraft's flying was done in an airspace under which few human victims were expected to be present - the flying field. The nature of rotary-wing aircraft, ESPECIALLY multirotor aircraft, places a pilot's personal space within the expected usual flight envelope; by their nature, it is hard to keep them "out there" where chances of personal injury are much smaller. Preflight checks usually include some reasonable amount of time hovering in the pilot's personal space, as does landing... much more than the usual 30-60 seconds total for takeoff and landing a fixed-wing aircraft.
These are some of the main reasons the AMA has such a hard time defining a course of action in both venues; and it is why they originally mandated that for all FPV pilots there was to be a spotter, observing as if flying LOS. That KEEPS the same limited flight envelope in play.
With autonomous flight, the only altitude limitation is the power stored in the flight battery; and if there's a flyaway where a hobbyist's drone (or even a small business or journalist's drone) brings down a commercial aircraft,THAT is going to put it squarely in the FAA's baliwick, and they are going to drop the hammer and put an end to the entire Droner hobby.
And, while they're at it, they will very likely place restrictions that SEVERELY curtail the freedoms that the rest of the Model Aviation hobby have enjoyed for half a century; we'll be lucky if we're allowed to fly in the airspace of ANY property not privately owned by flying clubs, and if we deviate 10m outside those confines, be subject to stiff fines, confiscation of gear and even jail time.
We ALL need to assume there WILL BE such an incident; it is GOING TO HAPPEN. THEN is when the AMA will do their best to prevent damage to the main body of what they consider to be their constituents; which is the "flying little airplanes" set that have ALWAYS been their core membership.
The Droner community... Ifni help them... will be on their own unless they start self-governing, and do so in such fashion that a user needs to PROVE both competence and sensibility such that if flying outside the restrictions normally imposed by LOS flight, they are NOT a POTENTIAL hazard to commercial and in this case, emergency aircraft.
The skies are NOT the internet folks... they do NOT belong to everybody. (Not that the internet does either) There are already huge bodies of law that govern the usage of pretty much every square meter of US airspace; we, as hobbyists, have gotten away with slipping through the cracks of those laws due to the "mostly harmless" nature of the hobby.
Drones and FPV aircraft are by definition NOT "mostly harmless", even when flown for purely recreational purposes. Why? Because they have the capability of bringing down REAL aircraft by accident, and the opportunity for accident is MUCH greater due to the complexity of the systems involved.
And if they can do it by accident, they can do it ON PURPOSE if a user has ill intent. And when THAT happens... THEN is where you'll see the US Govt. REALLY crack down on the hobby. We'll be lucky if we can set off rubber-powered stick planes once THAT happens.
As long as we, as a group, keep bickering over the small stuff and refuse to agree on even a basic platform of rules which actually apply to FPV and Drone aircraft, then we have no chance of preventing the incidents which WILL bring about the legislation that destroys the hobby. THAT is just a matter of WHEN, not a matter of IF.
*Food for thought; thought from food*