A first-person view (FPV) drone operator recently crashed his drone in a park where he had permission to fly. While the drone landed at least dozens of yards away from the nearest person, a woman walked the distance with her dog, picked up the drone, tucked it under her shirt, and walked away. The GoPro attached to the drone continued to record the entire incident, including the aggressive verbal language and possibly multiple 911 calls she made as she became rather hysterical and the situation got out of hand.
Watching the entire video makes it clear that this is a case of a person feeling rather irrationally threatened by drone flight. Multiple things simply don't add up throughout the video, from her claim that the drone landed five (later, it shrunk to four) feet from her (it took her well over ten seconds to walk over to the drone), to the almost inaudible phrase where she stated she had no intention of giving the drone back to them or to the police and was going to instead "take it to a park meeting in June," to bragging to her husband about "how casual [she] looked on this" ("this" being the taking of the drone). When confronted by the drone owners, who had asked if she had the drone, she denied it, but followed that up with "I don't think I do."
Drone Guy: Ma'am, do you have that quadcopter?
Woman: No, I don't. I don't know what you're talking about (it's bulging under her shirt at this point). I don't think I do.
Drone Guy: You either give it to me, or I'm going to call the cops.
Woman: That's fine, call the cops, please.
Drone Guy: Hey, Colby! She's got the drone. She won't give it back to me.
Woman: Call the cops, because I already did, because it almost hit me and my dog. It landed next to me. You almost wiped me out. This is illegal in the park.
Drone Guy: No, it's not.
Woman: Yeah, it is.
Furthermore, her hysterical outpouring of expletives following this altercation escalated the entire situation. After a few minutes of waiting for police, it even sounded as though she called the cops again to complain about how long it was taking (or was complaining to her husband who may have reunited with her at this point after trying to run interference with the drone operators while she walked away).
Obviously, this woman felt threatened. Unfortunately, she had little reason to actually feel so. Interestingly enough, FPV drones are potentially scarier for regulators (and perhaps also for civilians feel it's their duty to become vigilante regulators), since operators are not maintaining line of sight with the drone, but are instead wearing goggles that give them a first-person view as they fly through the air. Naturally, however, responsible operators (such as these) only fly where they have permission in clearly designated areas. This was a glider field (sounds like remote/model gliders, not the larger, human-carrying aircraft) from which this drone operator and some peers received permission to fly.
While drone operators of all kinds need to meet an increasingly stringent set of registration requirements in order to fly commercially, hobbyists may legally do so in airspace not designated otherwise with little effort. Still, public support of drones varies widely. Some see them as another toy or tool that should be regulated as little as possible, while others have grown tired of being subjected to illegal and morally questionable video recording on private property from the sky, close calls with irresponsible pilots flying near people, and even simply the noise from these aircraft. Regardless, it's apparent this woman is "that" person we all have in our neighborhoods. You know, the one that walks straight to city council to report that you threw your candy bar wrapper in another neighbor's trash can that was on the street.
Hopefully, further education about drones and their uses for both hobby and work will eventually help to gradually rein in public fear about them. Until then, we'll have to enjoy this bittersweet mix of frustration and amusing entertainment every time a GoPro records another "incident."