File this one under things not to do with your drone. A Seattle drone pilot is facing possible charges after crashing their device on top of the iconic Space Needle.
The incident happened on New Year's Eve. Footage shows the drone taking off in the vicinity of the structure, then maneuvering above and around it, before flying into the top of the tower and catching the attention of some surprised workers. While the city of Seattle has no specific drone laws, it is considering charges of reckless endangerment.
At this time, it's unclear if the flight was by a hobbyist or was commercial in nature. The FAA is also investigating the incident, which could have had multiple violations, including flying over unprotected people, beyond visual line of sight, and reckless operation. Regarding the 400 feet AGL rule, the drone appears to have been within 400 feet of the structure, which would allow it to fly up to 400 feet above the Space Needle's 605-foot height (not that I would endorse this). Unfortunately, it's not the first incident for even this building, with Space Needle CEO Ron Sevart noting:
It looks like the drone tractor beam we installed on the Space Needle is working. This is the third time we've recovered a drone on our property.
Stay safe out there, particularly when flying in city environments!
I say LESS regulation...and HIGHER penalties and JAIL TIME. That would solve a lot of selfish and reckless behaviour.
That was an Inspire 1 and if it had flown into one of those workers that person might have died.
Unless people have to be licensed to fly them, they'll never know about those penalties and jail time you propose. They'll just buy them and fly them willy-nilly as they do now. Once a drone reaches a certain size, people should need to be licensed to fly them, and have mandatory training on how to fly them, just like you need with cars and planes.
The first thing I learned in law school is that "ignorance of the law is no excuse".
We have to bring common sense back to our society and companies who make and sell these things have to disclose the dangers of flying them A) in populated areas B) Critical Airspace C) Possibility of prosecution if injury is caused to others or property.
Have you read the disclosure on cigarette cartons lately??
We see what happens when guns are purchased by people who have no interest in learning how to use them responsibly simply because our laws allow them to.
How do you think those warnings on cigarette packs got there in the first place? Legislation.
Sorry, but when drones get big enough, people need to be licensed to operate them and have mandatory training and knowledge of the law, just like you do with cars and planes. Would you be fine with people driving cars and flying planes without a license or training as long as "companies who make and sell these things have to disclose the dangers of (driving and) flying them A) in populated areas B) (public roads and) Critical Airspace C) Possibility of prosecution if injury is caused to others or property"?
You are aware that people buy and operate all kinds of motorized vehicles without the need for licensing right?
When accidents by way of negligence or circumstance take place, there is already common law remedies in place to deal with personal injury/property etc.
I saw a guy in the summer on a booster board take out 4 people on a boardwalk at the beach. No license required, but I'm pretty sure he was properly dealt with by the parents of the kid with the broken arm.
So I'll take that as a "yes" that you're perfectly OK with people driving cars and flying planes without a license or training as long as "companies who make and sell these things have to disclose the dangers of (driving and) flying them A) in populated areas B) (public roads and) Critical Airspace C) Possibility of prosecution if injury is caused to others or property"
I have been there for lunch. Great views of Seattle from inside and the walkway. The drone's view from the outside looking in, is fascinating. If it weren't a danger to the workers or pedestrians on the surrounding walk way, the crash at the end would have been the best part of the video.
I can imagine the near future, when visiting somewhere like the Space Needle, looking out the windows and rather than seeing the view, seeing hundreds of drones circling, looking in.
The sad thing is that the city of Seattle will pass stiffer regulations regarding the local airspace, making it harder (or impossible) for responsible people to fly. I'm sure that there were problems with drones in national parks prior the idiot landing one in a geyser, but that made news and now none of us can fly in some of the most beautiful places in the country. As stated by the Space Needle CEO, this has happened before. However, this time it's a national news story and the standard governmental reaction to a national news story is an overreaction.
Hate to see this. Curious what a drone tractor beam is that they have installed. Is that what brough the drone into the platform when it crashed?
That part was clearly a joke
Those aren't just workers up there btw. Those are pyrotechnicians losing pyrotechnics which were being loaded for the fireworks show that evening, so in this case there wasn't just risk from crashing into someone, but also the risk that they could have inadvertently caused an explosion.