Event Organisers Use Helicopter to Knock an Uninvited Drone Out of the Sky

Footage posted online shows the bizarre moment a helicopter was enlisted to knock a drone out of the sky, after it was flying unauthorised during a surfing event in Hawaii.

As you can see from the video, the drone is flying close by the participants on awaiting jetskis. Staff went to extremes of removing the drone with the downwash of one of its standby helicopters. The crew resorted to such measures after several spectators unsuccessfully tried to eradicate the drone by throwing swimming gear and fins at it.

Speaking to PetaPixel, tipster Andrew Grose said: “Like most sporting organizations the World Surf League (WSL) has been known to be quite protective in terms of its intellectual property rights. This is especially with regard to its copyright laws, making professional filming or photographing within contest areas almost impossible unless directly contracted by the WSL.”

Grose acknowledged that the drone operator was flying their drone in a public place, and thus was doing so legally, he also drew attention to the potential dangers associated with flying it directly above competition participants, as well as close to the helicopter.

The footage has divided viewers, with some questioning the right of the surfers to destroy someone else’s equipment. Check out the video for the exact moment the incident unfolded, and decide for yourself who was in the right.

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39 Comments

Previous comments

Too late. I have no problem with drones in theory, but a LOT of operators are assholes!

Someone's got their finger on the pulse...;) this was over a year ago... click through to the youtube video and enjoy the comment section, there are some strong opinions that go beyond photography rights and delve more into FAA regulations and who was in the right/ wrong..

Daniel Medley's picture

"Grose acknowledged that the drone operator was flying their drone in a public place, and thus was doing so legally, he also drew attention to the potential dangers associated with flying it directly above competition participants, as well as close to the helicopter."

Here's the rub. Any reasonable person can see that a drone flying overhead is by orders of magnitude less dangerous than using a low flying helicopter to flush it from the sky.

If the drone pilot was indeed flying their drone legally, than someone has some explaining to do; the helicopter pilot and the even organizers.

It would be interesting to see the legal outcome of this.

Lorretta Clarke's picture

If its legal then no dispute. My only comment and experience is that drones r annoying. I was on a spanish beach trying to relax and a drones spent a good 30 minutes blasting up and down the beach. Its the noise that drives u crazy. Like a constant garden blower. But i guess this is something we have to get used to

I thought Fstoppers is an American website using American English. What is it with the incorrect spelling of "unauthorised"?

Blame Noah Webster. He who could not spell... ; )

stir photos's picture

haha, lol. i remember one day when i was around 12 and my younger brother was 5 or 6 or something; had his face around while we were playing video games and me just putting my arm with open palm pushing his face away. poor little dude had absolutely no recourse whatsoever.

crazy drop ins; fools couldn't even turn... haha!

awesome video and share, thx.

Matthew Saville's picture

Now THAT is what you call downWASH!

Rick Nash's picture

The most significant problem is operating a helicopter over and in close proximity to those in the water. Chopper pilot should have a visit by FAA. Not cool. Drone operator is an a-hole for also operating over the heads of people. Drone operator should also be punished.