Video Shows Drone Flying Illegally and Dangerously Close to Blue Angels Military Jets

Video has surfaced showing a drone flying dangerously and illegally close to military jets over a major American city.

The video was shot during the recent America Strong flyover by the United States Navy's Blue Angels on May 12. In it, the drone flies dangerously near six F/A-18 jets in formation as they are over downtown Detroit multiple times, with the last pass shown being exceedingly close. The other thing to remember is that most consumer drones have wide angle lenses around 24mm or 28mm, so the jets were even closer than they appear in the video. 

The video shows an attribution to the Instagram handle @giolucia, an account owned by Giovanni Lucia. It appears that Lucia has taken down both his Instagram and Facebook accounts, though a screenshot of a Facebook post showing drone images of downtown Detroit dated February 18, 2017 reads: "might of broke a couple FAA regulations today..."

This is certainly not the first such incident involving a drone flying dangerously close to aircraft, but I have to say that given the proximity to the planes, the major metropolitan area, and the clear disregard for regulations, it might be the most egregious I have seen.

Sincere thanks to Parrish Ruiz De Velasco for bringing this story to our attention. 

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55 Comments

Richard Twigg's picture

This is why we can't have nice things. Glad no one was hurt or worse.

Boy W Camera's picture

Where would it crash land? Where would the spent ammunition fall?

Bernie Bros's picture

Lasers, duh. Complete vaporization!

Ken Hunt's picture

It's demonstration team. No ammo

Boy W Camera's picture

Mr Sucker, you are wasting a lot of time.

Boy W Camera's picture

Referring to other people's time. I suspect you have a lifetime of time wasting behind you, and before you. That is fine. Just don't bother others.

Randall Huleva's picture

I hope the authorities will investigate and prosecute the photographer. They clearly need to send a message that this can not be tolerated. It is very fortunate there was no loss of life or significant property damage this time!

Alex Yakimov's picture

«authorities» case tons of space junk orbiting earth and that is going to get only worse...

Randall Huleva's picture

There is a difference when an intentional act of blatant disregard for others is involved.

Alex Yakimov's picture

space junk situation or world oceans junk catastrophe could fit that descriptor “blatant disregard for others” quite nicely, but still the single act of stupidity cases more indignation then chronic catastrophic pollution

Randall Huleva's picture

I think you may be on the wrong website. If you want to discuss the evils and perils of pollution to the environment you can find websites ad nauseam all over the Internet that will warmly embrace your participation.

Here, we are discussing photography related issues...and in this particular case, the irresponsible and illegal behavior of an individual photographer in the way he/she unsafely operated their drone.

Please post on topic or elsewhere!

Alex Yakimov's picture

sometimes reckless behavior produces acceptable captures, so no legislation will ever going to stop people from reaching “danger zone” in one way or another.

Benjamin Toombs's picture

Your post is incredibly off-topic, however, the United States, Russia, European Union, Japanese and United Nations are all working to reduce the amount of space flotsam generated by their space programs, and space industries both through laws, and action.

https://www.nap.edu/read/4765/chapter/14#188

That said, a capture that puts someone else at risk of bodily harm without their knoweldge and consent is abosolutely unacceptable.

Alex Yakimov's picture

It might seem so... For you at least. I am simply curious why would you care so much? Since the quads are banned and birds are not, jet engine more likely to suffer from a bird collision. Don’t you think?

Sean Scarmack's picture

"dangerously" close, little dramatic don't you think? All you can do is speculate how close it was when it fact the Blue Angles usually fly 2ft apart. So unless that drone is within that 2ft window, dangerous is an exaggeration and once again clickbait *rolls eyes*

It's a badass shot, no where near dangerous though. Stupid though, I'll give you that.

Sean Scarmack's picture

Stupid and dangerous are two different things ;)

Andrew Morse's picture

No, I think dangerously close is pretty accurate if not an understatement. For some context, in Canada (I'm unsure of US requirements) you can't fly a drone within 3 nautical miles of an airport. This looks just a tad closer than that, so whether it's 2 feet or 200 ft doesn't really make a difference - either would be dangerous.

There is no way that the drone pilot can be sure exactly where those jets will be when they pass by. If they accidentally put the drone in the path of the jets, the drone may be small enough that the pilots don't see it with sufficient time to react to avoid a collision. Also, they're in formation, so moving to avoid an impact could result in crashing into another of the jets.

I think dangerous fits pretty well.

Sean Scarmack's picture

That's your opinion. I think it's an exaggeration and a CNN headline. I'm an adrenaline junkie and have done some pretty wild shit in my day, never once thought oh this was dangerous. At not point did one of these Jets have to maneuver out of the way, at no point did the drone get a huge gush of wind bc it was THAT CLOSE. So I think it's an BS. Appreciate your viewpoint though.

Jeremy Lusk's picture

At the speed the jets are traveling they’d never see it. As stated, drones use wide angle lenses, so the drone in this case is maybe 50 feet, and that’s not due to any control or planning by the operator. He just stuck it in the sky and luckily no one was killed. In any “adrenaline junkie” situation you’ve been in you were still in control and probably weren’t endangering anyone else. See the difference?

Sean Scarmack's picture

Okay, you said maybe 50 ft. Lets use that number, until that drone was within 10ft would I classify that as DANGEROUS. Stupid absolutely! Irresponsible absolutely! Dangerous, not a chance. Danger is when lights are flashing and things are going haywire, and it's life or death. This was simply just a dumb move.

Jim Bolen's picture

What you are not grasping here is what if their flight plan was to bank left at that time right into the drone? What if the drone gets sucked into an engine? Yes, it was dangerous and also wickedly stupid. Not click bait, just an important story to highlight this dumbass' choice.

Sean Scarmack's picture

You're talking what if's not reality! So in your what if scenario, if they banked and was heading directly at it then YES, that would have been extremely dangerous. BUT, that's not what happened in REALITY. Welcome back

Jim Bolen's picture

Geez, neverfreakingmind. You'll never understand what the rest of us are talking about.

Dave Dundas's picture

"They didn't bank so it wasn't dangerous" So you know for a fact that the idiot drone pilot knew they weren't gonna bank there? Cuz if he didn't know that, based on his decision to fly there, and the rate of speed those planes are moving, he would not have been able to get out of the way, and that makes it stupid and dangerous. That's reality.

Sean Scarmack's picture

No, reality is NOTHING happened. Those are the facts. I prefer facts over feelings, nice try though.

Sean Scarmack's picture

Or YOU have never actually been in real danger, because I'm sure your tone would change real quick LOL

Jeff Burian's picture

When I was in the Air Force, a "near miss" was considered 1/4 mile, so yeah, this drone was dangerously close.

Randall Huleva's picture

Precision aerial acrobatic teams practice countless hours in order to fly at extreme speed “2 ft apart”, as you say. The maneuvers they have practiced do not include encountering unexpected obstructions in their flight path. The fact that they fly in close precision formations is completely irrelevant to what has been determined to be a safe, legal distance to operate from.

Your apparent distaste for government authority and regulation in no way minimizes the mandated consequences of violating them.

Sean Scarmack's picture

The government LMAO. The biggest joke out there.

At no point was anyone in harms way, pull your big girl pants up now.

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