I had my first run in with a “fellow UAV operator today”. I was eating lunch with my girlfriend at her place of business (hospital) when I noticed something out the window…It was a phantom 3 advanced from the looks. I finished up eating and went out to my vehicle. The operator was standing near my truck and had landed the phantom. I introduced myself and asked if he was shooting a commercial. He responded “yes, I am a free lance photographer” I mentioned that thats neat and that this is the first UAV operator I had ran into in my home town. He was from out of town. I asked when he got his certificaiton, he said he hadn’t yet. I asked him if he realized he was within 5 miles of an airport. He did not. It’s this disregard for regulation that is going to give the industry and those of us who have obtained our RPC and carry insurance and do things by the books a bad name. Furthermore he flew over people not involved in the mission and flew right over a heli-pad at the hospital! I’m not going to be a whistle-blower. The guy will get whats coming eventually, especially if he continues to operate in such a reckless manner. Heck, I just met with the airport to establish operating procedures for when I operate in their vicinity and I’m 3 months out from even operating in that area at least. Has anyone else had any experiences with uneducated or dis-concerned individuals operating a UAV?
I’m sorry to say that we see these sorts of “wildcat” drone operations more often than we like. Its usually an overzealous enthusiast who doesn’t understand that there are separate rules for running commercially. I’d agree that it does no good to blow the whistle on folks unless there is a clear and present danger. We (Apis) take a stance of educating the people in our community (“rising tide lifts all boats”, yadda yadda…). We’ve spoken with primary, secondary, and college educators, and in the community at large (public access tv, Kiwanis, etc). The majority of the time we hear “I had no idea” after the rules are laid out for the folks that wish to listen.
I look at it this way – You’re not gonna change the rule breakers. However if you equip decision makers with good information, I can tell you who’s bid they’re not gonna take down the road!
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