There are a lot of regulations about how and when you can fly drones, but there is also a bit of grey area when it comes to enforcing them. As an added bonus, there is apparently a total lack of ethics (or common sense) from some owners on the appropriate time to fly your toy.

A video was recently released that shows John Thompson flying his drone over a house fire in upstate New York. The firefighters look to be working on putting out any fires and checking the structure when the drone appears on the scene. So, like any self-respecting firefighter who is trying to save someone’s house and shouldn’t have to worry about a mystery drone in the sky, they tag it with the hose. Twice. If you look at the 12 minute mark, one firefighter shoots from a second story and hits the drone and around 12:50–after the drone continues to hang around–a second attempt is made with less success.

Johnson says he plans on sending the fire department a bill for any damage to his $2,200 drone and I would love to be a fly on the wall when that shows up. Frankly, I’m disappointed they didn’t manage to down the darn thing. Someone’s tragedy should not be fodder for your voyeuristic entertainment.

There are good reasons to use drones like to deter poachers on large preserves, as an interesting (and cheap) way to film a movie, even as entertainment on your own land, but once you start using it to film the lives of other (unwilling) participants, you’re in the wrong. I would further argue it’s even worse when you’re interrupting and distracting emergency responders. Particularly since the drone was dropped lower and lower until they finally got annoyed.


Henry Sapiecha

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