As a drone pilot myself, I found this quite maddening to see a quadcopter flying over yesterday’s 4th of July event in my home town of Sandy, Utah. There must have been 50,000 people there. The quad was a Phantom with prop guards. The pilot made countless flights over the crowd, even at night during the fireworks display.
With all the police and fire people there I first assumed the pilot had a permit. He was launching from next to the stage where the band was performing, and hand-catching the Phantom on landing.
As the night wore on though, I started getting more and more irritated. I thought to myself that there would be no way the FAA would permit this type of flight. I watched him fly up to the stage then fly backward. He seemed to lose control and freak out when he almost hit the spotlight crane which was situated in the middle of the audience.
I was irresponsible with my first drone, a Phantom. It was back in 2013 and I had no idea what I was doing or what might happen if I crashed. I’m much more careful now and watching this guy fly over the audience, my wife and 3-year old included, ticked me off.
The pilot looked to be an event photographer. If he was shooting for the event or for the band, I’d assume he had a Section 333 commercial exemption and/or a permit to do it. Benefit of the doubt. But again, methinks someone who has gone to all the trouble getting a 333 wouldn’t fly over a crowd of thousands.