October 3, 2013 | quadcopter |

Quadcopter Crashes on Busy Manhattan Street

I’ve written a lot about quadcopters, most notably Quadcopters, Cameras, and the Law. A couple days ago some fool didn’t obey the law, common sense or common decency. Monday evening a quadcopter took off from a high-rise terrace in mid-town Manhattan during evening rush hour. It flew 300 to 400 ft in the air past luxury apartment building as well as business buildings. 3 minutes later it crashed in the street nearly clipping a businessman.

It appears to be this quadcopter available from Amazon and other sites:

Here’s the story that was originally filed from New York City’s WABC Eyewitness News in New York:

This is the full video that was recovered from the quadcopter’s camera. Police have begun an investigation. This kind of flying in populated ares is clearly against the law as determined by the FAA see Quadcopters, Cameras, and the Law.
Here is a summary of the FAA rules for model aircraft:

Do not fly above 400 ft.
Do not fly above a populated area.
Always fly close enough to see your aircraft also called visual line of sight (VSOL).
If flying First Person Video (FPV), have another person standing next to you spotting your aircraft so it does not leave your Visual Line of Sight (VSOL)
Do not fly within 3 miles of an airport.
Do not fly your aircraft for any commercial purpose.

It’s certainly against the law in Manhattan as well. He gives the rest of us model pilots a black eye. Let’s hope they find him and punish him.


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7 thoughts on “Quadcopter Crashes on Busy Manhattan Street

  1. Kim w.

    If you read the NY City news article, the businessman called the police but know charges were made because the police said the quadcopter operator was not breaking the law.

  2. Hal Post author

    If a military drone crashed in Manhattan, it would be a major scandal. But military people know not to do something so selfish and irresponsible.

  3. Sven

    Funny how american news likes to uses the word DRONE to strike terror & fear into it’s citizens…. It’s a RC helicopter

  4. Hal Post author

    I agree, Sven. They’re just trying to sell more newspapers, page views or whatever. I don’t think it’s only US news, but I do think it’s sloppy and irresponsible journalism.

  5. QuadCopter

    The operator was breaking the law because he either did not join a community organization with an acceptable set of rules for flying and or did not obey the rules for safety. Reckless endangerment charges can be used by the FAA or (in theory) local police and this situation should not have been publicized as a case against the responsible use of quadcopters. How would it have been reported if he used a gun in the city? Would it be a case against gun ownership or would they only have reported it as a criminal act?

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