Attack of the drones: Aerial surf photography takes off

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

photog1475pipe10kirstin_m_0.jpgEvery time Pipeline breaks they're there, as regular as the Wolf Pak. A thicket of photographers standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the top of the tide mark, staking their sandy claim in surfing's version of the press pack. And with multiple lenses pointed seaward the result is often an unsurprising facsimile of coverage; differences in output are afforded mostly by technique and equipment. Their numbers may be many but the angle remains the same.

The most striking footage of Pipeline this year came, not from someone standing amongst the Pipeline press pack, but from a fellow who sat alone and off to the side, up near the lifeguard tower at Ehukai. Eric Sterman, a young videographer from Hawaii, perched cross-legged on the sand with a remote control in his hands as Kelly Slater paddled into a set during the semi-finals of the Pipe Masters.

The footage, shot from a quadrocopter hovering thirty feet above sea level, shows Slater stroking into a translucent green line of swell, the infamous Pipeline caverns clearly visible beneath the surface. The viewer sees Slater drop in, get barrelled, and subsequently spat out into the channel, all from that unique aerial perspective. To date the single wave video has had over 150,000 views. A subsequent compilation video, also shot from the air and featuring a mixture of Pipeline sessions has had over 380,000 views. Every single surfing publication I know of ran it on their web platform.

Sterman, a North Shore local, has only been shooting aerial footage for six months and admits to being surprised by the reach of his videos. “A lot of people saw the videos. I've had a lot of people contact me from within the surf industry,” Sterman admitted when we recently spoke.

He may be surprised yet it's exactly the reaction Sterman desires. He first saw a quadrocopter – correct term Unmanned Aerial Vehicle*, or UAV – at last year's Oakley Pro Bali and immediately gleaned the possibilities. “I bought my equipment six months ago and set out to be an aerial photographer, be it real estate or surfing. I want this [aerial photography] to be a career.”

Sterman isn't there yet, however, and he'll have to do a bit more background reading if he's to realise his ambition. When I asked him about the requisite regulations for flying a UAV he drew a blank. “I know you can fly them as a hobby. But no, I really don't know the rules at all.”

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The UAV industry is currently booming in both Australia and the US. Accurate sales figures are hard to come by but impressive by any measure; approximately 2,000 units were sold in Australia last year and around five times that figure in the US. Some units now sell for as little as $350 and the number of importers and distributors is growing rapidly. A pro-UAV lobby group in the US estimates there will be 30,000 non-commercial UAVs flying in American airspace by 2020. They also believe UAVs sales will reach US $6 billion within a few years and the concomitant industry will create tens of thousands of new jobs.

To keep pace with the thriving industry America's FAA and Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) are working quickly to regulate the operators and keep airspace safe. Although they are tightly restricted in the US, UAVs are increasingly being used by mining, aerospace and agricultural companies for the purposes of monitoring remote assets, surveying, and surveillance work. Last month, in response to pressure from the aforementioned industries, the FAA announced it had established six test sites across the US. The purpose of which was to “conduct critical research into the...operational requirements necessary to safely integrate UAS into the national airspace.”

Once completed the UAV community expects that there'll be a loosening of UAV restrictions in the US. Till then the current rules apply, and there's news for Eric Sterman and other footloose wingmen: Despite his amazing imagery Sterman's epic Pipeline videos are very likely illegal.

In the US hobbyists are allowed to use small radio-controlled craft under specific guidelines, but according to an FAA spokesperson, “if you're using it for any sort of commercial purposes, including journalism, that's not allowed.” And under the FAA interpretation 'journalism' is a very broad term. Even running an amateur blog is considered journalism. It doesn't have to be a commercial venture.

If that sounds a tad ambiguous and a wee bit hazy, well, you're not alone. The FAA is making up rules on the fly - for want of a better term. They're rushing to catch up to the booming UAV technology without even a clear idea of its extent or capability, leave alone the ability to future proof the legislation.

Because of this, and fortunately for Eric Sterman and his like, the FAA is reticent to penalise those who transgress the rules. If they catch the antagonist – a very unlikely event in itself – they'll generally request them to cease their activities, although sanctions are possible for operating a UAV in a reckless manner.

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In 2002 Australia became the first country to write legislation for UAVs and it's currently one of the most advanced in integrating civilian UAVs into public airspace. Despite this, CASA last year launched a review of UAVs which, depending upon consultation time, will see an overhaul of regulations by 2015/2016.

Peter Gibson is a spokesperson for CASA and he's well aware of the guessing game the authority is playing trying to catch up with UAV technology. “It's hard to write enforceable legislation when we don't know where the technology will be in a few years.”

As for those who transgress the rules in Australia, Gibson says “we can, and do, hand out infringement notices.” Capture can be difficult, but where evidence exists they have the power to hand out fines up to $8,000. Something Gibson says CASA has already “done a few times.”

The penalties may be stiffer here in Australia but the restrictions to flying are much looser than in the US. A simple electronic approval form is all that's required to fly the smallest UAVs while all 77 commercial UAV operators received certification after forwarding their business plan and completing a standard risk assessment procedure.

So what does all this mean for surfing?

Judging by the response to Eric Sterman's videos and the growing amount of aerial footage on the internet we're about to see a large increase in UAV-captured surf footage. Five years ago GoPro sent shock waves around the surfing world by taking viewers deep within the wave, so too will UAVs feed the internet's insatiable appetite for new images and angles. Except this time it'll be the macro view; imagery that features the overarching scope of line up and landscape.

Plans are already being made at the top. Although Eric Sterman wouldn't say which surf companies have approached him, Dave Prodan at the ASP admitted that they will be using UAV footage this year – possibly as soon as Snapper Rocks. “I've seen Eric's footage. We've had plenty of internal discussion [about UAVs],” said Prodan when in a recent conversation with Swellnet.

“The policy being developed around UAVs is not dissimilar to that regarding water photographers [in ASP competition] and revolves mostly around the safety of the athletes and their ability to compete free from distraction.”

Like the FAA and CASA, the ASP are quickly writing the rules to adopt the new technology. At present UAVs aren't mentioned anywhere in the ASP Rulebook but by the time the 2014 season commences they will be.

Another UAV early adopter is Tasmanian Stu Gibson. In 2006 Gibson won a competition, the Nescafe Big Break, for his cutting edge photographic work. Gibson ploughed the winnings into his photo business and has since kept moving and evolving to stay at the forward edge of his art. Six months ago he bought a UAV.

“I love it. Once you get into it it's a pretty heavy addiction,” says Gibson whose been running many test flights around his Tasmanian home with a mind for filming the next big Shipsterns session – wind and weather permitting.

Yet despite his enthusiasm Gibson already laments the coming onslaught of aerial footage. “It's kind of sad because the rare footage of stills from a helicopter or plane will be boring soon, and it was once such a cool perspective to see.”

Gibson's statement needs to be taken in context; it's in his nature to stay ahead of the pack, and as such he's acutely aware of the direction the technology is heading. So sure, the day may come when the aerial angle is as commonplace as that captued by the Pipeline press pack. It's a while off, however, and till that day comes there'll be plenty of great imagery from surfing's new photographic frontier.

*Also known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or in the media as drones.

Comments

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 at 9:59am

It's worth noting that, aside from the aforementioned Oakley Pro Bali, the organisers of the Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro used a UAV to gather footage in both 2011 and also 2013

derra83's picture
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derra83 commented Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 at 2:58pm

It'd be great to start seeing a different angle on surfing if only to curb the inherent narcissism of Gopro cameras. The footage theyve provided has been sensational but I struggle to get beyond the "look at me" phenomenon. Hard to appreciate someones surfing when you think they're a complete twat.

hem-stret's picture
hem-stret's picture
hem-stret commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 10:40am

I second that derra..............

A drop knee cutback to the foam

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 at 3:04pm

I can only imagine the sight of twenty drones prowling the airspace above the Bells Bowl this Easter. The bigger machines are by no means quiet, and some of them can last up to 45 minutes before needing a recharge. And.. it'll be impossible to police. 

Fill the popcorn machine!

sarge4's picture
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sarge4 commented Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 at 3:45pm

Should make great target practice for local grom's and their spud guns!

Oi

gillos's picture
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gillos commented Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 at 8:32am

There's a recent clip on YouTube http://youtu.be/UVfS63BBKG0 from Ours that shows the ledge and the kelp that the guys commit to when they take off, first guys gets nailed, lol. Maybe comp organizers need to use an EMP to nullify the buzzers. Regardless the footage is amazing along with hi-def TV's it'll only bring sports up close to us couch potatoes..... yew!

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 at 4:20pm

I like the view you get of the reef. You see the underwater photos and hear all the story's, but to see all the holes, veins and layout from above is awesome.

ride-for-life's picture
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ride-for-life commented Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 at 8:44pm

@stunet & @thermalben

Thank you for the article and the comments thus far, I'm glad swellnet is covering this as it develops.

Having worked in the aerial photography industry in Australia for a major certified company in this field of UAV operation, I can tell you it's very difficult for companies to operate UAV's by the book, but that's the point, aviation isn't for upstarts especially if you plan to profit from it. It's serious and and its one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world. You cannot operate illegally and expect to stay under the radar or in business for very long. UAV's tend to give the misconception that it's a little easier to operate or you simply don't need to know as much about safety and or the importance of being certified. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The challenge ahead for authorities (CASA where Australia is concerned) to implement an updated version of their rules and regulations, particularly when dealing with certification is monumental. If you plan to financially gain from UAV operation, you had better do your research and do it by the book because you are in fact entering aviation territory and mistakes are not taken lightly.

In the mean time the public needs to be vigilant, especially in populated areas. If you see something suspicious or unsafe, do something about it and report it to police or CASA. Preferably both. You may feel a bit like a kill joy but remember its your privacy and safety that is important, which the operator may or may not be taking seriously. In any case they are probably just flying for fun or perhaps have financial gain in mind. Either way flying small unmanned aircraft is now more widespread and difficult to police which has made it unpredictable and potentially very dangerous.

It goes without saying however that the guy flying a foam aircraft with his son in a park isn't pushing any serious buttons where authorities are concerned. There are also model aircraft clubs that can provide more information on civilian use or a place for you to make a start - if they will have you.

***

A bit of history and looking forward;
In the mid 2000's Australia was a bit of a test tube for this technology and CASA was not prepared for how quickly photographers, filmmakers and civilian enthusiasts would begin obtaining such aircraft (UAV's / drones / modified hobby aircraft) and putting them to use. More a circumstantial eventuality than lack of foresight on their part - we do have a very safe airspace in Australia.

The ongoing issue with UAV's is that they look relatively harmless and are getting smaller, lighter and cheaper now that the base technology is being mass produced in places like Asia. But that's the key word, 'cheaper' which as you all know means more accessible, particularly for larger, heavier models which are the bigger issue for safety.

Your local hobby store can sell you a remote control helicopter, quad-copter, aircraft, for a fraction of the cost of a fully researched and developed UAV and yet you can put one of these side by side with a $50,000 dollar machine and to the untrained eye, not tell the difference. This is where it's a very grey area and getting people into strife who are claiming that they are 'professional operators' in what should be a very black and white, legislated industry. 'Yes you can fly, but are you certified?' Not exactly something a civilian would think to ask, or an non-certified operator would mention when quoting a job.

Furthermore the capabilities of UAV's are relatively endless, remembering it is primarily a military development now becoming more accessible in civilian life. Amateur 'pilots' are operating already with absolutely no certifications or insurance, (yes insurance) is available and held by certified operators already active in the industry.

The big companies (Yes looking at you ASP) who may be currently looking to hire enthusiasts such as Mr Sterman (who took some great footage lets be honest) need to realize that they are hiring exactly that, enthusiasts, not Professionals. If they fail to do their research and don't hire certified operators, it could cost them dearly. Common sense hopefully prevails where the ASP is concerned. We love our surfing.

It's great to see people getting involved and providing epic footage for us but safety can't be guaranteed under such circumstances, especially at public events where people are literally everywhere. This doesn't mean we can't have access to drones, but it does mean the 'she'll be right' attitude has to change. Why? Because the simple fact is, even at the very top, accidents can an do happen - ask any major airline, aviation is the real deal, even the little guys will have to come to terms with that fact. Like when you get your drivers license, you are basically taking charge of a vehicle that can maim or even kill someone. Granted a UAV is likely to weigh a lot less but things that fly tend to crash, for landing is a controlled crash, it just depends how good the operator is at preventing a serious problem in those last few seconds of flight.

As Ben suggested, it is quite possible that 20 drones will be at a single event in future and some of the responsibility if not all could fall back to organizers of such events (say the ASP at pipe) if something goes wrong: like two drones collide and fall on bystanders or the athletes. Certain drones don't weigh much, it depends on the requirements of the task, wind speed capabilities, flight time requirements, GPS hold capability and equipment payload etc etc. If you add camera equipment, mounts, batteries, rotors and gravity to the mix, it quite quickly becomes unsafe in the hands of non-certified operators. Avgas (aviation grade gasoline) powered aircraft are being used too, the safety implications in this case escalate quite quickly beyond conventional electric UAV's. This in all cases should be avoided for public events or left to the military and rural operations.

If 20 blokes feel like flying all at the same time in a very small aerospace I'd say that it's unlikely there will be any coordination going on between them, hence it would be a very bad idea to sit or stand anywhere near their operational area. Throw in the jousting for the best shot and yep, you've got a very bad situation.

The truth of the matter is that currently technology is outrunning legislation (for now). Demand for such great footage and images like at Pipe is pushing it even faster in a dangerous direction. Accidents will happen in the near future, it's only a matter of time. If you wonder why authorities are panicking and working overtime to regulate UAV's, then I suggest you go to a local airport and see how much altitude a fully loaded passenger aircraft has off the tarmac during take off or landing. Not a lot - certainly within the reach of a budding UAV enthusiast's equipment. Common sense would suggest, don't fly near say an airport or busy highway but it's already happening and CASA is starting to catch up. They are very mindful a decent sized bird can destroy a Rolls Royce engine and a UAV / drone in the hands of a peanut well... you get the picture.

It's here we need to be mindful that sometimes, (sometimes) red tape has a very important place. Let them legislate the hell out of this one I say, because it does need to be tough and Strict come 2015 if that is when we see the next round of legislation.

Nobody here wants to be a kill joy, we all want footage like the latest aerial Pipe session to be available. Some of you may have seen such footage entering all kinds of action sports and racing, I saw an octocopter in NZ recently during a snowboard competition - they guy flying looked like he knew what he was doing but there's no way to tell unless you go up and ask. It is amazing and entertaining but we do need to be mindful, pro-active and diligent about public safety. We can't tell other countries how to go about UAV regulation, but you can be damn sure they will look to us for a start.

If you are looking to get into the industry in Australia please contact CASA, ask them how to go about it legally, do the right thing. UAV's are not toys and their cheaper counterparts especially as they are obtainable by practically anyone, are still problematic. They pose a serious risk to public safety and the other issue of privacy which is a whole other ballgame currently being tested for instance by the paparazzi - Get ready for the next phone hacking scandal. You saw it here first.

There will be a day very soon where you will have a UAV / drone flying above your head, perhaps out at your local break and you will want to know the person controlling it is a capable operator. If this has already happened to you, chances are it is being illegally operated at your expense.

***

The upshot.

Remember too that with new industries such as UAV operation, there are professionals who are certified, insured and lawfully operating. If you have found an operator who is willing to work for you, your company or organization, ask them to produce their documentation and certification(s) before you even describe the job.

The paperwork exists for a reason and there a few highly capable certified operators who will do a fantastic job for you, if you can afford it.

As on the website / for more information:
www.casa.gov.au
CASA hotline 1800 074 737
If somebody is putting safety at risk - report it!

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 at 10:17pm

Great post RFL, and some great points I hadn't thought about before. Thanks for taking the time!

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 1:53pm

I agree, an excellent post. Balanced and well written.

Definitely food for thought.

While I agree, the images have been stunning, I can't help but feel that if something goes wrong one of these UAV's falling from the sky could be lethal.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 1:56pm

Check the link on Tripper Green Feet's post, ZA.

luke-hallam's picture
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luke-hallam commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 2:17pm

I started looking into drones a couple of years ago, getting pretty excited about the creative possibilities (being involved in a marketing related industry myself). Then I came across the info RFL mentions regarding the legal implications to commercial operation. "You want to give this a try, you need big dollars to get your toes wet..."

I think the big issue CASA has to deal with is the massive barrier to entry they have in place (correct me if I am wrong in any way!) If you wanted to get started, do things the right way, on the right side of the law then your looking at $5,000 - $10,000 to get certified? Including the CASA certification and UAV controller certification. Not to mention a whole slew of documentation regarding business plans and equipment maintenance schedules.

The only training course I have found (and still yet to be CASA certified) is $4,500 to complete. (Not intending to criticise any business operators as the overheads to provide such training would be astronomical no doubt). I dread to think what insurance companies would want for public liability cover!

I wonder if the CASA fees are cost based, or more deterrent based? "Please, we would prefer if you just went and played golf."

Given, as stated in previous comments, you can set yourself up with consumer level gear for under $500, fly into the Quik Pro airspace and nab some footage...

On the current path, I think CASA can expect massive numbers of cowboys in the air - well intentioned and not.

If CASA wants to run around handing out massive fines, maybe that will work? But if this proliferation of flying machines continues as predicted, surely it will become impractical to continue to hand out fines to everyone?

I think there is a good chance the usage of drones at pro events will flop, once regulations are met and the footage is crap. I'm happy to be proven wrong of course, but maybe we've seen the best footage already? Once everything has to be 100 feet away from any person, it might not be very interesting anymore... There has been mention of drones used at events previously, no viral videos came out of those situations did they?

One last thing to mention is that the industry is still pretty new and there is a lot of scope for further development, especially regarding safety. This is an awesome watch if you have time, gets you thinking: http://www.ted.com/talks/raffaello_d_andrea_the_astounding_athletic_powe...
Also on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2itwFJCgFQ

Cheers
Luke

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 9:20am

Excellent post Ride-for-life. Aside from being packed full of relevant information I believe you've submitted the longest post in Swellnet history - congrats!

Like you, I see UAVs in the context of an attractive, cheap, and hence rapidly growing technology. Never mind that there's only a few around now, wait a few years and then cast your eyes skyward.

Australian's aren't as paranoid about 'privacy' as our US brethren so there hasn't been as much dialogue about the advent of civilian UAVs. It's also created, and I believe will continue to create, a complacency about them; ordinary people don't know the rules and wont care to learn them. It's this environment that will see renegade (unlicensed) operators of UAVs propagate. Why bother getting your certificate if you're never gonna get caught?

At some stage, however, there will be a tipping point. A publicised accident, close call, or even a well-managed public campaign by CASA will see public attitudes change. Expecially if the sales predictions for Australia hold true.

Till then CASA have a hell of a job on their hands trying to regulate this booming and seemingly-uncontrollable industry. Best of luck to them and everyone else using public airspace.

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 9:44am

+1 on what RFL said - I have operated UAV's (800 size helis) in the mining game, slightly different from commercial as we were operating in restricted airspace anyway.

The way tech has leap ahead, a UAV with full GPS way-point, auto take off and land and FPV can be set up for ~$1500...that can really let the cowboys in.

And you know what happens when a few cowboys start to fuck up, it hurts the rest of the industry, both commercial UAV and private RCers.

Even a small 450 size heli or multi rotor can really fuck someones day if it happens to crash into them - remember these things are generally swinging carbon fibre swords with tip speeds approaching the speed of sound.

This is what a 600mm CF blade can do at 2400 rpm. Some say this is a boat prop but this is a Spanish fella who got cleaned up when a 600 size heli went out of control into the pits at an RC club.

Warning this image is quite graphic: http://s8.postimg.org/cuxmd72g5/tumblr_mrse1kp_R7w1sc3yayo1_500.jpg

The biggest helis I've flown swing 1000mm blades, they MUST be treated with the utmost respect or you could end up dead in the blink of an eye, like that young fella (Pro pilot) last year in the US. He basically chopped of the top front portion of his head flying a 700 size heli.

zenagain's picture
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zenagain commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:04pm

Wow TGF, gnarly pic.

Looks like he came off second best to a Great White.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 10:33am

Apologies to the Mods - I guess cause I''ve seen one too many pics regarding heli injuries I'm a bit de-sensitised to the graphic nature of them.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 10:33am

That's cool TGF, just protecting the kiddies.

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 12:09pm

This is an example of what can happen when a UAV operator is unlicenced, reckless and flys for profit.

http://www.suasnews.com/2013/10/25471/the-faas-complaint-against-trappy/

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 11:48am

From the 1:40min mark he looks like he's pretty high and def in air-space!

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 12:21pm

The FAA regs for RC aircraft is a ceiling of 400ft AGL in controlled airspace.

So yes, as point #10 in the article states he is up to 1500ft AGL - definately in the wrong there.

#9.1 has him flying within 100ft of a heli pad.

This guy Trappy is actually considered one of the better FPV flyers out there too, but not good enough to escape the regs.

CASA state a ceiling of 400ft AGL in controlled airspace for RC - unless clear of controlled airspace and further than 3 nautical miles from any aerodrome.

Flying over water has other regs attached like glide ratios and such, but I'm not sure how this pertains to RC, both standard and UAV over water.

And one thing is certain, when a heli or multi rotor fail in the air, they glide like a high speed rock with razor blades.

I have had my own 700mm bladed heli mechanicaly fail at high speed (~220KPH), hit the deck 20ft in front of me, bounce and go over my head with what was left of the CF blades just missing me. Scary shit - still gives me the chills thinking what could have been.

sir ambrose beachfucker's picture
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sir ambrose bea... commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 12:27pm

drones ......eyre peninsula.....hmmm.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 12:30pm

BTW, The Drones are one of my fav bands.

Sorry gents. As you were.

fitzroy-21's picture
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fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 1:50pm

What is the range of these drones before they become "out of control". Obviously it is proportionate to price and quality, but for the average punter/enthusiast that would want to do some filming for themselves (or to sell/put on YT) what would be the average max distance??

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:00pm

There're all different types, Fitz. The better ones have 'return to operator' capability, others just fall from the sky. As for max. range, it's anywhere from 50m for the cheaper units up to 1km. The problem being, as Ride For Life mentioned in his post, is that cheaper units have less safety and range and they're the ones attracting all the footloose operators to the game. The guys who wont seek certification.

fitzroy-21's picture
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fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:09pm

Yeah thats what I'm sort of heading at.

If say, ASP, had their sanctioned ones operating at Pipe and then some guy up in the hills launches, comes in creating mayhem, gets a heap of footage and then scuttles back up into the hills, no one is going to be able to find out who he is or where he's operating from.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:17pm

Exactly, and that's one of the biggest problems for professional sports. Last year the ASP, as we all know, were bought by ZoSea. They are no longer a not-for-profit organisation, they are a business like any other and they have to turn a profit. To do so they need to package their media and on-sell it under tightly restricted conditions. Having a cowboy UAV operator fly in and shoot the action wouldn't be tolerated, but the way things are the ASP would do well to guard against it somehow.

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:16pm

With 2.4ghz transmitters the range is between 1 to 5 km depending on quality. With 2.4 signal boosters the range can easily extend to 25km.

However, visual orientation is lost well before the signal limit on most systems. That is where first person view (FPV) systems come in.

The commercial guys generally use two operators, one to pilot the aircraft, the other to operate the camera/gimbal system via a second transmitter. The aircraft itself being used must always be in line of site from the pilot and if operating in crowded/close quarters a third person would be used as a spotter.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:18pm

Cheers TGF. Always good having a boffin in the comments section.

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:17pm

Far as I am aware FPV systems at this time are also illegal for commercial use.

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 2:22pm

This will take care of those pesky blow ins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZCH1492CzA

fitzroy-21's picture
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fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 3:00pm

Policing it will be the issue in these instances.

Oh hang on, the police will have there own drones to chase the rouge drones.

Imaging trying to police it a Keramas, or anywhere in Indo for that matter.

wellymon's picture
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wellymon commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 3:13pm

Great article, interesting read especially TGF (Boffin)... Never heard of that word Stu.

TGF I think the one that will deal with pesky blow ins, is the one that Fitz has ordered.

Safety first is paramount.
Duty of care.

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

fitzroy-21's picture
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fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 3:33pm

Yeah Welly, that one is to clear the water at Snapper. :)

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ride-for-life commented Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 at 4:32pm

Thanks for taking the time to sift through my previous post. I did chuckle there (with you) @Stunet - not surprised it's possibly the longest post yet, I'm glad its been insightful. In answer to your question / statement stu, your spot on, policing is going to be very difficult in the interim and currently the main battle is with upstarts assuming they can make their money without going through the cert process. As TGF correctly said, they are the ones giving the industry a bad name, wrecking it for the certified operators. They don't have long, especially if their main defense post being caught is 'It's too hard to get the damn certification.'

Yeah well, its aviation, bad luck Django.

As for surfing,
Imposing a no fly zone into event rules and regulation with say the ASP's new owners would be a start, but it appears they are going in the opposite direction of signing deals to fly. However this could be both. I'd suggest that if its done by the book we could have some of the best coverage of the world tour yet. Being a world tour, that means lots of different locations, lots of authorities to liaise with but it's possible.

Solution - impose a no fly zone for all UAV / drone aircraft other than licensed with the ASP tour in conjunction with the local authorities.

Additional interesting info:
Remember Amazon in the states recently trialed a UAV delivery program and I think domino's looked into it too, imagine having a pizza dropped at your door by an automated drone... crazy. See the original article and the comments are quite priceless if not well put here by some of the readers,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/amazon/10487451/Amazon-drones-foun...

Finally,
looks like the Kirra petition on change.org just succeeded too. Congrats to all who got behind it to avoid that ridiculous cruise terminal. Financial gain seems to be powering a lot of incredibly stupid and selfish ideas at the moment. Mankind is struggling to get the message it seems, thankfully there are people prepared to stand for whats right. More of those please, particularly in politics and legislation.

Have a good day everyone,
RFL

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stunet commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 12:38pm

Hey RFL,

Further to your point about the ASP and use of UAVs: The ASP will be creating a no fly zone above the contests with only ASP-approved pilot(s) operating there. From Dave Prodan, ASP media fella:  "Applications will be similar [as water photographers allowed to shoot at ASP contests], but priority will be given to ASP operators and ASP partners. Space will be limited."

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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 2:12pm

And this is what I'm still struggling to grasp. How are they going to police and enforce this?

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Craig commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 2:19pm

Exactly, security can always grab water photogs or other land photogs and throw them out, but you can't tackle someone controlling at UAV as it will crash.

And if someone's hiding in the bushes controlling it, how are they to find them??

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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 2:27pm

As I pointed out above, you could be miles away and come in , get footage, create mayhem and outta there. Who or what is going to be able to chase it and track it down.

And with camera technology these days, it could be stealth up way higher where it would be hard to see and hear.

And what about WCT places like Keramas, Fiji, Chopes.................................

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trippergreenfeet commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 3:50pm

fitzroy-21 wrote: As I pointed out above, you could be miles away and come in , get footage, create mayhem and outta there. Who or what is going to be able to chase it and track it down.

As an example, I have a small quad-copter (450mm cnr to cnr) with full GPS waypoint and altitude control with a GoPro cam mount. All that's needed is the GPS co-ordinates of the surf line-up and the take off position. A flight path is then prgrammed using QGroundControl http://qgroundcontrol.org/ and bobs ya uncle. Take off, flick a TX switch and QGC takes over.
Other programming features include position hold, so the quad can be told to hold X position for so many seconds, rotate to compass point and hold or just keep on panning until the desired footage is taken, etc so the pilot can just kick back in a hidden location and 'steal' the show as such.
It can even monitor battery consumtion, how much energy it actually used to get to it's destination, and calculate what it needs to return home safely. When the quad hits the calculated low limit it will return to home even if the intial program waypoint path has not been completed. And all that tech for $470, which incudes the cost of the quad itself.
There are also 2 and 3 axis camera gimbals that allow for full cam control including focus (using FPV) whilst the quad is flying it's auto routine.

If desired, the quad could be made to return home by flying an eratic flight path to stop any kind of pursuit from the ground.

On the flip side, there are no specific laws which say the owner / organiser of an exclusive event can't take out unsanctioned RC aircraft out of the sky if deemed to be in breach of contracts, fly over private property (taking footage) or even take footage of an area they are not invited when outside boundry of said event.
Participants in a couple of duck shoots in the USA have shot down quads (operated by PETA) that have been taking footage of sanctioned hunting events. The quads were flying over public roads at the time, with PETA having no legal recourse against the hunters.

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hem-stret commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 10:50am

CASA, AMSA ................... we have to ask to play in 'their' sea and sky. regulations, lifejackets...............keeping the skies open for authorities and big business, little regulation enforcing men and women with hats and scowls prowling to take out anyone without a licence for breathing . imagine captain cook or the wright brothers trying to get anything going these days. 1 hrs flying or sailing would equal 50 hours bogged down in paperwork and asking permission. common sense and calculated risk the realm of the unholy and persecuted

A drop knee cutback to the foam

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shoredump commented Friday, 17 Jan 2014 at 2:03pm

There's a corridor for light aircraft to follow the coast in Sydney at 500ft. It's called Victor 1. Light aircraft can fly along most Aussie coasts as low as 500ft so i guess that's where the 400ft max comes from.

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rob1960 commented Saturday, 18 Jan 2014 at 8:27am

I use to work for a UAV company in Melbourne before being asked to serve again.... this company was eventually bought by the Americans. This company tried for years to sell in the Australian market ...no success, but has since sold the Aerosonde to the American Marines and US Navy, it is funny that its older sister UAV the Shadow has been bought by the Australian Army... the Aersonde Mk1 is sitting in the Smithsonian institute for it broke a duration record across the Atlantic US to Uk in the late 90's...yet no takers in Oz

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stunet commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 3:35pm

Check this drone footage from Jaws the other day. The operator needs a bit more training (misses a few waves) but the potential is incredible.

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Craig commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 3:49pm

Wow, some great angles, I'm loving these new perspectives on waves we've seen the same shots and angles from over and over.

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trippergreenfeet commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 6:36pm

The op would be using FPV goggles that have motion sensing gyros that control the camera gimbals angle / view. So when he moves his head, the cam pans the same way. Takes some getting used to for sure. Then to add the sheer sensory overload of looking at those waves from his angle...hard to keep a lid on the excitement and keep things flowing smoothly, all while flying. No wonder the footage gets a bit choppy at times, tough gig.

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trippergreenfeet commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 6:43pm

This is an example of the FPV gear that's available.

http://www.fatshark.com/

I'd love to use em on my RC gear but as I've got epilepsy, the refresh rate really fucks with my head. About two minutes is all I can handle...last thing the crew in the water would want is a heli gate crashing the line up while I'm taking a dive on the deck.

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stunet commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 7:44pm

Epileptic and a surfer? It's either nocturnal or you're playing a big game of Russian Roulette, TGF.

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trippergreenfeet commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 8:01pm

The docs actually reckon it was my last big head injury surfing that brought it on 5 yrs ago.

I actually smell an event coming on (30 seconds warning), so I've learnt to stop, drop and roll, lol. Well, not the roll part but it sounds good. Stops me passing out anyway.

Plus I don't 'fit' like 'normal' epileptics, my heart stops beating and makes me pass out. But now I'm on the good drugs, so everything is rosy.

The refresh rate on FPV goggles, 3D tv glasses, etc give me terrible headaches and make me want to bust shit up, strange feeling that.

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stunet commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 8:04pm

Glad to hear it...well, glad to hear you can manage it anyway. I almost had to stop surfing when I was 14 cos of an epileptic scare. Met a bloke from Vicco in Hawaii one year who was epileptic, couldn't control his fits, yet kept surfing. Bumped into his brother a few years later who told me he passed away in the surf after the inevitable happened.

Anyhoo, all too macabre and OT. I'm gonna scour the web for more drone footy...

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Craig commented Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 at 7:15am

Wow, didn't know these things existed, that would make it so much easier! Struggled to work out how they controlled where the copter was going while also keeping the camera pointed at the intended target.

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mick-free commented Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 at 5:33pm

Wasn't much of a crowd early.

Better watch out if you flying drones........

http://surf.transworld.net/1000166650/videos/rock-throwing-longboarder-n...

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

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Craig commented Friday, 24 Jan 2014 at 5:05pm

Also, I tell you some photogs will start getting pissed about having these little copters in these shots.

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the-roller commented Thursday, 23 Jan 2014 at 7:10am

noting the comment section of said video, a somewhat appropriate local response.... GTFO.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeS7ilnh1gY

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Craig commented Friday, 24 Jan 2014 at 5:02pm

You can see one of the quadrocopters in the frame after Aaron Gold makes the drop on this beast.

Looks like it was flying low and just got over the back of the wave!

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trippergreenfeet commented Friday, 24 Jan 2014 at 5:17pm

That quad appears to be the DJI Phantom. For under $600 anyone can be taking to the air and getting HD footage.

http://www.multiwiicopter.com/products/dji-phantom-1-1-1-rtf-drone

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trippergreenfeet commented Friday, 24 Jan 2014 at 5:24pm

The quad is flying higher and further away from the peak than it appears - depth perception is extremely deceptive with aircraft, especially from the angle of the camera taking that footage which would be up on the cliff.

If the quad was close to the wave passing under, the updraft would have knocked the hell out of it as they only weigh about 1kg.

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Craig commented Friday, 24 Jan 2014 at 5:28pm

Yeah, very deceiving.

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stunet commented Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 at 11:22am

Drone footy from Honolua Bay.

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stunet commented Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 at 11:24am

And from Ricon too. Well worth watching this video, some of the best footage yet seen.

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stunet commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 at 10:17am

Blue sky, clean lines at Portsea.

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stunet commented Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 at 12:45pm

This article was written exactly a fortnight ago. When it was published Eric Sterman's Pipeline video had 380,000 views on Vimeo.

It's now had 3.1 million!.

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stunet commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 at 11:02am

Eric Sterman latest drone footage. Just one wave but well tracked.

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stunet commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 at 11:04am

And Eric's Pipelne video has now had 3.3 million views!

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trippergreenfeet commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 at 3:59pm

Another Sterman vid of Jaws - this one relates to the Aaron Gold ride of the year entry vid above. I reckon Sterman's quad is the one seen flying in that vid.

He is getting himself into some FAA regulation breaches with his quad sharing airspace with full scale helicopters...a lawsuit waiting to happen.

If he went legit he could actually control the airspace by logging flight plans, thus ensuring that full scale and RC don't encroach on each others flight paths.

http://vimeo.com/85488836

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stunet commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 at 4:14pm

trippergreenfeet wrote: He is getting himself into some FAA regulation breaches with his quad sharing airspace with full scale helicopters.

There are people in the US who are also twigging to that, TGF. Spoke to one of them today. Watch this space.

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 at 4:19pm

Hopefully with the exposure he is getting, and the quality of work he is producing, someone will throw him a lifeline and funding to set up legitimately.

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stunet commented Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 at 4:44pm

Yeah, indeed. His clips are markedly better than any other drone footage I've seen. The more exposure he gets the harder it'll be to stay outside the law.

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Craig commented Friday, 14 Feb 2014 at 9:31pm
Some epic stuff from Eric Sterman at the Volcom Pipe Pro, he's really nailing the angles! instagram.com/ericsterman Firstly Kelly and then Cory Arrambide.
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thomasdavis commented Wednesday, 19 Feb 2014 at 11:52pm

For anybody looking for drone operators, we are trying to assemble an international directory over at http://www.dronehire.org

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Craig commented Sunday, 23 Feb 2014 at 9:23pm

Here's the first look at Shippies by Stu Gibson today..

http://instagram.com/stugibson

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Craig commented Monday, 24 Feb 2014 at 6:17pm

Here's the angle we want to see of Shippies. Stu capturing a double barrel bomb!

http://instagram.com/stugibson

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trippergreenfeet commented Friday, 7 Mar 2014 at 8:35pm

Looks like Sterman might have a green light after this court ruling by a US judge concerning the legality of small drone usage.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/faa-small-drones-ban-104393.html

And generally what rulings are made by, and concerning the FAA, make their way to CASA.

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mick-free commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 5:01pm

I know its snow but drones are taking it up a notch.

Teton who produced Further and Deeper with backcountry legend Jeremy Jones. Check this clip

http://www.tetongravity.com/blogs/Free-O-V-Unpole-Your-Camera-6563561.htm

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

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thermalben commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 5:25pm

Yeah saw that a few weeks ago.. incredible! I reckon it'd be too hard for surfing though.

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wellymon commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 5:28pm

Yeah nice one Mick, Ive checked out a lot of their footage since the drone thing came in but I linked something on here that was not a drone but a gravitational camera mounted on a helicopter that TGR have patented.
These guys rock with footage and their realm of finding the best lines.
Ive done some riding with Jeremy Jones years ago in NZ, cool cat loves the big spliff.
He is my mentor when it comes to lines and back country and still is the fore front of this whole back country exploration......:)
PS thanks for the offer the other week champ, you gave me inspiration :)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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mick-free commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 6:17pm

That would have been a buzz riding a few lines with Jeremy. We dug a guy out after another crew dropped one of his lines thinking it was safe (which it should have been but had heated up during the day), anyway that's another story.

Hope you got a few to yourself down the south coast. Was the most crowded I had ever seen it!

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

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wellymon commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 8:04pm

Cheers Mick :)

Our brains are too small at the moment to comprehend the reality of what's happening in our forests . We're only just waking up so to speak . The big problem is we think we know everything, we are specks of dust on a timeline and we know nothing .

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zenagain commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 5:31pm

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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mick-free commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 6:18pm

that and SUPS will be the next thing to get regulated

Mick Free FIFOFOMO

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zenagain commented Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 at 5:35pm

That's great footage mick. Sweet!

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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stunet commented Monday, 7 Apr 2014 at 2:25pm
trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Monday, 7 Apr 2014 at 9:57pm

stunet wrote: operator claims it was hacked

Operator is full of shit and in serious arse covering mode. CASA is gonna have a field day with this bloke.

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thermalben commented Tuesday, 6 May 2014 at 5:07pm

In breaking news from the USA, drones have been banned from Yosemite and 57 other national parks.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/05/tech/innovation/parks-yosemite-drones-...

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udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 1 Jun 2014 at 7:36am

To be released any day now - The Air Dog auto -follow sports drone , gopro adaptable
what will become of our beach ,ski fields, parks etc airspace ?
Launch date 17th june.

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udo's picture
udo commented Tuesday, 8 Jul 2014 at 3:24pm

SMH has a update on the triathlon/ drone accident.

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stunet commented Friday, 18 Jul 2014 at 8:20am

Changes in Australian privacy laws imminent as drones become more popular:

http://theconversation.com/drones-finally-get-mps-talking-tougher-on-privacy-laws-29197

"The Committee recommends that the Australian Government consider, by July 2015, introducing legislation which provides protections against any privacy invasive technologies."

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wally commented Friday, 18 Jul 2014 at 12:39pm

That recent drone footage of the Mentawais is going to be good for local tourism. Wow, pretty nice!

http://vimeo.com/99275308

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 18 Jul 2014 at 12:53pm

That's well done...10 out 10.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 29 Dec 2014 at 5:54am

"Australia is set to have among the world's toughest rules on drones after the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority rewrites its regulations in the new year."

"CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said drones must be kept more than 30 metres away from other people and must not be flown over crowds of people at beaches or sporting events."

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/drone-rules-to-be-toughened-in-new-year-following-several-australian-incidents-20141228-12eogi.html

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 at 2:13pm

The Air Dog is here! Be the first at your beach to buy this inconspicuous toy.

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Blowin commented Tuesday, 13 Jan 2015 at 3:01pm

The Airdog crew are going to be so rich.

We may not have hover boards yet, but it still feels as though I'm living in the future when you have an item such as this available to the general public at a relatively cheap price. Amazing.

It's as though there is another astounding piece of technology revealed every other day.

No matter how great the video, I'd still be as embarrassed as fuck to have my own little helicopter filming my every mediocre reo and pedestrian cutback.

The conceivable applications are pretty mind blowing though.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 26 Jan 2015 at 9:43am

"A Queensland drone pilot is first in Australia to be fined for flying a drone, after receiving an $850 fine for his drone use - all based on videos he had uploaded to YouTube."

http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/qld-man-first-in-australia-to-...

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 8 Jun 2015 at 6:06pm

Quick! Be the first on the block with this new submarine for a GoPro. Seriously. 

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Friday, 20 Nov 2015 at 11:45am

Good article from Rory Parker at Beach Grit regarding drone use at Haleiwa:

http://beachgrit.com/2015/11/wsl-tries-to-own-hawaiian-airspace/

drones-wsl.jpg

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 25 Dec 2015 at 10:04am

45,000 drones have already been registered in the US to comply with new drone laws.

lom's picture
lom's picture
lom commented Friday, 25 Dec 2015 at 10:26am

Drones,skateboards,surfboards converge- http://www.arcaspace.com

and this could create a few issues- the FAA want to make the names and addresses of every drone registrant made public- http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoglia/2015/12/18/faa-finally-admits-nam...

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Friday, 25 Dec 2015 at 10:36am

That 45000 are not just "drones", all rc aircraft are now classed as UAVs under the new FAA regs....that means all rc planes, helis and multi-copters that fall between the weight catagory whether they carry cams/waypoint equipment.

I see the same regs now heading our way...CASA has a real penchent for following in the footsteps of the FAA.

The thing to realise is we already have rc bodies looking after the hobby, the AMA in the US and the MAAA in Oz....now we are seeing a double up of oversight and redtape. One of the regs if you belong to each of the associations is to label all aircraft with name and member number so these new rules do nothing but double up redtape and raise revenue.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Friday, 25 Dec 2015 at 10:37am

How's this lucky escape as well.. I'm guessing they'll trail a little further behind the action from now on :o

trippergreenfeet's picture
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trippergreenfeet commented Friday, 25 Dec 2015 at 10:40am

Other thing to think about, only the honest will register....those who want to use rc for nefarious purposes will never register. For example there was one bloke in california using an rc car with fpv gear getting up close and personal with chicks in bikinis on the beaches.

Craig's picture
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Craig commented Tuesday, 8 Mar 2016 at 7:09am

Haha, drone fail!

 
JETSKI vs DRONE

 

Posted by guymac.co.nz on Monday, 7 March 2016

ljkarma's picture
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ljkarma commented Sunday, 4 Feb 2018 at 6:56pm

are not the publishers/promoters of illegal drone footage equally guilty?
Without publication/exposure no market exists

dimdim's picture
dimdim's picture
dimdim commented Monday, 5 Feb 2018 at 4:07pm

Signal jammers are going to be selling really well. Bye bye drone.

trippergreenfeet's picture
trippergreenfeet's picture
trippergreenfeet commented Friday, 9 Feb 2018 at 5:04pm

If only it were that easy, cheap quads maybe, expensive quads no. ... majority of control systems work on 2.4ghz frequency hopping protocol ... soon as one line is jammed, another instantly takes over with a now new open line found as backup.

John Eyre's picture
John Eyre's picture
John Eyre commented Monday, 5 Feb 2018 at 11:55pm

Release the swarm of bats upon them and buzz the jammers .
keep the fkk outta my airplanes way !

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John Eyre commented Wednesday, 7 Feb 2018 at 11:17am

Drones are cool. Finding a place to fly them is not.
Ben Grubb February 7 2018 - 10:26AM

"The drone," says the man, my next-door neighbour I have never met until now. "It scared my wife and made her drop the washing. You were flying it over our property too."

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/drones-are-cool-finding...

John Eyre's picture
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John Eyre commented Wednesday, 7 Feb 2018 at 11:27am

In anticipation of drone-based attacks, officials are prepping anti-drone artillery, including a 'radar gun' which causes pilots to lose control.
Security forces have also been training with shotguns specifically designed to shoot down drones.
A press photo recently released by the Korean National Counter Terrorism Centre shows a soldier equipped with an anti-drone shotgun during a practice drill.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5357575/Drone-catching-dr...

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John Eyre commented Wednesday, 14 Feb 2018 at 12:02am

https://www.coastlive.com.au/news/local-news/fires-a-no-drone-zone/

'The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is worried dozens people could have been killed as a result of drones flying dangerously close to water...

Both incidents were reported to Civil Aviation Safety Authority with drone pilots facing possible fines of up to $9000 for breaking CASA Regulations.

If a helicopter goes down, it is unlikely that the crew as well as any nearby onlookers will survive."

Even a small drone colliding with or obstructing a bombing aircraft could have catastrophic results.

DFES is now urging people who see drones operating near a bushfire where aircraft is being used to report it to Police.'

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