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Just trying to be nice... Jeeze!

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jpbluzharp

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So, I went to a local park early on a recent spring morning in order to test some depth of field settings on my Mavic Pro. Edited a little piece and sent a thank you note and a link to the park's administration... I figured they might enjoy it and use it to promote their work. Once again it looks like I failed to anticipate the power of drone hate!

First my email..

To Whom It May Concern,

I wanted to thank you for maintaining the beautiful grounds of Lasdon Park Arboretum.

I went there early last weekend and shot some video of the fountain.. Spring provided some spectacular cinematic backgrounds.


Feel free to use this footage and if you'd like to document more of the ongoing progress and construction please contact via the information below. I'm a FAA licensed drone pilot and have worked as a video producer and director for the last thirty years for Fortune 500 companies, US Presidents, and foreign tourist bureaus.


Enjoy,

Mavic Pro - Spring Fountain

What a surprising response...

JP – Obviously you disregarded our posted sign at the front gate prohibited the use of drones in our park. Do not do this again and you do not have permission from Westchester county to market this video.

Ted Kozlowski, Manager

I posted the edit on FB and within 24 hours got over six hundred views with a bunch of likes and positive comments.. How can we educate the powers that be to embrace our capabilities in marketing their places? Shouldn't it be the goal of every taxpayer funded park to ensure that as many people as possible enjoy the benefits of their tax dollars? During this weekend of rain I'd say far more people saw that video than visited the park and judging from the comments I'd say many more are interested in paying a future visit.

I apologized for not seeing the sign and alerted Ted that I had checked the VFR sectionals to make sure that area of my intended flight was class G airspace. I also asked if cameras and smartphones were prohibited in the park. Seems to me that public places and images of them are pretty much fair game for display in any medium..

My intent now is to suggest the benefits of using drone footage for marketing, archiving development within the park, and for sharing with the people whose tax dollars fund county parks.

I guess we'll see how deep the fear and loathing of drones is around here.

Mavic Pro - Spring Fountain
 
Nice video!

I wonder what their response would have been if you had taken that video with an RC heli or non "drone" AC?

In sort of a similar situation I had asked for permission before attempting to fly and take some video of a well known flower garden here in cali. I specifically said that I'd like to use my small "drone" to take some footage that I'd be happy to share for free that they could use to promote their gardens. The response was a knee jerk "NO", drones are not allowed.

The word "drone" triggers an adverse response in the uneducated drone population. I wonder what the response would have been had I asked to take some "aerial" footage?

At any rate we need to continue to be ambassadors of this technology.
 
The mainstream media , with most likely the governments blessing , has done an excellent job of ingraining into the publics mind that a drone is a aircraft that a ordinary Joe can buy at the store and spy on you in great detail . The toy multi-rotor has become synonymous with covert spy technology and perverted operators that could care less about your safety and privacy . Meanwhile the real DRONES fly high and un-noticed and can spot a bare boob by the pool from 5 miles away . Interesting how the public stopped caring about the real ones huh ?
 
Nice video!

I wonder what their response would have been if you had taken that video with an RC heli or non "drone" AC?

In sort of a similar situation I had asked for permission before attempting to fly and take some video of a well known flower garden here in cali. I specifically said that I'd like to use my small "drone" to take some footage that I'd be happy to share for free that they could use to promote their gardens. The response was a knee jerk "NO", drones are not allowed.

The word "drone" triggers an adverse response in the uneducated drone population. I wonder what the response would have been had I asked to take some "aerial" footage?

At any rate we need to continue to be ambassadors of this technology.

I had a similar reaction with the local DEP after shooting a bridge over a reservoir. I sent the video offered to do more in order to help protect the water supply and archive its development, erosion, wildlife etc.. The head of the dept. wrote to tell me that they were going to outlaw landing or taking off from wetland property. I responded informing him that drones can be operated from distances greater than the grounds they are responsible for while still conforming to the line of sight requirements as stipulated by the FAA. I tried reasoning with him about the advantages of having pilots in close proximity to their aircraft so as to more easily avoid obstacles, birds etc...

I pointed out the weakness of his "security concerns" considering the many bridges with heavy traffic traveling over the water supply which stands in stark contrast with the limited payloads of any commercial drone. I also sent pictures from Google Earth to demonstrate that images of every facility are already in the public domain..

Never heard back...
So much for diplomacy.
Let's hope that in the very near future our continued efforts and safe flying are rewarded with a modicum of respect and appreciation.

 
I always read a sign in any park to make sure there's no prohibition of drones. It appears there is growing sentiment that you should be able to relax in peace when at a park. I can't say I disagree. Bottom line is park management can determine the rules - it's our obligation to make some minimum effort to learn what they are and abide by them. That will benefit us all.
 
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Nice video!

I wonder what their response would have been if you had taken that video with an RC heli or non "drone" AC?

In sort of a similar situation I had asked for permission before attempting to fly and take some video of a well known flower garden here in cali. I specifically said that I'd like to use my small "drone" to take some footage that I'd be happy to share for free that they could use to promote their gardens. The response was a knee jerk "NO", drones are not allowed.

The word "drone" triggers an adverse response in the uneducated drone population. I wonder what the response would have been had I asked to take some "aerial" footage?

At any rate we need to continue to be ambassadors of this technology.

From now on I'm going to use the word "quadcopter" and not the word "Drone"!
 
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I always read a sign in any park to make sure there's no prohibition of drones. It appears there is growing sentiment that you should be able to relax in peace when at a park. I can't say I disagree. Bottom line is park management can determine the rules - it's our obligation to make some minimum effort to learn what they are and abide by them. That will benefit us all.

As I wrote.. I didn't see the sign... or a single person at that time of the morning.. I shot for about an hour without a single interruption or inquiry. There were no NOTAMS posted either.. I'd suggest that a park supported by taxpayers' dollars should be enjoyed by as many of the county's residents as possible. Seeing as how my video was viewed by about seven hundred people in a span of 24 hours on FB with a host of positive comments and thanks.. and it was a rainy weekend with next to no park visitors... I figure I did them a favor of making their good work known. Additionally, since I offered the video to them for free as a marketing tool which would normally cost thousands of dollars and included a huge thank you note for their efforts at beautification... I'd have expected a more civil response.
 
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That's a really rude and irrational response from the park manager.

Speaking of Facebook.... you should post your original message, and his uncivil response, on there for the public to see.

What a disgrace.

"If a man is not evil or narrow upon attaining the throne... the throne will make him so."

Some people are just a bit shortsighted.
 
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You weren't "just trying to be nice". You were clearly soliciting yourself for work. And you obviously avoided people by going there in the early morning, judging from the angle of the sun. The park manager was well within his right to reply that way and consider yourself lucky that you didn't get a visit from your local law enforcement. It might have gone better for you had you sent the letter before filming.
 
You weren't "just trying to be nice". You were clearly soliciting yourself for work. And you obviously avoided people by going there in the early morning, judging from the angle of the sun. The park manager was well within his right to reply that way and consider yourself lucky that you didn't get a visit from your local law enforcement. It might have gone better for you had you sent the letter before filming.

Oh, cr@p here we go again!
What a wonderful way to "fish" for assignments if it is indeed the intention. I applaud this kind of attitude, shame on the park manager!
 
Let's face it. Free enterprise is dead in North America, and in most of the world for that matter. They should have banned the Wright brothers from Kitty Hawk so many years ago. Putting up those squatters sheds, laying tracks and destroying the environment, etc. Obviously, they were being nefarious in not trying to use the Wright Flyer in Ohio, their home state. :) As a Canadian, I am well aware of the impact that they have had on the aircraft industry. Will the same be said of the UAV industry in 50 years? As of now, in Canada, I can go on Youtube and find that virtually every UAV video contravenes the new Canadian regulations. There will always be something that we will violate, as we are incredibly over regulated. I don't disagree with flying safely, but really, flying within 75 meters of "animals" is against the law. I am reminded of the early days of RC. These units were little better than free-flight models that you "interfered" with on occasion. They flew high and unpredictably in many if not most cases. If it didn't crash, it was a miracle. It wasn't until the late 60s and early 70s that miniaturization of systems made digital RC more reliable, and even there we saw "fly-aways". I rescued a few of those for fellow pilots. There are cases now where UAV pilots should be "conscripted" to help with safety issues, like flying offshore beaches to spot sharks, but I suspect that the authorities are either ignorant of what can be seen from the air, or are so opposed to "drones" that they will compromise the safety of swimmers rather than allow a pilot to do aerial checks of the water. Beach lifeguards should be trained on how to use UAVs. In the U.S., registration should give the authorities the privilege of calling for help from UAV pilots to help in searches for lost children for example. Aerial video footage and stills shot at 90 degrees are incredibly helpful. Footprints, clothing and movement of any sort shows up really fast, and with 10 UAV pilots flying, you could cover literally dozens of square miles in under an hour. And how about Border Patrol? A hundred Mavics would be just a small fraction in cost of what the 3 Predators that apparently have crashed, and would be just about as effective if utilized properly. Just saying that someone is not thinking. So what does this have to do with this thread? Everything. What we are challenged by is the ignorance of people in high places and that is something I'm afraid we're going to fight for a long time. So much for "just trying to be nice".
 
You weren't "just trying to be nice". You were clearly soliciting yourself for work. And you obviously avoided people by going there in the early morning, judging from the angle of the sun. The park manager was well within his right to reply that way and consider yourself lucky that you didn't get a visit from your local law enforcement. It might have gone better for you had you sent the letter before filming.

Interesting how you can jump to such far reaching conclusions from a single post and the angle of the sun.. I happened to shoot there completely by happenstance as the reservoire spillway I had intended to cover that morning was dry and not very exciting. Hence, I just drove down the road a half mile or so to see what flowers were blooming in the park. As you might note from reading, I offered my video for free and I'd have done the other work gratis as well in that I'm an appreciative resident and thankful for the beautiful work done by our local parks department. That's called responsible citizenship. The fact that I didn't see a single sign that you also have no idea about is called a mistake or oversight.

Having produced and directed commercials, industrials and documentaries for thirty years for U.S. Presidents, Foreign Nations, Fortune 500 Companies, and various charitable organizations as well as having two skydiving world records... the pittance generated by a drone shoot is not a high priority of mine. In fact, I do professional favors for local sports teams, realtors, friends, fellow musicians and golfers all the time.

The park is class G airspace. I'd have gladly spoken with the local law enforcement officials. Try to remain a little more positive.. There's a lot of sky to cover.
 
I think your approach was terrific. Perhaps the manager wrongly assumed you had seen the signage. Regardless, a nicer response on his part would have been appropriate.

Thanks. Seriously, what purpose is served by a curt response like that? Especially to a resident whose taxes are used to maintain the park and pay the manager's salary! Not to mention responding that way to letter that began with a heartfelt "thank you".

Perhaps it's telling that he somehow believes he can control the images of public property. The man might just have a little constitutional awareness issue there. Imagine the chaos if every municipality, park, property owner or private individual believed they could control the airspace now regulated by the FAA. That would make for some really remarkable albeit inefficient and dangerous air traffic patterns! Then of course there are the satellites to contend with as well...

I'd suggest that we can and should rely on an agency that's done a stellar job of maintaining air safety for quite some time. And, why not leave the fertilizer, seeding and watering to the gardening professionals?

A little mutual respect would go a lot further than territorial bluster and defensiveness as well. It's a big planet.
 
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