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What Would You Do?

hagman23

Well-Known Member
Premium Pilot
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Age
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Location
Franklin, NC
In my daily life, I work in marketing, advertising, Social Media, etc and every once in a while, I come across things like this video I will post below. It starts off nice, but within a short amount of time, I see there are some National Park NFZ flights happening. The most infuriating point happens at the 2:33 mark of the video, where the operator is flying over, around, and through a herd of North American Elk that are grazing in the morning at the Oconoluftee Visitor Center inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was surprised that the elk didn't react to the drone. Nonetheless, the video was sent to me from the father of the person who made it, thinking the organization I work with would "love it".

So, my question, what would you do with the video? Report the person, leave it, figure out who to send it to? I am not trying to be a narc or a tattletale, but this is such an egregious act that this individual needs to learn from. What would you do?

✂️ Idiot in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
 
What you do personally is completely up to you. The FAA has people who view illegal flights uploaded to YouTube and other platforms all the time.
 
Are you sure he was flying inside NPS territory?
 
What you do personally is completely up to you. The FAA has people who view illegal flights uploaded to YouTube and other platforms all the time.
The FAA only looks at social media if they are part of an active investigation. They don't have people just watch social media for violations.

Also, a simple media post can't be used to prosecute someone unless they can ascertain that the one who posted it is the one who was flying.
 
It is not illegal to fly around the wildlife it IS illegal to harass the wildlife I didn't see that. also, If you see it on You-tube most likely the FAA is getting tons of calls or questions about it. The goverment doesn't pay someone to watch YouTube but they dont have to. The karens have us all out numbered.
Plus maybe it was filmed with a TinyWhoop?
 
It is not illegal to fly around the wildlife it IS illegal to harass the wildlife I didn't see that. also, If you see it on You-tube most likely the FAA is getting tons of calls or questions about it. The goverment doesn't pay someone to watch YouTube but they dont have to. The karens have us all out numbered.
Plus maybe it was filmed with a TinyWhoop?
The posted said it was an Air 2S.
 
I think I saw the shadow of what appeared to be a Mavic size but yeah, we can't be sure it's the same drone in all the clips. For the poster, I would personally choose "leave it" unless you feel like you have to absolutely do something so at most, just reply back with a reminder about the rules if they even apply. YT is full of videos, as time passes most of it will be AI generated videos. Personally I don't see anything egregious; not something I would do but I don't feel outrage when I watch the clip unless you count jealously that I wish I could fly in the NPS and claim ignorance (if that's what happened here); but I can't. ;)
 
In my daily life, I work in marketing, advertising, Social Media, etc and every once in a while, I come across things like this video I will post below. It starts off nice, but within a short amount of time, I see there are some National Park NFZ flights happening. The most infuriating point happens at the 2:33 mark of the video, where the operator is flying over, around, and through a herd of North American Elk that are grazing in the morning at the Oconoluftee Visitor Center inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I was surprised that the elk didn't react to the drone. Nonetheless, the video was sent to me from the father of the person who made it, thinking the organization I work with would "love it".

So, my question, what would you do with the video? Report the person, leave it, figure out who to send it to? I am not trying to be a narc or a tattletale, but this is such an egregious act that this individual needs to learn from. What would you do?

✂️ Idiot in Great Smoky Mountains National Park


For those asking, this address is 100% INSIDE of the NPS, speficially Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's located just slightly NW of Smokemont Campground.

I'm surprised that a NPS Ranger didn't see/hear this happening as they are very active in that area and tend to be quick to address these illegal acts.

I would 100% take this time to educate the young lad and "strongly" suggest they take the video down from YT. TBH, if they chose to leave it up, I'm fairly confident someone will go ahead and report it to one of the local FAASTeam Representatives here in WNC.
 
That field and the visitor center are both within the boundaries of GSM-NP, albeit just at the southern edge about half a mile inside. That said, a takeoff from outside the park could possibly over fly that area and technically (from an airspace perspective), be perfectly legal. But was it ethical?

To the OP, they either knew the flight was wrong and don't care, OR they didn't know the flight was illegal and upon being told so, expect them to likely fall into the first category and make every excuse in the world as to why what they did was "just fine and totally safe". :rolleyes:

Yet another example of why we are not allowed to fly in National Parks.
 

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100% there is no way to make this flight taking off from outside the park.

You are absolutely correct. I've flown from that area many times (outside of NPS) and if they flew from outside of NPS they were well beyond VLOS. I had a remote office about 2 miles from there the OVC is located and spent many an evening looking over that very field.

It wouldn't be hard for the FAA to determine who made the video or flew the UAS since he clearly stated:


223 views Nov 6, 2023
This is a project that I made for school a while back about my travels through the Great Smokey Mountains and town of Franklin. I never did get to upload it on here, until now. So enjoy and tell me what you think.

Then he said:
I use a DJI Air 2S
 
For those asking, this address is 100% INSIDE of the NPS, speficially Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's located just slightly NW of Smokemont Campground.

I'm surprised that a NPS Ranger didn't see/hear this happening as they are very active in that area and tend to be quick to address these illegal acts.

I would 100% take this time to educate the young lad and "strongly" suggest they take the video down from YT. TBH, if they chose to leave it up, I'm fairly confident someone will go ahead and report it to one of the local FAASTeam Representatives here in WNC.
Yep, and FSDO would report it to the Smoky Mtn NPS office.

It's very difficult to get permission to fly in a National Park. Or any DOI property for that matter. And if you do, there are all kinds of hoops you need to jump through.

And the NPS would fine someone based on this video. They've done it before: Yellowstone officials investigate drone photo
 
Yep, and FSDO would report it to the Smoky Mtn NPS office.

It's very difficult to get permission to fly in a National Park. Or any DOI property for that matter. And if you do, there are all kinds of hoops you need to jump through.

And the NPS would fine someone based on this video. They've done it before: Yellowstone officials investigate drone photo


I found it ridiculous that the NPS won't let us "practice" with our UAS along with our SAR teams even though we are credentialed members of multiple SAR teams. We can get approval if it's an active SAR but not for practice. I've flown from NPS dozens of times but only for an ACTIVE SAR.
 
@hagman23 please report back and let us know how it goes with your friends son and the "talk" that needs to happen. If you need any support etc give me a shout. I'm not too far away from Franklin NC.
 
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There is a road outside the park within 700 meters of the parking lot. Just saying.
 

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It's very difficult to get permission to fly in a National Park. Or any DOI property for that matter. And if you do, there are all kinds of hoops you need to jump through.
The last time I saw a Pilot accomplish this feat he had all kinds of park officials with him while the flight took place. and who knows how long it took him to get all the paperwork in order and approved.
 
There is a road outside the park within 700 meters of the parking lot. Just saying.

But at the altitude shown in the video, the surrounding terrain would make seeing the drone from that road nearly impossible and likely would make even getting a signal to control the drone difficult to impossible.

The hill shown beyond the heard in this photo (screen grab at 2:52 from video), lies right between the drone and the location you marked on the map.


Elk Flight.jpg
 
The last time I saw a Pilot accomplish this feat he had all kinds of park officials with him while the flight took place. and who knows how long it took him to get all the paperwork in order and approved.
It took us almost 6 months. And yes, we had a Ranger with us.
 
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