Music Festival Confetti Cannons Might Be Our Only Surefire Defense Against Drones

As if random asteroids and vengeful hawks weren’t enough of a reason to keep a wary eye on the skies, drones have gone from being harmless RC toys to genuine weapons. Until now, the only way to stay safe was to only go outside on windy days, but it looks like there’s a new weapon for the war on drones: confetti cannons.

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The pilot in this video was trying to capture footage of an over-energized man pushing buttons on a record player at a music festival, but his drone accidentally drifted into the path of a confetti cannon as it was blasting excited fans with litter. For a brief moment, it looks like the drone survived the blast of air and paper, but as the debris gets caught up in two of its rotors, it eventually comes crashing down. It’s a small victory for humanity.

[YouTube via Geekologie]

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DISCUSSION

This pisses me off to no end.

As a drone pilot and Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) member, I get bashed because I fly drones. People think that they’re invasive (and when seen like this, I fully agree); they think that they’re spying (little secret - if you are out in public, where you can be seen, it’s not spying, and people can record you, whether with a picture or video camera, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it; the paparazzi use this law all the time to hide behind), and they think that they’re dangerous (and they certainly can be, especially in situations like you see in the video above).

One of the things that the AMA has been pushing for recently with the FAA and drone registration (which, as of May 19th, was thrown out, and is being reevaluated) is that pilots have to be safe with their drones. That’s really what the registration was about - not flying your drone in the path of commercial or small passenger aircraft, keeping it out of public airspace, and most importantly of all, NOT FLYING IT OVER PEOPLE. Drones can be fairly quiet, especially when there’s no power to the motors, and if they’re falling out of the sky? You have no idea that you’ve got anywhere from a 1.5 lb. to 55 lb. (or more if it’s a commercial drone) falling rock made of lithium, aluminum, carbon fiber, etc. falling toward your head from as much as 400 feet above you.

I fly a racing drone (for those wondering what they look like mine is a Blade Conspiracy 220, an off the shelf drone made and sold by Horizon Hobbies), and it can move, with the right props and conditions, at speeds exceeding 50 mph (and mine isn’t even one of the faster drones out there!). Because I fly at a good clip, I will find an empty field to fly over, out of the path of actual airplanes; I try to keep my quadcopter within a distance of line-of-sight to see where it might go down and fly with a spotter (which, if you’re flying a racing drone in FPV, or First Person View, that is all important; having to hike through brush and figure out where it’s lost when you can’t tell where it went down is NOT fun). I may fly in what looks like an out of control manner, but I fly as SAFELY as I can, either at my club’s R/C airfield, or at an empty park (there are some ballfields across the street from my apartment complex; 6:30-7 am on a Saturday, they’re empty, and nobody complains about the noise because you can’t hear my drone at 30+ ft. away unless I’m REALLY screaming at full throttle).

It irks me that pilots such as the Yuneec pilot at that concert would get that close, and think that was acceptable. It’s not, and it shouldn’t represent all of us drone pilots (even though these incidents put us all in a bad light).