YouTube user Jos Stiglingh’s video of a West Palm Beach fireworks show has gone viral, after he filmed it using a GoPro camera and an aerial drone.
The video of the fireworks display has already garnered well over a million views, The New York Daily News reports. The video reveals a stunning and rare view of the fireworks display, as the colorful incendiaries erupt around the drone, the lights of Palm Beach providing a backdrop to the choreographed explosions.
Despite the unique view that the video shows, not everyone is happy with Stiglingh’s drone antics. “Totally irresponsible,” one YouTube commenter said, adding, “Flying over people is a big NONO.” Another commenter asked if “these drones get cheaper and more pervasive, will we have a drones [sic] interfering with all kinds of activities?”
Gregory McNeal, writing for Forbes, penned an article following the video’s release in which he postulates that Stiglingh endangered spectators with his drone:
“The flight is unsafe as the existence of the drone in the airspace above the fireworks display creates an increased risk of hazardous debris (from the fireworks or the drone) falling into spectator areas. There is also the remote possibility that a firework colliding with a drone may divert the pyrotechnic downward into spectator areas, causing it to detonate where it otherwise should not.”
Chalking the success of Stiglingh’s drone flight up to luck over planning, McNeal also highlights the dangers that would have arisen if Stiglingh’s drone wasn’t the only one in the air near the fireworks display:
“The drone in this video made it safely through the fireworks, but put a few more drones in the air and you’re also bound to have a mid-air collision. All of these factors show how this operation was unsafe. While this drone operator escaped getting hit with a firework, there’s no way he could have planned that.”
McNeal also argues that Stiglingh may have broken the law with his drone, violating a possible Coast Guard safety zone, which would make his flight subject to civil and criminal penalties. Safety zones are typically put in place temporarily in order to “establish control of access to maritime areas to ensure the safety of events, vessels, or individuals.” There is, however, some ambiguity over whether those zones extend to airspace.
There is no shortage of controversy over drones, and the growing trend of viral videos they are used to produce. As The Inquisitr previously reported, another drone video went viral last month when a Connecticut teen was attacked by a woman who was upset that he was flying his drone over a populated beach. The attack followed controversy over drones being used to film women on public beaches, indicating that the furor over the fireworks video will likely not be the last in which civilian drones are involved.
[Images via New York Daily News]