Drones, even the consumer ones we can all go out and buy, have serious flying abilities, but that doesn’t mean we should all go out and exploit them. However, one drone pilot in the Netherlands decided to ignore the rules. Actually, more accurately, they decided to ignore the law, and hit the ‘up’ button on the controls to send a drone 11,000 feet into the air, then post the resulting footage on YouTube.
The EU regulation for civil drone flying says you shouldn’t take it above 150 meters off the ground, which is just under 500 feet, so this guy went all out when he decided to break the law. There’s not much chance of pleading innocence and saying, “sorry, was I that much over the limit?” to the cops when they turn up either. The only defense will be if the pilot had special permission to fly at that altitude, but because the YouTube video has subsequently been removed, we’re going to guess this isn’t the case.
A DJI Phantom 2 was used for the flight, presumably with the software restrictions that limit the maximum altitude to 1,500 feet removed, and the resulting footage was snagged by Dutch website dronewatch.nl before it was taken down from YouTube. It’s undeniably beautiful, but astonishingly irresponsible.
At a height of two miles, the drone had already passed the regular maximum height a helicopter reaches, and would be easily missed by larger aircraft, with potentially catastrophic results should any of them come together. Beyond that, if the drone runs out of power and tumbles to the ground, you probably wouldn’t want to be standing underneath it when it arrived. It’s much harder to assess how the wind will affect its fall from that height too, making it even more dangerous than if it was at 500 feet. It was a close call for this pilot, with the video stating just 4-percent battery power remained when it landed.
Watch the video, enjoy the breathtaking views, but definitely don’t try this at home.