Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Non-commercial use of drones, surfer site video

 O'Neill Coldwater Classic world surfing tour event
Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz Sentinel/Jason Hoppin, 7/30/13.  "Drones arrive at Steamer Lane."

"SANTA CRUZ -- The drones have arrived at Steamer Lane.  An underwater photographer and drone hobbyist is giving Santa Cruzans a previously unseen view of the legendary surf spot, taking a remote-control "quad copter," equipping it with a GoPro camera and sending it out over the break for a video that seems destined to go viral.    

Filmed July 21, the video was shot using what is essentially a souped-up toy helicopter, equipped with a GoPro tricked out with a stabilizing gimbal, pitch control and a monitor allowing Cheng to see what he's shooting.

As cool as the video is, don't expect to see something at the Coldwater Classic or any surf competitions anywhere: The commercial use of drones is all but banned by the Federal Aviation Administration.  An FAA spokesman said as long as Cheng's copter is kept below 400 feet and away from critical infrastructure such as airports, and the footage is noncommercial, he is well within the law. The agency has had model aircraft guidelines for more than 30 years.  But surf contests are commercial ventures, so no drones."   Read more, see 5:31 minute embedded video by Eric Cheng.

Related, "Steamer Lane," surfer history.   Note:  photograph above from  Surfers Village, O'Neill surfing tour 11/2012.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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