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Mon, Jul 09, 2012

Homemade Drone Helicopter Causes Stir On Alcatraz

Film Maker's Actions Were Unauthorized

Two California men have found themselves in the clutches of the National Park Service and the Coast Guard in connection with a film shoot they directed using a 6-foot long homemade helicopter. The homemade drone helicopter has a high definition camera to give the film-maker a bird's eye view of the world, or in this case Sausalito, CA.

Bay Area film maker Chris Gonzales says he was just making a documentary about the city of Sausalito when he, photographer Bruce Paquette and his miniature chopper, and  film were seized by the feds. The men were filming from a boat off Alcatraz. Footage from the seized helo showed the helicopter operator buzzed people on the dock and disturbed nesting birds.

Alexandra Picavet, Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokeswoman said,
"Wildlife is protected through Golden Gate National Recreational Area, but specifically on Alcatraz' cliffs.”

The use of hobby helicopters is growing and not without some concern according to a report on Bay Area TV station KTVU’s website.

Noah Moore, a sales clerk at Franciscan Hobbies told KTVU,  "I don't know if people really know how dangerous these are. The last couple of years, we've seen a lot of improvement in this sector and … a lot of interest in putting cameras on helicopters.”

Federal Aviation Administration regulations say model aircraft are to be used for safe fun only. Otherwise, remote-controlled aircraft are only allowed under strict research and development guidelines.

"They need to regulate it, put strict regulations on it because you can't hide from the technology," film maker Gonzalez said. "People are gonna do it regardless."

(Image: Remote controlled helo with camera attached file photo)

FMI: www.ktvu.com


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