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The View From Inside A Fireworks Show 200

kdataman (1687444) writes "There is a breathtaking video on Youtube of someone flying a quadcopter around and through a professional fireworks display. Of course, it was an illegal and dangerous thing to do. It also may inspire someone else to do something even more dangerous. But even so, I have watched it 4 times and get goosebumps every time. An article in Forbes says that unit is a DJI Phantom 2 with a GoPro Hero 3 Silver camera. The fireworks are in West Palm Beach, Florida."
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The View From Inside A Fireworks Show

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  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @07:41PM (#47390567) Homepage

    I don't get why American fireworks displays are so small. I'd love to see this copter fly through fireworks in Reykjavík on New Years Eve. The Macy's 4th of july fireworks display in New York shoots off about 10 tons of fireworks. Iceland (most of the population being in Reykjavík and its adjacent municipalities, about 250k people) shoots off about 600 tons of fireworks on New Years, the weight of about 5 adult blue whales. The whole city looks like this [] for literally about an hour. It's not organized, it's just everyone shooting off an average of about 9 kilograms / 20 pounds per family - some more, some less. You see fireworks like the stuff that copter flew through in little towns of 1-2 thousand people. Even if you only count organized displays, it just seems to be so disproportionately little in the US. Pretty much every festival that does fireworks here shoots off several tons. Or otherwise just burns pretty much everything [] that's not nailed down []. Or as more often is the case, both at the same time.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @09:19PM (#47390865) Journal

    Read about the new ridiculous rules the FAA imposed about drones...

    Until some moron flys one into the path of a commercial airliner, small plane, or helicopter, and people die - than it's "why isn't the FAA doing something about this?"

    Rules won't stop someone from doing that because it's obviously intended to try to hurt someone. I say try because in a battle between a jet engine with the power to push 400 tons of steel into the sky VS a drone I'm going to put my money on the jet engine lasting long enough for them to turn around and land again. Anything with more planning than that is an attack.

    Most of the people who have been here for a while know how to do these things but choose not to because they don't want to fuck it up for people who want to do something cool. Assholes do these things because they don't have enough imagination to do something cool.

    In reality this is the argument, the cool people who want to do something cool with technology VS the assholes who want to do something assholic with technology and fucking things up for the cool people. They're the people that do something assholic and force authorities to kneejerk into making anti asshole regulations, which also prevents people from doing something cool.

  • by robbak ( 775424 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @09:21PM (#47390871) Homepage

    The area under a fireworks show already gets peppered with the remains of all the exploded shells. A little added debris from a drone struck by part of the fireworks would make no difference. They always make sure that the fallout zone is in a safe area.

    Add to that that the shells are mortar-fired, not rockets, and the risk of this is practically nil. Way less than the risks of just using and handling all that explosive.

    Every professional fireworks show - at least, all those that are televised - should include shots from a drone up there amongst it all. The spectacular pictures are well worth the tiny risk.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2014 @09:26PM (#47390885)

    Yes, this copter was flying high. Would take a split second for it to dive down. Or be trivial for anybody else to purposefully fly a drone at 50 feet above the ground... in the dark right up to the launch site.

    Split second? No. Falling from a height of 500 feet would take approximately 5.5 seconds, discounting air resistance. There is no way this drone could drop that far "in a split second."

    If they were "right up to the launch site", there would be too many lift charges going off and too much smoke for them to see where the craft was, so that's not possible either. Even IF one of the shells were to hit the copter, they weigh MUCH MORE than this thing does, so physics dictates their path would barely be affected at all. They would likely go right through the copter, deviate by a couple of degrees, and the pieces of the copter would splash into the water.

    If you're at all uncomfortable with any old yahoo coming along and doing that, you agree with it being "dangerous"

    I'm sorry, "dangerous" != "something that makes me uncomfortable." Let me guess, you think guns are dangerous because they look scary to you, right?

    Grow a pair, you fucking pussy.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday July 05, 2014 @10:53PM (#47391103) Homepage Journal

    They are unpowered shells shot from a mortar, not rockets. If they hit the copter (unlikely), they will explode lower than planned, but still well up there and over the water. Considering that the copter was flying around their planned burst altitude anyway, it is likely that only the pilot would notice the collision.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.