It was a beautiful sunny first day of spring. I decided to take a trip up to Progressive Field to take some great aerial photos. Typically, I like to fly when the sun is out. Not only is my line of sight better with spotting the copter, but also the photo’s look more vibrant and stunning. What I was soon to discover after my flight was staggering.
The man in this photo was the first security guard that had approached me. “Hey, the guys have asked me to have you stop what your doing” said the man. “Some of the workers are scared your drone might fall out of the air and land on them”. Sadly my flight had to come to a halt, but while landing I was able to demonstrate how the drone works, and its built-in safety features to prevent crashes. The security guard seamed intrigued, “That’s pretty cool, but I’m still gonna’ have to ask you to leave”. I complied, and gave him a business card to check out our website. It’s easier to have people view our website then to give a long explanation on how we envision drones and their potential uses.
The walk back to my car was relatively close. As soon as I was able to put the key in my door, I heard a loud yell. “HEY YOU, COME OVER HERE!” the second security guard replied. I started to walk over to him, recognizing that he was wearing a walkie-talki. “What the hell do you think your doing with that?” The security guard enjoyed his sense of authority and had pleasure using it against me, without knowing anything about FAA regulations. “Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Michael Hach and I am with a local company called Cleveland Aerial Media. We are a limited liability company and take great aerial photos of downtown landmarks”. The security guard didn’t seam to impressed. “Come with me, I have someone who wants to talk with you.” As I could have easily told him to “fu#@ off” I complied. Who knows, maybe he would be introducing me to someone higher in the organization that would hire us for marketing purposes!
After being detained for ten minutes, the self proclaimed “landscaping manager” arrived. With a disgruntle look on his face he said, “Do you own copyrights to these photos?” I thought this was an odd first question to ask, but I responded, “We own the rights to our photo’s, but for photo’s like the ones I just took of Progressive Field, we don’t sell them. They’re strictly given away for free to raise awareness for our company. The security guard said, “What makes you think you can do this?” I was trying to not be a smart ass, so I told him, “Drones are legal for commercial use and we fly under strict guidelines, and stay away from red zones”. This wasn’t enough to entertain the man, so he told me, “Well, the president of the Indians is on his way to meet you, and he isn’t very happy”. I held my breath, and was somewhat laughing in my head at the same time. “Don’t these people have anything better to deal with?” I thought. I was then again detained for an additional ten minutes, excitingly waiting to meet “the president”…
As the “president” (of who the hell knows) came to my attention, I said, “Nice to meet you, my name is Michael Hach with Cleveland Aerial Media”. He shook my hand but it didn’t look as if he wanted to. “What the hell do you think your doing here with that?” It was then where I had to tell him our company’s vision, and how we’re a harmless service. The “president” continuously brought up scenarios where the 16-ounce drone loaded with state of the art GPS gear, and a return to home feature, could injure his workers if it were to fall out of the sky. He then was trying to tell me, the person who has been researching drones, laws, FAA regulations, etc. for the last six months, that it’s illegal to be flying there. “That’s my backyard!” He said. “If I saw that thing again, I would shoot it down”. The only reason I was very friendly within reason is because I wanted to get on with my day, and make sure the face of our company is friendly, no matter what ass hole we run into. He was then trying to persuade me that our operations are illegal based on Lakewood’s “drone grounding” from the FAA. Little does he know, the ban was lifted as of March 6’Th. I also don’t think it was smart of him to threaten our equipment with firearms. I should have been the one asking him for his name.
Sure, I could have argued, proved my case, demonstrated the FAA laws in place, but it wasn’t worth it. I just wanted to get the hell out before my anger and frustration got the best of me. After having my time wasted, they let me go.
Do you have a funny drone story? Please share it with us. This technology is so new that is has the paranoid people going crazy. People are so concerned about their privacy with drones, when their cell phone is the biggest privacy invasion yet.