Imagine yourself flying low and slow through New York City: buzzing the Statue of Liberty, weaving between buildings and circling the Brooklyn Bridge. Illegal? Unsafe? Probably. But Raphael Pirker of Team Blacksheep, a group of R/C airplane enthusiasts pioneering the use of first person video, has found a way to do it. His aerial joyride through New York has been viewed over a million times on YouTube and offers a unique and incredible view of Manhattan.
Some things to look for: The launch site is the newly opened section of the Brooklyn Bridge Park. You will notice what looks like a large bandage on the Brooklyn Bridge, part of a maintenance project that is scheduled to be completed 2014. The team makes some incredible low passes on buildings in Downtown Manhattan as well as the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn. The large suspension bridge halfway through the video is the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, connecting Brooklyn to Staten Island. And it’s hard to miss the seven-pointed crown and torch of Lady Liberty.
In an interview, pilot Raphael Pirker discusses the necessity of experience and safety when operating R/C aircraft in the vicinity of people and property, and he warns that you should not try this at home. He claims that they were stopped by police and park rangers several times while making the video, but he kept everything safe and legal through extensive research of local laws and FAA regulations.
Regardless of the legality of the flight, questions have been raised as to the safety and wisdom of operating in such a populated area. Tell us what you think in the comments below.