A video appeared yesterday of a man flying his quadcopter over Turkeys largest airport, Istanbul Ataturk Airport. The lengthy aerial video shows him taking off near the airport and making several rounds straight above it, filming as commercial airplanes taxi to the runway, take off and land.
The shots are cool, but I don’t have to point out how incredibly dangerous, irresponsible and reckless this is! The man, named Aspet Manukyan, first posted the video on his Facebook page. It was soon taken down and he apologized for having made it in the first place, but from what I gather he has since closed his Facebook account entirely. The story appeared on several news sites yesterday and naturally the criticism has been overwhelming.
The film maker responded to the criticism by saying that normally the quadcopter isn’t able to take off at all near the airport due to the built-in no-fly zones that prevent such flights but this time it could, so he simply decided to keep flying.
“The GPS system on the drone does not permit filming over airports. It automatically turns off. I wanted to try it, but saw that the GPS was not turned off. I had no bad intentions,” he said according to Turkish news site Hurriet Daily News.
The news site continues to condemn the flight by quoting retired pilot Nuri Sakarya who spoke up about the incident: “No foreign object should be able to come closer than 10 kilometers. This is air traffic terrorism which could cause a serious danger as the drone could have hit an airplane.”
A debate has spurred whether spreading the video further will help or hinder our hobby. Several people made copies of it before it was deleted. It sure puts the hobby in a bad light, risking even harder laws and restrictions on quadcopters. The man has been reported to authorities in Turkey and they have been made aware of the video. Spreading it can only help the hobby though, showing that quadcopter pilots in general are responsible and can tell where the boundaries go. We have to show the world that we do not accept this! There will always be people like this man, regardless of the hobby, who risk ruining it for the rest. But a vast majority of us are not like that.
And one can only wonder: if he had no bad intentions why did he tape over the LED lights on the quadcopter, making it significantly harder to spot in the sky?