Hobbyist Group Flies Drone Over World's Tallest Building

Watch this quadrotor soar above the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai

2 min read
Hobbyist Group Flies Drone Over World's Tallest Building

Team BlackSheep is back with another of its dubiously legal but undoubtedly epic aerial drone videos. This time they have their camera-enabled quadrotor shooting some spectacular footage in the skies of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The video includes a high altitude view of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 829.8 meters (2,722 feet). And by "high altitude view" we mean, holy sheep, the drone flies above the antenna atop the building. To get an idea of how tall this thing is, consider that you have to stack two Empire State Buildings to get one Burj Khalifa!

Skip to 1:04 to see the stunt.

Team BlackSheep flies its own custom quadrotor, called the TBS Discovery Pro, which has a fully stabilized camera gimbal and range of 500 meters to 3 kilometers (with a more powerful transmitter and antenna, users can supposedly extend the range to some 10 kilometers). 

Team leader Raphael "Trappy" Pirker might be feeling confident lately, having won a favorable court ruling against the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which had fined him for using drones to shoot a promotional video (the FAA is appealing).

But while many in the drone community applaud the stunning videos made by Team BlackSheep and others, some wonder if they could backfire and lead to unnecessarily tough regulation if one day a drone causesan accident and hurts someone.

On YouTube, one user left a comment asking Team BlackSheep if it had "permission to make those flights." "That's not a place I would like to get caught breaking any of their laws," the user wrote.

A member of Team BlackSheep responded: "as far as I'm concerned we did not break any laws. I consider this to be good promotion for Dubai. Please keep in mind we're one of the most experienced 'hobbyist drone' operators on the planet ... several tests were conducted before we were sure to pull off these flights and not endanger the people of Dubai."

Indeed, most other YouTube commenters didn't seem worried. "The awesomeness burns my eyes!" one wrote.

[ Team BlackSheep ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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