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 causes an 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 ]
Erico Guizzo is the Director of Digital Innovation at IEEE Spectrum, and cofounder of the IEEE Robots Guide, an award-winning interactive site about robotics. He oversees the operation, integration, and new feature development for all digital properties and platforms, including the Spectrum website, newsletters, CMS, editorial workflow systems, and analytics and AI tools. An IEEE Member, he is an electrical engineer by training and has a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.