Local drone pilot witnessed reckless flight in downtown Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Dan Foard is an Emmy award-winning sports videographer who now uses drones as part of his business.

Foard has captured beautiful images of downtown Tampa and exotic locations in other countries using a remotely operated drone with a camera mounted on board.

The first drone he used, though, had issues. “They were a little sketchy as far as their safety, they’ve been known to fly away,” said Foard.

YouTube is filled with videos from drone pilots, showing beautiful locations and sometimes epic fails. In one famous incident, a drone covering a world cup ski event nearly killed downhill skier Marcel Hirscher. “If used safely and properly, drone technology is a marvelous thing for television,” said Foard.

However, he knows drones have safety limitations. “It’s an aircraft, so treat it like an aircraft, do your pre-flight inspections, make sure your firm ware is updated correctly and fly within the FAA legal parameters,” said Foard.

Wednesday he spoke to a group of flight enthusiasts and drone owners about the opportunities and responsibilities of being a drone pilot.  Foard has seen some irresponsible drone operators. In one instance, he witnesses a drone flying over a large crowd outside of Amalie Arena in downtown Tampa.

“Well, he was endangering because all he had to do was clip that and that drone would have fallen from 120 feet and could kill somebody’s children. There were 6,000 people below him. That’s reckless endangerment, it should be a felony,” said Foard.

Still, he sees tremendous potential in the future of drones and drone related businesses. “If people just use it for the beauty it can create and be safe, it’s a fantastic thing and everybody’s happy,” said Foard.

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