Flying a drone above the new apple headquarters will most likely be its last flight

Feb 21, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Flying a drone above the new apple headquarters will most likely be its last flight

Feb 21, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There are some things which you think would be obvious. Like walking out into a busy road full of cars, putting your hand in an alligator’s open mouth, or flying your brand new drone over Apple’s shiny new campus – officially dubbed “Apple Park”. But for some people, apparently, it’s not so obvious. When Assaf Kaufman bought his son a new drone for his bar-mitzvah, they decided to take it out for a spot of flying. So, why not take it for a spin in Apple’s direction? What could go wrong?

Kaufman’s account of events was posted into the Facebook group “Israelis in San Francisco Bay“, and watching the video, you can clearly see the drone losing control right as it enters the space directly above the building. He does appear to briefly gain control of the drone again before it spins out of control again and the screen goes black. Kaufman also seems to have sought the help of other drone owners in the area to help him discover where his drone might have landed, and Matthew Roberts was happy to oblige.

YouTube video

After Roberts’ assistance in locating the drone, which appears to have landed on the solar roof of the building, Kaufman took to Facebook seeking help.

Apple employees – I need your unconventional help!

I bought my son a drone for his Bar-Mitzvah. We flew it in many places and then we flew it over Apple’s new building. As soon as the drone flew over the building itself, it lost balance and fell. From the video it didn’t seem to have fallen sharply to the ground but rather circulating in the air. From the last image it seems to have fallen on the roof itself. Couldn’t be worst than that.

The help I need – if someone from Apple who is influential enough to ask security to go on the roof and find it. There’s a chance it’s still operational.

I already went to the building itself and asked security to look for it. If it was on the ground they would have given it back, but it’s probably on the roof.

We’re all bummed here :(

– Assaf Kaufman

Apple has already declared that the space above their campus is a no-fly zone, although there is some debate about that. There’s no official FAA listing that shows the space as a no-fly area, and there don’t even seem to be any “Controlled Airspace” filings. Or at least, not as far back as last July. That might have changed now. But there are other FAA regulations that would come into force, regardless of Apple’s thoughts.

The height of the four-story circular building is somewhere around 50ft. FAA regulations state that drones must maintain a distance of 360ft from structures. So, flying directly overhead, you’d have to be flying at least 410ft above ground level in order to not break that regulation. However, at that point, you’re breaking another regulation. The one about not flying more than 400ft above the ground. So, either way, when you fly over the new Apple Park, you’re breaking the law.

It appears that Kaufman is now seeking help from Apple employees at the Park, hoping that somebody will hook him up with a security guy at the site to help him retrieve his son’s drone. I don’t fancy his chances, though.

I have a feeling, that if anybody gets in touch with him, it’ll be the FAA.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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19 responses to “Flying a drone above the new apple headquarters will most likely be its last flight”

  1. Jenn Grover Avatar
    Jenn Grover

    You can exceed 400′ if yousoubds like Apple ought some anti-drone tech. I wonder how legal that is?

  2. Robin Avatar
    Robin

    Is it too heavy to be hooked up by another drone?

  3. DUCK! Avatar
    DUCK!

    Perhaps nothing happened, it just entered into a virtual reality.

    It is really still flying around in ever decreasing circles ever since its operator went home.

  4. Brian H Lewis Avatar
    Brian H Lewis

    At least he fessed up

  5. Justin Barr Avatar
    Justin Barr

    Lots of misinformation. You can fly as close to a building as you want. FAA regulations say you can also fly up to 400ft above a building so if the building is 150ft tall, you can fly 550ft above ground level. The only “no fly zone” Apple can declare is that drones can’t be launched from within their property. The FAA is the only one who can authorize a NFZ.

    1. Brandon Blades Avatar
      Brandon Blades

      No you cannot. Cant be within 75m of any structure or living animal

      1. bob cooley Avatar
        bob cooley

        Please cite the specific law. FAA Part 107 contradicts what you state here.

    2. Brandon Blades Avatar
      Brandon Blades

      90 m max on height as well

    3. Justin Barr Avatar
      Justin Barr

      I’m pretty sure my FAA part 107 license says I’m right.

    4. Justin Barr Avatar
      Justin Barr

      Brandon Blades I’m pretty sure my FAA part 107 license says I’m right.

    5. Trenton Tam Avatar
      Trenton Tam

      it won’t be considered a drone if you put an animal in it impersonating a pilot

      1. Jessee Antillon Avatar
        Jessee Antillon

        LOL!!!

    6. mutatron Avatar
      mutatron

      Justin Barr you are correct. I recently got my 107 license, and I took particular note of the part where it says you can fly 400 feet above a structure. The area where you can do this extends out 400 feet from the sides of the structure. Manned aircraft aren’t supposed be within 1000 feet vertically and 2000 feet horizontally from a structure, so there’s no danger of a drone 400 feet over a building colliding with a manned aircraft. Of course helicopters can fly wherever they want “if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface”.

    7. Turk Turkleton Avatar
      Turk Turkleton

      It also says not to fly over people’s heads – out in the open there are employees.

  6. Iain Mack Avatar
    Iain Mack

    Is it just me having issues with the image not being straight? OCD alert.

  7. Turk Turkleton Avatar
    Turk Turkleton

    Too bad. Your toy fell and could have possibly hurt one of their employees. If they find it, they should smash it and charge you for any damage you caused for their building and the cost of employees to go get it.

  8. Rick Avatar
    Rick

    The real question here is did Apple do something to bring it down?

  9. MarkVII88 Avatar
    MarkVII88

    Isn’t it entirely possible that this campus utilizes a system to intentionally down any drone that flies overhead?

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      I did consider that idea, but then I saw the footage from the other drone owner helping him to find his own. That one seemingly had no problems flying overhead.