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Updated: 03/13/2014 02:59:22PM

Unethical eye in the sky?

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By Capt. Ralph Allen

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Last Saturday, I spent a gorgeous, sun-drenched afternoon with hundreds of other people at Laishley Park alongside the Peace River at the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce Wine and Jazz Festival. It was a grand affair that offered music performed by extremely talented musicians, and there was great food and drink provided by local restaurateurs. There were several photographers covering the event, and while most of them practiced their craft while squinting through the lenses of their handheld cameras, one guy was doing something different. This gentleman carried a small console that controlled a remote-controlled drone that hovered airborne above the crowd. The nearly noiseless device was rectangular in shape and was kept aloft by four rotors that spun at each corner of the drone. A small camera was mounted underneath and was angled down towards the crowd. The whole thing looked as if it couldn’t be more than 2 feet in length, and it was light enough that it could be easily hoisted by one hand.

The operator of the airborne apparatus skillfully navigated the flying machine over the crowd, causing it to hover motionless, rotate and fly higher or lower to allow the onboard camera to capture shots from a perspective that could not be duplicated by any of the terrestrial photographers. The device was quite an attention-getter, and many a neck was craned skyward to watch the aerial maneuvers as it danced above the crowd.

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