Watch this FPV drone pilot have fun buzzing around a train


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/12/06/watch-this-fpv-drone-pilot-hav.html


#2

I’d be nervous about those overhead lines.

Will he move up to aircraft carriers next?


#3

That’s the “fireman”. Engineer sits on the right.


#4

One side of me says “that’s pretty damn cool.”
Another side of me realizes that if I tried something like that, I’d rapidly convert the drone into a pile of plastic splinters and electronic scrap.
A third side of me thinks, “WTF is he doing buzzing trains? I’m sure Union Pacific isn’t going to be happy about this.”


#5

cool! and a few dozen TSA officials are having conniptions.


#6

Was really hoping to see some surprised train hoppers in the empty car.


#7

Going inside a metal box car is a ballsie move. Is it no longer acceptable to use balls out or ballsie?

I too would love to spend a few grand on some FPV copter fun, but I’d need like a half dozen copters because I would wreck them over and over. As I watched this guy’s moves I kept saying to myself, I would have wrecked it there, there, and there, yup into the water there, oops hit that pedestrian, snapped a power line? Oh look at the time!


#8

FAA as well. Probably some other TLA’s.


#9

Thought the same. I am not sure how legal doing this is, and if he had/needs approval from the railroad commission for doing something like this. my company deals with the railroad commission and they’re really uptight over rules and regulations.


#10

Pretty sure that’s I-80 between Truckee and Reno. One of the prettiest pieces of Interstate Highway, for my money.


#11

The reaction of the guy in the cab was telling…uh-oh another fucking drone! close the window!


#12

Pedant’s reply:

Firemen haven’t existed since the late steam-era. There are usually only two or three seats in a cab. It is now rare to have a brakeman ride along on a through-train.

Actually, that’s the railroad conductor’s side of the cab. They handle the waybills, hazmat docs, switching, spotting when they drop cars. That’s a mixed-freight, so most likely their biggest annoyance is how they’re likely to be deprioritized and put on a siding to wait for an intermodal unit to pass them.

BTW, the windows are bulletproof courtesy of FRA regs, so don’t anybody get any bright ideas. There is no “railroad commission” as there might be in Texas. The railroads are private property acting as federally-protected common-carriers, in some cases falling under each state’s utility or transportation regulations.

Yeah, you might have a problem with the railroad’s police department, but only if it’s radioed in as a nuisance. More possible that the drone wipes out or gets hung up on some brake rigging and adorns the side of the train for a long, humiliating trip into a yard. Wouldn’t even scuff the paint.

If he flew into the cab, now that would be an issue.

Actually, I thought it was a cool video. The crew won’t care as long as you don’t annoy them personally.


#13

That looks an awful lot like a section of highway between Truckee, CA and Reno, NV. I could be wrong – that little yellow building next to the trestle and the river is missing.

[…edit…]

Or even better… this section of highway…


#14

I’m in Texas so i deal with that constantly unfortunately :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#15

Ok so i was curious and did a search and stumbled onto a thread where some people did a lot of detective work and some sound interpretation of existing regulations for drone operation near RR and private property.

As far as i can tell it’s legal but the operator needs permission to be able to fly under 250 ft, otherwise they have to be 250 ft and up. If an area that is owned by the rail road has an explicit no-fly zone status a drone operator can ibe granted a Remote Pilot permission by the FAA to do a fly over.

So basically if the guy in this video is getting real close to the train without explicit permission he may have broken some regulations. I don’t know, i havent been able to watch the video yet.

Edit: Yeah checked out the video real quick and judging by the type of video that is i doubt this guy had permission to do such a close fly-by. If true if a railroad company wanted to be an asshole about it they could press the matter and get him in trouble since trains are treated as critical infrastructure under federal law, even if the drone couldnt’ve done any damage to the train.


#16

Indeed, what if the engineer panicked when he saw the drone and swerved to avoid hitting it?


#17

Yeah. I find train engineers intelligent, but not experienced. Their patterns indicate one-dimensional thinking.


#18

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