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YouTube favourite Casey Neistat under investigation by the FAA

Posted by Blair Nichols in UAV & Drones

YouTube superstar Casey Neistat is allegedly under investigation by the FAA for his illegal drone flights in and around the airspace of New York. He himself confirmed this in a recent vlog where he did a review of the recently launched DJI Spark.

“There is one small problem with testing this though, and that is that I’m under investigation by the FAA and I can’t fly in New York City anymore and so I don’t want to get into trouble, and it's irresponsible and you shouldn’t do it either…”, Casey Neistat.

Read more about this on DroningOn: https://www.droningon.co/2017/05/24/casey-neistat-under-investigation-faa/

With over seven million subscribers and illegal drone footage featuring heavily in his daily vlogs for over a year now, is this too little too late? Will his star status give him a free ride or will the FAA make an example of him?

If your first question is "Who is Casey Neistat?" then where have you been for the last two years! Casey is a creator, director, vlogger and filmaker from Connecticut USA, currently residing in New York City. He has a massive following on social media and specifically YouTube and has major influence over the vlogging community and is thought of as the founder of daily vlogging. I personally have watched every one of his video's and daily vlogs and really like his content, like him as a person, and enjoy his take on things. I have however commented in the past with regard to his drone safety (or lack of) and how he has trivialised their use with the "oops" moments he has showed. He has lost countless drones, flown them in restricted airspace, flown over crowds of people both indoors and ourdoors, flown down city streets, beyond and out of visual line of sight and has even flown into people causing injury. Even his "tutorials" on drone flight make light of the very real dangers and with such a massive audience could cause new users to underappreciate the conciquences.

Here is a link to a montage of some of his drone footage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THNW6vnk0JE. Impressive stuff but a lot of it can be considered as dangerous.

But it's not just Casey breaking the rules. Other high profile youtubers and channels have been doing the same for over a year now. With younger viewers being influenced by these celebrities, I personally think that it is time for the FAA, and CAA in the UK, to step up and get involved. Those of us in the industry understand and acknowledge the risks, mitigate them where possible and prepare for them as part of each workscope. At the moment anyone can purchase a drone online or from outlets such as the Apple store and be in the air with no training, in no time.

A number of websites have reported that Casey will no doubt face a financial fine and maybe banned from using drones. I am not sure how realistic this is; only time will tell. Let's hope that this high profile story and the recent DJI update will be a sign of things to come. Not a shutdown, but some regulation before things get out of hand and people get hurt.