North American drone meet takes place in Stephentown


By: Asa Stackel

In Stephentown around noontime Friday, they weren’t the drones you’re used to.  Flying in a park field of NY-22 were fixed wing FPVs or First Person View drones. With the goggles, it’s like you’re actually on the aircraft.

“We fly it FPV, through this little camera here. The video transmits through this little antenna here,” said Josh Noone, drone pilot.

Josh, along with almost a hundred pilots from across North America are in Stephentown flying all kinds of FPV drones. Most build those foam “spec wings” themselves and most do it just for fun.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t concerned with the controversy surrounding drones.

“Drones get a bad rep, unfortunately, I think there’s a lot of paranoia with the cameras that are attached,” said Thomas McCullough, NEFVP.

Adam Sloan of Birds Eye View Aerobotics sells a drone that can lift vertically like a helicopter and fly forward like a plane. Hobbyists use it, but it’s used in mapping, power line inspection, and agriculture.

“I just think the FFA has been dragging their feet on this technology for over ten years,” said Sloan.

Right now, each person interested in flying to make money has to get specific permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly. Sloan wants the FAA to relax the rules.

“I would like to see some common sense guidelines. We never have any need to go above 400 feet, manned aircraft have no need to come below 500 feet. There’s already natural stratification there,” said Sloan.

Unlike Adam, Most drone pilots are in Stephentown for fun.

“When they rip through the finish line, it’s like wah, wah, wah. It sounds awesome,” said Noone.

They just everyone to know how fun it is.