Usually, multiple presence of hot air balloons and drones with fast spinning rotors in an area is a bad combination. I mean, these hot air transports are 90% made up of balloons. They are slow, fragile, and all it takes is one hole to take it down. Being the way they are, these hot air balloon-flying events usually have a strict policy against drones and other flying obstacles.
These fears among hot air balloon enthusiasts are not without any justifications. Over the past few years, hundreds of incidents in airports involved drones and nearly colliding with planes. Some count as a narrow escape, while others aircrafts leave with physical damages. These have led to numerous outcries in stricter drone regulations.
Balloon Fiesta First
In Albuquerque New Mexico, their annual Balloon Fiesta is turning a few heads with their decision to allow one drone to cover the event. The drone will fly alongside the hot air balloons (and their riders) to get breathtaking and amazing shots only a drone can provide. The drone will be piloted, of course, which gives the flyers a little more confidence in the idea.
The pilot is a veteran flyer with years of experience. He and his team of photographers will supervise the drone’s actions to get the footage they need. Of course, they will still be following specific drone regulations even with this approval. They still cannot fly directly above a crowd of people, for the safety of those watching the show. To prevent collision, they also are going to stay a wide berth from any of the balloons in the show.
This is a first, as with past events (and this one as well), drones are banned with four kilometers of the Balloon Fiesta grounds. This is to prevent civilian drones from entering the air space and causing problems. Not intentionally, mind you, but for the most part, people who just want some footage ends up getting in the way. This can be dangerous to the hot air balloon flyers, as well as the thousands of spectators below them.
Hopefully this can be the start of a peaceful coexistence between drones and other aircrafts.