Don’t be a douche with a drone

Aerial Humboldt flies drones for fun and to document the amazing nature of the Northern California coast. Before buying a drone we came up with a collection of ethical principals to guide our flying and filming. These practices guide our flying and filming:

  1. Follow all the laws and rules, even as they evolve. Understand the spirit of the laws to fly ethically.
  2. Be aware of possible harm. Any UAV can cause harm, disrupt airplane flight, damage wildlife, frighten a person, or cause environmental harm. Potential harm should always be in consideration. If there is a risk that something could go wrong that could harm someone, then the flight stays grounded.
  3. Always forground privacy and consent. Never film people without their consent, and always be aware of people in the environment. If someone is accidentially filmed and can be identified, then that portion of the film will not be used.
  4. Never fly or film in a way that could disrupt or harm wildlife. Understand the distances from which you can safely fly near marine mammals, birds and coastal wildlife.
  5. Be accountable for people who want to question the ethics of drone flying. Be willing to answer questions, talk honestly about the harm reduction choices we take and be straight forward about what we are doing. If someone asks us to stop flying or stop filming we will attempt to comply.
  6. Be prepared to scrub footage that could harm someone. Thinking about the power and privilege associated with surveillance flights, including the possibility that we might film houseless people, crimes and drug use, we have a criteria for removal of video.

We are also aware that these guidelines are going to evolve and need to be updated. Flying the in the community will bring to light new difficulties that will need consideration. We encourage all commercial and consumer drone pilots to develop their own rules and practices to create a community of practice for safe and ethical flying.

Feb 2021, Aerial Humboldt staff and pilots

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