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Drone spotted hovering over West Oakland
by Jacob Crawford
Friday Feb 8th, 2013 11:07 PM
Update 2/12/13 - Met with drone operator, got schooled on the difference between civilian and government crafts, video will be posted shortly

On February 8th, 2013 at 3:50 pm a drone was sighted hovering above a neighborhood in West Oakland. There didn't seem to be a focus, it just maintained it's position above properties. It is not known at this point what agency or individual was operating the craft.
Alameda Sheriff's recently released their intended policies around the use of drones. You can take a read here.

Once introduced into their arsenal, they would be used for a variety of purposes ranging from counter terrorism operations, chases, search and rescue, surveillance, as well as other operations.

§Video: Drone hovering above West Oakland
by Jacob Crawford Friday Feb 8th, 2013 11:07 PM
This video was shot by Jacob Crawford

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by No drones
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 7:05 AM
This looks similar to the model used by LAPD:
Although the landing struts seem different, the main body seems similar to what the LAPD has in its stock.

The issue with the drones is the lack of identification. It is not possible to tell the origin or intent of a drone.

People can buy a hexacopter very comparable to this one here for under a $1000. Hobbyist drone flights are slowly becoming more common.

Or it could have been made by a college research team, or a video production team that wants a kit for aerial footage.

This could indeed be a sample of a police drone. Or it could belong to a corporation who wants a drone for private security.

The fact that the drone only went up, hovered and went back down suggests that this likely to be a research project or hobby project. A government or corporate test flight would be more dynamic, and would have the drone maneuver. However, there is no way to say if it is or isn't a police drone.

Overall there is an issue of identification, and people's right to privacy. Even if this is a civilian drone, there really is no way to tell, and that obviously sets people off the wrong way. Would someone with a backyard pot grow want a drone flying over their yard? Would someone with small children want a drone over their yard? Would a couple in a moment of intimacy in their backyard want a drone flying over? There should be areas designated for drone flights by the waterside or a park space up in the hills somewhere, where civilians can play with flying machines without disturbing their neighbors.
by anon
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 8:14 AM

How to Kill Drones 06.Feb.2013 09:50
links for you techies link
How To Kill A Drone: Since Drones Can Kill Americans, Americans Can Kill Drones, Here's How
 link to

How to Build a Radio/Drone Jammer

by warDialer
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 11:39 AM
The green LED lights up front and the red LED lights in the rear are so the person controlling it can keep orientation. This means the individual who was piloting it was in line of sight with the drone. They would fly it similar to the way a hobbyist flies a radio control helicopter, out in the open with a transmitter. This drone is not autonomous nor is it being controlled from a remote location.

$1000 can get you setup, $2000 can get you something very capable. There is a hobby scene gaining momentum right now as these are amazing machines to own and operate from tech wizardry perspective. Lot of camera buffs are getting into them too. It's a whole new perspective on photography.

That said, it wouldn't surprise me if it it was operated by an agency, but a drone like this is easily purchased by an individual. Keep in mind the battery life is 10-15 minutes so it can't fly long distances. Battery technology is the single factor we don't see these things buzzing around non stop. It goes up, it hovers, it comes down.
by warDialer
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 11:58 AM
Interesting link to the radio jammer. That device might interfere with the video feed the drone is transmitting back or make it retreat but it would not bring the drone down. Drones are equipped with GPS and are often set to return to their point of origin if they receive interference.
by anon
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 12:25 PM

UPDATED 7/20/12, 11.30AM
On June 19, when University of Texas researchers successfully hijacked a drone by “spoofing” it — giving it bad GPS coordinates – they showed the Department of Homeland Security how civilian drones could fall into the wrong hands, exposing a potentially serious security flaw. It was exactly what Todd Humphreys, the lead researcher, anticipated in a TEDx talk in February: “You can scarcely imagine the kind of havoc you could cause if you knew what you were doing with a GPS spoofer.”

by heather
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 4:14 PM
This is a hobbyist drone, probably not government. My partner knows someone with this kind of drone (in West Oakland incidentally) who uses it to take photos of sunsets.
by Appendix
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 4:20 PM
Drone Season Open

No bag limit, all firearms, nets, traps, lasers and radio frequency interference are legal methods of taking drones.

Interdiction of drone controlling stations and personnel are legal under most conditions.

Happy Hunting!
by heather
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 4:38 PM
FYI the purported photo of the "LAPD drone hovering over the crowd" in the first link, that looks similar to the West Oakland drone, is clearly a studio photo. The lighting in the photo is professional, clean white background. That's not a photo of a drone in action outside.
by Gonesilent
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 4:52 PM
This was above a friend of mines place, It's not the police chill out. It does however make the local crack dealers scatter.
by acdbrn
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 4:58 PM
My neighbor has a classmate who is interning for the CIA and he was recently bragging about his involvement in this incident: where undercover agents had framed a man with serious mental health issues for planting a bomb at a local BofA. He said that they allegedly set the man in question up in a house and instructed him in how to build and detonate the bomb. The entire operation was videotaped by drones flying over the area. I'm wondering if these were the drones and possibly the house they had set him up in was in West Oakland. This is all conjecture, but it's possible.
by googler
Saturday Feb 9th, 2013 6:21 PM
but it looks a fair amount like this one: (see

or maybe sort of these:

there's this too:

can't find the exact model, though, which suggests that this West O drone could be something more exclusive or not widely available to the general public

seems to be a whole industry of these things popping up and cops and others with the money are getting a hold of them as fast as they can
by Mike Novack
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 4:45 AM
The FAA allows for civilian drones flown at low altitudes. While some of these are hobbyist drones others are commercial drones. What are the commercial uses? Well much cheaper than hiring a plane to do photography of a site (for builders, surveyors, architects, etc.) and perfectly suited for smaller sites where you'd ideally want a picture taken from low altitude in any case (the shots taken from high altitude work if the camera/film is high resolution but a large lens diameter means an expensive camera).

Often the "from a plane" aerial shots have to wait till there would be enough customers for the shots (neighboring properties). We have sometimes gotten inquiries about whether we wanted a shot of our 89 acres because some neighbor's was being shot.

Could just be some dude getting establishing shots or some nerd testing his latest college nerd thing.
by Banana F
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 1:01 PM
Uh- that looks like your run of the mill Octocopter with an operating time of 7 minutes-10 minutes.

Surveillance? Unlikely.

Probably some hobbyist having fun taking some cool footage.

Something like this:
by Banana F
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 1:07 PM
Whoops- that's not an Octo- that's a hex.

Jacob- you can try posting something on rcgroups on the multicopter forum to see if you can track down the guy/gal who was flying.

Yes, we're nerds.
by cerberus
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 2:20 PM
octo means 8m hexa means 6, if you count them, there are 6 booms. it is a hexacopter, and the company is the original mikrocopter. this was an individual, this was no agency. i dont live in california, i live in texas. and, i fly drones. lots of them
by Mark S.C. Twain
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 4:25 PM
Big Picture, people. I don't want individuals OR the police/government spying on me. How many aerial photos of sunsets do you need? I can see some of these "Libertarian" individuals spying on peoples lives for entertainment, and or if they see something of a more political nature, snitching them out to police/ Homeland Security. Hobbyists????? Drone cybersnitching at its best!
by Jason
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 4:43 PM
This is a video to invoke fear in the general public. How do I know? I am part of the general public and I have one, actually looking at buying another! Why? It's a hobbyist activity and also a new way to earn a living for photographers and videographers that allow them to attain great shots from the sky. Can they be used by military or police? Of course but they wouldn't use this one. They need to be able to fly missions that are much longer and cover a lot more ground. A little DJI S800 up in the air for 10-15min isn't much to worry about. Do a little research and get your facts straight. Oh and get used to seeing a lot more of them hovering around your skies.... Welcome to the new era of existence... Don't fear the drones...
by Mark S.C. Twain
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 5:01 PM
Get a new hobby! I rest my case!
by Nix B
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 5:13 PM
Googling 'hexacopter oakland' leads to this guy's videos:
by Nix B
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 5:19 PM
These guys flew a hexacopter there as well, and the video was just uploaded yesterday (Feb 9)
by rarteaga
Sunday Feb 10th, 2013 8:00 PM
They're just aerial photography copters used in Film and TV. And they're radio controlled from very nearby not piloted from a secret base or autonomous like real drones.
by Jack London
Monday Feb 11th, 2013 10:16 AM
Now film makers are getting too cheap and lazy to hire a helicopter pilot and camera man to do this. Remember it is still illegal to fly over peoples property and film them. If anyone succeeds in taking them down drone operators have no one to blame but themselves.

Yes drone hobbyists, we see that your out there now, we don't need message repeated several times.
by rarteaga
Monday Feb 11th, 2013 12:17 PM
Again...they're not drones. And the only thing redundant here is your attitude. Guess you just don't like facts.
by Jack London
Monday Feb 11th, 2013 2:28 PM
I just don't agree with you.........I also know that this technology is over 100 years old........Nikola Tesla invented it in the 1880s, it radio control technology. Nothing new......It is you I do not trust, not the technology! Or the government!
by peep this
Monday Feb 11th, 2013 3:47 PM
here are two videos that may harm your ability to sleep at night...

Citizen Drone Warfare - Dangerous Information

Prototype Quadrotor with Machine Gun and Bomb
by Jack London
Monday Feb 11th, 2013 4:57 PM
Thanks peep this. It shows what some people on here will be, or are capable of!
by Jack London
Monday Feb 11th, 2013 7:17 PM
I meant that I do not trust the Government either!
conspiracy theories abound. my fave: anti-gun death squads coming after pro-gun people.
by Katie
Tuesday Feb 12th, 2013 11:26 PM
This looks a lot like a DIY drone, which I shot a story about here in San Diego. 3D Robotics Inc. sells parts so you can make your own drones.
by Jack London
Wednesday Feb 13th, 2013 7:09 PM
Well the website say use as crop dusters and Pizza deliveries.......First of all we should not be using crop dusting at all because crop dusting uses toxic chemical for insecticides Pizza deliveries is frivolous! Both will deprive people of employment ( first job should not exist anymore because we should be going organic) This is petty, and invades peoples privacy and as yet is illegal.

Most people who like this seem these technologies seem to be ethically challenged like the Russian guy in the second video that Peep this posted.

If there is no regulation our airways will be crowded. No understanding of unintended consequences.
People thinking that if they repeat the same argument again it will change my opinion.