Want to fly a drone at Burning Man this year? Better read this first.

Camera-equipped drones, like the one that shot the video above, are a wonderful tool for photography at the annual Burning Man festival. But "if you're planning on flying a drone at Burning Man this year," says BB pal Eddie Codel, "You'll need to register and follow a ton of new rules."

No kidding. Here's a snip from the 2014 Burning Man drone/radio-controlled-stuff policies:

Like mutant vehicles, BRC regulates all RC aircraft and requires that they be operated responsibly, and subject to restricted fly zones and other rules of operation. BRC has an established RC community, which has stepped forward to collaborate on creating rules and recommendations based upon The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) safety code.

The FAA requires all operators of RC aircraft flying within 5 miles of an airport to notify that airport of their operations. Virtually all of Black Rock City is within 5 miles of 88NV, Black Rock City Municipal Airport. So, all RC operators must register and follow all policies, rules, restrictions and conditions stated in this document and communicated at the Event in RCBRC briefings.

Restrictions include, but are not limited to:
• Flying sufficient distance away from populated (city blocks, theme camps, etc.), low noise tolerance (the Temple!) or other sensitive areas (including Burns and the Man)
• Avoid flying near spectators until aircraft tested/flown previously.
• Flying no higher than 400 feet above ground.
• If within 5 miles of an airport: notification of the airport operator. (Registration satisfies this requirement.)
• Avoid flying in proximity of, and give right-of-way to, full-scale aircraft.

Oh, there's more.

Notable Replies

  1. I stopped going to Burning Man after they shut down the Drive-by Shooting Range. Stupid Burning Man rules infringing on my Second Amendment.

  2. I am pretty sick of drone hysteria, but other than the no POV rule, there is nothing terribly offensive in there. Register it so that you can thump people over the head if they are being a dick with it, don't be a dick, and stay away from the airport. The stupid rules (like no POV flying) are easily ignored.

    All that said, for an anarchist flavored gathering, Burning Man sure does have a lot of fucking rules.

  3. Yep. But of our rules are different than other places.

    Turns, Rule-free society doesn't work for groups of more than about a hundred.

  4. I am pretty sure that burning man could have no rules on drones without it descending into chaotic madness. I'm actually going to burning man this year. I would give zero fucks if there were no drone rules.

    The real issue is that when it comes to judging harm, our society is utterly fucked. We don't know what harm even looks like. A person will pound a big gulp soda without batting an eyelash, and then freak the fuck out about terrorism. Guess which one is more likely to kill you?

    If you were to tally up all of the drone deaths that didn't come from the government, I am going to bet that the number of deaths... hell, the number of people even injured, is either zero, or so close to zero it might as well be zero. Despite this, people are freaking the fuck out about drones flying overhead because one might fall on their head. You are vastly more likely to be killed by a kid playing with a baseball than a drone. Hell, if I had the choice of being whacked by an AR drone or a baseball, I wouldn't think twice and take the drone.

    Non-government drones are not scary. Terrorist with drones are not only not scary, but also give zero fucks about FAA rules. All of the drone hysteria is fucking stupid. If you are an American, you are either going to die of cancer, eating too god damn much, a heart attack or, if you are really lucky, a car accident. Get over it. Your death will be horrifyingly mundane. Worry about real things.

  5. To be honest, the amount of drones is starting to get obnoxious, and we have a real airport. We have skydivers come in all the time. Although we haven't had injuries from drones, it's only a matter of time, and there have been close calls.

    The rules at Burning Man are set up so that we can stop someone endangering another without their consent. You want to climb on something dangerous? Fucking go ahead. I'll sit back and wait for you to fall, then get on the radio and call EMS to scrape yer carcass off the playa. Not gonna stop you, but will make sure you know what you're doing.

    You do NOT get to choose the danger level for others. Fire art and mutant vehicles can kill or injure people who are random passerby. They did not consent to the danger you caused. So, we have rules set up to keep that shit from happening.

    People bitched about the Department of Mutant Vehicles. Now, twelve years later, the mobile art there is jaw-dropping, and not just one or two vehicles either. Having some general "don't be a dick" rules about drones is part of running an actual anarchist society, instead of an academic circlejerk...

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