Drone Videographer Duncan Sinfield: 'Only a Matter of Time' Until Apple Park Shuts Down Drone Flights

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Apr 12, 2001
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Duncan Sinfield says that piloting his drones over Apple Park has become increasingly difficult in the past few weeks, and that he believes it's "only a matter of time until the campus becomes shut-off to drones completely." Sinfield's comment on Apple Park security comes in the text description of a new video that he uploaded today, where he talks about the response that he's been getting to drone piloting over the campus.


The drone videographer says that security "generally responds" to his precise takeoff location "in 10 minutes or less." He speculates that Apple has set up a geofence of some kind and that the company could be tracking all drone flights near the campus in an effort to lower the amount of eyes on Apple Park. He further guesses that Apple might be using technology from a company like Dedrone, which describes itself as "the airspace security platform that detects, classifies, and mitigates all drone threats."
This is an extended length video, it's only a matter of time until the campus becomes shut-off to drones completely... with a geo-fence, or something similar. Security at Apple Park generally responds in two white Prius's to my precise take-off locations in 10 minutes or less. While this is speculation, my instincts tell me that Apple is tracking all drones in the vicinity of the campus with sophisticated radio frequency technology from companies such as DeDrone (a San Francisco-based aerospace security company).

As always, I respect all requests by Apple Security to land my drone and leave the area when asked to do so. They are always asking if I'm an Apple employee too. So to all of the Apple Employees watching (and reading), don't fly your drones over The Park, it's frowned upon!
Last summer, multiple reports emerged about Apple Park security's first efforts at stopping drone pilots from accessing the airspace above the campus. Despite those attempts, drone update videos have been consistently uploaded to YouTube by multiple videographers, including Sinfield and Matthew Roberts. Apple Park's latest stance on drones appears to be a bit more strict this time around, and follows a recently leaked memo from the company that warned employees against leaking details about future devices to the media.

Besides the security-focused topic of the description, Sinfield's video today is an extended update providing the usual coverage of Apple Park. The campus looks essentially complete except for a few remaining dirt mounds and empty landscaping areas outside of the main spaceship building and near the Steve Jobs Theater. Apple Park has become increasingly busy since more employees began moving in earlier this year, with the campus providing a backdrop for executive interviews as well as housing CEO Tim Cook's own office.

In another drone video posted back in February, Matthew Roberts captured a drone that malfunctioned and crashed among the solar panels covering the roof of Apple Park.

Article Link: Drone Videographer Duncan Sinfield: 'Only a Matter of Time' Until Apple Park Shuts Down Drone Flights
 

swingerofbirch

macrumors 68040
They owe him a debt of gratitude for the gorgeous videos he made. Beautiful photography, music, and interspersed with Steve Jobs audio.

To be honest, Apple hasn't done a lot to really make me interested in them in a long time (in fact, I sometimes go to archive.org to revisit some exciting moments from Apple's past). But his videos were magical, to borrow an overused term from Tim Cook.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,690
12,408
They owe him a debt of gratitude for the gorgeous videos he made. Beautiful photography, music, and interspersed with Steve Jobs audio.

To be honest, Apple hasn't done a lot to really make me interested in them in a long time (in fact, I sometimes go to archive.org to revisit some exciting moments from Apple's past). But his videos were magical, to borrow an overused term from Tim Cook.
Well if Apple decides they want to commission a video of their property for some reason, they will know whom to hire. That would be a nice situation for both sides.
 
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Maury

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2008
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> like Dedrone, which describes itself as "the airspace security platform that detects, classifies, and mitigates all drone threats

Pfft, RF only. A GPS pre-programmed flight is impervious.
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
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Palookaville
But Apple doesn't own airspace around campus, do they?
Nope. All airspace is federally controlled. Specifically, Apple Park is under the Class C airspace of San Jose Airport, meaning aircraft cannot enter it without contacting ATC. The only reason why drones are allowed to fly over Apple Park currently is that an exception, called a NOTAM, was requested. The text of the NOTAM:

NOTAM UAS Operating Area SJC_08/052
DEFINED AS .5NM RADIUS OF 371900N1220033W (4.5NM SW SJC)
SFC-700FT (SFC-400FT AGL) DLY 1500-2259 1708171500-1806302259.

We don't know who requested the NOTAM in the first place, but it will expire June 30, and presumably not be renewed by the FAA. That's when drone flights will end over Apple Park, and the reason they will end. But good luck ending the meaningless speculation. This isn't the first time I've tried.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
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And despite this guy warning people, without his video we would't really know what Apple Campus looked like.

Seems like a double-edged dagger.

Besides, he should be happy. Why would you wanna continue after its fully finished.... What "more" could you show that havan't been done already ?
 

Wsidewarrior07

macrumors member
Mar 19, 2009
42
19
Nope. All airspace is federally controlled. Specifically, Apple Park is under the Class C airspace of San Jose Airport, meaning aircraft cannot enter it without contacting ATC. The only reason why drones are allowed to fly over Apple Park currently is that an exception, called a NOTAM, was requested. The text of the NOTAM:

NOTAM UAS Operating Area SJC_08/052
DEFINED AS .5NM RADIUS OF 371900N1220033W (4.5NM SW SJC)
SFC-700FT (SFC-400FT AGL) DLY 1500-2259 1708171500-1806302259.

We don't know who requested the NOTAM in the first place, but it will expire June 30, and presumably not be renewed by the FAA. That's when drone flights will end over Apple Park, and the reason they will end. But good luck ending the meaningless speculation. This isn't the first time I've tried.

If the pilot is part 107 certified and has an Airspace Authorization for the SJC class C Airspace there isn't much Apple can do. He's operating within his legal authority as an FAA licensed UAS operator. The only exception would be if he was being unsafe in the airspace. Otherwise... there's not a darn thing Apple can do to "restrict" their own airspace, about the only thing they could do is prohibit take off and landing from their property, but if he takes off on a public sidewalk across the street.... tough cookies.
 

daveup2bat

macrumors member
Sep 1, 2009
53
62
California
you can just set your home point to the controller not your launch location, so once the drone is in the air, you can move locations and they won't know where to find you. The drone will return to the controller, not to the origin of the take off. simple! #Knowyourdrone :)
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
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Palookaville
If the pilot is part 107 certified and has an Airspace Authorization for the SJC class C Airspace there isn't much Apple can do. He's operating within his legal authority as an FAA licensed UAS operator. The only exception would be if he was being unsafe in the airspace. Otherwise... there's not a darn thing Apple can do to "restrict" their own airspace, about the only thing they could do is prohibit take off and landing from their property, but if he takes off on a public sidewalk across the street.... tough cookies.
I agree that Apple doesn't control any airspace, but my point is this authorization to operate drones over their property is currently made by NOTAM, so any drone pilot can do so without further permission from anybody. Once the NOTAM expires, the FAA probably won't have any cause to renew it. It's always possible that they will, and I suppose always possible that the controlling ATC (NORCAL Approach) will provide an authorization of their own, but I don't see why they would.
 
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