This Greek guy on YouTube has been showcasing both his own ignorance of any Greek flight safety measures and regulations as well as the impressive flying ability of the DJI Mavic Pro and Spark drones. In his latest video, he claims to set an altitude record of 8,200 feet with his DJI Mavic Pro drone, right next to the Milos Island National Airport(!).
Hacked Spark flies 2.75 miles out over the ocean
Back in August he already flew a DJI Mavic Pro up to an incredible 6,620 feet (2,018m) altitude on the Greek island Crete. Around the same time, he proceeded to his next test, to see how far can you fly a DJI Spark and still bring it back home. On the beach in Falasarna, Crete he flew the hacked Spark out over the ocean for a distance of 2.75 miles (4,400m), losing the connection at times. He almost did not make it back to the beach as the battery of the Spark was drained to 0% during the final minutes. In the end, when he is flying just over the beach and attempting to land the drone, the video footage gets cut out. Later we see a shot of the drone pilot standing next to the Spark drone. Apparently, it did run out of juice and the drone simply fell out of the sky during the final descent. The drone survived and it seems that nobody got hurt.
Mavic Pro at 8,200 feet elevation next to airport
The latest video, published on YouTube late in October, shows another max altitude record attempt from apparently the same pilot. This time he sends his hacked Mavic Pro upwards from another Greek island by the name of Milos. The DJI drone shows its impressive ability and flies to an altitude of 8,200 feet (2,500m).
This video starts with an explanation of how you can (and should) check the wind speeds and direction at different altitude levels as they can differ tremendously.
What none of the videos show, is whether the pilot checked with the Greek Civil Aviation Authorities to see if he is allowed to fly here or if there are any airports close by. Such as the Milos Island National Airport clearly shown in his own drone footage!
By default, in Europe, and in Greece, one is not allowed to fly a drone above 400 feet or beyond the line of sight or within a 5-mile radius of an airport. The pilot is in clear violation of aviation rules and regulation in all three videos and considering that he doesn’t mention any flight safety measures, precautions, waivers or permits, it appears that he was well aware of the illegal nature of his flights. In the comments YouTube, he mentions:
For “those guys” : No plane was in a 200 mile radius at the time of the flight. No fire on the island so no fire fighting planes. There is no military base.
What are the drone regulations in Greece?
Well, Francis Market does a nice job explaining the Greek drone regulations on his website the Drone Traveller. In a nutshell, it comes down to this:
- You cannot fly higher than 120m (around 400 feet).
- You cannot fly further than 500m (1500 feet) away from you and you must maintain line of sight. Fly any further and you will automatically be classified as a commercial pilot in need of written authorization from the Greek Aviation Authority.
- You need drone insurance.
- You have to stay at least 8km (5 miles) away from any airport.
- You cannot fly over people and need to keep a 50m (150 feet) distance from them at all times.
- Flight bans apply over military installations, hospitals, prisons and other government facilities.
- You need to have permission of the landowner for take-off and landing
- Anyone who violates the drone laws can expect a penalty ranging from 500 to 250.000 euros.
So, clearly, the drone pilot in these videos is in violation of many different rules and regulations.
Fly your drone safely
Initially, I did not want to promote such illegal drone flying on our site, but I have decided that it would be better to use the videos to inform and educate people about what you can and cannot do with drones. This pilot clearly breaks the law and his behavior ultimately will lead to stricter drone regulations or worse dangerous situations for manned aircraft or people on the ground.
Impressive as the DJI drones may be, please don’t be like this guy and test them with complete disregards for other people’s safety.