The PDD Drone takes a short flight along the west pierhead entrance to Superior Harbor at Wisconsin Point, cruising above the breakwall to the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse, also known as the Superior Entry Breakwater Lighthouse or South Breakwater Light.
At Loon’s Foot Landing in Superior’s Allouez neighborhood, near the mouth of the Nemadji River in the Allouez Bay Channel, stands the remains of the Northern Pacific Ore Dock — built from 1912-13; abandoned by 1970. In July, Liftoff Aerials sent the PDD Drone up to have a bird’s-eye view of the old concrete-and-steel structure.
Here are some shots from the seldom seen Manitou River falls on Lake Superior near Highway 61. There are two main sets of falls between Highway 61 and the lake, the last set drops 40 to 50 feet directly into Lake Superior, making it one of only a few waterfalls that drop directly into Lake Superior.
You may have noticed the PDD Drone has come out of hibernation recently. Here is a quick video of Ely’s Peak on the western edge of town. Yes, we did fly the drone through the entire tunnel. It was a bit hairy due to the darkness and the boulders that kept jumping out at our feet. The drone was wearing a small headlamp but it didn’t help much.
Quick drone flyover at Devil’s Kettle Falls on the Brule River in Judge C. R. Magney State Park on the North Shore of Lake Superior. This specific set of falls, about 20 minutes east of Grand Marais, draws visitors far and wide for it’s unique mystery: half the river disappears into a hole (kettle) and no one knows where all that water goes.
Five Mile Rock is located five miles north of Grand Marais (hence the name) and 3/4 miles off the shore of Lake Superior. Aerial video and photo shot with the PDD Drone on May 19 around 11:30 a.m. and operated by Liftoff Aerials, an FAA-registered drone operator approved for commercial use.
Aerial drone video of “High Falls” on the Baptism River. The Baptism River “High Falls” in Minnesota’s Highest waterfall at 60 feet. During spring run-off it flows heavily and is a great time to visit and hear the thunderous roar of the falls. Mid-summer you can swim the pool at the base of these falls. Tettegouche State Park is one of the best campgrounds on the North Shore of Lake Superior. http://dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/tettegouche/
The PDD drone, piloted by Cory Fechner (liftoffaerials.com) was at the start of the 2015 John Beargrease Sled Dog marathon yesterday to shoot aerial footage. There were other drones at the starting line so we ventured out into the woods to capture the mushers a quarter-mile into the race.
The expected release of new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) regulations later this month and the recent commercial drone incident with TGI Friday’s in New York (TGI Friday’s Dumb Mistletoe Drone Cut Somebody’s Face Open) have me thinking about the future of commercial drone use. Perfect Duluth Day has been somewhat on the forefront of the use of drones since I purchased a quadcopter capable of shooting photography and video back in 2013.
Current FAA Drone Guidelines
I utilize my 4 drones (DJI s800evo, Tarot FY680 Pro, DJI Phantom 2 Vision & Vision 2+) to shoot content for digital media, which has drawn attention beyond PDD via the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, MPR and also Duluth news outlets. I was contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration in early 2014 after shooting the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and told I was in violation of FAA regulations because my footage was considered commercial.
I won’t get into the specifics of what the current regulations entail, but needless to say they are bit vague and need clarification. The National Transportation Safety Board felt the same way, dismissing multiple instances in which the FAA fined UAV operators $10,000 for commercial operation. There has been kind of a wild west approach to commercial use of UAVs since then, with little risk of citations or fines until the new regulations are released.
Drone fly over of the Thomson Dam and Munger Trail foot bridge on the St. Louis River near the entrance of Jay Cooke State Park. This is also home to the UMD Outdoor Program Outpost on the St. Louis River/Thomson Reservoir.
Aerial Footage by www.liftoffaerials.com