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This Illegal Drone Footage of DC Is Beautiful
A view of Washington is so good, it should be against the law. Actually, it is. By Benjamin Freed
Comments () | Published May 2, 2014

Here’s a view of DC we don’t get to see very often, mostly because it’s totally illegal. But a crafty drone operator managed to get two stunning minutes of aerial footage of the city.

Viktor Mirzoyan, a local software developer, shot the video using a quadcopter rigged with a high-definition GoPro camera. Mirzoyan uploaded the clip in February, although it managed to stay hidden until today when Vice spotted it. Mirzoyan did not respond to Washingtonian’s questions about when and how he shot the video, but in the comments on the clip’s Vimeo page, he tells viewers he’s managed to stay out of trouble.

“No feds, no water-boarding, and no Guantanamo,” he writes.

The same can’t be said for others who have attempted to fly recreational remote aircraft over the District. Adam Eidinger, probably known more for his marijuana reform advocacy, is also a drone enthusiast, but he was publicly scolded by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2012 after he lost a quadcopter he was piloting over Northwest DC. Because of security concerns, the FAA tightly restricts nearly all types of non-government flight over the city, spanning everything from hang-gliders to model airplanes to drones. (CBS News got a rare exemption last year for a 60 Minutes piece on Capitol Dome reconstruction.)

But even if Mirzoyan is about to get spanked by the feds like Eidinger was, the views of DC offered in his video are captivating, especially when scored to The Verve’s embarrassingly addictive late ‘90s anthem “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”


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  • Nick Foster

    As a former resident to DC, the heightened level of security in the District will move to shut down down drowns ASAP (albeit at a governments glacial pace). While drones add significant value especially in the private sector, there is too much at risk in DC to allow drones free flight.

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  • Viktor Mirzoyan must be a brave man to fly a Quadcopter in a FAA Restricted area. However, it may potentially lead to major consequences in near future. However, coming back to the video it looks good. A good view of DC, but could have been more interesting if he mange to provide various coverage's. Though it's illegal, but still some people like to enjoy it just for fun. I think this is not worst than real crimes in my opinion. Well, anyways I do own a Quadcopter, but never flown on any FAA restricted areas haha :)

  • It’s not the first time someone has flown a drone in DC, but the last time that happened (and was publicized), local activist Adam Eidinger (who, coincidentally, is working on marijuana legalization in the city) got a call from the Federal Aviation Administration. -

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  • Eh I've seen better... decent footage but really nothing groundbreaking. Needs more coverage of different neighborhoods and vantage points.

  • Norman Hirsch

    Harmless art. Low probability of any harm to anyone. The cars and bicycles are much more dangerous. He can be sued of course if he hurts someone or if the music is copywrited. That's normal.

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Posted at 01:21 PM/ET, 05/02/2014 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Blogs