"I smell lawsuits over #dronekiller device," captioned Gregg on his April 8 Instagram post.
  • "I smell lawsuits over #dronekiller device," captioned Gregg on his April 8 Instagram post.
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

On the morning of April 8, many of the visitors inside the Carlsbad Flower Fields were distracted, despite the flowers still being in bloom.

"As long as the drones aren't intrusive and loud," said Deana Sommerville (Velvet Rose).

"As long as the drones aren't intrusive and loud," said Deana Sommerville (Velvet Rose).

"OMG," yelled a teen taking a selfie with her friend inside the rows, "is that drone even allowed in here?"

On the venue website, it states: "Operation or use of any drones, unmanned aircraft/flying systems, and remotely controlled flying machines, motorized or not -- is strictly prohibited."

The teens stepping past the green tape perimeter and inside of the growing fields, is not permitted either.

I asked the security guard in a golf-cart if he saw the drone.

"No," he said, "but I'm trying to get my boss to buy me a drone killer."

We both chuckled, and I asked "Are you serious?"

Just nine miles north of the venue, the Oceanside Police Department on Mission Avenue (east of Walgreens), was reported to have acquired a drone killer.

According to the March 28 U-T, IXI Technology agreed to donate the $30,000 drone-incapacitating weapon to the Oceanside Police, and made a presentation to the Oceanside City Council.

"I smell lawsuits over #dronekiller device," captioned Gregg on his April 8 Instagram post regarding a KUSI News report.

Later that day, he posted a photo of his DJI Phantom 4 Pro hovering above the same flower fields we were at.

I then emailed him, and he responded "[That day] I flew from a location above the field that has no signs posted about not flying a drone. There were no security issues."

Gregg is a FAA certified drone pilot. "It made me more informed on rules and regulations," he said. "But I must be honest, there is a lot of gray area. Signs are not posted everywhere that a pilot may fly from. If the pilots are careful not to fly over a crowd of people, no FAA rules are broken. If they (the Carlsbad Flower Fields) do not want a drone flying over their field, they should geofence it. My drone can’t fly in geo fenced areas at all."

At about 10 a.m, I found the other drone pilot operating from an entrance to the flower field that was sectioned off.

"Did security grant you access to fly the drone here," I asked.

He responded, "No, and they haven't seen me, yet."

I asked him what kind of drone he had, and he responded "a DJI Mavic."

He showed it to me then went to take photos of eight ladies in Victorian dresses parading around.

"As long as the drones aren't intrusive and loud," said Deana Sommerville (aka Velvet Rose), "I don't see it being a issue."

Sommerville, 50, is founder of The Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, a re-enactment group.

TD Dang, another drone pilot: "It's a great place for filming during the blooming time. On Saturday, I met another fellow flying his drone here, so that made two of us."

Dang, 65, is a retired senior VP of marketing and sales. "I encountered no security guards on Thursday," he said, "but he chased me away on Saturday. He seemed to patrol only the north side of the field, so I moved to the south side (by Palomar Airport Road) and stay out of his sight."

Dang purchased his DJI Mavic Pro on sale for $899 during Thanksgiving, and he is learning how to pilot his drone via YouTube tutorials. Some prefer this drone because it's smaller than Gregg's larger rig of the same DJI make, and can fold up quickly to be stashed in a backpack -- in case a must-evacuate-scenario ensues, or to take on a plane. Later this month, Dang will be travelling to Amsterdam to film tulip fields and windmills.

"I must quickly master the drone flying skills," he said. "It is an expensive trip and I wanted to come home with the best footage, so practicing here [and by the old Andersen's Pea Soup Windmill across the street] is a must."

"People can spend a couple hundred dollars on a cheap drone that is unpredictable," Gregg said. "My drone has lots of checks and balances to have a controlled, calculated flight every time it goes in the air."

"But they can't be used here for various reasons," said the security guard, "the airport, invading people's privacy, the hospitals and we are a private property and have signs that say 'no drones.' If you check the B4UFLY app, it says that you cannot fly the drones here."

The distance between the flower fields to McClellan-Palomar Airport is about 2.8 miles and a tower is apparent on photos provided by a Google search of the airport.

The FAA website states: "Recreational operators are required to give notice for flights within five miles of an airport to the airport operator and air traffic control tower."

"Some of the pilots are aggressive and will not take no for an answer," said the security guard.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader