A Drone at the Reston Sprint Triathlon 2017

This post is on more of a personal note, but drones came unexpectedly into a situation and I wanted to share in a somewhat random post.  You’ll have to read on to find out what this all had to do with drones!

On Sunday I ran the Reston Sprint Triathlon in Reston, Virginia.  I was a bit sick and had pulled/strained/somehow injured my quads while hiking Mount Olympus last week during a trip to Salt Lake City (as a complete tangent, I just read an article about how working out “in nature” is great for both mind and body, so hopefully more hikes are in store in Western Virginia).  To keep it at least marginally about drones, here is a map of the airspace around Salt Lake City – I did see small general aviation (manned) aircraft below me as I was hiking.

The funky airspace around Salt Lake City, Utah

Here are a few photos (sorry about the selfie, my shirt fell from my backpack and I was not inclined to look for it):

Me at the Summit of Mount Olympus
On the way down, just below the summit of Mount Olympus with the Devil’s Backbone Brewery backpack I won last year during a photo contest with a picture of the wooden kayak I built with my older son (it’s the photo with the can of DB on a paddle – I built the boat from a Nick Schade Chesapeake Light Craft kit but the paddle was handmade by Eric Schade). The backback is a bit scraped up from the rock scramble and salt stained, but it was perfect for the hike!  #DBDAYPACK
The scariest part of the hike – near the summit of Mount Olympus, Utah.

Back to the race…there was a drone at the finish line!  It was being controlled by Franz G Photography, and although he hasn’t posted pictures from the 2017 race yet, I have included a link to his 2016 race photos.  Here are a couple photos of his DJI Phantom and Franz.  I’ll spare you any post-race photos of me, but I emailed him and will update this page once his drone video/photos are available.

Franz with his DJI controller and note the pro camera with zoom lens at the Reston Sprint Triathlon 2017- he was taking still shots while keeping the drone in the air filming with auto pilot. I give him great props – I have trouble just piloting a drone. He was able to get close shots of finishers with both the UAS and his SLR at the same time, without hitting anyone!
The drone is to the upper left of the finish line.  Reston Sprint Triathlon 2017.
My son wants a drone for Christmas. Thanks Franz! I think he told me about the drone before saying “hi” or “good job.” I swear kids are magnetically attracted to drones… Great way to capture the finish at the Reston Sprint Triathlon 2017!


On a quick legal note, I’m not sure if Franz is operating under 333 or Part 107, but it isn’t exactly easy in the DC area.  Here is a map of the DC area:

I noted the race location. More on the Morman Temple in a minute.

It’s so close that I can’t tell if we’re within Dulles’ Class B airspace.  The race was outside of the FRZ but inside of the SFRA so NOTAM 6/1117 applies – so one needs to be operating under either a 333 exemption for Part 107 (The FAA’s website still links to FDC 6/2062, which is basically identical except for the Part 107 language but the website does say between 15-30 nm of DCA that UAS operations are permitted with limitations).

While writing about this, I came across a video that is worth one final tangent.  You’ll see on the map above that the Mormon Temple north of DC is prominently marked.  The Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints’ temple in SLC (often referred to as “Mormons”) is also the center of Salt Lake City (the city was founded as the Mormon’s went west and the geographic center of the city’s grid) so I clicked through to a link of a UAS video of the DC LDS temple.  It is stunning.


Updates to follow…