BRC Drone Summit for Droners & UAV Operators

Bzzzzzzzz! (photo via Wired UK)
Bzzzzzzzz! (photo via Wired UK)

[Editor’s Note: for current information about drone operation in Black Rock City, visit our Drones and Lasers page.]

You may have noticed a proliferation of drones (those zippy little helicopter gizmos) humming around the skies of Black Rock City in recent years … or you’ve enjoyed the amazing photos and video footage they’ve shot over our fair city. Well, now that there’s so many of them, let’s make sure we’re all droning safely and in a coordinated way to avoid any mishaps, shall we? Right.

So … are you a drone or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operator? Or are you thinking about becoming one? Are you planning to bring one (or several) to Black Rock City? Will you be using a camera mounted on a UAV to take images in BRC? Are you looking to connect with drone operators for a playa project? Are you just interested in learning more about those flying things?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are invited to join us for the first ever Black Rock City Drone Summit. This will be an opportunity to share information about your projects and to help make Black Rock City an innovative, educational and fun Drone Zone.

WHEN: July 17th, 2013 @ 6:30PM
WHERE: BMHQ and via web-conference

Can’t make it? Please send a summary of your project and ideas to and we’ll get you connected to summit notes and future discussions.

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.

19 Comments on “BRC Drone Summit for Droners & UAV Operators

  • paul may says:

    I want to see footage of the drone flying around for the burn of the man of last year….

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  • tommy says:

    is burning man happening again this year? it doesn’t seem like anyone gives a shit anymore. it’s like a month away and it’s crickets here. lol. welcome home. FFS.

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  • DanO says:

    Can we ground the drones during the Temple Burn? Last year’s silent solemnity was ruined by the drone whirring.

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  • Cscott says:

    “Can we ground the drones during the Temple Burn? Last year’s silent solemnity was ruined by the drone whirring”

    this a thousand times, It completely pulled me out of profound reverie to have a 6 rotor hovering loudly 50′ above use for a good 2 minutes. Absolutely disrespectful to everyone else there.

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  • BRabby says:

    Ack! But, what if flying drones is *MY* solemn grieving process?

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  • Burnapalooza says:

    What if the flying drone plays Freebird?

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  • floyd says:

    YES YES YEY – NO MORE drones during the temple burn. one should think it’s common sense since it’s clearly disturbing many, many people at once. obviously disrespectful.

    but the thing is: at the burn, no one can do anything about it – who knows where the operator stands? and shouting out would make things worse. shall i shoot it next time? sneak in a rifle and shoot that thing. that ought to calm everyone down, right?

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  • Benno says:

    One day – somewhere on this planet – there will be a very ugly accident with such a drone. Someone’s face and eye will be cut in pieces.

    Maybe this accident will take place at Burning Man.

    “Uuuh, we didn’t see it coming! Uuuh, we never thought this could happen!” – Is that what BMORG will say into the cameras and microphones of the media? Is it that? Will they?

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  • Hot Damn! says:

    It would be kind of harder to have solemnity with drones being taken out of the skies, and then with people trying to avoid those objects falling out of the dark.

    I’m all for an official ban as a gesture, but let’s look at the end game here and realize there’s nothing to be done. All we can do is boo and shame the operator if we happen to be next to them, and that happened last year anyway – without more rules.

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  • Harinama says:

    The drone i saw last year took some of the best video of the festival i saw all year. For the most part, it was fun to see it. BM is all about contradictions. The temple is almost an oxymoron to the festival, which at one time included gun shooting and drag races on the playa. It has become a focal point for many, a place for calmness from the fracas and a place of letting go of pain. As such it has become an important part of BRC.

    I agree with Hot Damn! We don’t need more rules, we need peer pressure. Sounds like the operator last year during the temple burn got some grief, which is good. If we are truly a community, then lets act like one.

    Burning Man is about letting go of expectations, even about the festival. It is ordered chaos and something will always push us off our center to expose our own internal struggle. We should be mindful of that.

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  • wilfred says:

    Get higher! Zoom better! Illusion complete!

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  • Michael Wilson says:

    A great opportunity to expand the TVBGone universal remotes to also handle drones.

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  • Some Seeing Eye says:

    I’m all for the all peaceful all respectful Temple burn. Some years it happens on some sides, but we haven’t been able to ban rowdiness, or laser pointers for that matter. I’m fine with uav’s shooting video of the event. It would be nice if the operators were required to open source the footage under a CC non-commercial use license. The real issue is radio coordination – safety, and that should be the focus of the meeting.

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  • Chris says:

    RSVPed for remote, haven’t heard anything back. Is there still a way to participate?

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  • nathan says:

    Sent rsvp but received no info on how to connect remotely to the summit….

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  • brooke says:

    drones suck. I dont think they should even be allowed at all at BM. WTF I dont want camera surrvelliance all up in my business . If they are allowed they we should be allowed to smash them down.

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  • AmsterdamBM says:

    Drones should be welcome at Burns. Here is video from Transformus.

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  • fireFLY says:

    Hi fellow RC enthusiasts,

    fireFLY here.

    I am so happy to see people are discussing the issues facing RC at Burning Man. One hundred and seventy applications have been submitted  so far. As the RC safety officer under the command of the Black Rock City Municipal Airport, I am your connection to the folks that have allowed us the freedom to continue to express ourselves through our hobbies this year at Burning Man. With that freedom comes plenty of responsibility which may seem too limiting to some at first, but with good planning and understanding of the limits, you will still be able to have a great experience and allow other participants to safely enjoy theirs too.

    All of our flying will be viewed by the greatest collection of people who will take home an impression of their experience with RC at the burn. It’s my goal that the take home is that RC activities can add to and not detract from the burn and beyond. We are all ambassadors of the hobby. Let’s be sure that folks are happy with RC or at least undisturbed by it. This will make it easier to prevent loss of this privilege at Burning Man and other events like it. 

    If you have questions or concerns you may address them to me.

    Many great questions are coming in and I will address some of them here.

    RCBRC Q and A

    Q.    Can I use Ham Band equipment?
    A.    If you have and present your valid ham license at the pilot briefing, you may use it.

    Q.    May I gift FPV view to participants if I fly by VLOS as my primary means of navigation.
    A.    Yes. VLOS is required as your primary means of navagation, but the FPV gear is allowed to be present. You can set up your shot, but Don’t rely on it at BRC for navigation.

    Q.    Is there enforcement of the rules this year?
    A.    Yes. This includes possible confiscation till the end of the event.

    Q.    What happens after I complete online registration.
    A.    You will receive an email inviting you to complete on playa registration at RCBRC so keep an eye out for an email from me.

    RC Safety Officer 
    BRCMA 88NV

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