PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — If you were at the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday and looked up, you might have noticed an object in the sky — an unmanned aircraft system buzzing around the site.
But no, these are not some homeland security system or law enforcement tool.
“The Marathon came to us for a complete video production package to capture the whole event of the Marathon, the experience,” A.J. Brach told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday.
Brach is co-owner of a company called the Fresh Media Group, based in Washington, Pa.
Fresh Media was hired by the Marathon, and part of that video package included aerial video, says co-owner Jennifer Trapuzzano.
“The Marathon was behind us every step of the way with the aerial,” adds Trapuzzano. “They were so excited to use the new technology and learn everything about it, too.”
Fresh Media deployed three of these objects.
If you saw this in the air, you might call it a drone, but these folks prefer to call it a multi-rotor copter.
It’s pretty light, about 7 pounds, and it flies no more than 400 feet. It’s really a video platform for cameras, for cool shots of things below like the Pittsburgh Marathon.
The raw video is pretty awesome.
Flying at various levels — but no higher than 200 feet — the copters captured the incredible crowd of runners at the starting line and coming across the finish line.
So how safe is this?
Very safe, says Brach.
“For the marathon we went to those places a bunch of times, to make sure this is the safest place, no one’s going to be here, we’re off to this side,” he said.
And the built-in GPS system guarantees it always returns to its point of take-off and no flights within 5 miles of an airport.
Chances are good we will see these again.
“This is not the last, for sure,” says Trapuzzano.