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article imageStunning aerial footage cops fine for French teenager (Video)

By Anne Sewell     May 21, 2014 in Travel
Nancy - 18-year-old Nans Thomas drew worldwide attention after publishing amazing aerial footage of the historic city of Nancy in France. He has since been hit by a 400 euro fine for his unauthorized drone flight to film it back in January this year.
The judge landed him with a penalty of 400 euros after he offered a guilty plea to charges of endangering the lives of others and failure to comply with the French aviation law. While he doesn’t have to go to jail, Thomas is so upset about the whole thing, he’s even thinking about leaving the country.
“I feel like I have been treated like a criminal. I’ve also been overwhelmed by the media attention, but I’ve stayed humble with the help of my family,” Thomas told AFP. He says he's thinking about “moving to Spain or Portugal where the legislation around flying drones is less strict.”
With so much controversy about the use of drones in the world, this was France’s first prosecution of this type. The film, “Nancy seen from the air” (Nancy vu du ciel) was so beautifully made, it drew worldwide attention and once the charges against him became public, this drew large-scale support for Thomas.
The video, included above, has attracted almost 400,000 views and travels over the church spires, intricate and beautiful facades and the public square of the historic north-eastern town of Nancy. It was filmed by attaching a GoPro camera to a commercially-available drone.
However, it turns out the popularity of the film became its downfall, as French civil aviation authorities heard about it and ordered an investigation, concluding with Nancy’s top prosecutor filing charges on the two counts.
What Thomas didn’t know when he bought his drone online was that he needed permission to fly it. He told the French newspaper, Est Rebublican, “Nobody gave me any indication that I needed any special permission when I bought it on the internet.”
It turns out that to fly a drone in France you have to complete a training course similar to that taken by pilots. On top of that, specific written approval is required for any drone flight over an urban area and, of course, in today's climate that is a good thing.
According to Est Republican, prosecutors stated, “If the aircraft crashed in a densely populated area, the consequences can be tragic,” adding, “The use of drones also raises the question of respect of people’s privacy.”
Despite all the trouble, the video is still available for viewing and you can enjoy a stunning, aerial tour of Nancy above. Even the judge would have to admit this kid has talent.
Aerial view of Nancy  France
Aerial view of Nancy, France
French Sources:
Le Figaro
Est Republican
More about France, Nancy, Drone, gopro, Video
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