back to article French youth faces court for illegal drone flight

A French youth who used a drone to capture impressive aerial footage of the city of Nancy is facing an appearance before the beak on a charge of "endangering the lives of others". Nans Thomas, 18, strapped a GoPro camera to an unspecified vehicle* he bought on the internet to produce a noteworthy video, which quickly became …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    It must have been tempting to use the phrase Nancy boy in this article.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congratulations


      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Congratulations

          @Symon, I take your point, and PC'ness has helped move us away from those generic derogatory terms that were so prevalent.

          However, when is enough enough? I agree that people should be educated as to the harm using such terms can have so that if they do use them, you know that they are projecting a personality flaw of their own (as opposed to just repeating what their forebears said in ignorance).

          What I object to is the way in which it has become a form of self censorship of language, which in turn is a form of mind control.

          I do believe that people have the right not to be persecuted because of their creed/colour/sexual orientation etc., especially when it is aimed at a person based on a stereo-type. However I don't believe people should have the right to not be offended by someone else's views.

          Just as an example, if I thought someone was an arsehole and told them so I think that is fair enough. It's based on my personal experience of that person and not on a negative stereo-type. However, if they were black, or gay or whatever, then saying that they were a 'black arsehole', or a' gay arsehole' would not be acceptable.

          The problem (in this example) arises when I call someone an arsehole, and because that person happens to be black/gay/whatever there is often a call of racism/homophobia simply because the person I believe to be an arsehole just happens to fall into one of those categories.

          It is unfortunate that there is a general lack of subtlety within the realm of public perception and with every step that political correctness takes, we lose a little more. The media is often portrayed as the villian in sensationalising trivial matters, yet surely it is the buying public that is actually at fault. If no-one bought bad-news for example, how long do you think it would take papers to start running good-news stories?

          1. Fink-Nottle

            Re: Congratulations

            I'm offended by the insensitivity of certain parties who refer to multi-rotor arial vehicles as Quads, thereby insulting anyone who has ever suffered from a high-level spinal cord injury,

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              People being offended on others behalf...

              ...are the worst sanctimonious arseholes out there. A black friend of mine says people get embaressed and confused when he's in America, because they insist on using the insulting term 'African American' (do the rest of you refer to yourselves as 'european americans' ??)

              After a bad breakdown, I recently spent just over a year in a 'community rehabilitation centre' - or whatever the hell they called it - I honestly don't remember. basically, mental home.

              I needed the help, and opted to go - everyone else there had been sectioned.

              Last halloween, some idiot complained about the Halloween costume that tescos or asda were selling being offensive to people with mental issues. (

              No, what we all found offensive is some nob getting offended on our behalf, making us out to be fragile little helpless wimps with no sense of humour.

              It msy shock you, but most people that I've met with mental issues have quite a dark sense of humour on the matter. More importantly, they/we are not blubbering wrecks, but some of the most emotionally strong people out there. That probably comes from dealing with the internal shit 24/7 - everything else is just petty.

              So now the situation has been made worse. The stigma they claim to want to lesson has got worse. We are now simply a bunch of blubbering wrecks with no sense of humour that need protecting.

              I know "I have a friend that...." is so clichéd, but I did just ask a gay friend of mine, and as expected, he said he would more likely by offended by the second comment - the one attacking the original poster as being homophobic. Surprise surprise, gay people aren't whiny little crybabies either.

              The 'Stewart Lee' post above is a fair point to make, I guess, but it's so far to the other extreme as to not be all that relevent to this situation.

              Please... common sense and perspective, ok?

        2. Jes.e

          Re: Congratulations

          Have an upvote.

          I'm really surprised and somewhat depressed by how the battle lines are being drawn about this thread.

          I mean, the Olympics opened a week ago in a country where people are being beat up, jailed, or worse, for the crime of being a "nancy boy" and where the head of the IOC made a rather lengthy and pointed speech about subject before Vladimir Putin officially opened the games.

          Or did I imagine that?

          Gay people are being executed in Iran and religious idiots from MY country are going to countries in Africa to pass laws making homosexuality illegal or worse.

          Perhaps the editor of this site noticed the byline and discarded it due to the fact that it was obvious to anyone over the age of four!

          I mean grow up!

          I have (had) the wonderful acquaintance with a friend of the family who when I pointed out that he was a down and out racist idiot (among his many other sterling qualities) rebutted with (after the shock of someone pointing this out to him) that I was being politically correct.


          Sticks and stones may break my bones but words do (and often) kill.

          Thank you.

          I shall also be looking up this comedian you mentioned.


          Now the video in question was lovely and I do hope the law dismiss this.

          1. Ben Tasker

            Re: Congratulations

            >If the youth had used his big chopper to spy on his cheating boyfriend in Nancy, then maybe it would be funny and clever.


            >I have (had) the wonderful acquaintance with a friend of the family who when I pointed out that he was

            > a down and out racist idiot (among his many other sterling qualities) rebutted with (after the shock of

            > someone pointing this out to him) that I was being politically correct.

            The fact that it's sometimes correct, doesn't render it impossible to be too politically correct.

            Yes, we should be mindful of others, and shouldn't spread hate, but no one has a right not to be offended. Certainly no one has a right not to be offended on behalf of someone else.

            As long as there's a distinction between an off-the-cuff remark and actually buying into real discrimination, there's no real harm - assuming we're not making those jokes to people who don't understand the distinction (yes, that was a 'think of the children').

            I occasionally get called cripple, hop-along and various other things. It's all meant in good humour and it doesn't cause me any offence, other people it might. Frankly I'd rather have a rapport with someone than have them too busy worrying about saying the wrong thing.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Congratulations

              Me and my two best mates, long, long ago, used to go across the street to the Chinese Takeaway three or four nights a week. This was before 'Happy Days' had jumped the shark. On account of products associated with, typically, Kashmir, Nepal, Afghanistan, we were very jovial. We tended to identify people by who they looked like. The Takeaway owner was, therefore 'Arnold'. We'd order stuff like 'an Arnold burger', basically because when you're not expecting it, it's funny. As long as you do it deadpan, anyway. We got on great with them. They understood us.

              Then one night, about closing time, a crowd came in, including a guy I'd gone to Junior school with - and who we'd met in the pubs regularly. He saw us having fun, addressing the owner as 'Arnold', being surreal, and decided he could do it too, and came out with racist 'ching chong', making slits of his eyes shit. We were appalled.

              What it is, is there are levels of conscious awareness; levels of intelligence. Some of us - me and my two mates - and the Takeaway staff - were on a higher one. And you 'look down' at this buffoon who doesn't get the whole picture, who lives in Flatland, and thinks that what is actually humour is insult.


        3. RegGuy1 Silver badge

          Stewart Lee... said...

          Which muppets downvoted that comment?

          To repeat the last sentence: "You're a bunch of idiots."

    2. LarsG

      Re: Congratulations


      No sense of humour that one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Congratulations

        So it's suddeny fun to gratuitously mock someone's sexuality when it has absolutely no relevance to the article. No play on words, nothing. Yes, he was a boy, was he from Nancy? We don't know, it's not as if it was even hinted that the youth was gay, yet the OP feels it must have been difficult not to make a homphobic comment.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Congratulations

          So it's suddeny fun to gratuitously mock someone's sexuality

          You couldn't have been more wrong if you tried. Impressive.

          1. Crisp

            Re: So it's suddeny fun to gratuitously mock someone's sexuality

            Go take a Placebo AC.

            1. micheal

              Go take a Placebo AC.

              That play on words was so lost on the AC

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Go take a Placebo AC.

                I'm a dorset boy, I've got a few friends who identify as london lads. If he's from nancy, he's a nancy boy. BTW I'm going on the assumption you aren't gay based on how offended you were by that comment. In my past jobs I have had several bosses who were gay, supervisors who were gay, a colleague who was gay (and had a crush on my) and my best friend is also gay. None of them would have found that remotely offensive. Oh and a gay Parisian who runs a cafe I go to... I know far too many gay people, I think I talk to more gays than I do straights.

                1. Tom 38

                  Re: Go take a Placebo AC.

                  AC, when your argument is "I'm not <some variety of bigot> I've got loads of <bigot target> friends", you've already lost the argument. This is not HYS.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Congratulations

            So, hat, what makes nancy boy so funny then? If the previous comnmentard was "more wrong".

            I laugh at the 30 odd kids who down voted only because their own discrimination was highlighted!

            Think what you want, other see through you like a pane of glass. Shallow and weak.

        2. Mad Mike

          Re: Congratulations

          It has something to do with the article in as much as the story was about Nancy and the person in question was a boy. The poster simply make a quick comment in a jovial way. It's called humour. Almost everyone (I say almost as you obviously didn't) reading it knew the context in which it was posted and knew the person was simply joking. Therefore, it wasn't interpreted as homophobic as it was certainly not posted in that manner and the intent was clear, which was in no way homophobic. It was simply a cheap, easy laugh to brighten peoples day.

          People who read far too much into peoples off the cuff comments are actually doing some very worthwhile causes a lot of harm. Exactly the same can be seen in womens rights and other areas. It's the difference between being literal with words and interpreting them in a more intelligent way, taking context and obvious intent into account.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Congratulations

            >It was simply a cheap, easy laugh to brighten peoples day.

            You said it yourself, a cheap, easy laugh but at who's expense?

            1. Eradicate all BB entrants

              Re: Congratulations

              AC is a student union rep and I claim my £10.

            2. Mad Mike

              Re: Congratulations


              "You said it yourself, a cheap, easy laugh but at who's expense?"

              Nobodies expense as it wasn't aimed at anybody!! You're looking to take offence and strangely enough finding things. If you spent less time looking for reasons to be offended and more time just getting on with things and being less sensitive on other people behalf, perhaps there would be less grief in the world.

            3. david 63

              Re: Congratulations

              Nancy boy windmills chopper in cam outrage...

              Any subs jobs going?

              (Hate away by the way I don't give a toss)

            4. Dreadogastus

              Re: Congratulations

              Lighten up. The only person who MIGHT be offended is the unfortunate dude at Nancy. And I bet he has much bigger worries right now. Hopefully the French courts will be understanding and lenient

            5. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Congratulations

              Someone who knows the difference between who's and whose?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Congratulations

            "The poster simply make a quick comment in a jovial way. It's called humour"

            So humour at the expense of someones sexuality. WRONG. hide away in shame, and stop eyeing those tweenage girls whilst you crawl away! Whats that, my comment not authorised because it was not funny to mock your sexuality?

            You need to read a dictionary meaning of the word humour, 'cause your reckoning is WAY off.

            1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

              Re: Re: Congratulations

              "Whats that, my comment not authorised because it was not funny"


          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Congratulations

            "People who read far too much into peoples off the cuff comments are actually doing some very worthwhile causes a lot of harm."

            Those off the cuff remarks are the type which highlight the commenter as being very very immature and so stupid as not being able to see such. Back to the playground!

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon

              @AC w/o humour

              I'd like to employ you to take offence on my behalf please, since I am incapable of doing so myself.

              That way, since you are so sincere in your veracity, you are probably more qualified to take offence than I am.

        3. LarsG

          Re: Congratulations

          'So it's suddeny fun to gratuitously mock...'

          Sort of personifies what is wrong with political correctness.

          1. Vega

            Re: Congratulations

            > Sort of personifies what is wrong with political correctness.

            Perhaps you meant exemplifies instead of personifies?

        4. Fibbles

          Re: Congratulations

          The humour of the joke derives from the fact that at first glance it looks like it could be homophobic but in reality is not. It's a classic bait and switch joke. 'We called him a nancyboy... because he is a boy and from Nancy.'

          Initially we are repulsed by what we have been conditioned to accept is a derogatory remark for a gay man, only to then realise that any inferences about sexuality are a result of our own prejudices and are not actually inherent in what is being said.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Congratulations

          Oh I really do love people that get offended on somebody else's behalf. I prefer not to refer to them as politically correct but instead as c*nts.

        6. Private Citizen.AU

          Re: Congratulations

          As someone whose sexuality would cop the "nancy boy" jibe I find this a storm in a teacup.

          1. If you are a nancy boy, this wont be the worse thing said about you. Toughen up you going to need it.

          2. If you are a Nancy boy, your city looks beautiful in the drone video.

          3. This is The Register where it is a pre-requisite for every article to take a swipe using irreverant language. It also happens to be one of the last sites capable of reporting the pitfalls of political correctness. BTW dont change - i need my daily dose of irreverance.

          4. Why do you feel that being tagged as gay is so insulting? Do you still suffer from internal homophobia, it took me a while to recognise my own homophobia.

          5. It was a very obvious omission, for the Reg not to use a Nancy boy bi line. I appreciate David 63 effort "Nancy boy windmills chopper in cam outrage".

          As Oscar Wilde is alleged to have said "There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

          Enough of these boys from Nancy, I am off to move a bundle of faggots in the garden and then rest my feet on my poof and relax. later I will be partying with gay abandon.

          1. Scott 53

            ...or maybe it won't

            "bi line" - fnarr.

        7. Amorous Cowherder

          Re: Congratulations

          Nope, pure 100% isolated word-play held in context it was intended. At least that's how I and I believe 95% of this forum saw it. I bet if you asked every one on this forum what they thought the second they read the OP comment, most would have simply said they had absolutely no mental image, I certainly didn't, most simply saw an isolated phrase held in an isolated context.

    3. mark 63 Silver badge

      Re: Congratulations

      i thought thered be a different play on words:

      'Nancy from the air' / Lucy in the sky ?

      1. NomNomNom

        Re: Congratulations

        excellent troll

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Congratulations

          NomNomNom, It would be so easy to claim it was a troll but it wasn't, it was genuine disgust. As mark 63 and I said earlier there needs to be some play on words to justify such a comment. If the young lad had been gay then Nancy boy would have been a suitable double entendre to employ however as one of my critics has been so stupid to point out it was nothing more than a cheap and easy laugh.

          1. Intractable Potsherd

            Re: Congratulations

            "... cheap and easy ...": "cheap" - inexpensive, very little cost; "easy" - not difficult.

            You are trying too hard, and failing to find an audience.

            1. Eradicate all BB entrants

              Re: Congratulations

              AC is a bit like the feminists who campaign for equality, who want Page 3 to be removed from papers yet at the same time refuse to say a thing about diet coke adverts. Do you comment on the Pink Times and berate those who call straight people 'breeders'? Do you attend mosque and confront Imam's who refer to non-Muslims as Kuffars?

              Did you even consider the sexual orientation of the OP when you called them a homophobe?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Congratulations

                >Did you even consider the sexual orientation of the OP when you called them a homophobe?

                Hahahaaa... I was waiting for that, I'm surprised it took so long. That's like saying it's ok for blacks to call each other N...... No it isn't.

                1. Eradicate all BB entrants

                  Re: Congratulations

                  So now you are also the authority on what black people are allowed to refer to each other as? And also, as you were waiting so intently for it, why did you fail to answer the question?

          2. Creamy-G00dness

            Re: Congratulations, offence unfounded

            Nancy Boy. an effeminate man; what gay men were called back in the days when gay meant happy.

            Maybe AC can find something offensive with the definition of the phrase at the time. No sexual connotation at all ;)

            I mean if George Orwell can use it, so can the OP

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Congratulations

      "It must have been tempting to use the phrase Nancy boy in this article."

      Have you left school yet? pitiful!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Congratulations

        Boy, Nancy looks spectacular from the air.....

        The Rhein is fine, but Nancy is fancy....

        Lighten up folks, the real issue here is some talented but obviously underinformed kid is going before the beak to "pay" for his video efforts...privacy versus art (again....). Probably the only winner here will be the tax(ing) authorities.

        Odd, there are surveillance (ooh, seems to be a French word) cameras everywhere, but we're not permitted to take pics or vids of many things....ahhh....progress....

  2. LaeMing

    A real shame.

    Though I fully understand the need to regulate UAV activity in populated areas, that is some really beautiful footage, demonstrating considerable talent.

    Hope he is sentenced to...

    - complete a UAV operator's licence, including flight application processes.

    - community service producing several hours of (this time appropriately authorised) quality footage for the city of Nancy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A real shame.

      But that would make sense.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: A real shame.

      Not likely. This is Napoleonic law we are talking about here. Creative sentencing as practiced by some judges in common law countries is not on the books (pun intended). The criminal code specifies exactly what the offence is, exactly what the minimum and maximum terms are and the accompanying rulebook specifies exactly how you move from the lower to the upper sentencing bound.

      Though that difference is now being blurred. Various acts of Parliament (or Congress in the USA) which instigate mandatory sentencing guidelines have removed the traditional common law judge discretion. They are eroding the key (if not only) value of common law - the ability of the judge to say "this is an idiocy, I am establishing a precedent and I will judge it as follows". So as an end result we get the worst of both worlds - the strict rulebook of the Napoleonic law and the natural bias to serve the "powers that be" of common law in one nice shrink wrap package.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A real shame.

        Don't confuse the overarching principles and the actual application of law - especially for minor offences. Napoleonic Law is not as restrictive as you depict.

        If a French judge determines that a specific offence has been committed then yes - he must apply one of the sentences defined in the relevant "code".... (For example he can't be creative and send you to jail for 20 years for illegal parking!)

        But the first mission of a judge is to establish if a case fits one of these codified offences or not.....which gives them a lot of leeway in sentencing....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A real shame.

      Don't worry, once someone gets it into their heads, they will have to be licensed.

      Once that happens a whole new world of permissions and rules and licenses and age restrictions and compulsory training will develop.

      Then they will be banned,

    4. The Infamous Grouse

      Re: A real shame.

      Totally in agreement. That footage is stunning. There are establishing shots done by professional film companies using $100,000s worth of motion control cranes and helicopters that weren't as engaging as that video.

      I can't work out whether he's pre-programmed the paths into the drone or simply flown it manually and either extracted the most stable shots or applied some stability fixes in post. However he did it it's really impressive.

    5. big_D Silver badge

      Re: A real shame.

      Agreed. Maybe the town of Nancy should pay for his court costs (plus a bit in his pocket) to use the film for tourism advertising...

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: A real shame.

        You know, this would be a complete non-issue if he had been, say, a multi-billion dollar search engine company....

  3. FreeTard

    Should be employed.. the French tourism board, as that video of Nancy makes me want to plan a trip this summer.

    Gorgeous shots, well done to that lad.

    1. Andy Mc

      Re: Should be employed..

      Yep, my thoughts exactly. He's got a promising career ahead of him...

    2. Soruk

      Re: Should be employed..

      Same here - my wife and I have already planned a week in Paris, and I'm already looking at the possibility of taking a trip east to Nancy.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should be employed..

      ... well, why not write to someone (the Mayor of Nancy?) and let them know. Can't do any harm...

    4. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Should be employed.. @FreeTard

      " Should be employed by the French tourism board, as that video of Nancy makes me want to plan a trip this summer."

      I was going to post virtually the same words. Nancy is now on my list of places to go.

  4. Chris Miller

    He was only following the rules

    In Britain, everything that is not prohibited by law is permitted.

    In Germany, everything that is not permitted by law is prohibited.

    In Russia, everything is prohibited, even if permitted by law.

    In France, everything is permitted, even if prohibited by law.

    In Switzerland, everything that is not prohibited by law is obligatory.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He was only following the rules

      >In Britain, everything that is not prohibited by law is permitted.

      Anti-terrorism laws have got that covreed

    2. SolidSquid

      Re: He was only following the rules

      Actually, in Britain they can literally make up a crime for you to have committed after the fact. It's not common these days with enough broad based laws to cover most things and the political ramifications of such actions, but it can happen

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: He was only following the rules

        Yes and no...

        Yes the police have quite a bit of discretion when it comes to breach of the peace, and anti-terror laws are often misused, but the OP is right, unless specifically restricted by law, it is allowed.

        Generally when the bobby on the beat that makes a mistake and curtails a legal act, its because they don't know better, or their own 'culture' means they see the act as breaching the peace...

        i.e. a british bobby would just smile and walk on if he saw a woman topless sunbathing in the park, yet one from a Mulsim background might tell them to cover up or be arrested..

        Now there is NOTHING illegal about being topless in public in the UK, and the police often will leave a nudist alone unless they get a complaint... the problem if they person being disturbed or offended can be the police officer, so they have the power to arrest someone because they offend the officer with their actions! now that is something I think should be curtailed. A police officer should require a complaint from the public before being able to act under 'breach of the peace' powers and then only if the breach is significant!

        1. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

          Re: He was only following the rules

          Not sure that really is the case. There has been a least one case dismissed where the magistrate ruled that the police cannot really claim to be offended by bad language. Unfortunately not a precedent, but the same claim would succeed now in a higher court.

          But I digress. Lovely video.

    3. Jaybus

      Re: He was only following the rules

      In the US, everything is potentially permitted, even if everything is potentially prohibited by law. No one is quite sure.

      1. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: He was only following the rules

        >>In the US, everything is potentially permitted, even if everything is potentially prohibited by law. No one is quite sure.

        Not even the courts, the legislature or the Executive departments are sure. They tend to have vague ideas. And just because one of them finds it legal or illegal, doesn't mean the next will have the same opinion, though they always might. If this sounds complex and ridiculous, it is because it is, but if you work for the United States Government it will make perfect sense to you.

        Gotta give the lawyers work.

  5. chrisf1

    Interesting times

    Given the massive price drop on quadrocopters with cameras should be interesting times ahead.

    1. Nifty Silver badge

      Re: Interesting times

      Well by next Xmas Amazon will be delivering the presents thru the chimney using these

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting times

        "Well by next Xmas Amazon will be delivering the presents thru the chimney using these"

        No. They won't.

  6. corestore

    Am I the only one who read "French youth faces court for illegal drone FIGHT"???

    I was thinking this could be an Olympic sport one day...

  7. phuzz Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    So the Prosecuter says:

    "If the machine crashes in a densely populated area, the consequences could be serious."

    And I can see, that yes, in a town it the consequences of crashing could be worse than if he's flying over an empty field, but this is just a quadcopter we're talking about, even if you tried I don't think you could hit more than two people in one crash, and then only if they were stood really close together. Crashing a car would cause much more damage.

    1. Bogle

      Two things. You need a licence for a car, obviously, so strike that rubbish comparison and secondly even a GoPro of 200g dropped 100 foot onto a child's head is going to do some serious, permanent damage. So yes, the consequences could be serious.

      1. Gordon861

        With a Quad you are probably looking at around 1KG+ with the batteries etc.

    2. Swiss Anton

      However if the quadcopter crashed into a car, causing the driver to panic and swerve into the path of an on comming bus that in turn swerves to avoid the car and in doing so crashes through a fence and down an embankment landing on a railway at the point where two express trains are about to pass each other. Then that would be serious.

      1. Rob Daglish

        You sir...

        ...are the chief scriptwriter for Casualty, and I claim my free prize!

    3. Jaybus


      Who said anything about it crashing into people? They probably don't want anyone to damage the delicate, artistic buildings and fountains.

    4. Nuke


      Wrote :- "yes, in a town it the consequences of crashing could be worse than if he's flying over an empty field, but ... even if you tried I don't think you could hit more than two people in one crash"

      I do not see your point. The reason flying over a town is more serious is the increased likelihood of hitting someone, not the possiblility of hitting more than one person at once.

  8. Turtle

    Very impressive camera.

    1) The camera itself is at least as interesting as the video. I had never heard of "GoPro". I am trying to think of a reason to buy one as some of them are very reasonably priced. (But a *very* quick glance at the website did not reveal the recording times or capacities of the available models.)

    2) The drone to which the camera was mounted seemed to be flying at street level at certain points. This is not entirely without risk. It would not seem impossible for the drone to go out of control, suddenly approach a cyclist, or automobile or truck at very close range and startle or distract the driver, possibly leading to an accident.

    3) The kid's statement that the drone vendor website had no warnings about the applicable laws governing drone flights in Nancy does not strike me as a defense inherently capable of garnering either sympathy or success. Still, I would expect the legal consequences to be minimal... unless the judge really hates French people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very impressive camera.

      Reasons to buy a GoPro.

      1.) They are avaiable for sale

      On the face of it that might seem like a very good reason and for me I don't really need any other. However, I've spent the last few months trying to convince the finance comittee of this, even showed her a mock up of one strapped to a pair of heels to no avail and questions on the purpose of doing so. If anyone has any other reasons they'd be gratefully recieved.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very impressive camera.

      Apart from the spherical distortion of the lens. Have they produced one with interchangeable lens' yet?

      1. PaulWizard
        Thumb Down

        Re: Very impressive camera.

        Wasn't it GoPro who used the DMCA to have a site taken down that had a less than positive review of their product?

        1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

          Re: Re: Very impressive camera.


          Very unimpressive indeed.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Very impressive camera.

            ...and immediately apologized and clarified that it was a unilateral action on the part of one exec, not a corporate policy.

            But hey, don't include that bit or anything; goodness knows that troublesome facts can ruin some nice bracing outrage.

  9. Miek

    "If the machine crashes in a densely populated area, the consequences could be serious. The use of these drones also raises questions of privacy."

    Professionally trained pilots crash too. "Questions of Privacy" Oh, you must be kidding right, have the French been ignoring the news, no-one has any privacy any more.

  10. Winkypop Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Nice work

    Pity about the legal issues.

    But good job!

  11. Graham Marsden

    Nancy from the air...

    ... and there was me thinking he was spying on his neighbour who was sunbathing...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Mayor André Rossinot already did make him an offer of work, all eez super!

    Approximately:- "I 'ave med 'im un oeffer toew woerk weez our leetle friendz at zee projet "French Tech"

    1. ici.chacal

      Careful with the piss-take French accent buddy, that easily-offended AC from earlier may make a re-appearance...

  13. Ivan Headache


    I didn't realise what a beautiful city it is.

    This lad's film is a brilliant promotion for the city.

    And...This kid can really fly.

    1. NomNomNom

      Re: Nancy

      yes but what if he had crashed into a nun?

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Nancy

        "yes but what if he had crashed into a nun?"

        You can work out the bonus payment scheme later

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: Nancy

          "My father was a nun" - Baldrick

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nancy - "yes but what if he had crashed into a nun?"

          Or, her assistant.....would have been second to nun......

  14. Richard the Head

    British Law

    What is the law in Britan regarding the use of these vehicles?

    Agree with comments above, never considered visiting Nancy until seeing that video

    1. Neil 8

      Re: British Law

      I think UK law varies a lot depending on if you're a hobbyist - Mostly common sense and contained within this doc:

      ... Or doing "commercial aerial work", where the regulations & licensing seem to be more complex

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: British Law

      Operators of Small Unmanned Aircraft are required, under articles 166 and 167 of the Air Navigation Order 2009, to obtain permission from the CAA before commencing a flight in certain circumstances; these circumstances cover:

      flights within a congested area, or in proximity to people or property, by Small Unmanned Aircraft equipped for any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

      1. Fink-Nottle

        Re: British Law

        Surveillance (or surveillance related data acquisition) is a distinct activity carried out "for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting" people or property.

        Simply using a camera to record the flight of a small unmanned aircraft (as in the Nancy video) does not equate to surveillance. Indeed, photographs of individuals in a public place and photographs where an individual is not readily identifiable are excluded from the Data Protection Act.

        Therefore I would argue that the need for CAA permission (and indeed the whole of par 167 of the Air Navigation Order 2009 - relating to small unmanned surveillance aircraft) in circumstances similar to the Nancy flight is moot.

        The only relevant law in the UK is par 166 of the Air Navigation Order which deals with safety - particularly166(2) "The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: British Law

          You'll notice that it actually says the words OR DATA ACQUISITION not 'surveillance related data acquisition' in the quote - a separate item to the 'surveillance' item. I reckon recording video footage comes under this description.

          I am not a lawyer, I doubt that you are either. If you are a droner, then your interpretation will only affects you.

          While I applaud your optimism that the law won't be stretched or twisted to ridiculous lengths, I think the original story proves this is not the case in real life.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The fifty faces of any government

    "Nancy's public prosecutor's office explained: "If the machine crashes in a densely populated area, the consequences could be serious. The use of these drones also raises questions of privacy.""

    unless of course it is used by the government, then these concerns are null and void.

    Do as we say and not as we do, then?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its no tourist promotional video. Crusty old french town with nothing going for it!

    Easy to see why it appeals to a small sub-set.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      "Easy to see why it appeals to a small sub-set."

      Get back to your cabin, redcoat.

    2. Jes.e

      Get back under your bridge please.

      No peanuts for you!

  17. Potemkine Silver badge

    So a news headline takes 7 days to cross the channel... the channel must implement RFC 2549 I presume

  18. Roger Mew

    The camera is just a small camera, the plane, well probably a radio controlled electric model. So at what point does amateur modellism become illegal. Here in France they sell ruddy great electric model planes and there is no licence needed, however the french Gendarme do NOT prosecute illegal and dangerous structures by Mairies just innocent things. They are or rather want to be completely nameless so you for example cannot raise them as a witness in a case they object to being photographed, and will not give you their name. They have no number!

    This is a fit up by someone who rather wants to make a point!

    If you do not believe about the dangerous things see


    some of the photos actually involve death yet nothing is done yet they do the boy for the plane!!!

    Sounds about right.

  19. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    Why have the news media decided to rename all RC aircraft "drones"?

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Drone?

      Because they're going to wrest control of the world from their human masters and enslave us all

      1. MissingSecurity

        Re: Drone? One.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    And there was me hoping this was a video of his neighbour, Nancy.

    1. Mark Major

      Re: Neighbour

      Just go visit, if you're ever-so keen to see her. She's a lovely old lady. Offer to do her shopping and she'll probably offer you tea and home made biscuits. Could be a bit awkward if you don't speak French though.

  22. We're all in it together

    Who made the battery?

    The vast majority of radio controlled models use Lipos these days (lithium polymer for those not in the know). Perhaps he's appearing in court because he used the same brand Boeing uses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who made the battery?

      Who the hell would use those in aircraft though?!

      Oh, wait...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I initially misread the headline as a boy being arrested for a drone fight.

    Imagine my disappointment.

  24. HKmk23

    What a sad lot of bstrds you lot are.

    This 18 year old has produced something that makes the BBC look like the bumbling amateurs they are. Anyway if ever sees this I congratulate him, well done.

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

  26. harmjschoonhoven
    Thumb Up


    Excellent advertisement by Nans Thomas, co-founder of GOLOX in Nancy, France.

    You can hire their drones from, but you have to fly them yourself.

  27. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    How did they know it was a Foreign Legionaire flying the second drone?

    Because they are the only part of the French military either likely to get it up or not be trying to fly it in reverse.

    /waiting for the PC crowd that swallowed the earlier 'nancy boy' hook to bite......

  28. Cheshire Cat

    Prosecution seems a bit of overkill

    This would seem to be to be a case where it would have been better for the gendarmerie to have a quiet word with him that this sort of thing is illegal - no matter how well-produced his film is - and that he should refrain from doing it again. Only if he then gets awkward should they start to arrest him and charge him. Otherwise, how is it in the public interest to wreck his future with a police record?

    Of course, maybe that's actually what happened, and he only got charged because the quiet word resulted in an attitude.

    1. Van

      Re: Prosecution seems a bit of overkill

      I think the publicity will see him get a good job offer at some point.

    2. Benjol

      Re: Prosecution seems a bit of overkill

      Resulted in an altitude.

      There, fixed that for you :)

  29. 5thcrewman


    What The Montgolfier?

  30. TravellingMan

    Stunning piece of creative video work, and a good choice in music as well.

    As for being prosecuted, more fool them.

  31. 9Rune5

    What about kites?

    A little googling turns up all sorts of blokes who lift cameras using beefed up kites.

    One of these sites goes on to discuss several crashes, so they are definitively not safe.

    Yet, all media headlines concern drones. Is it because drones are relatively new, or is it because kites of doom are rarely (if ever) operated in populated areas?

    In Norway we were recently told that some helicopter pilots have taken issue with drones. They fear they will fly into one of them eventually.

    I can't help but think that we should reintroduce the flag waver. I.e. a person walking in front of motorised vehicles waving a big flag to warn oncomers of the approaching danger. As for the drones, they make quite a bit of noise. How hard can it be to step to the side in case one of them gets too close?

  32. ecofeco Silver badge

    Buzzwords buzzed my sheeple!

    UAVs? What contrived marketing bollocks. An RC toy is still just a damn RC toy.

    Granted, you really shouldn't operate the things in a highly populated area and this is what he did.

    But a UAV? Effing buzzword bingo.

    1. Ivan Headache

      Re: Buzzwords buzzed my sheeple!

      But some of these quad-copters (or whatever the correct term for them is) are not toys.

      Take a mosey down to the Excel next week and you will see a range of these things, ranging in size from a couple of feet across to a couple of metres across and capable of lifting hefty DSLRs with remote pan, tilt and zoom.

      I'm guessing that the flyer in this case was on the larger side because the overall stability is very, very good and the height it acheives is impressive. (Yes it could have been stabilied in post, but I don't think it was).

      As I've said earlier, this kid knows how to fly this thing.

      The BBC used something like this over the flooded tracks at Datchet - but their film was nowhere near as good.

  33. hapticz

    back to the age of horseless carriages AGAIN!

    these officials claiming 'danger!, the sky is falling!, too much noise!, plane tour du Eiffel is outrageous!' etc etc etc about these new contraptions are just another 'crying wolf' when there is no real threat. automobiles were treated as such, dangerous and unwieldy, when horses were king.

    We now have a relatively few flights overhead by these gnat sized vehicles all the while, thousands of million ton of aircraft (Boeing, AIrbus, etc) shed parts, ice chunks and even drop a few frozen stowaways thru the roofs of peoples homes. big deal! the french (and the other monsters of power) fear they may lose control of the peoples freedom to explore, expand and innovate on their own. govts, please stick with waging senseless wars for the causes of the few!

  34. Florida1920

    Excellent video

    That's a stunningly beautiful piece of work. I hope someone sets up a fund where I can contribute to paying whatever fine they assess. They should hire him to do PR for the city. Well done, lad!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And meanwhile the French state smothers innovation and exploration

    Whilest you all seem obsessed with the phrase 'nancy boy' THAT NEVER APPEARED IN THE ARTICLE no one seems to care that he is up before the beak. Drones are happening whatever anyone thinks, and to leave these just to the security services or other organs of authority.

    So this discussion demonstrates the level of drivel El Reg readers can summon.


  36. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    Lovely pictures...

    ... shame about the utterly shite camera. Why have these GoPro things got so much kudos? Poor contrast, lousy fisheye wide angle, weedy colours. Plus, any kind of wobble on the platform and the watcher starts feeling sick.

  37. DerekCurrie

    Art vs Officiousness

    - I'm no fan of ruining people's privacy, let alone lives, via drones.

    - I don't like the video maker's choice of lenses.

    - I don't like the video maker's penchant for shooting into the sun.

    But this is ART.

    So the officials are complaining about WHAT?!

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: DerekCurrie Re: Art vs Officiousness

      "....So the officials are complaining about WHAT?!" Yes, as art is a respectable product. But in terms of flight it is a danger to legitimate air traffic. Drones flitting about over a city pose a risk to aircraft, especially helicopters, which tend to do an awful lot of damage and kill many innocent bystanders when they fall out of the sky. All city airspaces are controlled zones where the intent is to keep all flying objects well separated by radio direction from controllers. Drones being flown by clueless art students do not work well in that scheme. If you think a little drone couldn't do much to a proper aircraft or helicopter, please go read up on birdstrikes and ingested material causing engine failures.

      The relatively soft body of a bird as small as a pigeon can cause a turbine blade cascade failure in a commercial airliner engine, so just imagine what the hard bits of a drone's engines could do to a helicopter's turbine if ingested. There were two large jet crashes due to engines ingesting pigeons in Ethiopia, a cargo 707-300 on 25th July 1990 and a passenger 737-200 on 15th September 1988. The latter killed thirty-one people. Helicopters having engine failures and crashing in cities can be very dangerous, as shown by the Police chopper that fell on a pub in Glasgow just last year, killing nine people. For small planes the risk is more of the drone damaging either a control surface or coming through the windscreen and disabling the pilot. A small drone closing at a combined speed of 200+mph would probably not be seen in time to avoid before the collision.

      Please, before you get on your Tate Modern moral hobbyhorse, try and understand the authorities are not trying to stifle art, they are merely trying to prevent an air disaster.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I discovered all this nifty footage (hmm, bit of anachronism there) on uboob, lets face it, without the drones we would never see most of that stuff-- like the details at the top of a spire, or the coif on the statue?

    You go to Nancy and crawl around on the ground in the mud, even with high power optical equipment (probably also illegal in France, might spot Hollande creeping around somewhere) one can't see all the detail shown in the video.

    This is probably the reason the French are prosecuting, there would be no reason to go to Nancy if one can visit virtually and see much more detail.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop feeding TROLLS

    it only make them more piggy

This topic is closed for new posts.

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