Drones and fireworks can both provide great entertainment, just not together

The FAA prohibits drones from flying at night and over crowds but that doesn't stop unwanted air traffic.

Spectators at Steele Indian School Park Tuesday night took in about 20 minutes of fireworks for the City of Phoenix's Fourth of July celebration.

"We spend an hour for every minute of music to do the choreography and there are 6,500 shells," said Steve Shriner from Firestorm Pyrotechnics.

Shriber started preparing for Tuesday night nearly two years in advance but he is well aware it only takes a few minutes for someone to try and derail it. 

"If somebody starts flying a drone in the area, it's too dangerous and we have to stop the show," he said, "and the crowd doesn't like that." 

Drones are everywhere now, and their footage can be spectacular.

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One example of that is a viral video from a few years ago which showed a drone gliding through the middle of a fireworks show. 

But times have changed and drone rules are now much stricter.

The FAA prohibits amateur drone pilots from flying over crowds of people, in the dark, and at heights exceeding 400 feet.

"A lot is happening and we're trying to keep people safe -- that's our first priority," Shriber told 12 News. "We wouldn't want to hit something in the air and bust it apart and have parts and pieces come down on people." 

Shriber’s seen that danger first-hand.

"We have had professionals come and fly drones through our fireworks and film them and we almost always hit their drones and then the drones come down," Shriber said. 

He knows what can happen, so he makes sure to keep an eagle eye out for any unwanted air traffic.

Still he would rather people just not do it and risk ruining the show.

"I know from our point of view if it becomes dangerous, we stop the show," Shriber said.

Tuesday's fireworks show at Steele Indian School Park went off without a hitch and without any drones.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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