Kickstarter for amazing aerial drone photos of Minneapolis

Drones aren't just a terrifying military technology, they're also allowing amateur tinkerers to take amazing photos of the city we love.

One of them is Tony Koop. But he recently suffered a potentially career-ending loss when his expensive Phantom drone experienced a "flyaway" when he was showing it off to friends near the intersection of Highways 169 and 62.

"My friends and I searched on the sides of the highways, in the woods, up high in trees, residential areas, parking lots, and everywhere we could think," Koop says." We even asked permission to search on a business park building rooftop. Most of the time we were wearing knee-high Steger Mukluks to traverse through the snow."

Which is why he's turned to Kickstarter to raise the money to build a new drone and continue his passion. If you contribute, you could even decide where he flies his drone next.

So far, he's got 38 backers and is well on his way to the $3,000 goal. For a pledge of $350 or more, you choose any location within 250 miles of the Twin Cities to do aerial reconnaissance (though Koop reserves the right to turn down any assignment and to assess flying conditions.)


As you can see from the photos he's taken already, he's got an eye for drone photography, and provides a view of the city that you can't see anywhere else. You can get an 8"x10" aerial photo of your choice for as little at a $20 pledge.

Of course, the legality of all this is very much up in the air. Earlier this month, a judge struck down the Federal Aviation Administration's ban on the commercial use of drones. The FAA is supposed to submit new rules by September 2015, but the exploding industry isn't waiting.

"I personally hope they come up with reasonable regulations for the industry that enables entrepreneurship and creativity while protecting the safety of the public and the National Airspace System," Koop says. "While I am asking for funds with my Kickstarter project to build a replacement multi-rotor, I am not yet looking to start a small business in aerial photography. My main interest is to gain flying experience and to build a portfolio."