Drone News Roundup: Gator Takes Down DJI Spark, Impressive FPV Fly Through at the PGA Tour, and More!

BY Zacc Dukowitz
10 September 2021

This week we’re covering a video of an alligator taking down a DJI Spark in Florida after a travel blogger flew too close, leading to the gator snatching it from the air.

We’re also covering a stunning FPV fly through at the PGA Tour, Wing’s recent milestone of 100,000 drone deliveries, drone taxi company Joby Aviation hitting the New York Stock Exchange at $6.8 billion, and the FAA’s upcoming National Drone Safety Awareness Week.

Now on to the links!

Harassed Alligator Leaps to Chomp DJI Spark Out of the Air

This is what you get for harassing wildlife. While trying to get a closeup, a travel blogger in the Florida Everglades flew her DJI Spark way too close to an alligator. No big surprise, the gator grabbed the drone from the air and chomped it up—you can literally see smoke coming from its mouth as it destroys the drone. The blogger thought it would be a good idea to post the video online, drawing a barrage of criticism for flying a drone so close to a wild animal. The incident is an important reminder to avoid harassing wildlife while trying to film them with your drone.


Impressive FPV Fly Through at the PGA Tour Championship

This drone video shot at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta gives us an up-close fly through of the PGA Tour Championship, which is the last of the PGA season. The flying is really impressive here, with the pilot navigating tight hallways, going through a window, and zipping between flags. Coming in at over two minutes—an eternity for a single shot like this—the video is well worth watching in its entirety. Watch all the way to the end to see a great close to what was already a remarkable video.


Wing Hits 100,000 Delivery Milestone

Photo credit: Wing

Wing recently hit a major milestone: 100,000 deliveries made by drone. Over 50,000 of these deliveries have been made in a suburb of Brisbane, Australia called Logan. Wing’s delivery program there serves about 100,000 people, who can order goods like pet food, groceries, or coffee to be delivered by drone. Wing also operates drone delivery programs in Christiansburg, VA and in Finland, which are the other locations that have contributed to its 100,000 delivery milestone. Its drones make deliveries by hovering at around 23 feet off the ground and lowering their packages by tether, avoiding the complicated logistics required to make a delivery directly on the ground.


Drone Taxi Company Joby Aviation Worth $6.8 Billion

Photo credit: Joby Aviation

Just one day after hitting the New York Stock Exchange, Joby Aviation’s market capitalization is $6.8 billion according to the total worth of its publicly traded stock. This new worth for the company makes its founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt a billionaire—on paper, anyway—since he holds 98.7 million of the company’s shares (those shares were worth $1.08 billion as of August 11). The most noteworthy aspect of this huge opening for Joby Aviation on the stock exchange is that the company isn’t yet selling taxi drones or taxi drone services, and is probably years away from being able to do so.


FAA National Drone Safety Awareness Week Is Next Week


The FAA’s 3rd annual National Drone Safety Awareness Week will be held next week from Monday, September 13 through Sunday, September 19. During the weeklong campaign, commercial drone pilots, recreational flyers , and drone industry experts will cover various topics related to the safe operation of drones. Presentations scheduled for the week will also highlight new requirements and regulatory changes, including Remote ID and flying over people.

Here’s an overview of what will be covered on each day of the week:

  • Monday—Safe Flyers Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST)
  • TuesdayRegister and Mark Your Drone
  • WednesdayBecome a Part of a Flying Community
  • ThursdayNew Rules: Remote Identification and Operations Over People
  • FridayPublic Safety & Public Acceptance
  • Saturday and SundayShare the Skies: Get Out and Fly


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