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spaceneedledrone
Via imgur

It is an epic photograph, taken from above the Space Needle, with Mt. Rainier in the distance. It has racked up more than 49,000 views on imgur.

The photo was taken with a DJI Phantom 2
The photo was taken with a DJI Phantom 2

The manner in which it was taken — by a drone flying above the 605-foot Seattle landmark — has also attracted the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration.

GeekWire has been able to confirm that the FAA is looking into the circumstances surrounding the picture, which was posted online by Seattle-based ski and skateboard clothing shop Casual Industrees.

No further information was available from the FAA about this specific case. In general, FAA rules for unmanned aircraft systems limit recreational use of drones “to below 400 feet, away from airports and air traffic, and within sight of the operator.”

The photo has sparked a lengthy discussion on Reddit, with readers there pointing out that the airspace around the Space Needle is an especially dangerous place to fly a drone. As an example of the air traffic in the area, Fisher Plaza, across the street from the Space Needle, was the site of a fatal helicopter crash earlier this year.

We’ve sent a message to Casual Industrees seeking comment. Responding to questions in a post on Reddit, the company said, “Thank you for the warning, hopefully we (won’t) get in trouble. We are claiming ignorance on that one. Enjoy the photo! Didn’t know it was so risky.”

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