We recently traveled to Philly for a long weekend trip with the DMV Droners. Wow! Philadelphia is incredible, a great place to fly with rich architecture and history. I think my favorite place to fly was boathouse row. I am not sure if it was because of the people we met there, or it was just a tranquil area to fly with early morning crew teams headed down the river. Downtown and the parks were fun too, especially the parks that are on the water which allows for great VLOS flying with some cool old industrial buildings around. Here are my top 3 favorite spots to fly:
Boathouse Row is a fascinating area where the public and college crew enthusiasts cruise down the river during the early morning hours. We woke up around 0500 to catch the teams starting to warm up around 0600. We stayed in Fishtown during our time in Philly so traveling around the city was not difficult until Sunday; a Philadelphia Eagles home game LOL. I think the reason why this location stood out the most was because of the people we met. Most were college student parents, but others were just onlookers or runners passing by wanting to check out the drone view.
There was a group of five women, three of whom had binoculars. Their daughters were on a crew team together, but we had no idea at the time. After we put two and two together, I headed over with another droner to start up a conversation. These crew parents have never seen their daughters compete up close. We changed that. I walked back over to our little landing area and told everyone what was going on. We knew how to fix the problem right then. With a fresh battery, Marc and I tracked the crew team’s boat at various angles and altitudes so the parents could watch their kids within fifteen feet instead of 250 feet. The coach didn't like the buzzing of the drones while they were making calls, but the pics we took made up for it I think :)
Eastern State Penitentiary
This place was interesting for sure. We didn’t have time to take the ghost tour inside, but we did have time for an aerial tour. This was a location we flew Sunday, making it a quick flight before the stadium TFR kicked in. While we were not inside of the TFR, it’s best not to fly to avoid any issues with local LEOs. Most police are still uninformed about sUAS rules and regulations. For example, they may be aware of what a TFR is and understand no drones should be flying while one is in place. However, these same officers may not realize the TFR covers a specific area, not the whole city.
Once in the sky, we could understand the sheer size of this old prison. The colors from above contrasted greatly between shades of grey and red. We were fortunate to shoot this spot before the rain came in, you can see the extreme overcast sky in the picture above.
Fly Where You Eat
Who goes to Philly without eating the local grub? During our stay, our diet could have been broken down into just three categories: donuts, steak subs, and tacos. All of which was great although it is a little eerie most food vendors in Philly only accept cash. While this is no big deal, I wonder why the food trucks are required to have electronic currency transfer, but brick and mortar spots do not. This is all an assumption of course, but out of the seven places we went in total throughout the city only one took cards - this was the donut shop LOL. Which by the way, try Federal Donuts. Fresh and moist, the customer service is A+, and the shop was CLEAN.
We tried three steak sub shops, and my favorite was Tony Luke’s. The way they chopped up the steak into medium sized pieces was fantastic. We tried one shop who just beat the meat so hard it turned into fine particles, and the flavor was lost over the cheese and mayo.
In conclusion, Philadelphia is a great place to visit and fly. The people make this place unique with a warm, inviting culture without judgment.
Feel free to contact me with any questions about flying Philly!