HUFFINGTON POST IS WRONG and here’s the proof…

Yesterday the Huffington Post authored a story about a drone breaking through a window, hitting an interface designer in the head, and giving him a headache.

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Mr. David Perel may be an interface designer, but he is also something more, something nefarious in the eyes of the UAV/Drone community.

He’s unbelievable in his claims of being a victim.

And the Huffington Post is helping to elevate his prevarication to the detriment of UAV operators/pilots.

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The mere shape of this “break” is the first clue to the hoax. It’s obvious the impact point to the window came from inside the window and not outside. Next, the shape is too “cartoon-like” and contrived.  For example, notice the two “fang” shapes hanging down. How did the drone pass through that section without either scratching the heck out of the drone, and more importantly, without breaking any props? Anyone who has tipped a DJI Phantom on its side knows the stock plastic props will break with only the motor velocity, yet we’re expected to believe that static glass didn’t break the props?

Note the round patttern of the break. The battery on the Phantom would have had to have been the primary impact point in order to create this sort of patterning, and it is physically impossible for the battery to have struck the window. The arms, props, and landing gear all would have hit first, and these are all extremely fragile (Ask any DJI owner; there are thousands of photos of broken props/landing gear.)

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This DJI Phantom crashed into the ground at slow speed, yet suffered more damage than the alleged Perel incident being spread across the news.
Additionally, the size of the window provides a tensile strength, one that there simply is no way a  2lb piece of fragile plastic could have broken. Small surfaces are stronger than large suspended surfaces.

The glass pattern on the floor also indicates a hoax. Notice that the photos and video don’t show the shatter pattern? Shattered glass patterning is well-researched, well documented, and this doesnt fit.

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Objects on the desk provide clues; they’ve moved between photos being taken. Admittedly, this is a less obvious clue, as objects may have been moved around when taking stills.

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This is the view just prior to impact. Somehow, the camera shifts from a forward face with a landing gear/leg in the shot, to a rear-ward face with the same landing gear in the shot, but manages to somehow capture an arm/prop, too. None of the movement is consistent with an out-of-control drone. Why do we never see Mr. Perel, the alleged victim, in any of the rotating video shots? After all, it did strike him hard enough in the head that he’d experienced “a headache” that was needed significant recovery time. Where are the pictures of the cuts or bruises? These are flying Cuisinarts, after all.

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None of these points add up. At 00:13 into the video, there is an obvious edit point. Watch the video at quarter speed. Why would there be an edit point in a “this is the whole story” video, particularly at the point of impact?

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The article quotes Perel as saying there was a GoPro camera on the drone, and he removed the memory card before looking for the owner (this was later changed both on Huffington Post and on the victim’s Instagram page).

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Mr. Perel certainly knows what a GoPro camera looks like. His YouTube page is filled with GoPro videos, so he apparently has one or access to one.
Yet this Phantom has no GoPro on it. It has a factory-built Vision camera that looks nothing like a GoPro. He says in his instagram post that “he removed the card from the GoPro.”

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DJI Phantom 2 Vision Camera, as seen in this photo.
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The GoPro looks quite different than the DJI camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that the Phantom has no damage other than a half-broken prop. The hoax would be more believable had the very fragile landing gear, and equally fragile gimbal been at least damaged. Every hobby store that sells DJI has at least a few replacement landing sets around, as these thin bits of plastic frequently break or crack during normal landings. One company, PolarPro, even makes a landing gear/gimbal protector, due to the fragility.

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PolarPro Gimbal Guard/landing support

Mr. Perel is likely also desperate for web views to please his sponsors (most of us are). Until this video hit, his videos have suffered from low numbers of views that don’t quite support the claim to being the great advertiser his buiness webpage suggests. He claims to have millions of eyeballs on him every month. From where? What evidence supports this claim?

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Mr. Perel claims on his business page that he is a good advertising partner.

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I believe Mr. Perel has other motivations to gain eyeballs on his site; a couple of clicks on his website demonstrate he’s looking for money to achieve a dream. he needs money for his endeavors and doesn’t mind reaching out to get it from others. What better way to draw eyeballs to his cause than a pathetic plea for attention?
Poor guy.
He has a headache.
Perhaps he was up all night creating the hoax with friends?
His twitter account demonstrates that he knows how to edit and process video, supposedly like a pro.

For a would-be sports star that has “millions of viewers” it’s surprising that only 28 people gave $4K in a month. Apparently these millions of eyeballs aren’t people with money?
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Mr. Perel’s own Twitter account demonstrates that on-line views are his source of income. The 8,800 followers compared to his 31,000 tweets suggest his marketing schemes aren’t so effecDroneFake15tive and are a far cry from the “millions” he claims to be able to deliver to advertisers.

My speculation is that Mr. Perel is needful of attention and created a very well-done hoax that Huffington Post (and other publications) didn’t research prior to publishing an article that on the surface appears to be a real story. This disappoints me because I’ve generally considered Huffington Post to be a higher-grade, more truthful and accurate publication that digs into stories prior to publishing. From my chair, their credibility took a huge hit with this story and HP should take a huge hit with anyone reading this blog post. It’s difficult to blame anyone for trying something new to draw page views.

Congrats Mr. Perel, you’ve gained your Warhol-ian 15 minutes of fame. I only hope it’s not at the expense of South African UAV regulations becoming more restrictive.

Shame on you Huffington Post; you’ve deeply disappointed me, and I’m sure many others in publishing/perpetuating this clever, but easily dismantled hoax that may prove harmful to the UAV/Drone industry worldwide.

 

[edit] Mr. Perel deleted his Instagram pictures and claims of injury after I chatted a link to this blog.  I have emailed the constabulary, CAA, and other authorities in South Africa to alert them to the fraud/hoax, in hopes that no authority misunderstands this situation and takes no action against drones due to Mr. Perel’s publicity stunt.

 

 

 

 

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Published by

DSE

I've been a successful sales manager, musician, film/video professional, instructional designer, and skydiver. Picked up a few pieces of gold, brass, titanium, and tin along the way. This blog is where I spill my guts about how I'm feeling at any given moment, and maybe a blurb or two about what's happening in the sales, video, or skydiving worlds.

21 thoughts on “HUFFINGTON POST IS WRONG and here’s the proof…”

    1. Now that you mention it…I don’t know if they’d have been that thoughtful, but perhaps. However, the circular nature of the hole sure contributes something afoul in addition to the smell of the overall story.

  1. Actually the Phantom 2 came with 2 different options – no camera or the Phantom 2 Vision. The no camera option allowed you to put your own gimbal and mount a GoPro on the Phantom.

    I still agree this is fake, but just wanted to update that you can have a GoPro on a phantom 🙂

    1. I’m well aware that the P2 could use zenmuse, e-chine, Feiyu-tech etc…but in *this* case (as written/pictured in the blog) his P2 has the Vision+ gimbal on it, not the Zenmuse with a GoPro.
      Not only do I own a P2 Vision, one of the organizations I consult to is one of DJI’s biggest retailers, DronesPlus.com
      T’is a shame a jerk like this would damage our industry during a fragile period, simply to raise his social media profile.

  2. I am a qualified bnuc-s pilot and appreciate what you are doing here. It is important to discredit any rogue stories designed to harm our industry so thanks for making this post.

    I agree with most of your points but having owned a P2 with Zenmuse gimbal and Go Pro as my first set up (now fly I1 and X5), the set up in the photo half way down the page (with a big blue) arrow looks very much like my old set up.

    The P2 Vision has a silver camera and this is a black gimbal with what looks like a Go Pro.

    Everything else seems to point to this being a complete fabrication…

  3. Very pleased that you did the work to expose this fake tiny drone crash hoax. Unfortunately the hoak was widely reported, while your hoax report not so much.

    Too many believe all the made up negative stories about tiny beneficial drones.

    Thank You Very Much!

  4. I know David Perel personally. He would never stoop so low as to create hype for his own benefit. Much like you are doing now.

    1. No one thought OJ Simpson would stoop to murder either. Until recently, no one believed a priest would diddle little boys in a church, either. Sometimes very cool people do uncool things.

    2. There’s reason Pablo Picasso warned us that “Is there anything more dangerous than a sympathetic understanding. Some who saw the video other than the article’s auther saw things there that made them question whether or this was staged. Maybe, your friend’s story is all its crack up to be.

  5. Let’s just say if it wasn’t a hoax….. Then wouldn’t we be trying to destroy someone’s life. Tho the video looks fishy I think we must give him the right to prove its real. Even OJ had his day in court if I remember correct….

    1. Note that the issue is the Huffington Post reporting the story without researching it. Although I feel it’s a terrible thing to do in a time where UAV/drones are under fire in almost any country, the bigger issue is that one of the most-read publications on the planet published a story on one person’s say-so, and no research. No one is trying to “destroy someone’s life.” Cut the drama.
      The story is now nearly five days old, and no one cares. Mr. Perel got his name out to his “millions of people,” UAV/drones have got another black eye, and this blog may have influenced as many as 8,000 people (based on statistics). Given that Mr. Perel has been contacted by many members of the media, had 300K views of his hoax vs my paltry 8,000 views…I’d say his venture was successful. That doesn’t mean that professionals in the UAV industry need to keep quiet about their displeasure in a hoax that carries significant potential for damage in our industry and a propensity to generate laws that make our livelihood more difficult.
      Who’s zooming who here? The truth loses, because if it bleeds, it leads.

      1. I work for David and, as Jill suggests, this story is entirely true. David is not the kind of person to fabricate something like this, the video you saw is exactly what happened. a drone has lost control and crashed through a window – it doesn’t mean that drones are bad – they are important and brilliant, we love them.

  6. The drone on the table and floor are different drones, different coloured props and legs. Are they to be the same?

  7. Hello Spotted Eagle. Great smile.
    I represent a group of drone enthusiasts in South Africa.
    We thank you for publishing this blog post.
    We are not even sure that Mr Perel really exists. He may just be a puppet in the hands of those trying to discredit drones and droners in SA. Right as those decisions on drone flying are being made, we are at the sharp end of a massive anti-drone publicity campaign, led primarily by the popular Gupta family from Saxonwold. Sadly, these people have great power and it is likely that their will – which is strongly anti-drone and droners – will prevail.
    These contrived stories are being carried by well-respected local politicians in Cape Town such as Tony Ehrenreich and Marius Fransman and used to further the case to ban drones.
    Our time, we fear, is brief.

  8. Having now received six emails/comments (4 from the same IP) about Mr. Perel’s integrity, I should explain why they don’t show up. Simply saying “he’s an honest guy” doesn’t make it so. “He’d never do anything like that” is historically inaccurate in most hoaxes, scams, frauds, and other anti-social behavior.
    It simply doesn’t wash.
    The story has enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame.
    Moving on…
    http://www.bestpsychologydegrees.com/hoaxes/

  9. What will you do when his this video’s claims are verified? I suggest writing an equally detailed piece about how personal confirmation bias can lead people to massive outbursts like yours.

    1. I would have considered apologizing, but given the number of hate mails calling me a faggot, making fun of my hair, calling me a Harley motorcycle queen, and all the other derogatories from Mr. Perel’s friends…it’s pretty clear who the class of people he hangs out with. That class of people don’t deserve the time of day, much less an apology.

      The irony is that the story has been moved on from with the HP and world media. It’s a non-event. The only people trying to keep it alive are Mr. Perel’s trailer-trash, xenophobic, homophobic, racist friends.

      Were the merits being discussed vs personal attacks, name-calling, and hate mail…we could have had a conversation.

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