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Drone crashes into Apple Park

South Bay videographer says it may still be stuck up on the main building’s roof

The circular Apple Park building with fog hovering overhead. VICDJES21

Apple Park may be getting something of a hazardous reputation. First, Apple employees and guests keep walking right into the beautiful but dangerously transparent glass walls.

On top of that, the new Apple HQ suffered an accident from above, as longtime South Bay Apple Park enthusiast Matthew Roberts (who spent over a year documenting the construction of the building from the air with drones) uploaded a video Sunday of a drone crashing right into Apple Park’s roof.

Roberts says the drone is not actually one of his own, but the property of an unnamed fellow sky watcher. The footage starts off normal enough, taking a survey of the building and the largely completed landscaping still going on in its center. (The green space in Apple Park looks a bit like a golf course from the air.)

Then, all of a sudden, the poor drone goes into a catastrophic tailspin. Roberts later sent a drone of his own to locate the wreckage, and sure enough there it is, stuck on a solar panel on the building’s roof.

Roberts also says Apple doesn’t seem particularly interested in letting the owner recover the downed craft, so it might just stay up there, reminiscent of a grumpy neighbor who won’t let the kids in town recover their footballs and frisbees from his property.

Like any piece of consumer electronics, drones are apt to fail from time to time, which often means a dramatic plunge from the sky. The instructional blog Dummies notes that the most common causes are powerful winds, obstacles like power lines, or even a drone getting caught in the rush of air created by its own propellers.

Drone stuck on top of Apple Park roof.
Drone stuck on top of Apple Park roof.
Screen grab via Matthew Roberts

The FAA reported in 2017 that in trials with crash test dummies, falling drones were significantly less dangerous to humans than other materials of similar weight falling from the same height thanks to drone design generally slowing the falling object’s descent.

But FAA researchers also say that “additional impact testing [...] is required “to establish a threshold level of safety for flight over people.”