Drone manufacturer DJI has annouced a firmware update, preventing operating their vehicles close to "major airports". A look in the list reveals how and why this is completely idiotic at best and a danger to freedom at worst.

I generally strongly oppose any attempt of corporations to dictate what the users can and cannot do with their property. Those airports are just the first step, but did you know, that DJI also blacklists e.g. the Tienanmen Square? First, it's for "safety and security" but very soon, politics follow and then commercial interests. Best example of how this works, is computer manufacturer Apple, which asserts the right to decide e.g. what software users can install on their phones - which are legally their own property. Apple is also notorious for their unfree app store policy as well as for various privacy invasions.

But now we are talking about DJI. In DJI's list are such "major" airports as Lappeenranta or Kittilä. Even the former Raadi airbase near Tartu, Estonia, which is, by the way, closed and not even usable emergency runway any more.

And the problem is not only that DJI has basically every tiny backwater airport with a paved runway on it's list... They also write, they prevent operation "near" that airport. With tiny backwater airports usually being quite close to the corresponding towns, that quite likely means that nobody in the corresponding town can use a DJI drone.

Also, many small airports are closed for the weekend and have events going on there. And many are actually even used by model-flyers when they are closed for the "big ones". Additionally, a professional operator can always obtain permission from air traffic control to operate "near" an airport, e.g. for commercial photoshootings.

So, bottom line, DJI has become the Apple of drone manufacturers: Design over function and freedom explicitly excluded.

If you are any more than a 12-years-old who is just cluelessly playing with their drone, you should stay far away from DJI controllers and look at free and open source systems, such as the APM 2.5 or Pixhawk from 3D Robotics. Open source guarantees freedom! Also and especially, for professional use!