Why a toy quadcopter is 1,000 times safer than a full-size helicopter or airplane...
It's common sense that a 3 lb. toy helicopter is inherently safer than it's 2-6 ton counterpart. Believe it or not there are some out there who would cite a full-size helicopter as "safer" than a 3 lb. model quadcopter. Preposterous.
Cool technology for added control:
The most dangerous scenario for any pilot (model or otherwise) is loss of control. While both are prone to pilot error, in the case of my model aircraft, loss of signal launches the vehicle into Failsafe Mode. What this means is that if control signal is lost between quadcopter and transmitter, the vehicle will automatically return to the launch point - accurate to within a few feet. And though I'm an extremely experienced RC pilot, should I somehow lose control or become incapacitated, the flip of a switch activates Failsafe Mode so that my quadcopter can safely return home. It is quite amazing to watch.
Needless to say my electric quadcopter is quiet and produces literally zero emissions, which includes noise emission. You certainly can't say the same for a full-size helicopter.
I have literally flown 25' over a flock of ducks. They were completely oblivious to the quadcopter. It was quite amazing to watch them continue on with their morning routine. Try THAT with a full-size helicopter.
Fatalities and injuries:
Since 1971, TWO deaths have been attributed to model aircraft. Both were by the hand of large-scale model helicopters and happened decades ago. This year alone the aviation industry managed to exceeded that number by two orders of magnitude. Radio Control injuries are usually so minor that they go undocumented. To date the only documented injuries were 5 minor injuries when an octacopter crashed into a crowd in Virginia.
Military drone vs. RC quadcopter:
There is no comparison. I fly a toy, remote control quadcopter. The military flies drones, UAV's (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), RPV's (Remotely Piloted Vehicles), UAS's (Unmanned Aerial Systems) and RPS's (Remotely Piloted Systems). These military drones are much larger, much more sophosticated, fly hundreds if not thousands of miles and are usually armed. In comparison my toy RC quadcopter has a range of less than one mile and dons a camera. All my flying is done "line of sight."
While some situations may call for the use real aircraft for aerial photography (including ultra-lites or parasails), these aircraft are hugely impractical in many situations. A small, unobtrusive model aircraft can safely navigate places no "real" aircraft could ever hope to navigate.
Most full-size aerial services won't advertise their prices because they range from $1,000 - $5,000 per hour. This is why you won't see their prices advertised. They want you to call so they can give you a sales pitch. Conversely, @ $100.00-$200.00/hour RC (Radio Control) aerial service practically sells itself. Anyone can afford it.
As a safety precaution we generally don't fly over 400'. But this is not a law or physical limitation of the vehicle. It is a consideration. My quadcopter is capable of flying well over 1,000 feet. And though I've never flown it that high, it should be known that it CAN fly that high if needed. Provided proper safety conditions are met, I will fly as high as I need be to get the shot. The argument that remote control toys are competing with aircraft for air space is preposterous. In the entire history of aviation there has not been a single collision between an RC model and full-size aircraft. In comparison, more aircraft have been taken down by large birds than anything man-made.
It doesn't take a Master's Degree in Physics to know that potential damage by the hand of a 3 lb. toy is orders of magnitude less than its full-size counterpart. Anyone who tries to trump any and all common sense by selling the preposterous notion that a 2-6 ton aircraft is somehow "safer" than a 3 lb. toy is pushing a hidden agenda. Buyer beware.
As an experienced RC Helicopter pilot, I have always followed the practices of the Academy of Model Aeronautics National Model Aircraft Safety Code. All flying is done "line-of-sight."
See the Helicopter Safety Video by High Flight Media.