There are FAA safety rules for flight, and AMA rules for hobyists. Even small toy helicopters & planes can be quite dangerous.
AMA = Academy for Model Aeronautics (SP?) (This is the group that oversees most model aircraft clubs)
AMA clearly states thou shalt not fly over people, in crowded areas, or in a manner that might end up w/ your aircraft in a situation where it could cause harm.
This is no differnt than driving an RC car on a busy road. NOT BRILLIANT. (Though to be 100% honest, I'm all for cul de sacs, and the occasional county freeway...)
The guy clearly broke AMA rules, and if a member should have his status revoked. Also, I'm sure he broke the law, but befor we go TOO crazy, what if someone hit a softball in downtown NYC? a baseball? a rock... I'm pretty sure aimlessly throwing rocks isn't itself explicitly illegal yet.
IMHO a quadcopter is a rock w/ four props and a helluva battery...
I just can't believe the dumb a$$ lost a decent craft trying to fly near buildings which create crazy vertical wind sheer using GPS at that.
My biggest problem is dicks like this are going to make it harder for guys like me because the public will cry outrage, and think of the children. It won't be long before one of these DO hurt or kill someone.
I'm sure many /.. readers are interested in this kinda stuff. It's a great hobby btw. I suggest reading up on Wattflyer.com, DIYDrones.com, and RCPlanet.com. A bucketload of information abounds for those interested in doing heli's,quads, fixed wing, FPV & Drone flight. Learn to fly on a simulator, then learn again w/ an AMA chartered club. There everywhere, and you'll save tons of $ in broken planes.