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Old 07-07-2020, 10:25 PM   #6
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 54

The FAA quickly located the guy who posted the video, but nearly two months after the incident, I can find no evidence of charges being levied. As much publicity as this incident received, the FAA would have gotten much better bang for the buck by filing charges/fines and sorting out the mess later in order to ride the wave of publicity and show how seriously such acts are taken. I believe the guy denied he was the one operating the drone, so maybe things bogged down there.

Couple of points, though, as to what they might have charged him with. I think reckless operation and failure to yield to a manned aircraft are the two most likely ones (I'll go point by point through the original poster's bullets in a minute). The Blue Angels did deviate from their published path in a number of locations, and a possible defense could be that he was surprised by the approach of the aircraft. In such events, it's still the responsibility of the operator to ensure the UAS doesn't interfere with manned aircraft. But, this angle could take it out of willful misconduct and perhaps mitigate the reckless operation charge.

As for the other points raised above - it appears from the video, and I confirmed with a friend in Detroit, that this appears to have been over downtown Detroit:

-Violating a Temporary Flight Restriction
There were no TFRs in place for this event.

-Flying above 400' AGL
If the operator was an FAA Part 107 certificate holder (many drone operators are), depending on the circumstance, he could have been over 1000' AGL without needing authorization.

- He probably busted the Detroit Class B as well.
Downtown Detroit below 700' AGL is Class G (uncontrolled airspace) and above 700' is Class E, which for drone operations doesn't need FAA authorization.
JohnJ is offline   Reply With Quote