A man who flew a small unmanned aircraft over Alton Towers, endangering the safety of the theme park’s customers, has pleaded guilty to two separate charges at Stafford Magistrates Court. The court heard Mark Spencer, 34, had flown his quadcopter device over a number of rides at the Staffordshire attraction on 9 November 2013, brining it within close proximity to people as he filmed the course of the flight using an onboard camera. The video was subsequently posted on YouTube.
Mr Spencer, of Stoke on Trent, who was standing in the car park of Alton Towers while he flew his aircraft, was charged with the following offences, once the video had been brought to the attention of the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
(1) Not maintaining direct, unaided visual contact with a small unmanned aircraft
Articles 166(3) and 241(6), Air Navigation Order 2009
(2) Flying a small unmanned surveillance aircraft over or within 150 metres of any congested area
Articles 167(1), 167(2)(a) and 241(6), Air Navigation Order 2009.
Magistrates fined Mr Spencer £150 for each offence (£300 total) and ordered him to pay a contribution towards the CAA’s costs of £250.
The CAA said the case sent a message to recreational users of small unmanned aircraft that the devices are subject to aviation safety rules.
More information on the regulation of small unmanned aircraft is available at www.caa.co.uk/uas
For further press information, contact the CAA Press Office on: 0207 453 6030 press.co.uk .
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com