Operators who fly drones or model planes near or over large sports stadiums and auto racetracks are breaking the law and can be fined and imprisoned for up to a year, the Federal Aviation Administration warned in a notice posted on the agency’s website.
The notice marks the first time the FAA has sought to criminalize the use of drones and model planes, attorneys representing drone users said.
The notice, posted on Monday, updates a previous notice to pilots warning that aircraft are prohibited from flying below 3,000 feet and within 3 miles of a Major League Baseball, National Football League and NCAA Division I college football game for national security reasons. The NSCAR Sprint Cup, Indy Car and Champ series auto races are also included. The prohibition extends from one hour before the events until one hour after.
The original version of the notice was issued shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has been previously updated. The original and most recent prior version of the notice, issued in 2009, make no mention of drones or other remotely controlled aircraft.
The agency decided to update the notice again this week in order to include a new web address, said FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown. While drafting the update, FAA officials decided to “clarify” that drones and model aircraft are included in the prohibition since both are considered “aircraft,” she said.
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