Thursday afternoon, the Secret Service detained a man who allegedly tried to launch a Parrot Bebop Drone over the White House fence.
This marks the second time in four months there has been a drone-related incident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Back in January, Shawn Usman of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency lost control of his DJI Phantom FC-40 and it crashed on the White House lawn.
Plus there was no real legal precedent for the case so it would have been a messy affair establishing exactly what his crime was. (Though, come to think of it, if the case had gone to court, it may have helped move the FAA’s glacial effort of coming up with regulations for drones.)
However, in the time since, the FAA has been actively calling Washington D.C. a “no drone zone” and as recently as yesterday announced a public outreach program to “reinforce the message that the District of Columbia and cities and towns within a 15-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are a No Drone Zone.”
Also, the FAA recently said there is a mobile app in development known as B4UFLY that will tell drone pilots exactly where they can and can not fly.
They are a little late to this game, thought, as AirMap.io recently launch an online application that serves exactly the same purpose.
Of course, neither B4UFLY or AirMap.io are enforceable – they are completely voluntary. So if someone wants to fly a drone over the White House again tomorrow, there is nothing stopping them. The only way to truly prevent something like this from happening is to create a digital bubble around the White House that interferes with (or simply destroys) and drones that come to close or to program all drones to avoid the White House… a task that has proven harder than anticipated.
The president is not currently at the White House and is at Camp David.
We will update this post as we learn more about today’s events.
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