Drone pilot charged with violating safe airspace over two NFL video games

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Alex Johnson and Andrew Blankstein

Federal prosecutors have charged a drone pilot with violating airspace laws in reference to anti-media flyers that had been dropped over two Northern California sports activities stadiums in 2017.

Tracy Michael Mapes, 56, of North Highlands, in Sacramento County, was charged Tuesday with violating non permanent flight restrictions in nationwide protection airspace at two Nationwide Soccer League video games on Nov. 26, 2017.

Based on an affidavit hooked up to a grievance filed in U.S. District Courtroom in San Jose, Mapes flew a drone that dropped the flyers on spectators at a sport between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

He then drove to Oakland and dropped flyers over Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, the place the Oakland Raiders had been enjoying the Denver Broncos, in accordance with the affidavit, which was filed by an investigating officer with the U.S. Transportation Division.

An instance of a flyer that was dropped over Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California, on Nov. 26, 2017.U.S. District Courtroom for Northern California

The flyers bore a purple X and skim “WARNING! STOP THE TV WHORE TAKEOVER!” with further textual content alleging authorities management of the media, in accordance with the affidavit.

Mapes was arrested after Alameda County sheriff’s deputies tracked the drone for a half-mile and located Mapes, carrying a retrofitted helmet, piloting the plane with an iPad, in accordance with the affidavit, which included nonetheless pictures taken from video recorded by the drone.

Mapes advised Santa Clara police investigators that he believed spreading his message “outweighed any repercussions,” in accordance with the affidavit. Then he bragged concerning the stunt on Fb, it stated.

The non permanent flight restrictions prohibit all plane, together with drones, from working inside three nautical miles of any stadium seating 30,00zero or extra folks throughout main occasions, just like the NFL, faculty soccer and Main League Baseball video games. The restrictions are in impact from one hour earlier than to at least one hour after the top of the occasion.

Mapes is scheduled for an preliminary courtroom look on June 4. Data did not mirror whether or not he has an lawyer.

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