There are more than a few views I would like to capture with my drone. One of those views would be a professional sports stadium filled with people. But it is not going to happen. I will settle for empty high school football stadiums.
There are several reasons for this. The FAA imposes a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) during professional sporting events. There are heavy fines that can be imposed when you violate one of these TFR’s. Another reason not to do this is that it is illegal to fly over people. I imagine that if it was legal to fly over professional sporting events that everyone would do it. And the last thing you would want is hundreds of drones hovering above a stadium.
But BrickByBrickProduction513 recently posted a YouTube video of an illegal drone flight above the crowd at a Cincinnati Bengal’s playoff game on January 15, 2022.
About 30 seconds into the video you will see him about 30 ft above the field while play is going on. In another clip, you will see him hovering above the crowd with people waving at the drone. You will also see a few people giving him the bird.
This is all incredibly irresponsible. I highly doubt he was able to see his drone as he descended into the stadium violating another rule that you must maintain VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) with your drone. It would not have been possible from outside the stadium. The drone could have easily hit one of the cables stretching across the stadium for the sky cam. I am somewhat surprised the game was not stopped because of the drone. People obviously saw it.
I will be interested to see what happens next. It was not very wise for this person to have posted it on social media. I don’t know if he would have gotten away with it if he had kept it to himself. But now that he has posted it on social media the powers that be have the incentive to track him down. The rumor has it that the FAA, Homeland Security, the NFL, and more are out to make an example of this. Considering the public nature of this video, the FAA MUST do something. He will likely see a heavy fine and potential time in prison. All that just to fly a drone a Cincinnati Bengals game?
The originator of this video does not seem to care about the legality of his flight. He is defiant and it appears thinks he will get away with it judging by his comments on his YouTube page.
One of his other videos on his YouTube Channel is titled “Cussing out the ‘police’ I hate the pigs.” That title tells you enough.
Why did he do it? Maybe it was to get attention. He is certainly getting the attention now. But are the 23K views (at the moment I write this) and the 365 comments worth it? No way! Two drone pilots during last year’s Super Bowl were charged for flying during a TFR and I am not aware of them posting any videos of their flights.
What makes this matter even worse is that if you are going to blatantly violate the rules and endanger people’s safety, make sure to get some good video. But his video is terrible. It looks like he got a new drone for Christmas and that this was his first time flying it. He used 1080p rather than 4K. I asked him in the YouTube comments why he filmed in 1080p and he said that when he shoots in 4k that his footage is choppy. That made me laugh because his video at 1080p is choppy.
I plan to pay attention to what happens. This video has caused an uproar in the drone community. If there are no consequences for BrickByBrickProduction513’s illegal flight of his drone at the Cincinnati Bengals game, the many responsible drone operators across the country will be deeply disappointed.