Drone Operator Fined After Buzzing Washington Monument
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
A Virginia man has received a criminal citation for flouting no-fly rules and buzzing the Washington Monument with his radio-controlled drone, the Washington Post reported.
According to a police statement via the Post, John Newcomer Jr., 51, of Reston was discovered operating the $60 craft in close proximity to the north side of the monument at 4 a.m. Wednesday, near 16th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Police ordered Newcomer to land the drone, a blue UDI RC, which was then confiscated, along with its black radio controller.
Sgt. Anna Rose, a spokesperson for Park Police, said, per the Post, that there was “no indication of nefarious activities” on Newcomer’s part, but he was fined $85 for the incursion.
Park Police told the Post that this was the first unmanned drone incident in a Washington, D.C. national park this year — though there have been 28 incidents since 2013. Three 2015 drone misadventures happened in the vicinity of the White House, with one man accidently crashing a drone on the actual grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Post noted.
There is a Flight Restricted Zone around Washington and immediate areas and a “No Drone Zone” was established within a 15-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport post-9/11, according to the Associated Press. The National Park Service has its own drone operation restrictions as well.
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