COLUMBUS (WCMH) Tuesday night, July 9, a Columbus Division of Police helicopter pilot reported being followed by a drone. The crew landed in an emergency fashion at an elementary school. There, the drone followed. Officers confiscated the drone and removed the battery.
“We see people that get drones you can buy at the box stores that fly without any real training,” said Tim Stanfield who is the president of Ready Made RC. It is a remote control aeronautics company. “Maybe they don’t think about it… but there are rules in place that should have prevented them from doing that.”
Stanfield turned his passion for flying remote control planes and the profession of being an electrical engineer into a business.
“I enjoy the technology aspect of all the newer stuff,” said Stanfield. “Just ten years ago it was people like me hacking together home surveillance cameras, bits and pieces you could find off the shelf to try and get live video downlinks.”
Now, they can stream in High Definition and the planes, helicopters, and drones can fly upwards of 110 miles per hour. When we were kids, we called some toys remote control airplanes or cars. Now technology has made it possible to own drones. This means what used to be toys are legit tools for police, media, and other professions. Even the average novice can own a drone.
“We get very frustrated,” said Stanfield. “It’s a bad look for the hobby and the industry. The vast majority of people doing this are not doing that kind of crazy stuff.”
He explained that most pilots are following the rules. Those rules are more like laws that carry heavy consequences if violated and a person is convicted.
When safety rules and laws are violated, lives can be put at risk. Columbus Police report that homeland security is now investigating the incident from Tuesday. This means federal charges could be brought to the pilot and or owner of the aircraft seized by police.
Here are some links for your understanding of what is accepted practice when flying professional or recreational drones.