Twin Cities drone expert says Target Field incident was probably unintentional

Laura Oakes
August 05, 2020 - 1:49 pm
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During yesterday's Twins game against the Pirates, an unauthorized drone entered the field of play. 

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The drone caused the umpires to rush players off the field and caused a 10-minute delay of the game. The Federal Aviation Administration rules for drone use state that flight is not allowed within three miles of sports stadiums that are being used for play. That rule is also enforced near airports. 

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While Minneapolis is known to have many talented drone operators and production houses, Founder and CEO of the Minneapolis based drone video community AirVuz, Mike Israel, thinks there are still some pilots who don't fly within the rules. 

"Well, unfortunately there are people out there that are still being irresponsible and are flying in a way that's just completely contrary rules that most anybody would know. One of which is you're not allowed to fly anywhere near major sporting venues while games are in process. That's a rule that's been the books for as long as there have been drones."

While most drone pilots don't have bad intentions, some make mistakes. Drone pilot and FAA drone safety team member Aaron Sykes says he's pretty sure the flying over Target Field was unintentional. 

"I'd say, 80, 90% chance that whoever flew there was doing their flight, not knowing the implications of flying in a temporary flight-restricted area."

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The FAA issues these TFR's and enforce them heavily, especially around airports and sporting events that are attended by tens of thousands of people. Current TFR's can easily be found at tfr.faa.gov

Israel says yesterday's incident has implications on the entire drone community.

"It's good that nobody was hurt. It's not a good thing for the growing community to have this kind stuff happen"

The FAA says that the penalty for flying a drone over in restricted airspace is a monetary fine or up to one year in jail. 

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