A federal grand jury has indicted two men who are accused of flying drones over Cincinnati Bengals and Cincinnati Reds games.
Dailon Dabney, 24, of Cincinnati, allegedly flew his drone over the Cincinnati Bengals NFL playoff game on Jan. 15, recording the flight and posting the video to social media websites and YouTube. The drone was allegedly flown into the stadium and hovered over players and portions of the stadium crowd, said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker.
Travis Lenhoff, 38, of Northern Kentucky, allegedly flew a drone into a restricted area at Great American Ballpark on April 12 during Opening Day activities for the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.
“This is a growing problem that poses a direct risk to the players and the individuals in the stands,” said Parker. “Even if the operator does not have an intent to harm, the operator could easily lose control and injure someone. Moreover, the sight of a drone flying overhead could lead to a panic in the crowd. If you attend these events like Reds games and Bengals games — leave the drones at home.”
“Flying a drone over a stadium full of fans is dangerous and illegal without the proper (Federal Aviation Administration) training, licensing, and approved flight plan,” stated FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers. “We will continue to work with the FAA and local police to investigate these incidents when proper FAA protocols and procedures are not followed.”
Any drone that weighs more than .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must be registered with the FAA, Parker’s office said. Dabney’s and Lenhoff’s drones are not registered with the FAA and they do not have a remote pilot certification.
The defendants are each charged charged with operating an unregistered drone — a federal crime punishable by up to three years in prison. Dabney also is charged with violating a temporary flight restriction, which is punishable by up to one year in prison.