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Drone pilot charged with violating airspace over two NFL games

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By way of Alex Johnson and Andrew Blankstein

Federal prosecutors have charged a drone pilot with violating airspace rules in reference to anti-media flyers that have been dropped over two Northern California sports activities stadiums in 2017.

Tracy Michael Mapes, 57, of North Highlands, in Sacramento County, was once charged Tuesday with violating brief flight restrictions in nationwide protection airspace at two Nationwide Soccer League video games on Nov. 26, 2017.

Consistent with a testimony connected to a grievance filed in U.S. District Courtroom in San Jose, Mapes flew a drone that dropped the flyers on spectators at a sport between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

He then drove to Oakland and dropped flyers over Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, the place the Oakland Raiders have been taking part in the Denver Broncos, consistent with the affidavit, which was once filed through an investigating officer with the U.S. Transportation Division.

An instance of a flyer that was once dropped over Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California, on Nov. 26, 2017.U.S. District Courtroom for Northern California

The flyers bore a pink X and skim “WARNING! STOP THE TV WHORE TAKEOVER!” with further textual content alleging executive keep watch over of the media, consistent with the affidavit.

Mapes was once arrested after Alameda County sheriff’s deputies tracked the drone for a half-mile and located Mapes, dressed in a retrofitted helmet, piloting the airplane with an iPad, consistent with the affidavit, which integrated nonetheless photographs taken from video recorded through the drone.

Mapes instructed Santa Clara police investigators that he believed spreading his message “outweighed any repercussions,” consistent with the affidavit. Then he bragged concerning the stunt on Fb, it stated.

The brief flight restrictions limit all airplane, together with drones, from running inside of 3 nautical miles of any stadium seating 30,00zero or extra other folks all through primary occasions, just like the NFL, school soccer and Primary League Baseball video games. The limitations are in impact from one hour ahead of to at least one hour after the tip of the development.

Mapes is scheduled for an preliminary courtroom look on June four. Data did not mirror whether or not he has an legal professional.

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