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Drones Over Cincy Stadiums Cause A Buzz

Article by John and Lauren Connolly

Photography by John and Lauren Connolly

Drones in Cincinnati are causing a buzz on National News, for the USA Today article, click here .

As a Drone Business, we wanted to do a deeper dive on the topic. Mainly because we were at Milford Art Affaire this weekend and the above photograph is on our banner. We heard lots of discussion about drones and stadiums; what a perfect time to educate people on the subject! You maybe in one of two camps- 1. What is the big deal? My relative or friend has one and flies it all the time! OR 2. This shouldn't be allowed ever! What a nuisance. What can I do to get rid of them? In our experience, these are the two schools of thought that we have run into either lackluster or annoyed. Let's dive in!

Why this is a big deal:

1. The drones that flew over the stadium were not registered. FAA Regulations require that all small unmanned aircraft systems (drones) used commercially be registered and marked with the corresponding registration number. Think of it like a license plate for your car. Accidents do happen and the registration number will link the drone back to the owner.

2. The drones were flown over a crowd of people. These flying objects often weigh around 2 lbs and some models can fly 40 to 90 mph. If there is a malfunction with the drone, it now becomes a projectile. That weight just falling on someone could cause serious injury. City buildings can cause interference with signal from the drone to the remote and also draft winds. In rare cases, the FAA does approve flying over crowds, but that requires filing the appropriate paperwork 90 days ahead of schedule. Plus, the crowd involved would be aware of the drone ahead of time.

3. It is not clear in the News if the pilots were 107 Certified. Not that they necessarily needed to be 107 certified. Currently, the law states that if you are flying recreationally, you do not need a 107 Certification. However, if you fly for any sort of compensation (tickets to a game for instance), then you would need the certification. Generally, this is a good idea to have because then they would have been aware to check for flight restrictions in the area. Games and Concerts for example will always have flight restrictions.

Why you can fly close to stadiums- SOMETIMES:

Through many hours of training and studying, drone pilots are equipped with the knowledge needed in order to fly with safety in mind. A lot of cities are going to have all or some of their airspace as restricted, that is because usually they are close to airports. In these instances, a LAANC needs to be filed and approved before a drone flight is allowed. Flights during stadium games will NOT get approved, unless that paperwork we talked about earlier is submitted. We foresee only getting approval if you are working for the Team that is playing. You can see in the image below that currently at 11:11am on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, it is clear for takeoff by the stadiums. However if you were to go east and are in the green shaded area, you would have to file a LAANC in order to fly.

Lesson of the blog, there is a right way and a wrong way to operate drones. Properly trained and certified pilots know and follow the regulations. They fly with an abundance of caution for the safety of all involved, which is why the people who flew at the game will be seeing jail time. If you have questions, reach out to your friendly neighborhood drone pilots!