A New York man was arrested for flying a remote control helicopter -- in fancy terms, a drone -- that almost crashed into someone near Grand Central Terminal.
Though the drone was equipped with a camera, the incident actually wasn't cause for creepy aerial surveillance concern. The NYPD arrested David Zablidowsky, a Brooklyn musician who really needs to rethink his hobbies, for good ol' reckless endangerment.
Drone "Strike": Rise of the Hipsters
Footage found on the drone's memory card revealed that the tiny aircraft was floating between 20 and 30 stories above ground when it smacked into a window and succumbed to the pull of gravity, according to New York's WABC-TV.
Soon after a man was nearly struck by the falling helicopter, NYPD officers arrested Zablidowsky for reckless endangerment in the second degree for "flying a remote control helicopter off a balcony, losing control, causing it to crash to the ground from an unreasonable height creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury."
No Hipster-Ironic Laughing Matter
No doubt, city-scape films shot entirely by drone can be breathtakingly beautiful. Sadly, the process can be dangerous -- especially in a dense spot like midtown Manhattan.
Alas, due to air traffic control and general safety concerns, the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to come up with concrete rules for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), known as drones. But the FAA makes clear that "UAS operations are currently not authorized in class b airspace which exists over major urban areas," according to the FAA's website.
For normal private citizen folk, the only way to get FAA approval to operate a drone is to obtain an experimental airworthiness certificate. Unfortunately for drone enthusiasts, even a certificate doesn't allow normal folk to fly aircrafts in congested or densely populated areas.
Zablidowsky's troubles may not be over. The FAA may soon be knocking on his door for more repercussions.
Hipsters of Brooklyn, before you tire of your rooftop farm animals and turn to drone hobbies, remember: as far as the law is concerned, "[drones] can cause damage to airplanes, property, and people," according to WABC-TV.
Though commercially available drones as toys and tools of making art may be on the horizon, safety and privacy concerns are still keeping them grounded for the time being.
- NYPD Arrests Man For Allegedly Flying Drone Near Grand Central (Gothamist)
- Shoot Down a Drone, Get $100? Colo. Town Aims for Aug. Vote (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- Who's Afraid of Domestic Drone Strikes? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- Drone Strikes on Americans: Should You Be Concerned? (FindLaw's Legal Grounds)