CINCINNATI — Two Cincinnati-area men are facing federal charges after illegally flying drones over professional sporting events.
A grand jury has indicted Dailon Dabney,24, of Cincinnati, and Travis Lenhoff, 38, of Northern Kentucky, for two separate drone-related felonies.
Dabney allegedly flew a drone into Paul Brown Stadium during the NFL playoff game on January 15.
The drown hovered over the players and part of the stadium crowd. It’s alleged that Dabney recorded the flight and posted the video on YouTube and other social sites.
Lenhoff is accused of flying his drown into restricted air space near Great American Ballpark on opening day for the Cincinnati Red on April 12.
“This is a growing problem that poses a direct risk to the players and the individuals in the stands,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. 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.”
All drones that weigh over .55 pounds and less than 55 pounds must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Both Dabney’s and Lanhoff’s drones are not registered with the FAA. In addition, the two do not have remote pilot certifications.
The defendants face up to three years in prison if convicted of operating an unregistered drone. Dabney is also charged with violating a temporary flight restriction which is punishable by up to one year in prison.
“Flying a drone over a stadium full of fans is dangerous and illegal without the proper FAA 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.”
Until proven guilty by a court of law, defendants are presumed innocent based on the allegations contained in their indictments. Until proven guilty by a court of law, defendants are presumed innocent based on the allegations contained in their indictments.
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