Drone pilots have certainly been getting a bad reputation lately, with irresponsible flying, causing lawmakers and drone manufacturers to tighten the security and requirements to fly. Los Angeles drone pilot Martin Sheldon was sentenced to 30 days community labor, three years probation and forfeiting of his drone (valued at $6,000) after flying into the path of a Los Angeles Police Department helicopter. During that probation period, Sheldon is also barred from flying any unmanned aerial systems, among the first in these types of restrictions.
These punishments come after Martin Sheldon operated a drone toward an LAPD helicopter on Aug 27th while LAPD was assisting in the search of an assault suspect. His actions forced the LAPD pilot to break from the search and perform evasive maneuvers to avoid hitting the drone system. LAPD officers were then able to track the drone operator to a parking lot, and immediately confiscated the drone.
“Interfering with a police investigation through the careless operation of a drone places our officers and the public at serious risk,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “This conviction sends a strong message that we will hold those who recklessly operate these devices accountable for their actions.”
This is among the first cases against drone operators and may be used as a test case for the future.