It’s happened again. A little more than one week after another illegal drone flight caused a delay at an MLB game, a nearly identical scenario happened this evening in Boston. Out of the blue and over Fenway Park came a drone, bringing the game to an abrupt halt.
Who are these people? Eight days ago, someone flew a drone over Target Stadium in Minnesota. The Twins and the Pirates were in the middle of a game, and play had to be suspended for about 10 minutes. We wrote about that episode here and hoped that would be the last we’d see of such behavior this season.
We were, unfortunately, wrong. It has happened again, this time at Boston’s Fenway Park. Once again, a drone has illegally flown in and disrupted a game – and tarnished the rep of drones in the process.
Here’s what happened tonight.
The FAA is pretty particular about flying drones over these kinds of locations: Don’t do it. The FAA is also pretty clear about flying drones over people: Don’t do it, unless you have special safety precautions in place and have obtained permission to do so.
There was no permission obtained for the Boston flight, nor for the flight in Minnesota. At the Minneapolis game, team members even tried to bring down the drone with baseballs. No luck – and the drone flew away:
In Boston, police find pilot
In the case of Boston drone, which appeared to be a DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, police were able to track down the pilot. According to the Boston Globe:
A search of the area revealed there was a 16-year-old male and a friend who appeared to be operating the drone while at 82 Brookline Avenue. The friend left the scene, but the police spoke with the individual who had been flying the drone, and notified him that the game had to be paused because of his actions. The individual was informed as to how to register his drone, and his parents were contacted about the situation. The incident in question was referred to the FAA.
The DJI connection
In both cases, the drones were DJI products from the Mavic line. It’s not DJI’s fault, of course, that these two pilots ignored (or were possibly unaware) of the law. It’s in these situations where DJI is something of a victim of its own success: Because it sells vastly more drones than any other manufacturer on earth, the odds are that even a rogue drone will have been manufactured by DJI.
We contacted DJI’s corporate communications director in North America, Adam Lisberg, late Thursday evening. He had not yet seen the Fenway footage, but was kind enough to respond.
I don’t need to see it to note that DJI expects all drone pilots to fly safely and responsibly, including following all applicable laws and regulations. Please note that the last time someone flew a DJI drone over a game at Fenway, they were very quickly located and arrested. That should be a good warning to anyone thinking about doing the same thing.
Adam Lisberg, Corporate Communications Director, DJI North America
A faint possibility is that one (or both) pilots may have mistakenly believed that because the stadiums were empty except for the players that they could overfly these locations. That’s not the case. And, after these incidents, you can bet that stadiums not already equipped with drone detection gear will be investigating their options.
As always, ensure that the location you’re planning to fly in is legal, that you keep your drone within your visual line of sight, and that you follow all rules.
Now, let’s Play Ball! But without the drones.