SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Sacramento man was arrested for flying a drone over the San Francisco 49ers’ stadium on Sunday.
Tracy Mapes of Sacramento was arrested for flying a drone over Levi Stadium and dropping anti-media leaflets.
“This isn’t a story about a drone. This is a story about the fabric of our American history, the first amendment,” said Mapes during an interview with our sister station KPIX on Monday. “The government controls the message, this is how they do it.”
Mapes posted a handful of videos on his YouTube page before Sunday’s stunt. They show practice flights and other leaflet drops at several locations in Sacramento, including over the Sacramento State football field.
He tested the winds and operated his drone from an elevated position. Once up high, Mapes would attach leaflets to his drone then use a mechanism to drop them when over the target.
Drones can be legally flown almost anywhere as long as they’re not near airports, sports venues, or wildfires, but what authority do police have against drones flying illegally?
“There is not a lot we can do,” said Sgt. Shaun Hampton with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department.
He says they can arrest the operator of a drone if they’re flying in a restricted zone but can do little else.
“There really is no prevention measures that we have currently to move a drone or stop a drone from flying,” said Hampton.
And security experts say the incidents of drones interfering with restricted airspace are likely to rise.
“They’re going to become more sophisticated, they’re going to become cheaper. More people are going to have them therefore, we’re going to have more problems,” said Jeff Harp, a security analyst.
The Federal Aviation Administration has a list of guidelines for proper drone operation. They also say they’re working with several airports across the country to develop drone detection technology. https://www.faa.gov/uas/