FAA issues threat: fly drones near stadiums and risk a year in jail

The FAA has been battling various types of drone use both in and out of court, and though it has threatened large fines for certain violations, it has largely avoided tossing around criminal penalties against pilots who violate regulations. That changed in a big way recently, with the Federal Aviation Administration threatening drone operators with up to a year in jail if they fly near any big sports stadiums or racetracks. The ban against flying UAVs near or in stadiums is not new, and is due to safety considerations.

This information comes from the Associated Press, which is reporting that the FAA put the warning on its website recently. This is a milestone threat, in that never before has the usage of drones been criminalized in the US, though it seems that may have only been due to a poorly worded notice.

The changes were made, according to a spokesperson, because the FAA wanted to edit the notice to insert a new Web address. Since the notice was already being updated, the administration decided to add model airplanes and drones under it since it classifies them as aircraft.

The issue is polarizing, with some expressing concerns about both safety and footage value if drones are allowed to fly over and in stadiums; others are concerned the regulations are too limiting, restricting operators in ways that should not exist while stifling one's ability to make things like, in this case, training materials from aerial footage.

VIA: The Verge