Welcome to your Weekly News Update. We have four stories for you this week. The first one involves a reckless drone pilot who has pleaded guilty. The second story previews a potentially exciting official event happening next week. Our third piece is about new FAA guidance on federal preemption, which is certainly good News. Lastly, we'll discuss a malfunction that caused 500 drones to fall from the sky, which was not such a good outcome. Let's get started.
Drone operator pleads guilty
Our first story this week is about a drone operator in California who has admitted to recklessly flying a drone near aircraft on multiple occasions. The three incidents occurred between June 2022 and March 2023, so this is pretty recent news. The person involved, Alexander Milanovic, first flew his drone within 10 to 20 feet of a gyrocopter in June 2022. This action resulted in the pilot making an emergency course change to prevent a collision.
The second incident occurred just a month later, with Milanovic flying in excess of 500 feet and coming close enough to a nearby blimp to force the pilot to make an emergency landing. The Department of Justice described this event as life-threatening.
Lastly, the third incident involved a Coast Guard rescue helicopter operating between 200 and 300 feet near Laguna Beach. Milanovic flew his drone directly at the helicopter, causing the helicopter to maneuver to avoid it, fearing that it might hit the propeller.
All of these incidents were posted on social media, which resulted in a notification to law enforcement. The investigation involved the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Coast Guard, and the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Milanovic faces a minimum of one year in federal prison for each of these counts. So please, don't be that person.
DJI Air 3 teaser “Double Up”
Our next story is an exciting one. DJI released a teaser this week about a drone to be launched next week. It seems to feature two different windows, which they refer to as “double up.” We know that the Air 3 was rumored to have a dual camera setup, a brand-new transmitter, and a host of other features. The release is scheduled for Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. There have been a lot of rumors and leaks in the past few weeks showing pretty much everything about the upcoming drone, just like what seems to be happening a lot with DJI drones that are just around the corner. We'll see if these rumors hold true.
FAA Guidance on Federal Preemption
Our third story this week is about new FAA guidance on federal preemption. This refers to an updated fact sheet that outlines what is and isn't preempted by federal laws and the FAA in terms of drone regulation. The document is comprehensive and much-needed. The last update was perhaps in 2015, so a lot has changed since then.
However, there is one area that could cause confusion. The FAA mentions that there is an expectation of privacy around parks and schools, which isn't the case. But overall, it's a valuable resource, especially for those working with local and state officials.
Drone Show Falls into the Drink
Our final story involves a malfunction in drone show programming that resulted in all the drones falling into a nearby river. This happened in Australia, with 500 drones attempting to land in the river – not an ideal situation. Someone will have to do a lot of drone fishing, including, apparently, using divers. The drones were doing what they were programmed to do, which is the sad part. No one was injured by the drones landing in the water, and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the glitch. We're glad that no one was hurt.
EEA Air Venture in Oshkosh
Lastly, we will be at EAA Air Venture in Oshkosh next week. Make sure you come and see us. We'll have a big booth right by the entrance on the right side, at Booth 90. Come say hi, grab some swag, and take some pictures. That's all for this week. We'll see you next week.
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