Aerial Recklessness: Laguna Beach Man’s Drone Antics Lead to Probation Sentence

Reckless Drone Flights Lead to Probation for Laguna Beach Man

In a follow-up to the previously reported case that highlights the dangers of irresponsible drone usage, Alexander Milinovic, a 62-year-old Laguna Beach resident, faced repercussions for his perilous drone operations near various aircraft.

The series of drone incidents, which unfolded between June 2022 and March 2023, culminated in Milinovic receiving one-year probation in federal court in Santa Ana on Tuesday, November 28.

The Gyrocopter Close Call

Milinovic's first reckless act occurred on June 19, 2022, during a Father's Day flight. A father and son piloting a gyrocopter from Chino experienced a harrowing near-miss with Milinovic's drone off Crescent Bay Beach. The drone, flying dangerously close at 10 to 20 feet, forced the pilots to undertake an emergency maneuver to avoid a potential collision.

The Blimp Encounter

The following month, in July 2022, Milinovic's drone once again caused alarm. This time, the pilot of a Discovery Channel Shark Week blimp, while flying over the Pacific near Laguna Beach, feared a collision with the drone. The blimp pilot's concern about the drone hitting and piercing the blimp's outer envelope illustrates the serious risk posed by such reckless drone usage.

Coast Guard Helicopter Incident

The most alarming incident occurred in March 2023 when Milinovic reportedly flew his drone perilously close to a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. The Jayhawk rescue helicopter's crew, while operating off the coast of Laguna Beach, had to maneuver away from the drone to avoid what could have been a catastrophic collision.

Legal Outcomes and Community Service

Following his guilty plea to three counts of unsafely operating an unmanned aircraft, Milinovic was sentenced to one year of probation by U.S. District Judge Fred Slaughter. Additionally, he was ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and perform 120 hours of community service. These penalties underscore the seriousness with which the legal system views such reckless endangerment of public safety.

Drone Operation Regulations

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines mandate drone pilots to fly their unmanned aircraft within their line of sight and avoid interfering with manned aircraft. Milinovic's actions clearly violated these safety regulations, showcasing a disregard for the potential consequences of his actions.

The Responsibility of Drone Pilots

Paul Meyer, Milinovic's attorney, stated that his client regretted the apprehensions caused by his drones. This case serves as a potent reminder of the responsibility that comes with operating drones, emphasizing the need for adherence to safety regulations to ensure the safety of all airspace users.

A Call for Safer Skies

Milinovic's case is a stark reminder of the importance of responsible drone operations. As becomes more prevalent, adherence to safety guidelines is crucial to prevent similar incidents. This case is a cautionary tale for drone enthusiasts about the potential risks and legal consequences of irresponsible drone usage.

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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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