Earlier this year, someone accidentally crash-landed a DJI Phantom drone on the the White House lawn. That situation helped escalate the legal issues surrounding drone use in the US.
Today, a man was detained for flying a Parrot BeBop drone at Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House.
It is more than a little ironic that just yesterday, the FAA launched a National Capital Region “No Drone Zone” Campaign to help reinforce the message that drones are banned within a 15-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washing National Airport.
According to reports, it appears that the man was simply flying it recreationally at an altitude of 100′ or less. He cooperated with Secret Service when he was requested to land the drone, which was inspected and declared safe by Washington Metro Police.
The Parrot Bebop is certainly more closely considered a “toy” than a DJI Phantom and other hobby and pro-oriented drones. Still, the Bebop features a 14MP camera with 1080p video capture, which can be streamed wirelessly to an app on a tablet. For someone unfamiliar with drones, it can seem a little more serious than a “toy.”
At first blush, this appears to be as simple of a situation as a someone playing with what he assumed was simply an electronic gadget or toy without understanding the legal climate surround all drone use now.
It should go without saying, but I will go ahead and say it again… Don’t fly any kind of drone or aerial toy anywhere near the White House.