The FAA Was Not a Fan of the TV Tower Drone Video

By Kevin Eck 

drone sioux city_640Sometimes videotaping something that is against the rules is not a good idea, no matter how cool it looks.

TVNewscheck reports
, The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Prairie Aerial to stop the commercial use of its DJI Phantom 2 drone.

The company drew attention to itself after a video of Sioux Falls Tower and Communications worker Kevin Schmidt climbing the out-of-service 1500 foot transmission tower of local NBC affiliate KDLT went viral. Click here to view the video.

“We just wanted to see how the drone and the video would perform in that kind of extreme environment,” Todd Thorin, owner of Prairie Aerial, told TVNewscheck.

Drones are only allowed to fly up to 400 feet without prior approval of the FAA.

Last week, the agency released a list of tips for law enforcement to help oversee the legal use of unmanned aircraft.

State and local police are often in the best position to immediately investigate unauthorized UAS operations, and as appropriate, to stop them. The document explains how first responders and others can provide invaluable assistance to the FAA by:

Identifying potential witnesses and conducting initial interviews

Contacting the suspected operators of the UAS or model aircraft

Viewing and recording the location of the event

Collecting evidence

Identifying if the UAS operation was in a sensitive location, event or activity

Notifying one of the FAA’s Regional Operation Centers about the operation as soon as possible

The FAA’s goal is to promote voluntary compliance by educating individual UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws, but the guidance makes clear the agency’s authority to pursue legal enforcement action against persons who endanger the safety of the National Airspace System.
The guidance stresses that while the FAA exercises caution not to mix criminal law enforcement with agency administrative safety enforcements, the public is best served by coordinating and fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between governmental entities with law enforcement responsibilities.