Drone Pilot Sentenced NFL Incident

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Man Sentenced for 2022 Drone Incident at Bengals Game, NFL Implements Policy Change

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

According to a report by the Cincinnati Enquirer, this past Monday a man from Springfield Township was sentenced for flying an unauthorized drone over a Cincinnati Bengals Wildcard playoff game at PayCor Stadium on January 15th of last year.

According to Judge Matthew McFarland, the incident in which the drone was flown over players and parts of the crowd was one of the first of its kind in the U.S. Officials stated that the event led to a policy change by the NFL that will see teams stop a game and clear the field in response to a similar occurrence.

“This is a new and emerging safety issue that (the NFL is) taking seriously,” said McFarland while addressing 25-year-old Dailon Dabney, who pleaded guilty in March to a charge related to flying the drone. Dabney was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to complete 40 hours of unpaid community service, and has already forfeited the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone, which can cost over $1,000. Dabney said in court that he posted the video taken from the drone “trying to get more content” on his YouTube channel to gain subscribers and earn more money.

Dabney was one of two men charged in federal court last year with drone-related crimes committed at local sports stadiums. The other, Travis Lenhoff, flew a drone over Great American Ballpark on Opening Day in 2022. Lenhoff also pleaded guilty last March, and was sentenced to one year of probation last month. Both men pleaded guilty to violating a temporary flight restriction, which is a misdemeanor. In both cases, no unauthorized drones were permitted to fly in the area from one hour before to one hour after the games.  The FAA reminded pilots of the rule on X (formerly Twitter) yesterday:

Drone pilots, from 1 hour before until 1 hour after an @NFL, @MLB, NCAA Div. 1 Football, @NASCAR Cup, @IndyCar, or Champ Series regular or post-season event, flying within 3 miles of the stadium is PROHIBITED. Learn about drone rules at https://t.co/RyEEJK0QK7.

— FAADroneZone (@FAADroneZone) September 12, 2023

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.


Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry.  Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.


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