Dude Who Crashed Drone Into US Open Sentenced to 5 Days Community Service

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The verdict is in on the New York City science teacher who accidentally crashed his quadcopter into the stands of the US Open last month. The 26-year-old has been ordered to perform five days of community service. That’s honestly not so bad.


Flying drones can be dangerous, and crashing drones into crowded stadiums can be very dangerous. The young science teacher was flying a 3DR drone near the US Open venue so that he could get some footage of the Unisphere. But the flying robot malfunctioned and flew into the stands instead. Whoops!

“Fortunately, no one was injured as a result of this incident,” reads a press release from the Queens County district attorney’s office. “However, we cannot rely on happenstance to protect the public.”

As the price of drones drops, we’re sure to see more incidents involving inexperience pilots making bad decisions about where to fly. That’s why the district attorney’s “happenstance” comment is so on point. There will be more accidents. Five days of community service is a slap on the wrist, but who knows what the verdict would’ve been if the teacher had actually injured someone. Let’s hope we never have to find out.

[Ars Technica]

Image via AP

Contact the author at adam@gizmodo.com.
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So here’s the thing. I both play golf and fly RC planes/quadcopters. I don’t see a huge difference except that I have control over the quadcopter/plane after it takes off. And I wouldn’t expect any criminal charges if you accidentally hit someone with a golf ball in a place where it was reasonable to do so...surprisingly this doesn’t get much press but it happens. I also wouldn’t expect trouble if I hit some golf balls in an empty field that I knew to be public land. There is a park in NOLA where the walking/running/biking path is literally 10 feet off the golf course. Likely, if a pedestrian was struck, it would be construed as a person accidentally hit by a ball from a golf course, but you could also phrase it as a misdirected projectile from an inexperienced golfer stuck an innocent pedestrian.