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Virginia Drone Pilot Sentenced for Buzzing Fire Station

Unregistered Drone User Gets 2 Years of Probation

A drone pilot received his sentence for his part in "dive bombing" firefighters at a nearby Salem, Virginia fire station this week. 

The incident occurred for "close to 10 minutes" in July 2019, when the pilot flew his unregistered drone around the fire station to chase police and firefighters. When they retreated into the buildind, he maneuvered it into the vehicle bay to follow. The firefighters sprung their trap then, closing the doors and leading the drone to strike the supports and crash to the floor. A perfect crime it was not, but the pilot sealed his fate when he went to the local police department hoping to recover his missing drone. His mastermind plan to tell the police "uh, a friend was flying it, wasn't me!" surprisingly failed to neutralize suspicion, and the police told him the drone had been seized as part of an investigation. 

The pilot came clean to his part in the shenanigans, ultimately reaching the Roanoke federal court for his role. He was ordered to surrender the drone as part of a plea agreement that resulted in a 2-year stint of probation. He apologized for playing around, describing it as a stupid mistake. Those subjected to his swooping and weaving described it as more "annoying than dangerous" but the judge presiding over his case disagreed. She insisted there was a risk of true harm, because firefighters were distracted at a time when they were on call to respond to emergencies. 



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