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Man charged with three year jail term for flying drone over Baltimore Stadium during AFC Championship game. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS?



The drone caused play to pause during the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs, which the Chiefs would go on to win.

A Pennsylvania man, Matthew Hebert, has been charged with illegally flying a drone over Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium during the AFC championship game between the Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs last month. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced on Monday that Hebert, 44, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, faces three felony counts related to operating an unregistered drone, serving as an airman without a certificate, and violating national defense airspace on Jan. 28.

The Federal Aviation Administration prohibits drones from flying within 3 miles of stadiums seating at least 30,000 people during events like NFL and MLB games, as well as in the hour before and after these events. This incident follows a similar investigation in November when a drone briefly disrupted a Ravens-Bengals game.

Maryland State troopers tracked the unauthorized drone to a nearby neighborhood where it landed. Hebert, who was wearing a Ravens jersey and visiting friends in Baltimore for the football game, admitted to operating the drone. He explained that he purchased the drone online in 2021 and used an app to operate it, despite lacking training or a license.

Hebert claimed he was unaware of restrictions around the stadium during the game, as the app had previously prevented him from operating the drone due to flight restrictions. He flew the drone about 330 feet or higher for about two minutes, capturing photos and possibly a video of himself and the stadium. He only realized his flight had disrupted the game when approached by a trooper.

Hebert declined to comment when reached by telephone on Tuesday. If convicted, he faces a maximum of three years in federal prison for knowingly operating an unregistered drone and serving as an airman without an airman’s certificate. He could also face a maximum of one year in federal prison for willfully violating United States national defense airspace. An initial appearance and arraignment are expected to be scheduled later this month.

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