A male in California confronts a year behind bars and a fine for crashing his drone into an authorities helicopter, requiring an emergency situation landing.
Andrew Rene Hernandez, 22, this week pleaded guilty to recklessly running an unmanned aircraft, a United States federal criminal offense that might have seen him imprisoned for ten years if the mishap had resulted in major bodily injury or death.
Thankfully, no one was damaged.
As Hernandez’s flying gadget– a DJI Mavic Pro Platinum M1X– ascended, it smashed into the bottom of a cops helicopter keeping watch above. The drone was right away eliminated, and came crashing down while the police copter had to land at neighboring Hooper Heliport and check for damage. We’re informed the drone pranged the nose, antenna, and the bottom cowlings.
” If the drone had struck the helicopter’s main rotor rather of the fuselage, it might have brought the helicopter down,” affirmed FBI special agent William Richau in court filings [PDF].
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” The drone could have easily hit and damaged the rotor or other crucial parts of the helicopter like the windshield, which might have triggered the helicopter to crash or sidetrack the pilot.”
Fortunately it was Hernandez’s drone that came off even worse, although shards of its remains raked through the back window of a parking area near the pharmacy. The Los Angeles Police Department browsed the location and found portions of the drone, including its cam and identification number.
From there the FBI acquired a search warrant to access its camera and the SD card lodged inside it, and exposed photos of Hernandez. In one of the images, Hernandez is standing in front of a vehicle, and the FBI traced the license plate to his address.
Hernandez was cuffed, charged, and confessed one minor misdemeanor count of hazardous operation of an unmanned airplane. He is arranged to appear in court for sentencing on April 12, where he deals with a maximum of 1 year jail time and a fine of a quarter of a million dollars.
He most likely won’t have to pay anywhere near that amount. “The parties presently think that the suitable quantity of restitution is approximately $1,000, but acknowledge and concur that this amount could alter based upon truths that come to the attention of the parties prior to sentencing,” according to his guilty plea arrangement. ®