A reckless drone pilot in the UK was fined almost £1,500 after pleading guilty to flying in restricted airspace above East Midlands Airport to get footage of the 2023 Download Festival, a rock festival held at Donington Park in Leicestershire.

Daniel Cesare flew a DJI Mavic on June 9th and 10th from a recreation center around two miles from Donington Park. The drone’s footage captures scenes from day and night at the festival, featuring a plane landing in one of the clips.

In July, he pleaded guilty to operating as a remote pilot for an unmanned aircraft within a restricted flight zone without authorization, disregarding the maximum altitude restrictions, and failing to maintain visual contact with the unmanned flight. These actions occurred on June 9 of the current year. He also pleaded guilty to the same charges related to the flights on June 10th, with the additional charge of failing to display a registration number on his device.

Pc Stephen Booth of Derbyshire Constabulary’s Drones Team expressed that Cesare’s actions completely disregard drone flying regulations. Cesare twice flew his drone within the restricted airspace of East Midlands Airport, including during a plane’s landing. Additionally, his drone operation at the Download Festival posed a risk to attendees and their safety because its flight was beyond his line of sight. Pc Booth emphasized that drone laws are in place to ensure safety and that this sentencing demonstrates the seriousness with which the courts and law enforcement treat such violations.

East Midlands Airport’s operations director, Simon Hinchley, highlighted that flying drones within restricted zones near an airport is both dangerous and irresponsible, constituting a criminal act. He emphasized that individuals engaging in such behavior would be subject to legal action, potentially leading to imprisonment and substantial fines. Hinchley urged drone users to acquaint themselves with the stringent rules and regulations to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

See also-Drone Pilot who Endangered a Historic Plane Avoids Prison

For airport-related Counter-UAS resources, please visit C-UAS Hub Airports.

Post Image- Footage released from the drone shows East Midlands Airport and Donington Park (Image Credit: Derbyshire Police/PA)