UAV Pilot Charged with Felony

The details of what really happened are still murky, but what we do know is the owner of a video-camera-equipped Hexacopter flying near the scene of a car accident in Springfield, Ohio, earlier this week was charged with felony obstruction after police said he refused to land his UAV even as a medevac helicopter prepared to touch down.

"I'm not an idiot," 31-year-old Kele Stanley told the Associated Press after being arrested, saying he would have landed his remote-controlled craft immediately had he known the medical helicopter was en route.

Police tell a different story. Officials say a Clark County sheriff's deputy told Stanley to stop flying his Hexacopter because the helicopter was preparing to land, and that he refused, according to the Associated Press story. The helicopter was able to land and depart safely from the scene.

Stanley is facing a felony charge of obstructing official business and misdemeanor charges of misconduct at an emergency and disorderly conduct. He pleaded not guilty during a court appearance on Monday.

Stanley said he was shooting video of the crash scene, which he planned to turn over to local TV stations, as he has done before.

The FAA prohibits any use of remote-controlled UAVs except for limited hobbyist flying. A judge recently ruled that** the agency lacks the legal authority to impose such a strict ban**. That ruling has been appealed, so for now the FAA restrictions remain in force.

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