Friday, October 18, 2013

Brooklyn man arrested for flying drone over Manhattan

  NEW YORK (WABC) -- He's a musician from Brooklyn but he has struck a wrong note with the NYPD who tracked him down after our story aired and charged the inexperienced, drone operator with reckless endangerment.

It's his own video that helped the NYPD nail David Zablidowsky. The 34-year-old musician from Brooklyn is clearly seen at the controls of the drone.

The 34-year-old musician from Brooklyn is clearly seen at the controls of the drone.

The video recovered by a financial analyst who handed it over to Eyewitness News, after he nearly took a direct hit when the small helicopter drone similar to this one, crashed at his feet while walking near Grand Central.

Days after the video aired on Eyewitness News, Police arrested Zablidowsky for "reckless endangerment" for "flying a remote control helicopter off a balcony, losing control, causing it to crash to the ground from an unreasonable height creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury."

We tried reaching him at his Brooklyn apartment but got no answer. The reckless endangerment charge is a class A misdemeanor which if he's found guilty could lead to a stiff fine.

"The individual was not in control of that vehicle from take off to landing," said former pilot JP Tristani.

Tristani says the FAA has to get a handle on this because drones will grow in popularity and even the small ones pose a threat to aircraft.

"Can it affect the engines of an aircraft, most certainly. Can it penetrate the metal fuselage, most certainly," he said.

The FAA has yet to come up with concrete rules for unmanned aircraft systems, known as UAS or drones, but has said that "UAS operations are currently not authorized in class b airspace which exists over major urban areas".

Chances are Zablidowsky will be hearing from the FAA too for this reckless flight of a drone 30 stories above a congested mid-town.

"It can cause damage to airplanes, property and people . And the uncontrolled us of it has to be controlled," adds Tristani.

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