WASHINGTON —Around 3:00 a.m. Monday January 27th, 2015 an inebriated off-duty employee of a government intelligence agency decided he would fly his friend’s drone.
The intoxicated insomniac turned early morning drone operator soon learned, drinking while droning, is akin to drinking while driving - you can lose control of what you’re operating resulting in bad things happening.
Dude lost control of the 2-foot-by-2-foot quad-copter and said aircraft wound up dropping in on the White House grounds.
Our early morning pilot had a feeling he had F*****d up. The New York Times reported he had texted friends telling them he was worried the drone had gone down on the White House grounds.
After coming out of his alcohol induced slumber the next morning he found his concerns not wasted - the drone did in fact, come down on the grounds of the house that talks. He contacted his employer, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Secret Service with whom he immediately began cooperating with in an attempt to aid their investigation into the incident.
It’s my understanding that the airspace over the Washington D.C. (the White House in particular) is highly restricted. I mean you don’t hear about folks in D.C. having fly problems because every time a fly takes flight in D.C. F-16 fighter jets miraculous appear in the vicinity and shoots them down. You see birds, but you don’t see them doing a lot of flying - they know better. It’s also illegal to operate a drone in D.C. I know - go tell that to those little kids that keep water balloon bombing the skylight of my NW Washington home.
So how did a drunk drone pilot operating a commercial drone from blocks away from the White House breach White House airspace unchallenged? The flies and birds want to know.
Well, the Secret Service saw it but was powerless to stop it. They say their air branch has intensively studied ways to stop small drones that could be operated by terrorists or people determined to harm the president. I guess they haven’t come up with a plan yet. It’s my understanding that a small drone isn’t picked up on White House airspace radar.
This is dangerous. If said drone was being flown with nefarious intentions we could be having an entirely different conversation about this incident. This is yet another incident that seriously challenges the safety of the first family and most any other government institution in Washington D.C.
The Secret Service buys the man’s explanation that this was a mistake. As of the date of this post he hasn’t been charged with a crime.
President Obama, who was traveling abroad, declined to comment on the drone episode. But in an interview with CNN broadcast on Tuesday morning, he said he had instructed federal agencies to examine the need for regulations on commercial drone technology.