June 10, 2014

Drone copter operator loses craft on AT&T Stadium roof

Cowboys spokesman says the drone was recovered and will be returned to the unnamed owner.

Good thing the roof was closed.

A quadcopter enthusiast lost his remote-controlled, helicopter-type drone somewhere atop AT&T Stadium’s domed roof, according to a YouTube video posted online Tuesday.

The man, who proclaimed himself a “dumba--” in the video, said he lost the connection with the quadcopter as he was flying it over the $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington’s entertainment district recently.

The man was not identified in the video, which was posted on the website The Register, which features stories related to technology and science.

“This wasn’t a good day for me,” the man said. “I let the building get between me and the transmitter and it lost the control signal and the live video feed all at once. It didn’t give me any warning. … Consequently it ran into the roof or the side of the stadium and I lost my quadcopter.”

The Dallas Cowboys confirmed the incident Tuesday.

“We found the drone and will be returning it to its owner,” Dallas Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said.

While waiting to recover the device, the man recorded fresh video footage with a second quadcopter high above the nearly 300-foot-tall stadium, the nearby Globe Life Park at Arlington and Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor theme parks.

The video, which has caught the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration, also included footage shot above downtown Dallas landmarks, including Reunion Tower.

“We are looking into it to determine what our next steps might be,” said Lynn Lunsford, an FAA spokesman.

People who fly model aircraft “solely for hobby or recreational reasons” do not require FAA approval but they must follow the agency’s guidelines. Those rules include limiting aircraft to a maximum weight of 55 pounds, in most cases, and also not interfering with manned aircraft. When flying an unmanned aircraft within 5 miles of an airport, the FAA also requires that operators establish a mutually agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and airport traffic control tower prior to flight.

The Arlington Municipal Airport is about 6.5 miles from AT&T Stadium; D/FW Airport is more than 10 miles away.

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