Guilty verdict in third Yellowstone Park unmanned aircraft case

Three cases regarding the use of unmanned aircraft in Yellowstone National Park have resulted in three convictions.

Donald Criswell of Molalla, Oregon, had been charged with violating the ban after he flew his unmanned aircraft over the crowded Midway Geyser Basin and close to bison on August 19.  On Thursday afternoon, October 2, he pled guilty to the charge of violating a closure and was fined $1,000 plus court costs.

In late September, Theodorus Van Vliet of the Netherlands entered a guilty plea in connection with an August 2 incident where his unmanned aircraft crashed into Grand Prismatic Spring.  He was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay over $2,200 in restitution.

Earlier in September, Andreas Meissner of Germany pled guilty to charges arising from operating an unmanned aircraft which crashed into Yellowstone Lake near the West Thumb Marina back on July 18.  Meissner was sentenced to a one year ban from the park, was placed on one year of unsupervised probation, and was ordered to pay over $1,600 in fines and restitution.

All three successfully prosecuted cases arose from well documented violations of the prohibition of the operation of unmanned aircraft along with other violations of park regulations or impacts to park resources.

Full article here: Yellowstone Hobby UAS Incidents

Views: 1868

Comment by Chim Xotox on October 5, 2014 at 12:42pm


Comment by hotelzululima on October 5, 2014 at 12:44pm

uh where was the required public input on these new "regulations" prior to putting them into effect.. and the constitutional authority ceding  authority for airspace jurisdiction  from the FAA to the NPS, LOTS of very unanswered legal questions here for the devoted courts follower. ie theses cases should DEFINITELY be appealed ,  lots of holes in the NPS position.. and regs..


Comment by hotelzululima on October 5, 2014 at 1:03pm

also the supposed NPS "regulations" interfere with legitmate 1st amendment protected activities such as both ENG by drone as well as photography by drone.

Perhaps some news organization or religeous org(church group using a photo drone to take pictures of a church outing in the NPS system) should consider a lawsuit against the NPS to protect their first amendment rights?

ie we as US citizens DONT EVER lose our rights by virtue of what some bureaucrat has said but we do have to both exercise and bring offending parties such as the NPS to court on occasion to keep those rights from being infringed.

US citizens DONT lose 1st amendment rights at the entrance to a taxpayer owned NPS facility and the NPS needs clearly to be taught that(not to mention the usurping of the FAAs regulatory authority over the airspace).


Comment by GhostRider on October 6, 2014 at 5:25am

If it hasn't happened yet, it is just a matter of time till the National Parks will want to use drones for search and rescue or patrol for poachers etc.  Would that be in conflict with their own regulations?

Comment by SwissFreek on October 7, 2014 at 1:11pm

Well, if their beaurocracy functions anything like the one I work in, someday something will happen, and some bright young man or woman will say "Hey, that would be a perfect low-risk solution to our problem," and their boss will say "No, that's against the rules." And then they will say "But, sir..." and their boss will say "Nope." And then someone will die of exposure because no one would let the drone fly. So they won't ever have to worry about a conflict of interest.


You need to be a member of DIY Drones to add comments!

Join DIY Drones

© 2019   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service