TUSCALOOSA, Alabama — Tuscaloosa police have identified the operator of a drone that struck a man walking near Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday.
Tuscaloosa police said they recovered a “white Phantom drone” around 2:30 p.m. Saturday in a parking lot on 12th Avenue near Bryant Drive, and are interested in talking with the operator. The drone struck the pedestrian as it was descending from flight.
Sgt. Brent Blankley said the pedestrian was not injured.
A video camera was attached to the drone, and investigators downloaded the video, which contained images of the operator. The drone was flown around the University of Alabama campus area and captured images of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The National Transportation Safety Board ruled Tuesday that drones can be considered “small aircraft” and the NTSB has the authority to regulate them after a man used a drone to film the University of Virginia in 2011 — and almost hit a pedestrian on a sidewalk.
The man, Raphael Pirker, was originally fined $10,000 by the Federal Aviation Association before a federal judge dismissed the fine.
“The National Transportation Safety Board affirmed the agency’s position that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) meet the legal definition of “aircraft,” and that the agency may take enforcement action against anyone who operates a UAS or model aircraft in a careless or reckless manner,” the Federal Aviation Association said in a release yesterday.