Americas FAA

Drone operator detained in front of White House


By Julie Zauzmer and Mark Berman

Secret Service officers stopped a person on Thursday who was flying a small drone over the park in front of the White House.

The drone operator was taken into custody by U.S. Park Police. Park Police spokeswoman Lelani Woods said he would be charged with violating a federal order.

The Secret Service first spotted the drone flying over Lafayette Square at about 1:09 p.m., then located the person who was operating it, Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said in a statement.

Woods said the drone operator was standing on Pennsylvania Avenue, just north of the White House.

Leary said that Secret Service members told the person to land the drone and that the person did so. D.C. police inspected the craft and deemed it safe.

In a photograph provided by Leary, the drone appears to be a Parrot Bebop Drone. According to the product’s Web site, it is just under a foot long, about 11 inches wide and weighs less than a pound.

Roads were closed around the White House in the afternoon while police investigated.

A day before this incident, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it was launching a campaign to remind people that everything within a 15-mile radius of Reagan National Airport is considered a “No Drone Zone.”

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