Drone Pilot Banned from Yellowstone

German man crashed Phantom 2 into park lake

Andreas Meissner was operating a Phantom 2 unmanned aircraft when he crashed it into the marina at Lake Yellowstone in July. (Sam Beebe/Flickr)
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In the first application of the National Park Service’s anti-drone regulations, a German citizen named Andreas Meissner has pleaded guilty to several charges related to an ill-fated drone flight in Yellowstone National Park in July. He was sentenced to a one-year ban from the park, a year of unsupervised probation, and more than $1,600 in fines, according to a report by KUSA, Denver’s NBC affiliate.

While visiting from Germany, Meissner was using his drone and a GoPro camera to capture footage documenting a bicycle tour for a charity called Run and Ride for Reading. The drone crashed into Yellowstone Lake shortly after takeoff on July 18; it was recovered by a diver working for the park service 10 days later. Meissner was caught when he reached out to the park service to recover his drone.

Drones, which have been showing up in all kinds of outdoor areas in the past couple years, were banned in all national parks in June. According to KUSA, two other drone pilots, including a man who crashed his drone into Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring, have been charged under the new law.

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