Balloon Fiesta officials to drone owners as event looms: 'Don't even think about it' | KOB 4
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Balloon Fiesta officials to drone owners as event looms: 'Don't even think about it'

Megan Abundis
October 05, 2018 09:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It's a photographer's dream—bright colors, a multitude of shapes, huge crowds of people.

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You may even be tempted to fly your drone over the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, beginning this weekend. But organizers and officials have one word for drone owners: Don't.

In fact, don't even try it, organizers emphasize, saying that new software for 2018 detects and tracks nearby drones as soon as they've been turned on. A no-fly zone is being established via a four-mile "no-fly zone" for drones around the park, an initiative officials say is all about safety.

"They are increasingly concerned that someone who doesn't have malicious intent (and) just wants to take a good picture will lose control into a crowd of 100,000 people, (or) will lose control into a balloon while its propellers are spinning," said Adam Lisberg of DJI.

Aerial Armor provides the drone detection services to track DJI drones. A continuous beeping noise from that software will let law enforcement at a Balloon Fiesta Park command post know if someone nearby has powered up a drone.

The tech will inform them of their altitude, the drone's serial number, where it is, where it took off from and, critically, the pilot's location.

"They intend to send FBI agents out to prosecute people criminally under federal law, if necessary, for violating the sanctity of the temporary flight restrictions here," Lisberg said.

Despite those restrictions, one official drone will be taking to the skies, bearing a high-performance Canon camera to gain promotional footage.  

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Megan Abundis

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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