30 days in the hole! Seattle drone operator sentenced to jail time for reckless endangerment


posted Monday, February 27, 2017 at 8:28 PM EST


It was bound to happen sooner or later. The popularity of drones has spread like wildfire in recent years, and with it, the obvious potential for disaster. Until recently, that potential has received the most press where restricted airspace is concerned, and the possibility of crippling a passenger aircraft. Now, a drone operator has admitted to piloting a drone that struck a Seattle woman and inflicted a concussion, and thereby received thirty days in the county jail as a result.

We reported earlier on the guilty verdict rendered in January for this case, but the actual jail time is another matter entirely. The guilty drone operator, Paul M. Skinner, will also be required to attend drone safety classes and will likely be further required to compensate the injured victim for medical expenses incurred as a result, but those penalties don't carry the stigma attached to being incarcerated, not even remotely. Classes and medical compensation are slaps on the wrist in comparison, while jail time will surely send a message to the drone community that safety measures are of paramount importance to citizens and to law enforcement agencies.

We at IR love drones, especially as relates to photography, but urge safety precautions above all else. This writer was with his 7-year-old son recently in a public park and watched a fast drone come ominously close to his child's head. I can only say that, even as a big drone lover, that incident made me understand the sentence laid down here. A woman is standing at a public parade one minute, and the next thing she knows she's waking from a concussion due to a drone pilot's gross negligence, and that is an avoidable situation that certainly deserves applicable laws geared towards the protection of citizens in public places.

Seen via Ars Technica