Drone pilot charged with violating secure airspace over two NFL games

Federal prosecutors have charged a drone pilot with violating airspace regulations in connection with anti-media flyers that were dropped over two Northern California sports stadiums in 2017.

Tracy Michael Mapes, 56, of North Highlands, in Sacramento County, was charged Tuesday with violating temporary flight restrictions in national defense airspace at two National Football League games on Nov. 26, 2017.

According to an affidavit attached to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Mapes flew a drone that dropped the flyers on spectators at a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

He then drove to Oakland and dropped flyers over Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, where the Oakland Raiders were playing the Denver Broncos, according to the affidavit, which was filed by an investigating officer with the U.S. Transportation Department.