A man is accused of flying a drone over Baltimore Stadium during the AFC Championship Game

A man is accused of flying a drone over Baltimore Stadium during the AFC Championship Game

BALTIMORE — A Pennsylvania man has been charged with illegally flying a drone over M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore during the AFC Championship game between the Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs last month, prompting security to temporarily suspend the game, the office said. United States Attorney for the District of Maryland. Announced on Monday.

Matthew Hebert, 44, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, was charged with three felony counts of operating an unregistered drone, acting as a pilot without a certificate and violating national defense airspace on Jan. 28.

Drones are prohibited from flying within 3 miles of stadiums that seat at least 30,000 people during events, including NFL and MLB games, and in the hour before and after they start. , according to the Federal Aviation Administration. In November, the department said it would investigate a drone that briefly delayed a game between the Ravens and Bengals.

Maryland State Troopers tracked the unidentified, uncertified drone to a nearby neighborhood where it landed and found Hebert, who admitted to operating the drone, FBI Special Agent David Rudsky wrote in an affidavit. Hebert told troopers and FBI agents that he purchased the drone online in 2021 and used an app to operate it, but he had no training or license to operate a drone.

Hebert, who was wearing a Ravens jersey and was visiting a friends’ home in Baltimore for the football game, said he was unaware of the restrictions surrounding the field during the game, according to the affidavit. The app had previously prohibited Hebert from operating the drone due to flight restrictions, so while he was surprised he was able to operate it, he assumed he was allowed to fly it.

Hibbert flew the drone at an altitude of about 330 feet or higher for about two minutes, taking half a dozen photos of himself and the stadium, and possibly taking video as well, but he didn’t know his flight had disrupted the game until a guard approached him. A soldier, according to the affidavit.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Hebert declined to comment.

If convicted, Hebert faces a maximum of three years in prison on charges of knowingly operating an unregistered drone and knowingly acting as a pilot without a pilot’s certificate. He faces a maximum of one year in prison on charges of intentionally violating U.S. national defense airspace. An initial appearance and trial are expected to be scheduled later this month.

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