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Flying a drone over an Ed Sheeran concert cost this guy $1,050

A concert ticket would have been cheaper

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A man flying a drone over an Ed Sheeran concert in Brisbane, Australia got hit with a $1,050 AUD fine ($807 USD) after being spotted by authorities.

The pilot, thinking he'd get a quick free peak at Sheeran on his popular "Divide" tour, flew the drone over Suncorp Stadium — breaking the rules of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) which has regulations against flying a drone too low, over a populated area, and out of site, according to the Brisbane Times.

Unfortunately for the pilot, police spotted him, sent the details to CASA, which tracked him down and passed along a heavy fine.

Even for a hard-core Sheeran fan, the decision was hardly economical. Last minute tickets were selling for between $190 AUD ($146 USD) and $250 AUD ($192 USD) on the classifieds web site Gumtree. One guy claimed he'd even trade his guitar, amp and case for two tickets. (We like Sheeran as much as the next person, but really?)

In the U.S., drone pilots can face similar flying restrictions. The problem is catching people who illegally fly drones over stadiums, near disaster areas or even over prisons. Recently, Florida authorities reported drones had dropped contraband over the prison walls in the panhandle part of the state. While guards discovered a cell phone and tobacco — they couldn't find the drone itself, nor the pilot.

Drone operators are legally supposed to register their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But if they don't, they can just abandon a drone and drive away, as it's hard to connect an owner with an unregistered drone.

While marketed often as fun weekend toys, drones can pose a serious threat in the sky, whether that's by infringing on someone's privacy or interfering in another aircraft's space. Investigators, for example, have been looking into whether a drone caused a helicopter crash in South Carolina in February.

Fortunately, the Sheeran fly-by resulted in noting more than the pilot's own dive into his bank account.



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