KINGSPORT — Look, up in the sky.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane.
No, it’s the D-B drone.
Well, it wasn’t really the Dobyns-Bennett drone at the Aug. 28 football game at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
But football and band fans in the stands at the game and halftime band show at the Oak Ridge High School versus D-B noticed a drone above the field.
First off, the drone was approved by Kingsport City Schools administration and Dobyns-Bennett High School and D-B athletic officials, KCS Chief Information Officer Andy True said.
Kingpsort-based Cumberland Marketing operated the drone, within parameters set by the school system and school, to get video of what True called the “Friday night experience” of a D-B football game.
The footage, True said, will end up on some promotional video to be show on the public access channel of Charter cable channel 192, formerly channel 16.
“They (Cumberland Marketing officials) approached up wanting to get some aerial shots,” True said, adding that traditional ground video has already been taken at games.
To make sure folks knew the drone was approved and being monitored, he was shoulder to shoulder with the operator in the baseball field of the stadium, where the drone took off and landed.
According to The Associated Press, a New York City teacher was arrested early Friday, Sept. 4, for allegedly crashing a drone into an empty section of seats at the U.S. Open.
AP reported that police said. Daniel Verley, 26, faces charges of reckless endangerment and operating a drone in a New York City public park outside of prescribed area.
Back in Kingsport at D-B Sept. 28, True said the rules included that the drone would not distract players during the game.
However, mostly importantly he said safety concerns meant that the drone was not to hover above the fans in the stands or above the players on the field.
He said the drone was in the air about six to eight minutes, including most of the football half time show, which was the first home performance of this year’s D-B marching band approaching 400 members.
True said the agreement was a one-time deal with Cumberland, although he said the system might be open to another proposal from Cumberland if approached.
Asked about the legality of drones at such sporting events in public venues, City Attorney Mike Billingsley, who also serves as school system attorney, Thursday, Sept. 3, in a break at the Board of Educaton meeting said he was not familiar with the drone regulations of the FAA or Federal Aviation Administration.
Drones are more and more commonly seen around events in Kingsport and the region.
The Remote Area Medical Clinic or RAM Clinic at the University of Virginia Wise in mid-July used drones to deliver medical supplies, and the school had a micro-drone flying competition in February.
And Northeast State Community College officials last month, in announcing the progression of its aviation program, said a class and eventual degree program in commercial drone operation could be in the college’s future.
Here is a video of the drone over the southwest corner past the end zone:
Here is the D-B marching band half-time show, Part 1:
Here is the D-B half-time show, Part 2:
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