FAA orders Nationals to stop flying drone at spring training

David Brown
A drone (left) films Nationals practice in February, but GM Mike Rizzo apparently forgot to fill out some forms in triplicate. (Getty)

Big Government is at it again, and not even the baseball team located in our nation's capital has been spared it's overreach. The Federal Aviation Administration recently told the Washington Nationals that it was flying a drone at spring training without expressed permission. No, not from Major League Baseball, but Uncle Sam himself. CBS News reports:

"No, we didn't get it cleared, but we don't get our pop flies cleared either and those go higher than this thing did," a team official said when contacted by The Associated Press. The drone flights ceased the next day. The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named.

Last month, CBSSports.com reported that the team and photographer Donald Miralle were using the drones to get footage that was meant to be used on the scoreboard at Nationals Park this season.

The agency bars commercial use of drones no matter how seemingly benign. The lone exception is an oil company that has been granted permission to fly drones over the Arctic Ocean, and it took an act of Congress to win that concession.

That figures.  What about radio-controlled airplanes, which have been in use for decades? They're left to self-regulation, basically, by the users. But RC planes aren't drones — until you strap a camera to them, apparently. How long until the rules for drones are sorted out? Months, possibly years. GM Mike Rizzo has been to the White House; you'd think he has some pull. But no.

"Technology is crazy," Stephen Strasburg told the Washington Post at the time. It is, but bureaucracy is crazier.

Here's some of the footage the Nationals captured for scoreboard use:

Hey, don't want the "quadcopter" floating over Strasburg's head to get in the way of any space flights blasting their way out of Cape Canaveral.

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David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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