Three Rivers Festival Leader on Drones: ‘We don’t want ’em’

Local News

The Three Rivers Festival is off and running but the festival’s executive director has made his stance on drones flying over the festival clear.

“We don’t want them,” Three Rivers Festival Executive Director Jack Hammer said. “It’s that easy. I don’t want to beat around the bush. We have hired some people to get us some drone footage who are all licensed, insured, qualified and trained.”

Fort Wayne Police are working under a new drone ordinance. No one can fly over public events. Pilots must notify police before flying in any downtown air space. FWPD said now is a crucial time to enforce safe drone flying.

“Really, what we’re most concerned about especially this week with the Three Rivers Festival and next month with the Riverfront grand opening, is the downtown area,” said Fort Wayne Police Lieutenant Jonathan Bowers. “So, notifications are required for any flights in that area. Now, while we don’t approve or disapprove those flights, there is an unsafe operation component, the third leg or the third piece of the ordinance and that is if we deem an operation unsafe we can terminate it.”

Bowers said police want to get the word out about the ordinance as it has been in effect for less than two months. Violators face up to $500 in fines. You can notify police of your intentions to fly in downtown airspace here.

The Police Department is working with new drone pilot tracking technology. If officers spot an unauthorized drone in the area, the technology allows them to trace the signal back to the drone pilot.

Meanwhile, Hammer said it’s important to follow the ordinance, especially during the Three Rivers Festival.

“The Fort Wayne Police Department is very serious about this right now, and you’re going to lose your drone and face prosecution if you bring it down here,” Hammer said.

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