Security for High Profile Events

29 September 2020 | Private Security & Event Overwatch

Protecting Against Rogue Drones

Perhaps you are a Cubs fan and were watching the game on September 16th in which a small drone delayed the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs? Or perhaps you are not a fan of Major League Baseball at all, and this is the first you’re hearing about this rogue drone. If that’s the case, you can read more here. While a delay of game is certainly an inconvenience, far beyond the risk of delays lies the threat of ill-intentioned drone operators landing with potentially devastating cargo. As a security professional, whose job is to protect those which they serve, it is impossible to deny the great risk which these rogue drones possess. 

The FAA has special regulations that prohibit flight around every major stadium and venue. This helps protect against these potentially devastating scenarios. Drones are prohibited within a three-mile radius of these facilities starting an hour before and ending an hour after event times. But as evidenced on September 16th and in other instances prior, these do not stop the fearless few who refuse to obey the rules. According to the Congressional Research Service’s September 3rd, 2020 article, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned of an escalating threat that terrorist and criminal organizations might launch domestic drone attacks on critical infrastructure facilities, landmarks, and high-profile mass gatherings.” So what can be done? 

The FAA is currently hard at work developing a remote identification method.

Drones can then be identified and traffic managed in coordination with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but that is likely a ways off. In the meantime, the FAA has recommended that drone manufacturers incorporate geo-fencing capabilities which prevent the drone from entering prohibited airspace. A more obscure approach involves birds of prey being trained to take down drones. There is increasing interest in drone detection and counter-drone technology. These typically involve radio-frequency jamming technologies, a means by which the signal is intercepted between the pilot and the drone. A strategy that the FAA has warned could interfere with radio communications and cause issues for airspace navigation.

Other counter-drone technologies take over flight of other drones, capture drones in nets, some even claiming to destroy drones with lasers. Even still, the risk of an intercepted drone falling could injure a bystander. Such is why it is imperative to rely on federal and local law enforcement, in conjunction with Skyfire’s drone professionals to maintain the safety of your next high-profile event. Our team of federally trained law enforcement and homeland security experts offers the latest and greatest drone technology, and the expertise in partnership with law enforcement at all levels and the FAA to ensure your in full legal compliance and event attendees are protected.