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Drone reported at Camp Randall Stadium

Posted October 14, 2014

WKOW -

MADISON (WKOW) - University of Wisconsin Police officials say they are working with the FAA to investigate the appearance of a drone at Saturday's game at Camp Randall Stadium.

Police officials say they were alerted to the situation by someone at the stadium. The Badgers were playing the University of Illinois in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Police searched of the area, but didn't find the drone. 

Wisconsin State Journal photographer Michael P. King snapped a photo of the drone with his telephoto lens between the game's third and fourth quarters.

" 'Jump Around' had begun and looked over at the student section," King tells 27 News. "I noticed something high above the stadium. It was white; it was small," King says.

King says he believed it was a drone. He says it descended out of view behind the stadium's scoreboard. Fans also tell 27 News they saw the hovering object.

UW Biological Systems Engineering faculty member Brian Luck uses a drone for educational purposes, and says colleagues contacted him, wondering if his drone was responsible for the Camp Randall flyover.

Luck says while the drone in the photo is the same model as his drone, the mounted camera appears different, and his drone was in Buffalo County on game day, in connection with drone potential to help with agricultural surveillance.

Luck says most hobbyists with drones keep their devices away from crowded, public function. Luck says the Camp Randall flyover was ill-advised.

"If something were to have hit that drone and it came down, it could be a problem," Luck says. "Could hit somebody.
Camp Randall's air space on game day is federally restricted.  UW Police officials want to identify the person who launched Saturday's drone.

A University of Texas student was detained by police in August after a drone fly over during the school's first home football game of the season.

Luck says drones must also be flown only within the operator's line of sight; no closer than three miles of an airport; and no higher than four hundred feet.

King is an officer with a national press organization. He regrets the impact of drone flyovers such as Camp Randall's situation on the potential to use drones for legitimate purposes in journalism.  

"I'm concerned about it (Camp Randall flyover) because it's potentially irresponsible and unsafe," King tells 27 News.

Luck says the fly over appears to have been a stunt to get aerial photographs of the traditional, raucous, student section antics to the popular song.