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Staff from aerial imaging company DJI, demonstrate a remote control aircraft during a press conference by the Small UAV Coalition January 20, 2015 in Washington, DC.  Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Drone Maker Disables Flights Over Washington DC After White House Crash

Jan 28, 2015

Drone manufacturer DJI will disable all of its devices within a 15.5-mile radius of downtown Washington D.C., following the crash landing of one its drones in the White House compound on Monday.

The company said it would release what it called a mandatory update for its drone operating system in the coming days. The update would automatically disable drone flights over Washington D.C. and fence off no-fly zones around than 10,000 airports across the country. However, owners of most DJI drones won't be forced to download the update — those who choose not to install it would just miss out on new features down the road.

"We are pushing this out a bit earlier to lead in encouraging responsible flight," said DJI spokesperson Michael Perry. “With the unmanned aerial systems community growing on a daily basis, we feel it is important to provide pilots additional tools to help them fly safely and responsibly."

A Secret Service officer “heard and observed” a drone believed to be a DJI Phantom flying at a low altitude early Monday morning, before it crashed on the southeast side of the White House. The pilot, a government employee, had reportedly been drinking.

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