Drone operator above Tesla Giga Berlin spoils routine descent for passenger plane

(Credit: @factorymodes/Twitter)

A drone operator attempting to capture images of Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin production facility caused quite the stir-up at the nearby Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. While flying the drone around 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above Tesla’s production facility, the aerial camera obstructed the approach of a passenger airplane causing it to divert, spoiling its routine descent into the airport, which prompted an investigation.

The plane was forced to maneuver to avoid the drone, according to a report from Tagesspiegel, who stated that the East Police Department included details of the situation. The drone was flying well above the legal altitude for a drone, which caps out at just 50 meters unless local air traffic controllers permit the operator to fly at increased heights.

Investigators were called because the drone operation was considered to be “dangerous interference,” especially near a passenger airport. The plane was able to avoid the drone, and no suspect was identified.

Gigafactory Berlin, as well as Tesla’s other production facilities, have all been the subject of drone operations in the past from company fans. Usually used to track the progress of a new facility under construction, drone operations above Tesla’s currently-operational production plants have revealed things the automaker has been working on in secret. Redesigned Cybertrucks were spotted outside of Tesla’s Fremont Factory by a drone, for example. Additionally, Tesla Gigafactory Texas had regular drone operation, where fans watched newly-built Model Ys equipping 4680 battery cells were spotted.

Gigafactory Berlin has been slightly different, however, as it has been the only factory to be somewhat more challenging to record. In early 2020 while the factory was in its early stages of development, a popular drone operator known as “Tesla Kid Grünheide” was told to leave by local police after flying his drone above the production plant. CEO Elon Musk would later give the drone operator permission to film the factory, and there were no issues afterward.

Of course, when commercial aircraft are in the air, rules are slightly different. Gigafactory Berlin is only located about 12 and a quarter miles northeast of the airport, which is relatively nothing to commercial aircraft flying 30,000 feet above the ground. The object was enough to gain the attention of the pilots operating the flight, but no repercussions seemed to arise from the incident.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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