(By Richard Weizel, Reuters) – A young Connecticut man has cooked up a flame-throwing drone that roasts turkeys, but his latest foray into unmanned flight has drawn the attention of the law — again.
Austin Haughwout, 19, made headlines last year when a young woman attacked him for using a drone to film her and earlier this year he got into trouble when he modified a drone to fire a handgun.
The Clinton, Connecticut man this week posted a YouTube video showing him using a drone equipped to shoot flames to roast a turkey in a wooded area of his family’s backyard.
Police said they were looking into the matter, but the man’s father said the aerial turkey roast was carried out safely.
“We had a lot of fun, it was something different to do and there was no danger at all,” said the father, Bret Haughwout. He said he and his son had fire extinguishers, hoses and buckets of water on hand for the flight.
“We didn’t break any laws,” the elder Haughwout said.
Clinton Deputy Police Chief John Carbone agreed with that assessment on Wednesday, but added, “The laws just haven’t caught up with this kind of technology yet.”
In July, the younger Haughwout was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer when he was summoned to the local police station for questioning about a video showing the drone he had modified to fire a handgun. He is still awaiting trial on that charge, which police said resulted from his driving away from officers who were trying to question him.
He also made headlines last year when police charged a woman with assault after she confronted him about flying a drone at a state beach and intruding on her privacy. He recorded the encounter with his cellphone camera as the two engaged in a scuffle that resulted in charges against the woman, but not him.
The head and founder of the state Drone Pilots Association said that Haughwout risked giving the aircraft, used by hobbyists and professionals, a bad name.
“Mr. Haughwout has once again displayed his willingness to use a drone to perform an irresponsible and unsafe act,” said Peter Sachs. “Whatever talent he has in creating these dangerous contraptions is far surpassed by his immaturity and lack of sensibility. The only thing he has truly accomplished has been to fuel the public’s unwarranted fear of drones.”