Monday, July 21, 2014

Civilian Drone Update: The FAA Still Reaching for the Sky!

In March of this year, we presented a story regarding the first ever federal complaint lawsuit filed against the civilian use of a drone for commercial purposes. Refer to this link, Civilian Drones Right to Fly for a review. In brief, a hobbyist was presented with a FAA federal lawsuit brought up against him, which he faced paying thousands of dollars for using his drone camera to film footage in Virginia. Some FAA supporters fear the worse.
Picture taken with Phantom UAV by WHSTL ("-")
It was no surprise when a statement made from the prosecutor's office, that an appeal on the decision would be filed. It seems the appellant court is in agreement with the underlying court about the decision to throw out the lawsuit. A federal judge has thrown out the first fine against a commercial drone operator, as the Federal Aviation Administration struggles to regulate the fast-developing industry. Judge Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation Safety Board, who heard the appeal of the $10,000 FAA fine against Raphael Pirker, ruled Thursday that there was "no enforceable FAA rule" or regulation that applied to a model aircraft.

That means, if the government wants to regulate rules against civilian drone usage, it must first follow the guidelines of the US. Constitution and create rules and submit to a committee for a vote before legislation. So far the FAA has issued a road-map for how it will develop the regulations and named six groups to test various aspects of drone safety, such as how to prevent drones from colliding with planes and how to have them land safely if they lose contact with remote pilots.

FAA has issued permits to hundreds of public entities on a case-by-case basis, for police to survey crime scenes from the air, firefighters to scan burning buildings and universities to conduct research. But only one commercial drone permit was issued so far, to fly in the Arctic to study wildlife. We came up with a simple UAV/Drone pilot quick review course on how to operate a drone and it's usage. We will keep you posted on what to expect in the battle for the sky.

Lecture on Forensic Drones


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