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Print 39 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Mar 11 at 6:47 AM

The FAA is currently working on regulations that would allow drone deliveries without putting the public or manned aircraft in danger

Amazon may be able to get its drones up in the air after all, as a recent court case found that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lacks the authority to ban the commercial use of drones in the continental U.S.
 
According to Market Watch, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) administration law judge found that the FAA shouldn’t have fined a man $10,000 because his drone was no different than a model aircraft. 
 
Raphael Pirker, an aerial photographer, flew a small drone near the University of Virginia while making a commercial video in October 2011. The FAA fined Pirker $10,000 in an attempt to regulate commercial uses of small drones in U.S. airspace.
 
Pirker then appealed the fine, and the court found that the FAA doesn’t have any regulations that govern model aircraft flights or those that classify model aircraft as an "unmanned aircraft." In other words, the line between drone and toy hasn't been drawn. 
 
 
The FAA successfully banned the commercial use of unmanned aircraft over the U.S. airspace (until it develops rules for their part in the national airspace, at least), but there are no clear-cut rules for commercial drone use. In fact, the FAA is considering dealing with the drones on a case-by-case basis. In this case, it wasn't clear if it was an unmanned drone or toy plane.

The FAA believes that it should be able to ban drone flights because it has the power to regulate access to the national airspace.

The FAA isn't completely against commercial drones. In fact, it's currently working on regulations that would allow drone deliveries, thanks to a law passed by Congress in 2012 that told the FAA to have the rules ready by September 2015. But since those regulations are not yet complete, the subject is a huge grey area for now. 

In December 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said he wanted to use unmanned "Prime Air" drones for small package delivery. Bezos said the company is currently testing unmanned, octocopter drones called "Prime Air" that have the ability to deliver small packages to customers in just 30 minutes.

Source: Market Watch



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RE: Go ahead FAA...
By Belegost on 3/7/2014 2:40:01 PM , Rating: 4
Really I see this the same way as the early days of manned aviation. Go back to the early 20th century and anyone who could slap together a motorcycle engine with a propeller and some wings could just launch wherever. Young people traveling around the countryside barnstorming for money was a lot of fun.

That was fine when this was a relatively small group of people, similar to current model planes.

However as the technology moved forward and attracted increasing numbers problems began to bubble up. Accidents that hurt innocent people, the question of safety for commercial passenger carriage, problems with controlling traffic around busy airfields - these led to the necessity of a body to regulate aircraft.

Similarly as these small unmanned aircraft begin to rise in popularity, new problems are going to come with them - interference with manned aircraft, privacy and safety of people on the ground, security of private property from unwarranted surveillance - commercial or government.

And very much like the early barnstormers there is a strong resistance from the people who have been doing this for years and feel nothing should change.


RE: Go ahead FAA...
By Mint on 3/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: Go ahead FAA...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/7/14, Rating: 0
RE: Go ahead FAA...
By w8gaming on 3/7/2014 6:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder will you be still thinking this way when a drone crashed into your window destroying furniture and such due to technical glitches. That's putting the potential consequences mildly. Think about what would happen if the road is not regulated and everyone needs to get a licence to drive. When drones flying reaching the same volume as the early land vehicles, it will be obvious that you cannot simply let everyone dictate how and where they want to fly without forcing them to follow rules.


RE: Go ahead FAA...
By Reclaimer77 on 3/8/2014 8:20:46 AM , Rating: 2
Wait let me get this straight, you are conceiving a reality in which the sky will be full of "drones" piloted by Joe Shmoe everyman?

That sounds retarded.

quote:
I wonder will you be still thinking this way when a drone crashed into your window destroying furniture and such due to technical glitches.


I'll be thinking new furniture! And a nice civil lawsuit maybe on top of that.

All without the Fed's getting involved. Shocking, I know, but we already have ways to deal with this today.

quote:
it will be obvious that you cannot simply let everyone dictate how and where they want to fly without forcing them to follow rules.


Amazing. Somehow Americans have been using RC planes since the 1930's without any disasters or them triggering the apocalypse. But now, today, we need more federal oversight on the RC menace!


RE: Go ahead FAA...
By freaqie on 3/9/2014 12:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
I understand your sentiment but how do you propose to find the owner and controller of this drone?

some legislation like:
drones cannot fly within say 2kms of an airport landing strip
drones may not fly higher then 50m above the ground surface.
the owner and contact info of the drone should always be printed on the side of the drone

would help get some of this stuff regulated a little bit,
we don;t ned the FAA to jump in but some rules and logic might be benefificial


RE: Go ahead FAA...
By Mint on 3/11/2014 6:34:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Amazing. Somehow Americans have been using RC planes since the 1930's without any disasters or them triggering the apocalypse. But now, today, we need more federal oversight on the RC menace!

Are you so dense that you cannot see the difference between the 1930's and today?

These things are orders of magnitude cheaper, will soon be operable by just about everyone with minimal training, can communicate wirelessly, be equipped with 40MP cameras, etc. Hell, they can even be rigged with weapons.

How do you suggest we prosecute somebody breaking laws with them? Everything from public nuisance to invasion of privacy to assault or even murder is possible with complete anonymity.

Welcome to the robot age.


RE: Go ahead FAA...
By BifurcatedBoat on 3/7/2014 8:54:17 PM , Rating: 1
My attitude on these issues really is personal responsibility and common sense.

For example, in regards to noise as a nuisance, rather than putting laws in place to cover every single device that makes noise and banning half of them because they might be too loud, there are blanket laws that cover noise generation in general. So if somebody wants to have an air compressor for example in their garage in a residential neighborhood, they can as long as they install soundproofing to make it quiet enough.

Likewise, rather than banning "drones" because of other problems that they might create in some scenarios - which at this point are still projections rather than a proven reality - how about just making sure that legislation exists to handle the nuisance side of things, and see if a market for useful drones can adapt around it?

Leave it up to local governments to weigh the pros and cons of allowing drone use in public areas. Let existing regulations on noise and safety cover other potential problems, and make sure that people who do cause damage are held liable so they don't want to do something risky with them.

Maybe we will find that as a whole, we really do not want drones coming around bothering us, and the benefits of say, 30 minute Amazon delivery aren't worth the nuisance under any circumstances. That's fine. But on the other hand, it's possible that we might find drones really useful and rather than blanket banning of them, there is a good compromise that can be found that offers a combination of pros and cons that we're in favor of.


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