Court Rules that FAA Cannot Ban Commercial Drones, Dismisses $10,000 Fine for Drone User
March 7, 2014 1:14 PM
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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.
, 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.
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RE: Go ahead FAA...
3/8/2014 1:12:43 AM
I still find it amazing that terrorism can only be linked to 5,000 American deaths over the last two decades (including military personal) and we've lost all this freedom from the TSA to the NSA, yet nobody is doing anything to push background checks, mental health requirements or firearm safety workshops when guns have been linked to over 1,000,000 American deaths in the same period.
Nanny state indeed.
RE: Go ahead FAA...
3/10/2014 3:01:22 PM
Well background checks are required to purchase firearms, the federal government just hasn't done their job to produce an easily searchable database that they were supposed to do a long time ago. You are also not allowed to own a firearm if you have mental health problems, but again the federal government hasn't done its job because a few people whine and complain that keeping a publicly searchable record of those with such conditions is an invasion of their privacy. Firearm safety classes are available from many sources including many NRA sponsored free classes, people are just to lazy to look for them or just won't because they think they know more than they do about guns. Most good gun shops will even tell you about the classes when you make a purchase.
The general public believe you just walk into a store, pay money and walk out with a gun, but most responsible gun owners know it isn't like that. The media really likes to push the above belief to sensationalize any gun related story. Even the gun shows I have been to have required the checks before selling a gun, at least by any legitimate dealer. Now there are always the few out in the parking lot trying to sell things out of their trunk, but there are also ATF agents around looking for those guys too. The requirement for checks is not going to stop those backroom deals any more than the requirement that you have a prescription for Oxycontin will stop people from buying it on the street somewhere without one. If the news outlets were truly unbiased then they would be running stories on all the horrible people who go to the pharmacy ever day to purchase legal pharmaceuticals just like those legal, responsible gun owners that go to a gun shop to purchase a legal firearm.
As for the TSA, that is an agency that should have never been established, and the NSA should have some severe oversight placed on them by civilian observers.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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