Published On: Sun, Mar 9th, 2014

Federal judge rules against FAA on commercial drone use

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, a National Transportation Safety Board administrative law judge, said in his order dismissing the $10,000 fine that the FAA has no regulations governing model aircraft flights or for classifying model aircraft as an unmanned aircraft, such as the one flown by Raphael Pirker.

The FAA issued a statement Friday saying it would appeal the ruling to the full NTSB, which has the effect of delaying the decision.

“The agency is concerned that this decision could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground,” the FAA statement said.

“I think it’s an extremely significant decision because for the first time ever we have guidance from a judge on whether the 2007 ban on commercial drone operations is legally enforceable,” Brendan Schulman, a New York lawyer with Kramer, Levin, Naftalis and Frankel who represented Pirker said. “That’s guidance that many people in the industry have been looking for, for a long time.”

“There are no shades of gray in FAA regulations,” the agency says on its website. “Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft –manned or unmanned –in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval.”

FAA officials have been working for a decade on regulations to give commercial drones access to the national airspace without endangering manned aircraft and the public. Fed up with the agency’s slow progress, Congress passed legislation in 2012 directing the FAA to safely integrate drones of all sizes into U.S. skies by September 2015.

WMCH drone photo by Clément Bucco-Lechat via wikimedia commons

WMCH drone photo by Clément Bucco-Lechat via wikimedia commons

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Hertha Wilcox says:

    The Drone cannot be used in the Illegal area.

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