View Full Version : FAA Violates Federal Court Commercial Multirotor Ruling

Dave Allen
07-12-2014, 10:49 PM
Around June 27, 2014 the Pittsburgh Pirates put out this statement:

“During last night’s game, a man standing on the River Walk flew his small, personal drone over the ballpark. Our security staff quickly identified the operator and alerted onsite Pittsburgh Police officers. The officers immediately addressed the issue by ordering the man to stop the use of the drone. The man was informed of the seriousness of the situation and warned that if he returned he would face further police action.”

The FAA responded to this particular activity with this claim:

"If a UAS flight is not for hobby or recreation purposes, the operator needs FAA authorization. The FAA authorizes commercial operations on a case-by-case basis. A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval. To date, two operation have met these criteria and authorization was limited to the Arctic. Flying model aircraft solely for hobby or recreational reasons does not require FAA approval, but hobbyists must operate according to the agency’s model aircraft guidance and the rules in the 2012 FAA Reauthorization law.

In a Federal Register notice Monday, we gave examples of what type of flights would be considered as hobby or recreation, and which would not. Using a UAS as part of a business, e.g., photography, would not qualify as being for hobby or recreation. To date, we have not authorized any commercial photography UAS operations.”

Apparently the FAA is still refusing to abide by a binding Federal Court Judges ruling as FAA claims their appeal stays the Pirker ruling.

Here is the motion to block the stay (http://www.scribd.com/doc/225516784/Emergency-motion-to-stay)

Now some here have tried to mirror false claims made by the FAA that multirotors are "aircraft", and I have responded that a kids paper airplanes then must also be an aircraft.

While my response was met with some derision, the Federal Judge said exactly the same thing:

“Complainant has, historically, in their policy notices, modified the term "aircraft" by prefixing the word "model", to distinguish the device/contrivance being considered. By affixing the word, "model" to "aircraft" the reasonable inference is that Complainant FAA intended, to distinguish and exclude model aircraft from either or both of the aforesaid definitions of "aircraft".

To accept Complainant's interpretive argument would lead to a conclusion that those definitions include as an aircraft all types of devices/contrivances intended, for, or used for, flight in the air. The extension of that conclusion would then result, in the risible argument that a flight in the air of, i.e.., a paper aircraft, or a toy balsa wood glider/ could subject the "operator" to the regulatory provisions of FAA. Part 91, Section. 91.13(a).”

Here is the actual court Pirker Ruling (http://www.kramerlevin.com/files/upload/PirkerDecision.pdf)

If you wish to follow the Texas Equaasearch motion to stay the FAA appeal stay herein referenced, it can be done so here (http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/2ah2dbxts/court-of-appeals-for-the-dc-circuit/tx-equusearch-mounted-search-et-al-v-faa/)

07-13-2014, 05:41 AM
Very informative. Thanks for the post. Safety is very important, and certainly no one wants to run afoul of the law, but professional photographers should be provided clear guidelines on legal use of drones, not be obliged to have their "aircraft" certified and be licensed pilots. The FAA is clearly overstepping.

07-13-2014, 06:21 AM
They need to base laws in favor of public safety. No body wants a rotary blade copter crashing into them. Insurance should be the first mandate, privacy should be the second.

07-13-2014, 07:26 AM
FAA is responsible for control and management of airspace for public safety, both for those in the air and those on the ground. Yes any craft that engages in powered flight, regardless of size or design, falls under FAA regs. Radio control hobbyists fly under FAA regs too, they just don't have to have a license for personal recreational flight. I used to fly model sail planes, unpowered, with friends at a fields within the approach patterns of two local airports. We had to conform to maximum altitude regulations and stay out of take off and final landing approach lanes for those flight zones. The fields were registered and noted on the local FAA flight zone maps.

Even a small drone with a video camera can cause significant injury or property damage if it gets out of control. Yes they are aircraft. The FAA is supposed to issue revised regs for private commercial drone operations next year. I'm sure they will include at least minimal certification requirements for drones to insure safe reliability and some sort of licensing tests for operators that demonstrates knowledge of the relevant regs and safe flying skills.

David Saraceno
07-13-2014, 08:53 AM
There was no federal judge court ruling in Pirker v. Huerta.

An administrative law judge heard the challenge, and issued a decision.

It has been appealed to the full NTSB for a denovo hearing. There have been several amicus curiae "friend of the court" briefs filed, and there are substantial issues of law that pertain to whether the ALJ's decision can be enforced pending appeal.

The Pirker University of Virginia case is a separate administrative appeal proceedings and is distinguished from the use of uUASs in the SAR in the Texas Equusearch matter, which appeared to be the DC federal appeals court.

A previous thread was closed due to the inability of some of the participants to professionally and respectfully discuss these issues.

If that occurs again, this thread will be closed, and future threads will be deleted.

Jason Sanders
07-13-2014, 11:03 AM
Great post Dave.

David Saraceno
07-13-2014, 01:47 PM
We do not permit political commentary at dvxuser.com:

Posts that include commentary about politics in any manner, directly or by inference, will result in a deleted post, and closed thread.

Thank you.