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FAA To Make All Drone Flights Illegal – Where Does This Leave Us?

by Jay Durgan  19 November 2014

It seemed wholly appropriate to share recent news about Drone operation, especially in light of Jason Koebler’s article in Motherboard, FAA Can Make All Drone Flights Illegal, Federal Court Rules.
As some people are pointing out though, the open-ended nature means that the FAA could technically have an issue with a paper airplane. The important thing from this current decision though is this upholds or reinstates their ability to charge people that are, in their mind, flying carelessly or recklessly, regardless of what they are flying or how big. And this is not simply a matter of commercial or not. With that said they could just take the stand that anyone flying a UAV for commercial use is flying recklessly but that’s a different point that was not decided on or made any clearer here.

And there’s still the chance that this decision, which was an appeal and reversed the last decision could also be appealed.

So, where does that leave us, and my company’s (Microdesk) messaging?

Supposedly the FAA is going to release some commercial UAV guidelines next month, and from what I saw it’s supposed to be December 5th. If that is true we may at least have more details that we can talk about at AU since the UAV at the booth is likely to bring up many conversations and questions. I’m not sure I expect the FAA to hit this deadline as they seem to have missed all the other ones but who knows.

Moving forward for Microdesk we can continue to do as we have, or hold position and wait. If we decide to wait we can apply for an exemption (http://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_programs/section_333/) to keep things simple if by any chance it’s granted. For Microdesk’s California crew they should be fine for now. They are just learning and can be considered hobbyists for as they go about practicing and learning. We just need to be really careful about the locations we fly at and what we do when we decide to go to a client site. Demos should be fine for now as well since Microdesk does not charge for demos.

I’ll be touching base with some of the people I know are doing this commercially and see what they think and plan to do now, and look forward to updating this writing in near future. I’d also look forward to responses and responding to questions, if any.

Photo Credit: Don McCullough via Flickr

Links to more info:

And comically:
-Canada has had safety regulations in place that govern the use of UAVs since 1996.

Peter Marchese, Senior Consultant, Microdesk

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