March 7, 2014 | quadcopter |

Judge Dismisses FAA Fine Against Small Drone User

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed the Federal Aviation Administration’s only fine against a commercial drone user on the grounds that the small drone was no different than a model aircraft, a decision that appears to undermine the agency’s power to keep a burgeoning civilian drone industry out of the skies.

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.

FAA officials said they were reviewing the decision and had no further comment. The agency can appeal the decision to the full five-member safety board.

The FAA levied the fine against aerial photographer Raphael Pirker for flying the small drone near the University of Virginia to make a commercial video in October 2011. Pirker appealed the fine to the safety board, which hears challenges to FAA decisions.

FAA officials have long taken the position that the agency regulates access to the national airspace, and therefore it has the power to bar drone flights, even when the drone weighs no more than a few pounds.

“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. However, it’s clear the agency won’t meet that deadline. Regulations that would permit greater use of drones weighing less than 55 pounds have been repeatedly delayed, and are not expected to be proposed until November. It takes at least months, and often years, before proposed regulations are made final.

Regulations governing medium and large-sized drones are also in the works, but are even farther off.

There is increasing demand to use small drones for a wide array of commercial purposes. The FAA has identified the dividing line between a model aircraft and a small drone as more one of intent, rather than of technology. If it is used for commercial purposes, it’s a drone. If it’s used purely for recreational purposes, it’s a model aircraft.

The agency has issued guidelines for model aircraft operators, but they are voluntary and therefore cannot be enforced, Geraghty said.


Keep Reading...

Great 4K TVs under $800

4K TV describes any TV display technology with a total pixel count which is 4 times the final resolution that you’d find in ordinary Full HD TVs It need not have exactly 4,000 or more pixels horizontally. In fact most 4K TVs have a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 while some have more than 4000p […]

Read More
alt here

Orson Welles’ Unfinished Film Acquired by Netflix

Orson Welles’ unfinished final film, “The Other Side of the Wind,” is about to be completed. Netflix has acquired global rights to ‘The Other Side of the Wind” and is financing the completion. To complete the film the producers have hired an Academy Award winning editor and an Academy Award winning sound mixer, Bob Murawski […]

Read More

Quadcopter Crashes on Busy Manhattan Street

I've written a lot about quadcopters, most notably Quadcopters, Cameras, and the Law. Today, some fool didn't obey the law, common sense or common decency. Monday evening a quadcopter took off from a high-rise terrace in mid-town Manhattan during evening rush hour. It flew 300 to 400 ft in the air past luxury apartment buildings as well as business buildings. 3 minutes later it crashed in the street nearly clipping a businessman.

Read More

Home Movies Day

If you are transferring home movies (either film or video) as a commercial service, you should know about the non-profit Center For Home Movies . They sponsor Home Movie Day which will be on October 17, 2015. The site also will show you some possibilities you may not have considered. For instance numerous feature-length documentaries […]

Read More




One thought on “Judge Dismisses FAA Fine Against Small Drone User

  1. Hal Post author

    Press Release – FAA Statement

    For Immediate Release

    March 7, 2014
    Contact: Kristie M. Greco
    Phone: (202) 267-3883

    WASHINGTON, D.C.–The Federal Aviation Administration today issued a notice appealing a decision by an NTSB Administrative Law Judge in the civil penalty case, Huerta v. Pirker.

    “The FAA is appealing the decision of an NTSB Administrative Law Judge to the full National Transportation Safety Board, which has the effect of staying the decision until the Board rules. 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.”

    For more information on UAS operations please visit: http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=76240

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Forbes Magazine calls VideoUniversity one of the best business-to-business sites for digital video production.
  • WINNER
    Videography Magazine's
    "Website of the Month" Award
  • WINNER
    PC Magazine Online "Best Desktop Video Site" Award
  • WINNER
    CyberFilm School's "FOUR STAR" Award