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Lawsuits Challenge FAA Drone Ban

Several groups comprised of research universities, commercial drone operators and model aircraft hobbyists have filed federal lawsuits challenging the FAA over its rules relating to unmanned aerial vehicles. Three lawsuits filed on Friday ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the validity of a June directive issued by the FAA, which the agency says is an attempt to clarify current model aircraft regulations. ( More...

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CaptJohn1 2
It will unfortunately take a serious accident beofre this is resolved. Hopefully no one looses their life in the process.
Dennis Noah 2
Years ago at a midwest local airport we had large box kites flying off end of runway at sugnificant altitude. Often we had to dodge these things on final. Stupidity knows no bounds or a shortage of dumb people.
The real test will come when a plane hits one or a bystander gets hurt. Until then I expect regulation to waffle back and forth in the court system. I do know that if the FAA busts you, prepare to spend plenty of $$$$, win or lose.
There have been instances when model aircraft have struck bystanders, and any claims were handles by the insurance provided by the insurance provided by the owner's membership in the AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics). See Labeling model aircraft such as these as "drones" is ridiculous: they are built and operated with a completely different purpose in mind than the true commercial-purposed drones. And yes, I am aware that there are those who misuse model aircraft in one manner or another. Certainly they should be subject to the law as it exists. It's not necessary to completely rewrite the appropriate sections of the FAA regulations to tar all remotely controlled aircraft with the same gooey brush!
Modelers have had fun with their sport for decades with barely a ripple. The newbies are already creating a bad rep. If you want to fly below the airspace limits mandated by FAA then the operator should have permission from the landowner or public entity. All the Modelers I know fly at a designated field or over their private property. Just my take.
Randy Tharan 1
FCC is no different than any other government agency, too big and little enforcement ability. Same thing with the new ride sharing app companies, government regulators are left behind because they move at the speed of a turtle.
Maybe regulate how high you can fly, the leave the rest to responsible pilots
Aircraft have specific restrictions on altitude and distance they must remain from populated areas and structures. The same should apply to all. IMHO
sailingeric 1
I did fly a quadcopter first person view for hobby purposes but always kept it just about tree top level, the fun is low and fast. Most of us hobby folks are very respectful of the airspace.
Jerry Wilkins 1
This is the beginning of the end for the FAA's unenforceable arrogation of airspace below 400' with the obvious exception of airports, military installations, and other sites vital to national security. This airspace more properly belongs within the jurisdiction of state and local government entities who have enforcement capabilities that the FAA will always lack except for selective and therefore unjust trolling of web sites looking for 'violators'. Local airspace below 400' should be regulated locally.

The FAA can assist by issuing guidelines for local statutes that regulate unmanned aerial vehicular activities. The FAA can then partner with local law enforcement to clarify these locally enacted rules and regulations, and to create an educational program designed to ensure appropriate responsible operating knowledge in order to issue meaningful permits for anyone who uses unmanned aerial vehicles(UAV's). The distinction between 'commercial' and 'hobby' UAV operation is arbitrary and capricious.

Local airspace below 400', with obvious exceptions, can only be locally regulated, monitored, and controlled. The ultimate stakeholders here are local, not federal. By the way, to arbitrarily label all UAV's 'Drones' completely ignores the necessary distinction between weaponized and/or surveillance UAV's with FPV remote control from afar and line-of-sight controlled UAV's that operate below 400'. The media and FAA have also been engaging in an obfuscating war of words here that is designed to enlist the support of a gullible public for their agenda. Not all UAV's are 'Drones' by any reasonable standard.
jasonwladyka 1
UAV = Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Drone = Remotely Piloted Vehicle

For the purpose of DOT/FAA regulation, they are synonymous (and should be regulated).
Whether they are equipped with cameras, weapons, or a GI Joe glued in the cockpit is semantics.

There is a reason everyone doesn't have one of those flying cars in their driveway like in the old Popular Mechanics magazines when I was a kid, and it isn't because we don't have the technology. Common sense is elusive to some.
Jerry Wilkins 2
I didn't say UAV's shouldn't be regulated, did I. I do, however, think that regulations should be enforceable, and clearly the FAA's aren't unless they somehow partner with local LEO's.

To compare a low-flying under 5 lb. UAV to a flying car is like comparing a bird to a helicopter. What will the DOT/FAA do when UAV's the size of dragonflies become readily available? It isn't the device but the operator who needs education and a permit. I do agree that flying cars are an absurd and unworkable idea. Like military drones, if they crash in urban areas they represent a real threat to public safety, and there's no airspace to safely accommodate swarms of them flying every which way.

Idiots obtain licenses to drive cars, and they do stupid things that jeopardize others. When this happens, they are held accountable for their actions and may lose their privilege to drive. Why do you think different standards should apply to UAV technology?
jasonwladyka 2
Birds (or any flying objects) under 5 lbs. can and have taken down aircraft. A small deer on a highway can do just as much damage as a large one. The fact is, deer are ill equipped and don't have the proper knowledge to operate safely on a highway; which makes them a hazard. Hazards in the air are bad for people in the air and on the ground, regardless of mass. The air is the FAA's jurisdiction and no one elses. As mentioned in another post, RC enthusiasts have been operating at various designated places for years, utilizing common sense as well as a respect for other persons and property. There have been enough incidents as of late to prompt a response. I cannot think of more appropriate agency to handle these matters than the FAA. Local authorities are terrible at handling matters related to aviation. Ask anyone at the Santa Monica Airport.
Whether it's a UAV or Drone, they pose a threat to people on the ground and to people/pilots in the air. Helicopter pilots and other GA pilots fly in the 400ft and lower airspace. It's hard enough spotting all the full sized aircraft. We don't need to add traffic that will be more difficult to spot. The model aircraft are fine as long as they stay in the vicinity of the field they are flying.
Neuroguy 1
Well, there will always be idiots like this guy who crashed his UAV over a crowded Times Square in NYC:
This reminds me of the early days of Citizen Band Radios. Anyone involved then will remember that after you purchased the radio, you had to make an application to the FCC for a license, which could take a month or more to receive. The FCC soon found themselves with a backlog into the hundreds of thousands and people broadcasting without a license, so they started giving license numbers to the manufacturers, who would include the same in the package with the radio. Purchasers then had a license number and only had to fill out the form and mail it. Only, they didn't bother to mail the form and the FCC had idea who was license and who wasn't. End result, they stopped worrying about it and simply set up some basic rules regarding how much power the sender could use, restrictions on modifying the units, etc.

I see the same thing coming here, and it is not at all clear that the FAA has any authority to regulate this infant enterprise. Better that they would put out some basic rules regarding areas that are off limits, maximum altitudes, etc.


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