The Federal Aviation Administration has claimed in this day of increasing technology that flying drones for commercial purposes in American skies is against the law, and as such ended up initiating its first legal action against an individual flying a drone for commercial purposes. Today a judge dismissed the case, saying such activities are legal.
The FAA attempted to fine Raphael Pirker $10,000 due to his use of a drone for the filming of a University of Virginia commercial. The matter was taken to court, where he and his lawyer claimed the administration had no regulations against model aircraft, and that there was nothing legally binding that made the activity illegal.
In the absence of a public notice needed to form an official regulation, National Transportation Safety Board Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled that no laws ban commercial drone use. Thusly, for now at least, commercial drone use is in the free and clear, though the FAA could pursue regulations.
Said the judge in his ruling, “[The FAA] has not issued an enforceable Federal Acquisition Regulation regulatory rule governing model aircraft operation; has historically exempted model aircraft from the statutory FAR definitions of ‘aircraft’ by relegating model aircraft operations to voluntary compliance with the guidance expressed in [the 2007 policy notice], Respondent’s model aircraft operation was not subject to FAR regulation and enforcement.”