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Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by MikesTooLz, May 12, 2014.
I thought this was an interesting read.
Good info, not-so-good news. Thanks for posting.
That's been floating around since March. It was the FAA's response to the NTSB decision in the Pirker case. Their position is that despite there being no actual laws in place regarding our aircraft that they can still call something legal/illegal as they see fit.
One legal point is that the moment they filed the appeal in the Pirker case the NTSB decision was effectively stayed. So the idea that the decision applies right now is wrong, it is stayed and not in effect.
The next step is a decision from the full NTSB board. No clear idea when that might be expected.
What FAA has failed to explain is why taking a video/image for a hobby is OK, but taking the exact same video/image for compensation is dangerous or inherently more risky.
In the interim we all need to be hyper aware and vigilant not to give them any more proof that we need strict regulation. For those who want to fly solely for hobby purposes can operate as specified in Section 336 of the FMRA of 2012 and basically follow the AMA guidelines. Commercial users would serve themselves well by keeping as low a profile as possible, since if the FAA does not know about you, they cannot come after you. In addition, when we see some bonehead move posted on YouTube we need to strongly discourage showcasing such actions rather than show tacit approval by telling the guy how cool he is for doing what he did. That goes to mindset for the FAA, if they think we cannot be trusted to comply, then that gives them a stronger case.
Regardless of what the armchair attorneys may say about what is legal/illegal, the plain fact is the FAA can make your life miserable fighting them.
Here's an example of what I mean:
http://www.suasnews.com/2014/05/29107/s ... -the-feds/
http://voiceofsandiego.org/wp-content/u ... Filing.pdf
Hmm.... This is contrary to what I've been told by two attorneys (the real-life-argue-in-court kind that should understand how things work, not the I-stayed-in-a-Holiday-Inn-last-night kind one sometimes finds on Internet forums).
Please don't take this the wrong way - I'm not saying that you're wrong, or dumb, or anything of the sort. I'm just trying to understand the basis of your understanding. From what I've been told, the FAA's "wah! wah!" internet post is just that - an ineffectual hue and cry from antiquated pencil-pushers at a myopic agency trying to assert authority where they have none.
I will say that I really like the angle that the AP is pressing. A First Amendment argument is likely to have strong legs and create numerous avenues to placing the FAA and other government agencies (like the National Park Service) into a very tight box as far as issuing irrelevant regulations go. Hopefully this will also be an effective argument against federal requirements for unnecessary (and likely costly) licensing and training. Folks who do aerial photography as a "side business" on the weekends really don't need stuff like that cutting into profits.
Well, all I can say is that I got the information about an effect stay directly from the attorney who is defending Pirker. Regardless, the FAA "thinks" there is a stay and they have continued to send out cease and desist letters and other forms of harassment. So, at least in those terms, there is an effective stay. This is in an administrative law court, so I am not sure if the rules in there are the same as in a regular civil or criminal court.
People can keep track of the case here:
Pirker has field a response to the FAA appeal, this time to the full NTSB board who will be ruling on the AL judge's decision next.
A pizzeria in one of our Metro cities did a video about flying a pizza to the destination using a R/C quadcopter, as an advertisement
(Similar to what Amazon talked about but didn't do a video about, in order to prevent problems with the FAA)
This video has gotten them in problems with the local police and the Air Traffic Control here.
I'm really afraid about the future of phantom pilots here. (India)
One myth that is not true is that the airspace over the US is free for everyone's use. Actually it is broken up into sections, our little slice of this section is called "Class G" airspace which is uncontrolled for the most part and extends from the surface to 400 ft AGL (Above Ground Level) over populated areas except 3-5 NM from airports and to 1200 ft AGL over non populated areas. As long as a "drone" or RC is flown within this area and not for profit, the FAA will not do anything. As long as you are not threatening the safety of anyone on the ground or property. If you do threaten people or property then FAA takes a dim view of this and has decided that they will try to prohibit these flights were possible. If you compromise the safety of persons or property, law enforcement can also get involved, and as we have seen make up violations and penalties for this action.
One I heard of recently was a RC quad copter pilot who was flying over an accident and was asked, "told", by police to land his copter. No reason was given "as far as I know" and he did not comply. An air ambulance was inbound to land for the victim and the police, worried about a collision, arrested the RC pilot and forced him to land the quad. Now we are in an era of "I have freedoms and I can't be told what to do" but this is not true in all cases.
So my comment is fly where and as high as the law permits, the US airspace is only free to use below 400-1200 ft AGL, given you fly within this area you should be alright, and keep your RC "drone" in visual sight at all times as the FAA does not condone "ANY"
beyond visual range flights over CONUS (continental US).
The important difference in the 2012 act was to keep hobby and for profit operations separated to the extent possible so our hobby could still flourish under basic AMA guidance. Live with it or lose it.
We enjoy our sport / hobby and want to keep it, so as others have said play within the rules or we will be written into future laws that heavily restrict our us of airspace in the US. The 2012 reauthorization act was written to keep us RC'ers out of trouble as long as we abide by the rules it has set forth, if not then don't be suprised if you are hassled, arrested or fined/jailed for your freedoms.
Here is a link to the 2012 Public Law 112-95. Scroll down to Section 336 "Special Rule for Model Aircraft" this covers what you
can and cannot do. "http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/reauthorization/media/PLAW-112publ95.pdf" Copy Link into
your browser to go there.
My understanding is that some news organizations have recently filed amicus briefs opposing the FAA's downright tyrannical and illogical restriction on the use of UAVs for commercial purposes. Their briefs focused on First Amendment rights, IIRC. Hopefully they're able to effectively fight back an organization gone amok in its infringement of legal activity. It's time that someone put the FAA in its proper place (right next to the rubbish bin?).
I believe the commercial use of drones will be legal soon enough. But argue first amendment all you want, if you are "disturbing the peace" in the National Parks, or your neighborhood, your "rights" go out the window. You are free to play any music you'd like, but not at any volume at any time you'd like if it "disturbs the peace". Gotcha.
Under "Myth #3" they say "Fact—There are no shades of gray in FAA regulations. Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval."
Then, just two paragraphs later they say: "Flying model aircraft solely for hobby or recreational reasons does not require FAA approval."
So, which is it? This tiny example kinda proves that they have no idea about their own regulations, who must comply, or even the basics of using the English language. I mean, what part of the word "approval" is confusing to them? You need it, except you don't.
Until they pass some actual, published CFRs and FARs, it's all BS.
You pretty much summed it all up with that one phrase, Doug.
There are no federal laws right now, period. There won't be any for many years. Until then, everyone is free to fly for pleasure or profit. FAA will continue to lie and intimidate, of course, but it's legally powerless to do anything to regulate drones at this time. Just fly safely and responsibly at all times.
The biggest problem I see is the obvious double standard of the FAA. They are well aware that Hollywood and television productions are using aerial photography platforms, I.e. drones, yet to my knowledge they have never sent a cease and desist letter to any of them. You just about cannot watch a "reality" show without seeing drone shots. This should be the area any small time operator being harassed by the FAA needs to exploit. I think one just needs to show the hypocrisy of there being no difference between photos and video taken fo fun or for profit, along with the obvious double standard of looking the other way for television and movie production.
http://www.film.ca.gov/res/docs/pdf/pre ... 1-2011.pdf
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/1 ... blogs&_r=0
http://www.suasnews.com/2011/06/5696/ca ... ed-by-faa/
http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconside ... ks-like-it
DONT FLY ABOVE 400'!!!! DONT USE FOR COMMERCIAL USE!!!! The FAA says it's illegal!!!! Hahahahaha. Sorry I'm totally kidding. Just so used to hearing all that from the brainwashed morons that blindly follow that website and their "rules"
Peter, I'm sorry to disagree...here you go: Public Law 112-95. Scroll down to Section 336 "Special Rule for Model Aircraft" this covers what you can and cannot do. "http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/reauthorization/media/PLAW-112publ95.pdf" Copy Link into your browser to go there.
Most importantly, these FEDERAL REGULATIONS require you to have visual contact with the drone at ALL times. So it's incorrect to say "there are no federal laws right now, period".
With one exception. Those of us who have an FAA issued pilot's license risk losing that if the FAA comes after us.
You're certainly entitled to your opinion, but the law you speak of is a "prospective" law and applies to the FAA only, and not the general public. It is a directive by Congress to the FAA, and only the FAA to promulgate future regulations. And there is no such currently enforceable federal regulation that requires VLOS.
Feel free to disagree, but I would encourage you to understand how the law works. I am not saying there will not be such regulations in the future. I'm saying they don't exist right now. Finally, all of this is explained in detail on my site.
I'm a 30+ year commercial helicopter pilot, so I understand your perceived concern. However no one can be disciplined for violating any statutes or regulations that do not exist.