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FAA ‘looking into’ $10K fine for drone recording of tornado

Discussion in 'News' started by LuvMyTJ, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    The Federal Aviation Administration, already facing criticism from private drone operators, has launched an investigation into drone use in the aftermath of the devastating tornadoes that swept across the southeastern United States.

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Tuesday that the FAA has initiated a probe into the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to gather aerial footage of the terrible scene in Arkansas, where at least 14 people died over the past few days due to the tornados. One of the worst hit areas was Mayflower, Arkansas, located just 40 minutes away from the state capital of Little Rock, where over a dozen people died.

    Storm chaser and videographer Brian Eminger sought to help the public understand just how bad the disaster was by sending a drone equipped with a video camera over Mayflower just moments after the storms had passed.

    A short video he posted on YouTube, which attracted nearly two million views within just 48 hours, showed emergency crews sifting through rubble where homes and buildings once stood. The images proved that the small Arkansas town was unrecognizable compared to just hours before, with vehicles and large piles of lumber strewn across the highway and elsewhere.

    Eminger’s drone measures approximately 18 inches wide with small propellers that are about eight inches long, he told the Gazette. He used it in the past to help a local TV station obtain footage of a hotel fire in Hot Springs, Arkansas, but could now face a $10,000 fine because of strict FAA guidelines.

    The agency’s regulations prohibit UAVs from being used for commercial purposes, including reporting, although photographers and press watchdogs alike have complained that the rule (designed to keep drones out of the flight path of major aircraft) are a violation of the freedom of press guaranteed by the First Amendment.

    Proponents have also complained that frivolous restrictions on drone activity are a needless limit that eliminates a potentially helpful tool for first responders.

    Matt Waite, director of the Drone Journalism Lab for the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, previously made headlines when his class, which was learning how to use drones for journalistic purposes, received a cease-and-desist letter from the FAA forcing them to continue their instruction inside. The problem, Waite told Forbes, affects a variety of areas where UAVs could be incredibly useful.

    “We don’t have really clear rules of the road right now for the use of drones for journalists or anyone, really,” he said on Tuesday. “There are a tremendous amount of questions that are floating around out there that have significant ramifications of how journalists will use there, that we do not have solid answers for.”

    When questioned Monday on whether the FAA had seen Eminger’s video, FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford told the Gazette that “We are looking into it.”

    If Eminger is nervous about being on the hook for $10,000, though, a March court ruling could provide some relief. The agency previously tried to levy a fine against Raphael Pirker, a videographer whose company 'Team Black Sheep' uses drones to capture unique footage. Pirker convinced Judge Patrick G. Geraghty that “there was no enforceable FAA rule or FAR Regulation, applicable to model aircraft or for classifying model aircraft as an UAS [Unmanned Aircraft System].”

    The FAA appealed the decision, citing air safety and security. The spokeswoman did not provide any details on when the agency could seek legal action against Eminger.

    VIDEO LINK --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7s2lzDtjew


    SOURCE: http://rt.com/usa/155756-faa-journalist-drone-tornado-investigation/
     
    dirkclod likes this.
  2. scooter339

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    Re: FAA ‘looking into’ $10K fine for drone recording of torn

    The way I try to appease the FAA is to apply for a COA, they haven't gotten back to me for over 6 weeks now, an publishing on my website the extensive safety precautions I take.

    I'm up for whatever regulations they come up with, I intend to comply but I intend to fly in a responsible way.
     
  3. Surf Island

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    Re: FAA ‘looking into’ $10K fine for drone recording of torn

    I call complete BS on the federal government. Every branch as overstepped their boundaries and continue to take away our freedoms. We get fined for flying a toy copter, but armed drones are allowed to spy on law-abiding Americans?
     
  4. AmosMoses

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    Re: FAA ‘looking into’ $10K fine for drone recording of torn

    This is just stupid! We have a big old bullseye on our backs and these unelected bozos are looking down the scope......
    It's all about keeping the sheep in the pen. There was nothing in the video he posted that was offensive or inappropriate. I believe that it's because he beat CBS, NBC, ABC, AND FOX to the scene and had better coverage! Can't have that, now can we? Just my opinion. ....


    Sent from my SM-P900 using Tapatalk
     
  5. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    Re: FAA ‘looking into’ $10K fine for drone recording of torn

    In my opinion he hovered way to close to the action. Responders on the ground could see it, at one point a responder shines his light at the camera. While this footage is unique and desirable, I would not have gotten so close or so low of an altitude to capture it. I understand the guys on the ground not wanting to deal with a UAV directly overhead under the circumstances they are working in. The risk factor on this footage was high in my book.
    Just my[​IMG]
     
  6. rcountfl

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    Re: FAA ‘looking into’ $10K fine for drone recording of torn

    I don't think it is any more disruptive than a 40 ft satellite van parked on the shoulder of the road idling and camera people crawling all over the scene. I feel for those folks and the trauma something like this can cause. In FL we deal with hurricanes which are bad but really don't compare to this at all. I don't know.. I think I would be really wanting to get the shot and the footage, but I would feel a little awkward but that's just me.. Would I do it, probably yes.. Feel awkward like standing and taking photos of someones house burning or something.

    At the same time I don't think he should be fined, and really I cant see anything wrong with doing it. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if a lot of the major networks begin using the devices we fly a lot more.
     
  7. ShoreBird

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    Re: FAA ‘looking into’ $10K fine for drone recording of torn

    I with Surf Island on this! Our government is terrible....every branch. Over the last few years I have been fighting to keep my second amendment rights as well on both a state and federal level and everything that I have learned is that this government is in no way for its people. As long as I'm flying responsibly they can shove it.....