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Your drone is an "aircraft"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scottintexas, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Scottintexas

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    I was reading my new issue of AOPA magazine. I read the article, under the heading "Pilot Counsel," titled "Unmanned aircraft systems" by John Yodice who provides legal counsel to AOPA. In the article he reviews the progress of the case of the guy who flew his drone around the campus of the University of Virginia. I am sure everyone here has seen the video. In the end the NTSB decided that a drone is an aircraft and is, therefore, subject to the rules and regulations regarding the operation of aircraft. Now the poor guy who flew the drone is still under indictment for reckless operation of an aircraft.

    It wont be long before drone operators will be required to obtain a pilot license. At lease a sport pilot license. We will have to register our drones and get tail numbers and have airworthiness certificates, and all the other BS we have to have when we fly our Piper PA28. In uncontrolled airspace (Class G) you wont have any problems, but if you want some great aerial footage of a city or town or whatever, then you better get ready to hide from the airspace police. Myabe we should come up with a flight plan form that we can file with the FAA before we take our video.
     
  2. MadMitch88

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    The NTSB is required by federal law to investigate ALL civil aviation crashes and provide a public report of that investigation.

    Last time I checked, the NTSB is not dispatched to the scene of a Phantom crash. Those bastards don't even send out a text or email when we post about a Phantom crash.

    Therefore, a consumer drone is "NOT" an aircraft, or otherwise the NTSB can be charged with criminal contempt for not investigating Phantom crashes.

    The NTSB is NOT a court of law within the United States, and they can only bring a civil action against a plaintiff. Anyone can do that.
     
  3. Scottintexas

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    49 USC 40102(a)(6) sates that “aircraft” means any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air. Being that it was an "aircraft" the NTSB can investigate. They don't always HAVE to investigate. They can help other agencies investigate. In this particular case the FAA appealed to the NTSB full member board for a ruling on the administrative judge's rule. They weren't investigating a crash, they were helping the FAA with an investigation regarding an aircraft. Their ruling can be taken to the federal court system by the loser of the case. In this case I suppose the drone owner will go to the federal court. That's why I am waiting to see how this goes in the supreme court. We'll know in a couple of years.

    The point of the story was that since the FAA and the NTSB are both in agreement that a drone is an aircraft (at least right now), they will hammer you if you do anything crazy with your drone and they catch you at it. Like flying through an airport's airspace, hovering over the super bowl, flying just above the heads of people on the beach, flying around buildings in down town Chicago, like that.
     
  4. Buckaye

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    Cool stuff... Thanks for the additional info and research :)
     
  5. msinger

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  6. Buckaye

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    I love that the guy clarifies that though he is AN attorney... He is not YOUR attorney...makes me wonder if people have read his stuff and actually said "well my attorney said...blah blah blah"

    Anyway, interesting read... Thanks for sharing
     
  7. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    +1 Very interesting read...thanks for the link :geek:
     
  8. MadMitch88

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    You're factually wrong.

    49 USC §1132. Civil Aircraft Accident Investigations

    The National Transportation Safety Board shall investigate-
    (A) each accident involving civil aircraft and
    (B) with the participation of appropriate military authorities, each accident involving both military and civil aircraft.


    There is no ambiguous language here. Federal law dictates they MUST investigate EVERY civilian aircraft crash, regardless of size of the craft. They can enlist the aid of other agencies like the FBI or DOJ if needed.

    49 USC § 44101 and 49 USC § 44103 require that all machines and contrivances legally defined as "aircraft" MUST be registered with the FAA and hold a current airworthiness certificate. Phantoms are not sold to consumers meeting either of these two federal statutes.
     
  9. Scottintexas

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  10. Suwaneeguy

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    Yet another wannabe clueless armchair attorney.
    The pirker vs FAA case ruling by the NTSB stated that the FAA could not write citations based on a law that did not exist.
    While a quadcopter is technically an aircraft, so is a paper airplane.
    The FAA still has no authority over remote controlled aircraft. Period.
    Mr. Pirker won the case so he is not STILL worrying about being regulated by the FAA and having his flights watched.
    The person who wrote the article you read is wrong.
     
  11. PhantomFanatic

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    I SURE hope things don't go that far. If so, can I get licensed as an instructor? :). Seriously, we should all keep a log book.

    OT, but is there a commercial RC logbook?
     
  12. Narrator

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    What matters is, these things can injure, can do damage, can create liability. These things can happen through pilot error, through equipment failure, through dangerous flying, and also through foolishness and ignorance from spectators.

    A drone is an aircraft, in that it flies through the air and, unlike a paper plane, is under the complete control of a pilot and will do far more damage. It is not a ground vehicle. It does not travel in two-dimensional space. You won't just stub your toe on it.

    In older times, hobby aircraft were flown in fields and other areas away from people, buildings and vehicles. These days they're flown everywhere. The cheaper they become, the more 'assisted' their flight, the more popular they become, the more dangerously some will fly, the more incidents we will see, the more liability and bad press they will get.

    Yes, your drone is an aircraft, and needs a similar kind of respect.
     
  13. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    A Phantom is an aircraft as much as this is a car and should be fully subject to the same rules and regulations.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. sdtrojan

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    Innocent question - if I went and bought a new Cessna or a used aircraft, do I need to produce any documentation of any sort, or can I just break out the Benjamin's and buy it? If I can just buy it, how is purchasing a Phantom any different?
     
  15. sdtrojan

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    I have made a pretty detailed one in Excel, send me your email address in a PM and I will send it to anyone who wants it
     
  16. MadMitch88

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    The moment you buy a Cessna and it lifts more than 1 ft. off the ground on it's power and if it's not registered with the FAA or properly documented as airworthy, then you are breaking federal law.

    If a Phantom was truly defined as an "aircraft" like the Cessna, it would have to meet the same criteria. I bought my bird from B&H Photo and have flown it over 175 times without meeting either of these criteria, and yet the FAA has never sent me a letter or knocked on my door. I have their blessing to soar high and kiss the sky as long as I don't accept money for flying it.

    I can't make it any simpler than that for you determine what is legally defined as "aircraft" and what is a little plastic flying toy.
     
  17. SteveMann

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  18. SteveMann

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    According to the FAA, the flight begins the moment the aircraft moves under its own power for the intent of flight and ends when the engine(s) are shut down. In other words you can taxi an unregistered or unairworthy aircraft to, for example, a maintenance hangar. As soon as the intent it so fly, it becomes a flight.
     
  19. Narrator

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    Does an RC car have 4 spinning props? Does an RC car spend all its time in the air? Will an RC car crash into people's heads or through windows or on top of cars?
    Like I said, a drone does not travel in two-dimensional space. You won't just stub your toe on it.
     
  20. Narrator

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    Legal definitions do change, and inherently the onus of responsibility and potential risk is what matters. Calling it a "little plastic flying toy" is the opposite end of the spectrum, almost as bad as equating a Phantom with a paper plane.

    Realistically, Phantoms fall into the middle ground. They're more than just a "little plastic flying toy" but less than a 3/4 tonne Cessna 152. Little plastic toys don't cause damage when they crash. Little plastic toys don't overfly prime Turkish airspace. Little plastic toys won't attract this kind of liability from third parties. So let's not play down what they are. They are aircraft, not groundcraft or watercraft, and that gives them greater potential to crash and cause harm.