March 14, 2014
The FAA announced last week that it plans to appeal an NTSB administrative law judge’s ruling that the agency does not have the authority to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The FAA’s action arose from a case involving Raphael Pirker, who was fined $10,000 for flying his remote controlled aircraft to film promotional videos for the University of Virginia Medical Center. The FAA says Pirker’s flights ran afoul of FAA rules prohibiting the commercial use of UAVs. According to the agency and its interpretation of current federal statute on the subject, unmanned aircraft are permissible only for recreational use unless granted a certificate of authorization by the FAA or until regs for commercial use are developed by the FAA. NAAA concurs with this interpretation. The agency is currently working on new regulations that would allow these other uses.
The judge, Patrick Geraghty, said the agency does not have the authority to impose a blanket ban on UAVs across the country. The FAA vehemently disagrees, arguing not only does it have the authority, but its current policy on UAVs is necessary to protect existing manned air traffic.
The FAA appeal has the effect of staying the ruling until the full NTSB board rules on the matter. NAAA is currently considering submitting a friend of the court brief in support of the FAA to help ensure a safe integration of unmanned aircraft into the airspace with low-level, manned aircraft, such as ag aircraft.
Originally found on the NAAA’s website.

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