Lawsuits filed challenging FAA Drone Regulations

Lawsuits were filed on Friday, August 22, 2014 by hobbyists, research universities, and commercial drone interests against tough regulations against drone use in the United States.  The Minneapolis Startribune is republishing the story here.

They are challenging the FAA as much of the drone research is done at the amateur and university level as it  is still a market in its infancy.  As I showed a few posts ago, drone use is growing across the world (past post example in Nigeria by a Indian GIS/Geomatics company).  While some regulation is needed, the FAA needs to be more responsive and keep to their no later than September 2015 deadline.  There is great potential in growing commerce and public safety through better mapping with expanded drone usage.

Here are some story excerpts:

The three lawsuits asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the validity of the directive, which the Federal Aviation Administration issued in June. The agency said the directive is an attempt to clarify what is a model aircraft and the limitations on their operation.

Part of the agency’s challenge is to distinguish between planes flown by hobbyists and those used for commercial applications, a distinction that’s become harder to draw as the technology for model planes has grown more sophisticated.

The FAA directive is a backdoor imposition of new regulations on model aircraft hobbyists and commercial drone operators without going through required federal procedures for creating new regulations, said Brendan Schulman, a New York attorney representing the groups that filed the lawsuits. Federal procedures require an opportunity for public comment on proposed regulations and an analysis of the potential costs of the regulations vs. the benefits.

The lawsuits were filed by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, which represents more than 170,000 model aircraft hobbyists; the Council on Governmental Relations, an association of 188 research universities; and several commercial drone and model aircraft interests. Among them are UAS America, a fund that invests in the commercial drone industry; SkyPan International Inc., an aerial photography company; FPV Manuals LLC, a company that sells video systems for unmanned aircraft operators and an association representing commercial drone operators. All argued that the FAA policy would impede their activities, from hobby use to research and innovation.

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About Chuck Schoeneberger

Former forecaster at Meridian Environmental Technologies Inc (now a Interis Company), with a background in GIS and LiDAR, with other stints at GeoSpatial Services of Winona, MN and Aerometric (Now Quantum Spatial) of Sheboygan, WI. He is a weather technologist for public storm safety from a local to international level. LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=25048141&trk=tab_pro His views are his own and not of his employer.
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