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An Update On The FAA Drone Restrictions from The Electronic Frontier Foundation

April 30th, 2012

As we talked about earlier this year (here, here and here), the FAA has shutdown US airspace to all commercial drones that don’t have specific authorization from the FAA. The FAA is working on a approval process that commercial drones (real estate photography) will have to go through to fly in the future. Hobbyists flying drones are not restricted.  This process will take about three years (by Sept 30, 2015) to complete.

I noticed a link to this article on EFF.org recently on HuffingtonPost. This article had two things that were new to me:

  1. The EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the DOT forcing the DOT to release information on what organizations currently have authorizations to fly drones domestically.
  2. Apparently there is also a FAA process for issuing Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs) that will be issued to drone manufacturers.

As the article says, there are many questions that are unanswered so things are far from being clear. Bottom line is don’t bother investing in drone gear to do your aerial real estate photography, you risk being busted buy the FAA, paying a serious fine and perhaps serving a jail sentence.

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4 Responses to “An Update On The FAA Drone Restrictions from The Electronic Frontier Foundation”

  • this is nuts. really can’t understand. usa is full of diyers with multicopters and ap rigs that fly all the time without any problems.
    Fortunately there’s still some free countries in the world where you can do whatever you want, including business, with a drone. I thought usa was the land of the free.

  • Apparently Canada has reasonable restrictions for commercial UAV use, I don’t know the details but I had a discussion with a person who ran an association for commercial US UAV fliers who was pretty skeptical that the FAA will do anything soon to help the small time operator. It seems that any problems caused by these machines are eliminated while they are grounded and once reasonable restrictions are created it opens up potential problems for an organization that does not have the funding to handle it. This is just my interpretation of the conversation. I am still hopeful that we can be operating small copters soon as it would be great for real estate videography.

  • Don’t expect this ban to be lifted. The government is operating drones to monitor “persons of interest” (all of us), and it wouldn’t look good if one of them crashed into one of our elevated photography copters!

  • don’t people protest against these stupid laws? It’s kind of scary, people have no freedom.

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