October 16th, 2014
I know there are many licensed pilots out there that also do real estate photography and may fly small UAVs. In a move that appears to be an effort by the FAA to use what ever means they can to control small UAVs the FAA focused on drone operators, Change 6 to its Compliance and Enforcement Handbook specifically threatens licensed pilots that use small UAVs. John Goglia, in his article at forbes.com describes the move in detail:
…drone pilots who hold airmen certificates are at particular risk, especially if they fly manned aircraft for a living. According to the new guidance: “For a deliberate, egregious violation by a certificate holder, regardless of whether the certificate holder is exercising the privileges of the certificate in connection with the violations associated with a UAS operation, certificate action, may be appropriate. Such certificate action may be in addition to a civil penalty.” This means that a model aircraft operator may put his professional license at risk – even though no license is required to fly a model aircraft – if the FAA decides that his or her conduct is egregious enough.
To me this indirect approach at regulating small UAVs seems underhanded. I wish they’d just focus on getting actual reasonable federal laws in place that regulate the air space under 400 feet.