Licensed Pilots Flying Drones Beware

October 16th, 2014

FAAlogoI 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  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.

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5 Responses to “Licensed Pilots Flying Drones Beware”

  • The requirement for a pilot license is just part of the requirements imposed on drone pilots for Hollywood. The FAA has revealed the requirements they plan on releasing in 2015. This what we can expect from the FAA in the future. Don’t forget that drone pilots will also be required to have a current flight physical, etc. etc. etc.

  • Most of the FAA’s regulations are purposely vague. This allows them to act or not act on pretty much any one of them as they see fit. While I don’t yet fly UAVs, I do however fly manned aircraft and I do see a need for some regulation of UAV activity from a safety standpoint. Some reasonable laws are needed soon.

  • This situation continues to be frustrating

  • The FAA can pull a pilots license for any number of non-aviation related offenses such as drunk driving, drug possession or use and felony convictions; nothing new here in the reminder to licensed pilots about non-aviation offenses.
    As much as it pains me to say, the disjointed local codes, private policy, public opinion and regulations popping up against uav operations suggest the need for one set of rules and certification, equally applied, across the nation. This sounds like an airspace issue which (ugh) belongs to the Feds and the FAA.
    I am not a fan of the FAA or government regulators in general. Do any of you recall when the FAA badgered legendary pilot and veteran of two wars Bob Hoover into surrendering his pilot license and medical on a ramp after an airshow – when, as it was later discovered, they had no legal right to do?
    It would be great if a private, or quasi-private solution could be found for certification and licensing of uav pilots that was universally accepted. It does seems to me a good idea for a uav pilot be required to demonstrate safe operation and knowledge before leaving the protected area of a sport flying field. Heck you can’t fly at most sport flying fields without training and demonstration of skill and knowledge.
    Clear skies.

  • Appreciate all the above commented, but am sitting here down under after watching that “wally” in Albania or somewhere over there…flying that flag (via a DJI PHANTOM 2 ) into the 1st ever (well at least in the last 50ys ) football match….and you know what ….the only thing ringing in my ears is Jamie from “Mythbusters” statement…as in;


    We may sit back and say I hope that does not happen…..but what would it be like when these “wallies” fly 100 of these drones things with C4 into a packed stadium?!?!?

    Perhaps the authorities have a plan for a couple of these drones flying into the next Commonwealth or Olympic Games…BUT ARE THEY PREPARED FOR A SWARM OF 100 -200 DRONES AT ONCE?

    Yes they may think they are prepared because they have a “blocker” for 2.4 or 5.8Ghz….but what if these drones descended into a stadium on a totally different freq?

    Think about the past….on a contarian viewpoint ….who….10-15 years ago would have thought that a jet airliner would have been directed at a skyscraper?

    Just asking…thats all?

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