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The Next Absurd Step In The Continuing Saga of FAA Trying To Regulate New Technology

Published: 03/07/2014
By: larry

DJIPhantom2On Tuesday the New York Post reported that the FAA is taking on Realtors in NYC, the Hamptons.

Brendon Schulman, Special Counsel at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP in New York claims via Twitter that this subpoena activity by the FAA is not new. He says he is defending Subpoenas that were issued months ago.

Gregory McNeal at also reports on this situation. Gregory says:

The FAA claims their decision is all about safety, FAA administrator Michael Huerta stated last week “We have a mandate to protect the American people in the air and on the ground, and the public expects us to carry out that mission.” But regulating based on commercial versus non-commercial use has nothing to do with safety, in fact it may be the worst way to draw the line on safe versus unsafe operations.

I'm no expert on this but it sure looks to me like the FAA is just harassing RCMA pilots because they know they cannot actually fine anyone until the Pirker v FAA case now in appeal is settled.

12 comments on “The Next Absurd Step In The Continuing Saga of FAA Trying To Regulate New Technology”

  1. The FAA is using safety as a ruse for grabbing power. This has nothing to do about safety when you prohibit commercial applications. People flying commercially are more attentive to safety than some hobbyists. It appears the FAA is taking lessons from the IRS and the EPA, etc.....

  2. Is anyone laying low on their aerial photography while this is happening or is it business as usual? I've had a number of realtors contact me about this. I don’t actively promote this on any websites or anything.

  3. I'm actually waiting to see what comes down before I invest in the equipment. Eventually I believe it will be decided in favor of the UAV operators but who knows with the government involved. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I've read that other countries have already approved this sort of use of drones. As usual, the U.S. is lagging behind. I also have been asked by realtors about doing UAV videos.

  4. I dunno... Imagine you were the chief of the FAA, and you were tasked with keeping the air safe for the public... would your blanket policy be "It ain't a problem til it's a problem" ? That's what it sounds like people wish for, but then, they would be all upset when a UAV came crashing down on their family or their property, and claim that the gov't wasn't keeping them safe. I mean, suppose we just eliminated all traffic control (lights, signage, etc) because it's just too inconvenient to have to stop or merge, or travel at the same speed... it'd be pretty darn awesome, wouldn't it? You just can't have a population of 330 million with no rules or regs for the common good. We do that in our families, our schools, and our jobs, but you have to do it as a "united" nation too. Otherwise, we might as well be Africa, a large continent without any unity, and thus, resources squandered, and little or no progress. As a nation, we are committed to the safety and well being of all of are citizens, and in reality, if it wasn't for the news or a trip to the airport, the gov't is largely invisible and behind the scenes (inspecting meat & veggies, cars, bridges, and preventing disease outbreak, etc), and my only reminder that they are present is April 15th.

    Be patient, they're working it out.

    Happy 4th of July! Be a patriot, enjoy a national park this weekend. Go USA! heh heh

  5. and besides, I don't sympathize with someone who's reaction starts out like this:

    "“You can get [drones] online for 1,500 bucks,’’ a Corcoran broker said. “It’s a lot cheaper than hiring a photographer..."

    That's not the kind of guy I want for a client.

  6. Perfectly said: The FAA claims their decision is all about safety, FAA administrator Michael Huerta stated last week “We have a mandate to protect the American people in the air and on the ground, and the public expects us to carry out that mission.” But regulating based on commercial versus non-commercial use has nothing to do with safety, in fact it may be the worst way to draw the line on safe versus unsafe operations.

    Twenty people can can use multi-rotors to photograph an event and only the guy that charges for the service is unsafe? Yeah, that makes sense...

  7. It's a good thing the Wright Brothers did not have to wait for the FAA to figure things out.

  8. I have a hard time understanding how they can come up with guidelines on what is and what is not "authorized" without also presenting a path to authorization. Aerial photography is an established industry and it will not go away. It seems there lame advisory last week was a premature announcement simply to show they are doing something, however incompetent and poorly informed they are. Politics I guess.

    I do agree that there should be guidelines and a path to certification like any commercial entity that operates "specialized machinery" in public. (bus drivers, boat captains, etc.) It seems fair. I have a feeling that those who shoot property videos etc. will fall into the film industry and production classification which hopefully will have some logical exemptions to a full blown FAA reg fest. Assuming there will be classifications...... Who knows? Fly smart

  9. Larry,

    I am not so sure it's absurd. I saw some footage the other day taken by a Realtor® where he buzzed a power line with his drone and we wonder why the FAA is up in arms? In the Forbes article it says that Realtors® will operate safely because they don't want to risk their license; buzzing a power line is not operating a drone safely. That argument is silly.

    I am like a few others on here, we are committed to using them but only after the dust settles. In the meantime we are going to train and hone our skills. When the time is right, we will jump in.


  10. I'll stick to my painter's pole to get 20 ft into the air if I need it because of the angle neede for the shot...or just use a longer lens from a distance. Tweak the nose of the govt or anyone else's nose and see what it brings, is anyone surprised? Really?...I don't need that head ache. If I really needed it I guess a go pro on a tethered might work in a pinch. I will let others blase the way to the legal challenges first. What's the rush? There will always be another drone you can purchase or a newer one designed for that. If it becomes legal with no insurance needed maybe then...Oh, remember when flat screen TV's first came out? I wanted one look at the prices. I think my position makes sense logically.

    Good luck to the trail blazers, I just don't want to be the one who "crashes and burns"

    beside it is still an angle that few will ever need to see to buy...It is just the newest gimmick for today, great photography/video will always trump gimmicks.

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