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For the First Time Ever, the FAA Is Trying To Fine a Drone Hobbyist 297

Posted by Soulskill
from the be-careful-with-your-rc-helicopters dept.
Jason Koebler writes: "For the first time ever, the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to fine a hobby drone operator, a development that threatens to throw the whole hobby into disarray if the agency successfully levies the fine. While the FAA has explicitly said it doesn't want anyone flying drones commercially, it has never issued similar suggestions about hobby flight, which is why it has been just fine for some guy to fly a drone above a tornado, but illegal, in the FAA's eyes, for a journalist to do the same. That has changed, according to the agency. A spokesperson for the FAA told me that the agency 'has proposed a civil penalty against an individual in New York City. The operator, who is a hobbyist, flew a drone carelessly or recklessly and violated air traffic rules as well. He ran the drone into a couple of buildings and it crash-landed 20 feet from a person (video).'"
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For the First Time Ever, the FAA Is Trying To Fine a Drone Hobbyist

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  • by Peter L. Berghold (3639725) on Friday May 02, 2014 @09:55AM (#46899209)
    Drones are not the only way to get in trouble with the FAA. If you are into LDRS (Large Dangerous Rocket Ships) there is a maximum altitude your rocket can go and if you expect it to exceed that altitude you need to clear it with air traffic control before launch. It only makes sense given the obvious potential for havoc. The person cited in this article did commit some questionable acts. Crashing into buildings and crash landing the drone were people were milling about and going about their day is not cool. It only takes one "oops" where property damage or personal bodily injury occurs and the hobby will end up being heavily regulated.
  • NO NO NO!!!!!!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday May 02, 2014 @09:57AM (#46899243) Homepage Journal

    "why it has been just fine for some guy to fly a drone above a tornado, but illegal, in the FAA's eyes, for a journalist to do the same. "

    It is illegal for anyone without special permission to fly a drone over(sic) a tornado without a lot of special clearance. The "top" of a tornado will be well above the altitude limits on RC aircraft. It would also be in the realm of dangerous.
    Flying over a disaster area is a different matter to take pictures is a different issue.

    " A spokesperson for the FAA told me that the agency 'has proposed a civil penalty against an individual in New York City. The operator, who is a hobbyist, flew a drone carelessly or recklessly and violated air traffic rules as well. He ran the drone into a couple of buildings and it crash-landed 20 feet from a person (video).'""
      And this is a good thing IMHO.

  • I think the FAA has jurisdiction over anything that flies.

    They just say, "Keep within these limits and we won't care what you do." So the question is whether this guy's recklessnes exceeded those limits.

    Kind of similar to how the FCC has jurisdiction over the ISM bands - they just say "stay below this power level and and a few other limits and you can do anything you want in that band"

  • by dywolf (2673597) on Friday May 02, 2014 @10:52AM (#46899877)

    We've had this exact conversation already two months ago.
    The FAA regulates ALL US airspace, and ALL flying machines.
    It really is that simple.

    Reposting my post from http://news.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

    Also from the FAA's own page (http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=76240) there's a few concrete and relevent statements that cannot be ignored:

    -The FAA is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up.

    -Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft—manned or unmanned—in U.S. airspace needs some level of FAA approval.

    -Flying model aircraft solely for hobby or recreational reasons doesn’t require FAA approval, but hobbyists must operate according to the agency's model aircraft guidance, which prohibits operations in populated areas

    -You may not fly a UAS for commercial purposes by claiming that you’re operating according to the Model Aircraft guidelines (below 400 feet, 3 miles from an airport, away from populated areas.)

    -The agency is still developing regulations, policies and standards that will cover a wide variety of UAS users, and expects to publish a proposed rule for small UAS – under about 55 pounds – later this year. That proposed rule will likely include provisions for commercial operations.

    http://www.faa.gov/news/update... [faa.gov]

  • by koan (80826) on Friday May 02, 2014 @11:12AM (#46900087)

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/ru... [pbs.org]

    WASHINGTON — A federal judge has dismissed the Federal Aviation Administration’s only fine against a commercial drone user on the grounds that the small drone was no different than a model aircraft, a decision that appears to undermine the agency’s power to keep a burgeoning civilian drone industry out of the skies.

    Patrick Geraghty, a National Transportation Safety Board administrative law judge, said in his order dismissing the $10,000 fine that the FAA has no regulations governing model aircraft flights or for classifying model aircraft as an unmanned aircraft.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday May 02, 2014 @12:09PM (#46900667)

    No, the sheriff isn't your problem, you're ignorance is.

    Its not his call, its the FAA's jurisdiction and the fact that you don't know that shows that you aren't qualified to be flying aircraft in the first place.

    You don't get to pretend you're qualified to have an argument about safety issues when you don't even know the rules, which are simple to find, with a quick Google search ... or the many times its been posted here (with citations) on slashdot.

    As a formerly licensed pilot, and an R/C pilot of 20 years, you are EXACTLY the type of person that I don't want in the air.

    If you had a clue, you'd get a waiver and you'd know the sheriff's opinion is irrelevant. Again, its not his call.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday May 02, 2014 @12:28PM (#46900819)

    No.

    There are NO rules that define anything called a 'drone'. Just people using words they heard on CNN.

    The FAA has rules for hobby aircraft, which this man violated multiple times, and those rules have barely changed since the 60s! They will spank your ass for flying your 1960s vintage r/c airplane into a building as well as that is a violation of the rules that have existed since then, you can't fly within a close proximity to buildings OR people, and you can't fly in an unsafe manner ... EVER.

    All of the things you mention ARE regulated by the FAA. Anything that flies, even a rock is regulated by the FAA. The regulations of them are different depending on which thing you are referring to.

    But hey, why don't you go ahead and stay completely ignorant and act like the big bad government is personally making your life a living hell rather than growing the fuck up and getting a clue before spewing random shit out of your pie hole, eh?

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