Archives: Drones

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D.C. Circuit Strikes Down FAA Registration Rule for Recreational Drones

On May 19, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated a Federal Aviation Administration regulation that required the owners of recreational drones—unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”)—to register with the agency.  The court held that the regulation violated the same law that the FAA had used, in part, to justify the requirement.  The … Continue Reading

FAA Drone Rules Take Effect; Commercial Use of Drones Permitted with Certain Conditions

Welcome to the Drone Age. The Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) long-awaited rule on the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drones”) took effect Monday, August 29, 2016, providing a comprehensive and generally applicable set of rules for anyone wishing to operate a small drone for commercial purposes. This does not mean you … Continue Reading

Federal Aviation Administration Finalizes Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule

On Tuesday, June 21, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) finalized its long-awaited rule on the commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drones”).  The rule is significant because it provides a comprehensive and generally applicable set of rules for anyone wishing to operate a small drone for commercial purposes. Before the adoption … Continue Reading

Looking Forward After the FAA’s Drone Registration Regulation

On December 14, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a significant regulation that requires all owners of small unmanned aircraft systems – between 0.55 and 55 pounds – to register with the agency. News outlets have good summaries of the rules, so we only recap them here. An individual who owns a drone before December … Continue Reading

Revenue from Drone Videos Could Convert Hobbyists into Commercial Operators, FAA Says

Last July, we raised the question of whether advertising revenue from hobbyists’ drone videos posted on YouTube could constitute commercial operations of a drone.  At the time, we noted that some hobbyists’ videos were preceded by advertisements, indicating that the videos were likely part of YouTube’s Partner Program, where a portion of the advertising revenue … Continue Reading

NTIA Seeks Comment on Drone Privacy; Markey and Welch Introduce Drone Privacy Bill

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration today requested public comment on privacy issues related to the use of drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”).  The request came a day after two members of Congress introduced a bill that would impose significant privacy restrictions on drone operators. The NTIA request is a result of a Feb. … Continue Reading

FAA’s Proposed Drone Rules

This past weekend the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the first steps to allow the routine use of certain small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes in U.S. airspace.  In taking this highly anticipated action, the FAA released a proposed rule, an overview of the proposed rule, a fact sheet and a press release.  … Continue Reading

White House Releases Drone Privacy Memorandum

On Sunday, the White House released a memorandum that outlines privacy protections that federal agencies must take when they use drones, and directs the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to work with the private sector to establish voluntary privacy practices for commercial drone use. The White House issued the memorandum on the same day that … Continue Reading

FAA Grants CNN Permission to Test Drones in News Gathering

The Federal Aviation Administration will allow CNN to test the use of drones in news gathering under a research agreement that will study how drones can be used safely and effectively by news organizations. While the FAA has granted limited exemptions for commercial drone use in controlled settings, such as film sets, the agency has … Continue Reading

FAA Grants Drone Exemptions for Real Estate, Agricultural Use

The Federal Aviation Administration this week granted exemptions for the use of drones by a real estate firm in Arizona and a crop monitoring company in Washington state, further loosening the agency’s strict ban on the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The exemption granted to Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tuscon, … Continue Reading

House Committee Turns Up Heat on FAA in UAS Hearing

Members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure pushed the FAA on Wednesday, December 10, to accelerate integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into U.S. airspace, expressing concern that regulators in other countries are ahead of the FAA in permitting safe UAS use, setting back economic development in the United States. But these same … Continue Reading

FAA Can Regulate and Fine Drone Operators, the NTSB Says

Individuals who operate drones are subject to FAA regulations that prohibit careless and reckless operation of an aircraft, the National Transportation Safety Board ruled on November 18, 2014.  In reaching its conclusion, the NTSB overturned a closely watched ruling by an administrative law judge, who previously held that regulations for “aircraft” did not apply to … Continue Reading

Drones Over Kenya and South Africa

Similar to the growing U.S. interest in exploring civilian uses of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), efforts are underway across the African continent to deploy UAS in innovative ways such as protecting wildlife, expanding internet connectivity to isolated communities, and delivering humanitarian aid.  In Kenya, Dickens Olewe and his African SkyCAM project is helping journalists to … Continue Reading

Executive Order on Drone Privacy

As reported in the press, President Obama plans to issue an Executive Order authorizing the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (“NTIA”) to coordinate the development of privacy guidelines for commercial drone operations.  More specifically, we understand that NTIA would coordinate a “multi-stakeholder process” — a procedure used previously to address privacy issues not … Continue Reading

July 4th Puts the FAA Drone Policy to the Test

Dramatic videos posted over the holiday weekend show fireworks displays that were filmed from drones.  The videos are remarkable, with the drones often flying within the sweep of the exploding shells.  Burning fireworks frequently zoom past the cameras.  We found drone fireworks videos from Decatur, Ga., Lake Martin, Ala., Oak Mountain State Park, Ala., and … Continue Reading

The FAA’s Commercial Drone Approval is Significant, but Bigger Issues Remain

On Tuesday, June 10, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it had authorized the first commercial drone operation over land in the United States.  The approval permits energy company BP to operate drones to survey pipelines, roads, and equipment at the oilfield at Prudhoe Bay, along the north Arctic Ocean coast of Alaska.  The … Continue Reading

The Exploding Use of Drones

The potential for drones, i.e., unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”), is tremendous.  After years of being associated with military operations, the civilian UAS market is expected to dramatically expand in the United States in the next ten years.  A multitude of conceivable applications for UAS — including mapping, weather forecasting, law enforcement, news gathering, real estate, … Continue Reading