Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
11/18/14 09:56 PM
Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

This was the case when the FAA assessed a fine against a drone operator, and he won at the NTSB ALJ level.

From today's NTSB press release:

NTSB Remands Administrator v. Pirker Case Back to ALJ for Further Review

November 18, 2014

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board announced today that it has served the FAA and respondent Raphael Pirker with its opinion and order regarding Mr. Pirker’s appeal in case CP-217, regarding the regulation of unmanned aircraft. In the opinion, the Board remanded the case to the administrative law judge to collect evidence and issue a finding concerning whether Pirker’s operation of his unmanned aircraft over the campus of the University of Virginia in 2011 was careless or reckless.

The FAA appealed an NTSB administrative law judge’s decision after the judge dismissed the FAA’s order requiring Pirker to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 for allegedly operating an unmanned aircraft in a careless or reckless manner. In his decision, the judge compared Pirker’s unmanned aircraft to a model aircraft, and found the FAA had not enacted an enforceable regulation regarding such aircraft.

In reaching its decision, the Board determined the FAA may apply the regulation that prohibits operation of an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner to unmanned aircraft. To determine whether Pirker violated this regulation, however, the Board stated an administrative law judge would need to review evidence showing the operation was careless or reckless.

The public may view the opinion and order on the NTSB website, at http://www.ntsb.gov/legal/pirker/5730.pdf .


Bruce Gorrell [EQY]
(Top Gun)
11/18/14 10:50 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

That's discouraging. I would like to see the reasoning of the NTSB.

Rick Cremer
(AVSIG Member)
11/18/14 11:04 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Good. A reasonable decision on the part of the Board. That said, the FAA needs to get off its butt and write some regs that lay out the operating criteria for the use of drones. Airspace class restrictions, altitudes, weather minimums, etc.

Hopefully the courts will uphold the government in this case.

Best

Rick Cremer
FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (Ret.)


Rick Cremer
(AVSIG Member)
11/18/14 11:07 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

That's discouraging.




Why do you find the Board's decision "discouraging?"

Would you rather allow unfettered use of drones with no limitations on where, when, and/or how they can be operated?

Best

Rick Cremer
FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (Ret.)


Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
11/19/14 12:25 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

I would like to see the reasoning of the NTSB.




Follow the link in the OP.

What this says is that for § 91.13(a), an "'aircraft' means any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air." (§ 40102(a)(6))

So conceivably, one could make a federal case out of someone intending harm via a paper airplane. I'm not sure what this means for the rest of Part 91. It may take some additional court cases to sort that out.

Given the claim that the operator flew his airplane at a person causing them to "take immediate evasive maneuvers so as to avoid being struck by [the] aircraft", I predict an example will be made of him.

So it would appear that the FAA does have teeth against "drones" being flown in a "careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another".

My biggest issue at this point is that this ruling won't light a fire under the FAA to get some proper drone rules passed. I'd call that disappointing.


Reams Goodloe
(Top Gun)
11/19/14 01:13 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

>>>weather minimums, etc.<<<

Yea, lights, strobes, transponders, active collision avoidance, ADS-B, and the like !!!

- Reams-


Bruce Gorrell [EQY]
(Top Gun)
11/19/14 01:54 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

No, not at all, but I don't think this decision brings us any closer to rational and reasonable regulations concerning drone operations.

Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/19/14 03:11 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Taking this decision at face value, YouTube is full of videos of 91.13 violations by RC aircraft operators. Time to station FSDO inspectors in parks and schoolyards - I think they're going to be busy.

Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/19/14 03:22 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

>> unfettered use of drones...

No, but the FAA has had at least ten years to come up with something a little more plausible than "anything that flies falls under at least part of FAR part 91 unless it's explicitly covered in another FAR." All this does is let them keep making that claim, and if they're really going to insist that a $29 helicopter is an aircraft for the purposes of the FARs, when does it stop? N-numbers? Private license required? 91.13 bust if your RC plane breaks somebody's window?

This is just WAY too broad.


Ward Miller POU-NY
(Top Gun)
11/19/14 11:01 AM
Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Scott, many years ago I represented our area in a meeting with the FAA's
Eastern Region. I'd had plenty of similar level meetings in the military and
in IBM, so I wasn't particularly dazzled. I mostly sat back and observed.

I remember the head FAA guy several times saying, in so many words, "That is
the way it is, because that is the way we *say* it is." That seems to be
their answer with drones. Like a gnat, they keep swatting, hoping it will
eventually go away. But they won't admit there is a swam of gnats to contend
with, soon.


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 12:46 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

They've been kicking this can down the road for a long time, and now that the things are flying in large numbers they feel compelled to do something about it. Unfortunately, doing that correctly takes time and they should have started a few years back given the glacial pace at which they move rulemaking actions. So since the dog ate their homework, now they're pounding regulatory square pegs into round holes. All of my opinions here being strictly my opinions, I don't think this "everything is an aircraft" theory was very well thought through. If 91.13 applies, what ELSE in part 91 applies? Do model aircraft need 500 foot clearance from people and structures? Does flying a model in Central Park require 1000 feet AGL and 2000 from buildings? Visibility minima and cloud clearance rules? What else?

Once you say one part 91 rule applies, you've pretty much bought all of them except those that are clearly inapplicable unless there is some other means (like - wait for it...a proper rulemaking process!) to distinguish one from another. Without that, you're just extracting this "here's how we'd like it to be" stuff from your administrative posterior.


Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
11/21/14 02:53 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

All of my opinions here being strictly my opinions, I don't think this "everything is an aircraft" theory was very well thought through. If 91.13 applies, what ELSE in part 91 applies?




I hear 'ya. But at the same time it the document seems to make a pretty persuasive case that 91 includes more than just passenger carrying things with wings. They're just ruling on a specific point based on the language without trying to fix the whole thing.

It looks to me like the ruling is just saying 91.13 applies without saying just what other sections applies to "drones". It does suggest that the other sections do apply if they are "reasonable".


Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
11/21/14 04:51 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

The drones available to consumers just keep getting better.

The dji Inspire 1

review and discussion


Terry Carraway
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 08:49 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Previously they used the break point of model aircraft were flown for fun, but if there was money involved (incoming, plenty of outgoing with model aircraft) then the model aircraft letter no longer applied.

Caused a big stink among those doing paid aerial photography with RC helicopters.


Ward Miller POU-NY
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 10:51 AM
Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Russell, 91.13 refers to operation of "an aircraft". It was written long
before there were drones. For some reason when I display the FAA Registry
Definitions, it begins with the C's, so I can't see their definition of
"aircraft". The FAA would probably say something like, "Any thing that
flies." But I would like to see the definition in writing. Can you find it?


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 12:34 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

But advisory circulars are not regulatory, either - so the commercial/non-commercial split was also based on nothing but vapor. And as far as I can tell, still is.

Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 12:37 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Title 49 U.S.C.§ 40102(a)(6) defines “aircraft” as “any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.” Similarly, 14 C.F.R. § 1.1 defines “aircraft” for purposes of the FARs, including § 91.13, as “a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.”

Hence the "if it flies, we own it" argument from FAA.


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 12:40 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

My view is that they indeed did not "fix the whole thing." In fact, the decision simply set up more confusion. 91.13 applies - guessing what else does is left as an exercise for the reader. That's the way cases are decided, of course, but this one turns a kid's Christmas present into a federally regulated aircraft and is in dire need of some limitation.

Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
11/21/14 05:42 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

91.13 applies - guessing what else does is left as an exercise for the reader. That's the way cases are decided, of course, but this one turns a kid's Christmas present into a federally regulated aircraft and is in dire need of some limitation.




Agreed. Likewise with the reasons for commercial/non-commercial for RC.


Ward Miller POU-NY
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 06:20 PM
Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Yep, I finally found that, Scott. So that means when I (successfully) landed
a paper glider on Mrs. Fuller's desk in English class without her knowing
where it came from, because of Part 1.1 and 9.13 I operated an "aircraft" in
a "careless and reckless manner" because it scared the crap outta her.

That was in the early 1940s. What's the Statute of Limitations?


Reams Goodloe
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 10:27 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB


A bit of global education might help, if anyone at FAA really wanted to work on this project:

http://www.missouridronejournalism.com/2...ross-the-globe/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CawBCizCdeQ

http://www.rpastraining.com.au/casr-101-uav-drone-legal-or-illegal

- Reams -


Reams Goodloe
(Top Gun)
11/21/14 10:29 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

>>The dji Inspire 1<<

For $3K+, it would be a great tool if it were just legal to make money using it......

....OK, no problem, I'll just abandon the archaic US airspace and find interesting and profitable things in other countries!!!

- Reams-


Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
11/21/14 11:13 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

For $3K+, it would be a great tool if it were just legal to make money using it......




What if you build in a legal defense fund? <BG>

Keep in mind, that if you keep a low profile, you might be able to let someone else test the waters. Reading the details of the case that started this thread seems like a clear endangerment issue - and as a result attracted attention.


Reams Goodloe
(Top Gun)
11/22/14 12:28 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

---->What if you build in a legal defense fund? <BG> <---

An OK plan for those who are not concerned with FAA revocation of privileges currently secured.

Great to know there is prosecutorial discretion that might work in your favor; bad to know that things might change when it's your turn in the barrel... ..and about all you might have to write about is that enforcement activities are, at least in your view, violative of the Administrative Procedures Act.


- Reams-


Terry Carraway
(Top Gun)
11/22/14 10:16 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

But advisory circulars are not regulatory, either - so the commercial/non-commercial split was also based on nothing but vapor. And as far as I can tell, still is.




And a strong lobbying effort by the model aviation community.


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/22/14 06:27 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

I think the Civil Aeronautics Board still has a warrant out for you...

Reams Goodloe
(Top Gun)
11/24/14 06:30 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

>>And a strong lobbying effort by the model aviation community. <<

Terry -

Yes, that should help.
But, it seems this is a case where you need to do your job - lobbying - and their job too - writing the regs and getting them vetted.

Usually various lobby groups are good about advancing drafts that fit their narrow interests, but a broader based coalition that puts together some proposed regs might be the only way this gets done in a sensible fashion in the US. Right now, there seems every likelihood that the FAA might eventually publish some proposed rule that will make everyone unhappy - and that might be largely avoided by some solid information gathering, and work by a coalition of interested parties to advance various proposals before any proposed rule-making is published.

- Reams-


Reams Goodloe
(Top Gun)
11/24/14 06:47 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Terry.

This outfit is pulling together things for the "real UAV" community...

*************************************
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration

Seventh Meeting: RTCA Special
Committee 228—Minimum Operational
Performance Standards for Unmanned
Aircraft Systems

AGENCY: Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA), U.S. Department
of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Notice of RTCA Special
Committee 228—Minimum Operational
Performance Standards for Unmanned
Aircraft Systems.

SUMMARY: The FAA is issuing this notice
to advise the public of the seventh
meeting of RTCA Special Committee
228—Minimum Operational
Performance Standards for Unmanned
Aircraft Systems.

DATES: The meeting will be held
November 21, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. to
1:00 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at
RTCA, 1150 18th Street NW., Suite 910,
Washington, DC 20036.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The
RTCA Secretariat, 1150 18th Street NW.,
Suite 910, Washington, DC 20036, or by
telephone at (202) 330–0662 or (202)
833–9339, fax at (202) 833–9434, or Web
site at http://www.rtca.org.


********************************
..I don't know where there is a similar effort for the "gadget" and toy and little DJI phantom device (and the like) community....

- Reams-


Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
(Top Gun)
11/26/14 11:12 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

For the thread: I hadn't seen this Halloween video before but it's lot of fun...a drone at work:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB8D2QZ9lA4


Mase Taylor
(Top Gun)
11/27/14 04:42 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Stadium TFR Violation By Drone?

YouTube


Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
11/27/14 05:20 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Guy takes his hexacopter to 1000m (3300 ft) - above the clouds, but then has control issues and is unable to get it back before the battery goes out. (It's in Sweden.)

link


Ralph Jones
(Top Gun)
11/27/14 04:27 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Flying it into IMC over a city? No worries -- he's done it before!

Putz.


Mase Taylor
(Top Gun)
11/27/14 08:58 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

DRONE PILOTS WANTED $100k per year.

Mase Taylor
(Top Gun)
11/27/14 09:02 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

DRONE NEAR-MIDAIRS SURGE

Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/28/14 03:36 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

>> Stadium TFR Violation By Drone?

Well, since anything that flies is an aircraft, and TFRs presumably apply to all aircraft, I guess any kid flying a model airplane within the area covered by a TFR would be in violation. The eagle is probably cool since he's just hauling a Go-Pro and the camera wasn't specifically designed to fly - but those mechanical birds they sell at county fairs might be in trouble.

With the size of the TFRs established around VIP travel, there's a lot of room for FAA fundraising through fines.


Terry Carraway
(Top Gun)
11/28/14 08:12 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

>> Stadium TFR Violation By Drone?

Well, since anything that flies is an aircraft, and TFRs presumably apply to all aircraft, I guess any kid flying a model airplane within the area covered by a TFR would be in violation. The eagle is probably cool since he's just hauling a Go-Pro and the camera wasn't specifically designed to fly - but those mechanical birds they sell at county fairs might be in trouble.

With the size of the TFRs established around VIP travel, there's a lot of room for FAA fundraising through fines.




Many TFRs DO apply to model aircraft.

When the POTUS heads to HNL, it shuts down ALL model flying on Oahu due to the TFR.

Also, the TFRs for the major party conventions shut down model flying.


Scott Dunham (RDU)
(Top Gun)
11/28/14 08:30 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

So they do, sometimes, although I think the "national defense airspace" declaration might be the overriding factor there beyond just a straight TFR. Their use of the "...following operations are not authorized..." construct is interesting, since it implies that authorization is required for the laundry list of activities they want to prevent from occurring.

Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
11/29/14 09:06 AM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Another use for a drone: Deep-fry a turkey from a safe distance

Terry Carraway
(Top Gun)
11/29/14 12:18 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

So they do, sometimes, although I think the "national defense airspace" declaration might be the overriding factor there beyond just a straight TFR. Their use of the "...following operations are not authorized..." construct is interesting, since it implies that authorization is required for the laundry list of activities they want to prevent from occurring.




Interesting


John Gaitskill, 0A7
(Top Gun)
11/30/14 11:33 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

I suppose that would apply to rubber band powered balsa wood craft . . . .

Terry Carraway
(Top Gun)
12/01/14 12:37 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

I don't remember what the TFR restricted, I know it restricted RC aircraft. Not sure if control line and free flight were controlled.

Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
12/09/14 08:19 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

I had a thought today - how long before the first assassination attempt via drone by a civilian or terrorist group? I think it's just a matter of ability and motivation coming together. I say within 5 years.

That's going to have a profound impact on regulation.


Mase Taylor
(Top Gun)
12/09/14 09:28 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

I had a thought today - how long before the first assassination attempt via drone by a civilian or terrorist group? I think it's just a matter of ability and motivation coming together. I say within 5 years.

That's going to have a profound impact on regulation.




It's already been done on TV, in an episode of Hawaii Five - O.


Tom Charlton
(Top Gun)
12/09/14 10:26 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Quote:

Russell posted:
I had a thought today - how long before the first assassination attempt via drone by a civilian or terrorist group? I think it's just a matter of ability and motivation coming together. I say within 5 years.
That's going to have a profound impact on regulation.


Hi Russell,
Wow, you’re right. Hadn’t thought of that. I tell ya, we have such a soft underbelly in this country and are so vulnerable to terrorism.

My understanding of the available hardware / software is that would be entirely possible.

What they call “FPV” (First-person view) is now readily available for model aircraft enthusiast. Real time in flight video down linked to the pilot. Many of the multi rotor model aircraft could easily support the weight of a gyro stabilized handgun bore sighted to an onboard video. Mission success wouldn’t necessarily be guaranteed but highly probable. Hmm… wouldn’t even need to be a gun… grenade or pipe-bomb then, as in horse shoes, close counts.

But, ya, just a matter of time<ng>

Regards,
Tom Charlton


Russell Holton
(AVSIG Member)
12/09/14 11:28 PM
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB

Oh, well if your going to use it for bomb delivery, don't forget GPS. Launch and escape.


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