AVSIG: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB wwswsigarch.jpg (7236 bytes)

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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB
      #399627 - 11/18/14 04:56 PM

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 .


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Bruce Gorrell [EQY]
Top Gun


Reged: 04/29/04
Posts: 7864
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #399631 - 11/18/14 05:50 PM

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

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Rick Cremer
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/30/04
Posts: 176
Loc: KSRQ
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #399634 - 11/18/14 06:04 PM

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.)


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Rick Cremer
AVSIG Member


Reged: 05/30/04
Posts: 176
Loc: KSRQ
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Bruce Gorrell [EQY]]
      #399635 - 11/18/14 06:07 PM

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.)


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Bruce Gorrell [EQY]]
      #399637 - 11/18/14 07:25 PM

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.


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Reams Goodloe
Top Gun


Reged: 05/07/04
Posts: 2582
Loc: Kent, Washington
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Rick Cremer]
      #399642 - 11/18/14 08:13 PM

>>>weather minimums, etc.<<<

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

- Reams-


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Bruce Gorrell [EQY]
Top Gun


Reged: 04/29/04
Posts: 7864
Loc: Charlotte, NC
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Rick Cremer]
      #399645 - 11/18/14 08:54 PM

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

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Scott Dunham (RDU)
Top Gun


Reged: 04/29/04
Posts: 6470
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Rick Cremer]
      #399651 - 11/18/14 10:11 PM

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.

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Scott Dunham (RDU)
Top Gun


Reged: 04/29/04
Posts: 6470
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
Re: Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Rick Cremer]
      #399653 - 11/18/14 10:22 PM

>> 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.


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Ward Miller POU-NY
Top Gun


Reged: 05/05/04
Posts: 10508
Loc: New York
Drone Case Sent Back to ALJ By NTSB [Re: Scott Dunham (RDU)]
      #399656 - 11/19/14 06:01 AM

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.


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