FAA announces investigation into drone use over Denver 420 rally

From ABC News in Denver:

DENVER - The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that it is launching an official investigation around the drone that was seen flying over the 4/20 rally in Denver on Sunday.

"Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft -- manned or unmanned -- in U.S. airspace needs some level of authorization from the FAA," Allen Kenitzer from the FAA wrote in an email.

Authorization can be for either the private sector for purposes such as research or training, or for public use, which requires a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for public aircraft.

But drones are sometimes considered model aircraft, which only have to follow FAA guidelines. Those guidelines say hobby aircraft-flyers must keep their aircrafts below 400 feet above ground level and away from airports and air traffic. Besides this, the guidelines specifically exclude the flying of model aircraft for business purposes.

The FAA website says that "routine operation" of Unmanned Aircraft Systems over densely-populated areas is not allowed.

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Comment by Pedals2Paddles on April 22, 2014 at 6:21pm

Why do I bother. You're a waste of time to converse with on this matter because you are going to rant about what you want to rant about, not what someone actually said. It's just not worth repeating myself when you're going to keep ignoring it anyway.  

Comment by Bill Patterson on April 22, 2014 at 6:27pm
Commercial? Painting, wood carving, surfing, photography, I could give examples all day.
Comment by Robert - NuvAero Flight Systems on April 22, 2014 at 6:29pm

Yes, I'm going to stir it up a bit. I am appalled by many peoples reaction to all of the FAA news. These comments are immature and extremely uneducated .Who else is going to regulate transportation besides the government?

If the government says "drive on the right side of the road", do you listen? I hope so.  Is there perhaps a reason for regulation? Are small UAV's going to become part of the economy, or just stay as toys? 

And finally, do you really think a DJI heli is safe enough to fly over people? Any UAV, especially DJI controlled machines, are merely flying sledgehammers (10lbs x 9.81 metres/second Squared)  waiting for their next failure, whether it be hardware, software, or most likely human error? (if anybody is flying DJI it means they are beginners and have absolutely no clue about  UAV's) 

I used to think governments were being too tight on UAV use. After 3 years of commercial operations I finally get it. Nobody has the right to risk other peoples lives or safety!

Comment by Gary McCray on April 22, 2014 at 7:06pm

Hi Guys,

Sadly these FAA posts which are brought on by the FAA itself always devolve into a pro or anti FAA contest.

Not the point really, the FAA isn't going away, it would just be a lot better for everybody's perception of them if they handled these things with a bit less fanfare and billy club and a lot more reason and thoughtfulness.

In the long run we will be stuck with the FAA in any case, somehow I hope we can find a way to get them pointed in a reasonable direction.

So far they are behaving more like Buster Keaton in the Little Dictator only not nearly as funny.

My expectations for the future are not bright as a result of their actions so far.

Possibly they are just trying to make clear to the people who fund them how completly incapable of handling this they currently are without a lot more funding and a lot more personnel.

I guess if that is their purpose they are doing a pretty good job, although the way they are going about it, I would think that the first thing any oversight committee would do is replace everybody at the top. 

Comment by Brian on April 22, 2014 at 7:14pm

I will fly mine on the the odd days and therefore it will not be routine.


Comment by Toby Lankford on April 22, 2014 at 7:40pm

SO they think harrasing pot heads will get them sympathetic ears now.  They are making headlines harassing everyone and it is not doing them any good.

Comment by Justin Britt on April 22, 2014 at 9:02pm

I 100% agree and I think everyone here does too. Those of us scoffing at the FAA are those who understand the FAA has no clue about the technology and are incapable of regulating it properly. People in this thread are generalizing everyone's viewpoints when in-fact we all basically agree with one-another. 

I will agree with Robert that "whoever uses DJI has no clue about UAV's." I think generally you can conclude that anyone that drops thousands on a decked out S800 is a complete moron. Literally almost everyone I meet that says they also have one is flying a phantom or AR drone and then proceed to ask me the most basic of questions about my rigs. It's unfortunate that the Chinese have made it so easy for people to ruin our hobby :( 

Comment by Jesse on April 23, 2014 at 1:14am

The FAA needs to worry about more important things... like continuing to modernize the air traffic control system.

Comment by Oliver on April 23, 2014 at 5:45am

Yep, Monroe, there is a pattern. It is called criminal extortion, corruption,bribery and violation of constitutional guarantees of equal treatment under the law. Bureaucrats such as those populating the FAA and politicians who are fed, clothed and owned by established commercial entities are bribed with small slices of money and power to eliminate competition by making regulations that suppress individual and small enterprises in the name of "safety" (usually "safety" from some non-existent or trivial boogeyman who exists largely via the fiction writers of the mass media). The proof of this lies in the near-total non-regulation of a huge list of genuinely dangerous things, when such safety regulations would negatively impact the established funding sources of the bureaucrats & politicians. So we have citizens sick, injured and dying literally by the millions because of no genuine regulation of the nation's food supply, its energy distribution systems, industrial pollution, mining, and on and on. A completely unregulated fertilizer plant can blow up killing and maiming half a town and exactly nothing is done about preventing the next one, or we lose most of one of the biggest oldest cities in the country, New Orleans, because of an idiotic lack of environmental regulations, but some douchebag is paid to write threatening letters to a volunteer hunting for missing persons with his harmless little UAV? Don't get me wrong, we need rules and regulations but until they are formulated and applied in an honest, logical, scientific and transparent manner agencies such as the FAA deserve no respect whatsoever.

Comment by Oliver on April 23, 2014 at 5:53am

Jesse, the FAA doesn't need to do a thing to modernize the air traffic control system other than to send a couple of guys to Frankfurt to see how it's done.


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