FAA Commercial Shutdown


If anyone in the group has or knows of anyone that has been shutdown for commercial sUAS use would you please contact me.

roryp at volt aerial robotics dot com



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  • Joshua, you really don't want this, because then everyone everywhere will claim ownership of the air and enforce their new found rights by using that ownership thing against over-flights. 

    You REALLY don't want this.  Imagine all the idiots who buy a house near an airport, THEN complain about the noise from airplanes flying over their house.  This happens so much more often than you would think.  The fact that the airport had been in operation for more than 50-years is no logic they can follow.

  • Bill,

    I don't think of this as the complete solution, but it would enable %90 of the commercial applications. Let's get the non-controversial uses going, and keep debating the thorny issues. 

  • People have always had a right of passage through unposted or unimproved land.  It's doubtful that courts are ever going to pretend that there's some invisible wall preventing passage.

    There's also no real privacy concerns.  The only constitutional right you have to privacy is against the government and only then to the extent that you take means to protect it.  If you don't build a fence or close your curtains you have no expectation of privacy from anyone.  The same standard will apply to aerial observers.

  • Joshua, you really don't want this, because then everyone everywhere will claim ownership of the air and enforce their new found rights by using that ownership thing against over-flights. 

    While I understand your goal is to ensure you can fly over your own land, I am sure it would get used to ensure you can NOT cross over other land, like a country road, or a split plot on a farmers field, etc... The air needs to remain an open resource, free to all users albeit with safety rules.  

  • Sorry to spam, I always forget something.

    I wanted to improve on the backhoe analogy.

    We are actually a sister industry to the crane and bucket-truck operators. It's an almost identical comparison: liability concerns, access issues with neighbors, weather effects, and overhead obstacles. 

    We don't see bucket-trucks slowly cruising the neighborhood looking to perv-out on us, but they could! 

  • Rory,

    I just wanted to say thanks for bringing this perspective up, I can't stop thinking about it. 

    The property rights argument makes a perfect foundation to define our commercial activity on.

    The principal element of this definition would be: "With cooperation of the property owner".

    This immediately separates out all the thorny issues.

    We let the FAA off the hook, and make the claim that a property owner has the right to access a useable amount of airspace above the property--without oversight by the FAA, other than agreed upon common sense limitations and safety concerns.

    A broad title like: Digitally-tethered robotic aerial survey operations 

    (People feel better when machines are tethered)

  • A little history - MI6 (in California) got themselves into hot water with the city film commission which told them that they need a city permit for aerial commercial photography.  Specifically for real-estate videos.  Their reply to the commission was, essentially, "why us and not the people on the ground shooting video?"  Well, the city bureaucrats weren't going to take logic sitting down, so they contacted the FAA to inquire what the rules were.  When the city discovered that what MI6 was doing was not legal, they basically decided to shut down MI6 and enlisted the FAA and the Real Estate association to help.

    On the FAA position of commercial vs hobby use....

    The FAA is responsible for safety.  Period.  Noncommercial flight in any craft, Cessna, balloon, drone or Lear-jet - is generally less regulated than commercial flight because the participants are usually all familiar with the operator the operator's abilities.  Commercial use, however, requires a higher level of scrutiny precisely because the user, the customers, are usually general public people with no aviation knowledge.  They rely on the FAA to assure their safety.  This is accomplished with pilot licensing and aircraft certification.   Domestic drones, as we know them, were extremely rare before this decade, so as usual, the technology has gotten way ahead of the regulations.  Because there are no regulations for pilots' licensing and drone certification, the FAA cannot do their job - their only job - of aviation safety.

    You may ask, why is my flight over my house, taking photos legal, but if I yaw to the house next door and take photos for the Realtor any different?

    If the FAA gave a green light for that type of flight, there will be thousands of entrepreneurs with more money than brain who have absolutely no knowledge of aviation law, no experience flying a drone, and only see a business opportunity.  Someone on the ground will be hurt, and the FAA will be called on the carpet for not assuring the safety of flight.

    At the very least, we are going to see some kind of pilot licensing, and probably an aircraft certification which takes all of the DIY craft out of the commercial sphere.

    Meanwhile, hobby flight under AC91-57 will largely go unaffected.

  •  the regs......

    (a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law
    relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into
    Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this
    subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
    may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model
    aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if—
    (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational
    (2) the aircraft is operated in accordance with a communitybased
    set of safety guidelines and within the programming
    of a nationwide community-based organization;
    (3) the aircraft is limited to not more than 55 pounds
    unless otherwise certified through a design, construction,
    inspection, flight test, and operational safety program administered
    by a community-based organization;
    (4) the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not
    interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft; and
    (5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator
    of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport
    air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located
    at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft
    operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of
    an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating
    procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic
    control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the
    (b) STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing in this section shall
    be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue
    enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who
    endanger the safety of the national airspace system.
    (c) MODEL AIRCRAFT DEFINED.—In this section, the term ‘‘model
    aircraft’’ means an unmanned aircraft that is—
    (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
    49 USC 40101
    49 USC 40101
    VerDate Mar 15 2010 07:45 Mar 06, 2012 Jkt 019139 PO 00095 Frm 00067 Fmt 6580 Sfmt 6581 E:\PUBLAW\PUBL095.112 GPO1 PsN: PUBL095 dkrause on DSKHT7XVN1PROD with PUBLIC LAWS
    126 STAT. 78 PUBLIC LAW 112–95—FEB. 14, 2012
    (2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating
    the aircraft; and
    (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

  • I want the FAA to step in on these stupid ban laws and declare that they are in charge, and no, states can not decide. The air needs to be free and remain free.

    I can't believe there is any "question" at all because their current rules and regulations are pretty clear. I don't think we need clarification, I think we need relaxation of the rules (example: VLOS). 

    Also, the FAA is in the "Air" business. To say they would ban aircraft, is like saying a race track would ban cars. It's not going to happen. Flying is their business and safety is their job. The only reason they exist is to enforce safety on the barnstormers and air circus's in the first place. They didn't ban ultralights or experimentals and they bent over backwards creating new classes to make it easier for Joe Six Pack to get a license. Heck, you only gotta be something like 10 or 12 to get a pilots license. I really don't see them changing much until "sense and avoid" comes out. They've made their rules; < 450 feet and VLOS, and that's enough for them I'm sure. 

  • I haven't read through the six pages, so sorry if I am late in the discussion. The property rights stuff is definitely an interesting discussion. In other areas the FAA has taken a stance that it holds only jurisdiction over airspace, but doesn't in terms of land use and zoning surrounding an airport. This has been the stance regarding airport noise. The FAA expects that airports ensure that compatible land use is surrounding the airport. They don't say what exact land use and zoning is to be in place, just that airport managers should ensure compatible land use.

    They essentially are saying they can't control property on the ground, so they put the onus on others. The FAA funds mprovements on most public use airports, by accepting money an airport commits to following guidelines set by the FAA. Thus airport managers make every effort to work with surrounding communities with land use.

    Other areas where the FAA doesn't mandate land use but recommends an airport work with local jurisdictions is protection to airspace around an airport. They will never say a development like a wind farm or antenna is forbidden, but they will strongly object if it is a major impact. They will dictate how the structures are marked and lit, and they will change approach or departure minimums if a structure is built and results in a penetration to an imaginary surface. But they won't forbid a development.

    Given the strong stance against commercial UAV use, even for uses like agriculture, it will be interesting to see what would happen if, say a farmer were to get a letter for using a UAV over their land. I suspect that the FAA will be ale to fall back on the fact that they control airspace above the land as has been stated already.

    The lawsuit in Las Vegas adds another twist, as land developers were able to successfully argue that limits to how high structures could be built in the vicinity of McCarran severely devalued property.
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