July 18, 2014 // 04:47 PM EST


Flying drones for search-and-rescue purposes is legal, and all the cease-and-desist orders the government has sent drone pilots are bogus, an appeals court judge ruled today. It's the second time that the Federal Aviation Administration has been rebuked by a judge for trying to force drone pilots to stop flying despite there being no regulations against it.

This now becomes the second time a federal judge has ruled against the FAA's practice of trying to stop commercial drone pilots (or, in this case, a nonprofit) from working.

It's a huge win for Texas Equusearch, a volunteer, nonprofit search-and-rescue team that has been flying drones since 2007. Earlier this year, the FAA sent the organization's drone pilot, Gene Robinson, a cease-and-desist email saying that the group was "operating outside of the [FAA's] provisions, stop immediately." Three judges with the Washington DC Court of Appeals ruled that the FAA's email is a bogus order. Read the entire article here

Read the entire arti


Image: Gene RobinsFlying drones for search-and-rescue purposes is legal, and all the cease-and-desist orders the government has sent drone pilots are bogus, an appeals court judge ruled today. It's the second time that the Federal Aviation Admini
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  • i think gene is going to be on fox news this this morning
  • +1 Gary!! :)

  • It is interesting that even in the face of simply having the entire issue simply dismissed the FAA once again feels it necessary to claim legal jurisdiction far beyond any laws that have actually been passed by any legal body in the United States.

    Their "Ban" on Commercial UAV flight has absolutely no legal basis and yet they continue to say if you do so you are breaking the law.

    Which of course is simply not true.

    There Simply Is No Law To That Effect.

    And the FAA does not make Law!

    Also, in this case we are talking about a non-profit search and rescue group, by no stretch of the term commercial is this actually a commercial enterprise.

    In it's ongoing emulation of 1984's Ministry of Information's redefinition of words it has decided to make everything that is not recreational - commercial.

    Which is utter nonsense, at every turn, the FAA has ignored utterly what Congress passed a law telling them not to do, the law itself and even the dictionary definition of words.

    They think they answer to no one other than themselves and have no interest at all in serving either the American People or our own Government.

    They really ought to be fired.

  • I wonder how pissed the person writing http://www.einnews.com/pr_news/214541920/press-release-faa-statemen... is 

  • +1 BluSky1

  • My opinion which I have loudly voiced to the FAA

    FAA cease and desist was dismissed against Texas Equusearch. Proving the appeals courts intention all of FAA cease and desist letters to drone pilots are bogus. I would say the FAA will have to actually prove a drone operator is a threat to the national airspace. Not just scream out blanket proclamations like spoiled brat king. To issue any cease and desist letter you would need to have an actual law the person broke and an established fine or method of punishment. The entire FAA mentality that you have some magnificent god given authority over our airspace is incorrect . The USA is a nation of democracy you are not the end all be all decision makers. The people are and the people have elected congress to make those choices not the FAA. Its up the FAA to propose fair and safe regulations for drones in to the national airspace the ultimate decision rests with CONGRESS our elected representatives not the FAA.

  • I agree Stefan, reading it I also conclude that the court simply dismissed the entire thing because it was not a legal action in the first place.

    Rather than seeking a stay of execution, they should have been suing the FAA for unjustified and undue harassment and in the case of a search and rescue effort or possibly for criminally interfering with matters potentially having lethal consquences.

    Then they could have made the case that the FAA was claiming legal authority it did not have to interfere with the commission of their search and rescue efforts.

    Of course, that path is still open to them, If in fact the FAA as a government agency is subject to Civil Suit.

  • Somebody should actually read this ruling!

    The judges did not make such a ruling! The petitioners complained against an FAA "decision" they received by emails and the judges dismissed that complaint because that email was no "decision" but merely a "statement of opinion".

    Rather, given the absence of any identified legal consequences flowing from the challenged email, this case falls within the usual rule that this court lacks authority to review a claim where an agency merely expresses its view of what the law requires of a party, even if that view is adverse to the party.

    I think, that Motherboard writer interprets the case a bit overenthusiasticly.

    The FAA could still issue an actual decision or warrant which THEN could be complained against and THEN the judges would make an actual decision about the case instead of just saying "we are not making any decision because you don't have a case".

  • Throughout this whole mess the FAA has been making the demand that people do what they say without any legal basis for doing so.

    It is a considerable relief that so far at least the courts have noticed that too and ruled against the FAA,

    In fact the FAA has and is still continuing to make it's preposterous claims that what it says you have to do is what you are legally required to do.

    And they are and will continue to threaten us and bring cases to court even though clearly without legal basis.

    It is about time that some serious counter-suing for harassment and lost revenue started taking place.

    By making the claims that they have they have prevented hundreds (or thousands) of business's from being able to pursue their endeavor and have cost many millions of dollars in lost revenue.

    They have also retarded growth of that business to the tune of even more millions of dollars.

    The FAA is a giant out of control bureaucratic juggernaut that needs to start acting responsibly and should be forced to compensate for the damage that it has done and is doing.

    The fact that so far they have been able to act as though they care not one whit what anyone else thinks of their actions really needs to come to an end.

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