Trappy ended up paying



Raphael Pirker agreed on Thursday to pay the FAA $1,100 to settle the agency’s $10,000 fine for allegedly flying a drone recklessly to film the University of Virginia in 2011. Under the settlement terms, Mr. Pirker doesn’t admit to guilt and the FAA agreed to drop some of its accusations against Mr. Pirker.

The FAA declined to elaborate beyond the details of the settlement.

Mr. Pirker’s attorney Brendan Schulman said his client decided to settle because the length of time needed to finish the case and recent comments by the FAA “have diminished the utility of the case to assist the commercial drone industry in its regulatory struggle.” The FAA has said its authority to regulate drones stems from a 2012 statute that post-dates Mr. Pirker’s flight.

The FAA fined Mr. Pirker, a dual national of Austria and Switzerland, in 2012. The case gained attention after a federal administrative law judge ruled this past March that Mr. Pirker’s plastic-foam drone was a model aircraft and thus not subject to FAA rules for manned aircraft. The decision cast doubt on the FAA’s authority to regulate drones.

In November, the National Transportation Safety Board overturned that decision and ruled that drones are aircraft and subject to aviation laws, affirming the FAA’s regulatory power over the devices.

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  • Interesting, even with no apparent legal basis the FAA was able to bludgeon Trappy into paying them a "settlement".

    And they say justice is blind!

    To me it seems like our government and justice don't actually have anything to do with each other anymore.

    As a foreign national I guess Trappy's lucky that he didn't get sent to Guantanamo.

  • FAA asked for $1100 or end up on the no fly list.

  • FAA just stop stupid endless litigation just reduce fine to symbolic level that would induce an agreement w Trappy.

    Who win? Мadness ...

  • "Tin kickers" is slang for an accident investigator.

  • Not tin kickers, sure they arent.

  • It is not.  That is slang.

    The administrative law judge is also part of the NTSB.  This is a function retained from the old CAB.

    From NTSB website:

    "The Administrative Law Judges conduct formal hearings and issue initial decisions on appeals by airmen filed with the Safety Board. The NTSB serves as the "court of appeals" for any airman, mechanic or mariner whenever certificate action is taken by the Federal Aviation Administration or the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, or when civil penalties are assessed by the FAA."

    (The "Board" with a capital B means the 5 presidentially-selected/Senate-confirmed members, not the tin-kickers.)

  • I didn't realize the NTSB was a judicial body.

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