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NTSB Judge Rules Commercial Drone Use Legal

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The skies are open... but for how long?

The sound of thousands of commercial UAV operators celebrating could be heard across the internet as an NTSB judge presiding over the high-profile case of FAA v. Pirker ruled that commercial usage of drones violates no laws and no legal action can be taken against law-abiding operators by the FAA.

The FAA has dragged it's feet for years as they attempt to come up with rules for commercial UAV operations in the national air space (NAS). But policing such a diverse group has proven difficult at best; operators can range from hobbyists with a camera on a quad, to multi-million dollar teams with gas powered fixed-wing UAV's... and everything in between. In an attempt to ward off commercial operations, the FAA began contacting small and large UAV businesses with cease-and-desist orders. However, there are currently no laws prohibiting operations, only advisories issued by the FAA... hardly binding laws.

The killing blow was dealt to the FAA with the final ruling on Raphael Pirker's $10,000 fine and court case by judge Patrick Geraghty. Geraghty stated The FAA "has not issued an enforceable Federal Acquisition Regulation regulatory rule governing model aircraft operation; has historically exempted model aircraft from the statutory FAR definitions of aircraft; by relegating model aircraft operations to voluntary compliance with the guidance expressed in [the 2007 policy notice], Respondents model aircraft operation was not subject to FAR regulation and enforcement.

Additional info on the ruling can be found on Motherboard.

Click here to read the court documents

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Mar 06, 2014 at 09:20 PM..
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Old Mar 06, 2014, 10:58 PM
BCSaltchucker is online now
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too late, thread is here:
Old Mar 06, 2014, 11:19 PM
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Great news!
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Old Mar 07, 2014, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
Its not a contest Salty. And once again, this is a news article that's located on the home page, in the forums, and on the FPV channel page rather than a single post in a forum. I hope that clarifies...

Old Mar 07, 2014, 11:32 AM
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This is great news!
Old Mar 07, 2014, 01:23 PM
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Good news is still good news. Its Okay to hear it over again
Old Mar 07, 2014, 04:37 PM
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Everything Is Awesome!! ok, just watched the Lego Movie with the kids this past weekend.
Old Mar 07, 2014, 05:56 PM
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The Feds are appealing the decision so it ain't over.
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Old Mar 07, 2014, 06:22 PM
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If you read the court papers, the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning it's dismissed permanently. I don't speak legalese, but I'm pretty sure they can't appeal. Am I wrong?

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Mar 07, 2014 at 09:12 PM.
Old Mar 07, 2014, 10:12 PM
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That's my understanding as well. The FAA didn't lose a case that actually went to court. The case
was dismissed, and normally that's all she wrote. "With prejudice" means the FAA cannot re-file
a case against the same plaintiff. Presumably any attempt to file a
case against a different plaintiff would meet with similar fate as long as the
FAA tries to use their current arguments as legal foundation for regulation
of unmanned aircraft (that which the judge says is missing).

[edit]That said.. FAA seems to think they can appeal something
Last edited by Daemon; Mar 07, 2014 at 11:24 PM.

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