Letter Re: Drones and Airspace

Hugh,

I believe that the article posted on December 22 may present inaccurate guidance to the readers of SurvivalBlog.

In June, 2016 the FAA announced the forthcoming release of Part 107 of their regulations. The likely final regulations are here. The regulations detail the Operating Rules for drone pilots, including things such as See-And-Avoid and Visibility Requirements, Containment and Loss of Positive Control, Careless and Reckless Operation, and more.

For drone pilots, note that the Section on Careless and Reckless Operation is a FAA “catch all” that will be used to legally go after drone pilots who operate in an unsafe manner. Similar Sections exist in other FAA regulations for private and commercial pilots, and this “catch all” has been used to convict pilots who did dangerous things.

More importantly, the FAA and the courts have already demonstrated that the FAA regulates the airspace over the USA. Not you, them. Unless a drone is operating so dangerously that your life is in danger (and ideally you document such), think twice before you shoot down a drone. You’re likely going to end up in court, and even if you win you’ll probably spend at least $10,000 in legal fees.

The FAA did not address privacy considerations in these new regulations. If someone is putting you at risk or violating your privacy, try to document any of the following and then report it to the FAA:

  • operating the drone beyond their line of sight
  • loss of control
  • dropping an object from a drone (Yup, it’s in those new regulations.)
  • dangerous operation, such as flying close to you without agreement

– P.S.

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