Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft Restrictions Cause Conflict
In March, news outlets around the country reported a near collision between a U.S. Airways commuter flight and a drone near the Tallahassee Regional Airport. In the aftermath of the narrowly avoided disaster, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it is working aggressively to develop rules for drones. Currently, anyone operating a drone within 5 miles of an airport is required to notify the airport and the air traffic control facility.
Across the country, drones are used for myriad reasons: monitoring crops, taking photographs of property and shooting commercials to name just a few. Technically, those piloting these drones are breaking rules that go back seven years, when the FAA first developed restrictions regarding unmanned aircrafts. However, legal complications and limited resources have led to unpredictable and irregular enforcement, causing an increasing number of drone operators to take the risk.
In November, the FAA reportedly plans to propose new rules regulating how small drones can be legally used for commercial purposes, though it may take several more years for those rules to become finalized. The agency currently requires all non-recreational unmanned aircrafts to seek approval, though to date it has only fined two drone pilots for alleged reckless flying. Some advocates of unmanned aircrafts, however, worry that public backlash regarding the barely averted crash in Florida may prompt legislators to push for unnecessarily tough restrictions.
If you are trying to protect yourself from FAA or National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) actions, work with an experienced Indiana aviation attorney to protect your rights.