FAA Grounding The Drones
St. Paul MN based Fly Boys Aerial Cinematography‘s drone fleet was grounded by the FAA last week for flying without a proper FAA permit. Asked for comment, Fly Boys response was the FAA doesn’t anticipate issuing commercial permits for UAVs until 2015. What are we supposed to do? This could be the first in what is heating up to be quite a controversy pitting American’s rights to personal freedom and freedom of the press against the rights to privacy and bureaucratic red tape all due to an ineffective law improperly applied. The situation at hand is called around the DC area a bureaucratic cluster-fuck. The video report above is from the Twin Cities’ WCCO-TV. In an absurdly paternalistic manner, the United States Congress took their usual and customary teflon route dealing with the controversial subject of drones, and as a result has left chaos and a state of semi-anarchy in their wide Congressional wake.
I’ll admit, Congress was in a tough spot. But that is what they get paid for. We hired them to provide public policy. Passing enabling legislation to allow with controls the growing proliferation of unmanned aircraft systems is a part of it. Their job is to produce enabling legislation to protect the public and the public’s interest. As with all controversial subjects, whenever a decision gets made, some voters are not going to be happy. Politicians avoid these situations by every means possible, as to them it is all loss and no gain when it comes to counting votes. You never know for sure what people will choose to remember or forget by next November’s re-election.
So in place of conducting the people’s business, acknowledge the facts and moving on with getting proper policy legislation into place ahead of the problems, Congress pulled another typical side stepping chicken dodge. It’s becoming known as the beltway shuffle, or “slow shoe” shine. The Legislative Branch punted the hot potato over to the Executive Branch, in this case the Federal Aviation Administration, with legislative instructions for them to prepare a set of bureaucratic “rules” to govern the use of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or Drones) in the world of commerce.
Absurd as that decision was by Congress, its not nearly as absurd as the FAA taking two years to write these rules. There is something wrong about government placing its citizens and the commercial world into a state of chaos, confusion, and conflict. While amateur so called “pilots” often fly in an extremely dangerous manner, honest responsible businessmen like Fly Boys are forced to stop flying or break the law. My question is why isn’t this coverage, and it’s method of collection, covered under the provisions of the first amendment, the right of a free and unbridled press? You look at the following production from Fly Boys and judge for yourself, but this material is clearly documentary in nature and is presented in a reportage style.
We used to call this tie dye ;=)
The FAA’s latest pronouncement on drones just two days ago:”People who fire guns at drones are endangering the public and property and could be prosecuted or fined,” the Federal Aviation Administration warned Friday. The FAA released a statement in response to questions about an ordinance under consideration in the tiny farming community of Deer Trail, Colo., that would encourage hunters to shoot down drones. The administration reminded the public that it regulates the nation’s airspace, including the airspace over cities and towns.
A drone “hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air,” the statement said. “Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”
Under the proposed ordinance, Deer Trail would grant hunting permits to shoot drones. The permits would cost $25 each. The town would also encourage drone hunting by awarding $100 to anyone who presents a valid hunting license and identifiable pieces of a drone that has been shot down.
Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, 48, author of the proposal, said in an interview that he has 28 signatures on a petition — roughly 10 percent of the town’s registered voters. According to Steel, Colorado law requires local officials to formally consider the proposal at a meeting next month. Town officials would then have the option of adopting the ordinance or putting it on the ballot in an election this fall.
The proposed ordinance is mostly a symbolic protest against small, civilian drones that are coming into use in the United States, Steel said. He acknowledged that it’s unlikely there are any drones in use near Deer Trail.
“I don’t want to live in a surveillance society. I don’t feel like being in a virtual prison,” Steel said. “This is a pre-emptive strike.”
Steel dismissed the FAA’s warning: “The FAA doesn’t have the power to make a law.” While technically correct, the FAA does not make laws. Only Congress can do that. But the FAA does issue the rules and regulations that enforce the laws, and like it or not, promoting a law calling for drones to be shot down is not responsible citizenship. Paying a “bounty” to someone to commit an illegal act is an illegal act itself. Promoting this story is responsible news “coverage” by major media.