Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Drone Pilot Wins Case Against FAA

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the I-fought-the-law dept.

United States 236

schwit1 writes "In a David vs. Goliath battle that pitted the Federal Aviation Administration against the operator of a small model airplane, a federal administrative judge has sided with the aircraft's pilot. The judge has dismissed a proposed $10,000 fine against businessman Raphael Pirker, who used a remotely operated 56-inch foam glider to take aerial video for an advertisement for the University of Virginia Medical Center"

cancel ×

236 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

F.A.A. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426599)

First A$$holes of America

How did this go to trial? (3, Funny)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 7 months ago | (#46426601)

1. Guy flies radio-controlled model plane.
2. ?
3. Guy is in court.

What happened a step 2?

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426619)

"The FAA alleged that since Pirker was using the aircraft for profit, he ran afoul of regulations requiring commercial operators of "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" -- sometimes called UAS or drones -- to obtain FAA authorization."

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426643)

Ofc, but still; how did the FAA figure that out in the first place?

Re:How did this go to trial? (5, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 7 months ago | (#46426941)

From the TFA:
The judge has dismissed a proposed $10,000 fine against businessman Raphael Pirker, who used a remotely operated 56-inch foam glider to take aerial video for an advertisement for the University of Virginia Medical Center".

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together. Videos shot from air need a platform to shoot them from.

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427087)

Like all those people strapping GoPros to balloons?

Re:How did this go to trial? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427129)

Like all those people strapping GoPros to balloons?

Close. Presumably, if they try to sell those videos, or use them as commercial advertising, the the FAA would get interested. If the balloon has directional controls, such that it qualifies as "piloted" and not just floating at the whim of the wind, then those people might also run afoul of FAA rules.

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427207)

you're right it's not rocket-surgury.

what is though, is how some asshat would see said photo & wonder how it was captured.

Re:How did this go to trial? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 6 months ago | (#46427377)

They saw the product? It is a reasonable assumption that the video was paid for.

Re:How did this go to trial? (5, Informative)

bobthesungeek76036 (2697689) | about 7 months ago | (#46426623)

1. Guy flies radio-controlled model plane. 2. ? 3. Guy is in court.

What happened a step 2?

From TFA: ...Pirker operated the aircraft within about 50 feet of numerous individuals, about 20 feet of a crowded street, and within approximately 100 feet of an active heliport at UVA, the FAA alleged. One person had to take "evasive measures" to avoid being struck by the aircraft, the agency said...

My guess is one of the "numerous individuals" whined to the Police/F.A.A.

Re:How did this go to trial? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426725)

Why do you say "whined"? It sounds like several people probably had valid cause for complain. I certainly don't want random assholes buzzing me with their drones or RC aircraft, or getting in the way of manned aircraft.

Re:How did this go to trial? (2)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about 7 months ago | (#46426841)

Why do you say "whined"? It sounds like several people probably had valid cause for complain. I certainly don't want random assholes buzzing me with their drones or RC aircraft, or getting in the way of manned aircraft.

Exactly. If he was operating as alleged, he has made things more difficult for responsible operators, because this will expedite regulation.

Re:How did this go to trial? (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#46427029)

this will expedite regulation.

Good. The current regulations are idiotic. Why should buzzing a crowd be okay, but buzzing a crowd FOR PROFIT be illegal? He didn't get in trouble because he was flying recklessly, but because he was trying to earn a living.

Re:How did this go to trial? (4, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 6 months ago | (#46427131)

this will expedite regulation.

Good. The current regulations are idiotic. Why should buzzing a crowd be okay, but buzzing a crowd FOR PROFIT be illegal? He didn't get in trouble because he was flying recklessly, but because he was trying to earn a living.

No, buzzing a crowd is illegal independent of wether it is for profit or not. My guess is since he was doing it for profit is was easier for the FAA to use that to fine him. No that a judge has said they can't do that they need to decide wether to drop the case, appeal, and or charge him with other violations of the CFR. While some rules may seem, or actually be, idiotic, there needs to controls on how airspace is used to ensure everyone's safety. If he did operate the a/c as described in the article he deserves to be slapped. It's the people who act irresponsibly that result in rules being made that negatively impact all of us who don't.

Re:How did this go to trial? (3, Insightful)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 6 months ago | (#46427201)

The FAA doesn't need to be involved, there are plenty of reckless endangerment and negligence laws to cover someone buzzing a crowd and almost hitting people.

Re:How did this go to trial? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 6 months ago | (#46427295)

Federal.
Aviation.
Admistration.

Yes, they absolutely need to be involved. It's specifically and exactly the sort of thing the FAA was created for and falls exactly within the FFA's jurisdiction. Those laws you cite? They came from the FAA.

Re:How did this go to trial? (5, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 6 months ago | (#46427155)

Why should buzzing a crowd be okay, but buzzing a crowd FOR PROFIT be illegal?

That's an easy one. In many fields, it is considered onerous to regulate hobbyists because the cost of registration and testing would be prohibitive. If you're making a living doing something, if you can't make enough money to cover the costs of proper training, regulation and insurance, then it's not a viable business.

Obligatory car analogy: in most places, it's legal to give your friends a lift in your car on a normal driving license, but you'll need a taxi license to take paying passengers. This, I hope you'll agree, is fair, as it aims to protect the public without encroaching on personal leisure-time liberties.

Another analogy: public parks. Many cities are now introducing bye-laws/ordnances to stop trainers running profit-making bootcamps etc without a permit. This is because these commercial users are typically much heavier users than members of the public, and therefore use up more of a limited resource, increasing grass damage and ground compaction. Even where the space isn't otherwise needed, there is still the issue of their activity and noise affecting nearby park users. Airways are also public space, and it's fair to the owners (everyone) that those extracting commercial value are controlled and perhaps even pay back in.

Note, though, that this ruling isn't about the personal use vs commercial use argument -- the judge's decision was that the regulations for UAVs are not directly relevant to model aircraft (differences in size and flight range are not inconsiderable between commercial drones and hobbyist vehicles). As such, expect to see the FAA bring in new regulations for model aircraft, categorising model aircraft by top speed, effective range, fuselage size etc.

Note also that in most countries that do have specific provisions for model aircraft, Pirker would still have been breach of the law due to the proximity to the helipad. Not only that, but FPV flying (Pirker flies with a camera and head-mounted display) is technically illegal in most jurisdictions, because the designation of model aircraft mandates that the pilot must maintain direct line-of-sight with the aircraft at all times. The need to maintain line-of-sight kept issues of range as effectively redundant in the designation of model aircraft.

Re:How did this go to trial? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 6 months ago | (#46427395)

it's legal to give your friends a lift in your car on a normal driving license, but you'll need a taxi license to take paying passengers. This, I hope you'll agree, is fair

Nope, I don't agree at all. I have been to many cities where ride sharing is legal (such as the jeepneys [wikipedia.org] of Manila). The result is more convenient travel and lower prices. Taxis are just a price fixing scam.

Re:How did this go to trial? (3, Informative)

ScentCone (795499) | about 6 months ago | (#46427219)

He didn't get in trouble because he was flying recklessly, but because he was trying to earn a living.

No. This was specifically because he was being reckless. His videos showing him flying at street level through traffic, buzzing the hospital heliport, etc.

The reason the FAA became aware of his asshattery is that he uses his jerky stunt flying to promote his business (he sells multirotor hardware, among other things). He's an attention whore, and puts together his videos with a deliberately provocative tone, and it caught up with him. The issue of commercial vs. hobby was incidental, and the administrative judge's ruling didn't speak to that directly anyway.

Regardless, this isn't even a "final" ruling. For now, he's had his fine dropped. Heavy, onerous regulations are coming for RC/FPV operators, and it will be ugly (licensing, air worthiness certificates, medical exams, etc).

Why should buzzing a crowd be okay, but buzzing a crowd FOR PROFIT be illegal?

Buzzing a crowd isn't OK either way. Regardless of the state of the FAA's pending new regs, plenty of local laws against reckless endangerment can be brought to bear, and this sort of ruling is going to pour gas on the fire of a thousand local jurisdictions throwing together a patchwork nightmare of laws against Evil Drones. This ruling is actually a bad thing.

Re:How did this go to trial? (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 7 months ago | (#46426881)

Assuming the "one person had to take evasive measures" wasn't an aircraft, how is it an FAA matter? If he'd been using a large RC car in a public park to harass people, would it be dangerous driving because it's less than 50 feet from a road?

Most regions already have "creating a public nuisance" and "endangering the public" type laws that could already cover this. Even "Conducting a business activity in a public space without a permit". This likely could have been taken care of at the city/county level, turning it into a Federal case is unnecessary. Overcharging and regulatory creep should never be condoned. Not just the inherent dangers to us when TPTB use a law beyond its original intent; but also because, as in this example, if it annoys the judge, TPTB may end up with a legal precedent that might be manipulated in a case where the law is intended to apply.

Re:How did this go to trial? (5, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | about 7 months ago | (#46426965)

It's an FAA matter because the FAA regulates the National Airspace System in which this RC aircraft was flying. No one else regulates airspace in the United States, not cities, not states, airspace is a federal matter and many cases have settled this (for example when cities try to enact their own overflight rules, the FAA slaps them down, and has been doing for a long time). It doesn't matter what you're flying, you are still subject to 14CFR if you fly something. It doesn't matter how small or light it is.

The FAA doesn't regulate cars, RC or otherwise so the RC car example is not relevant.

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

DoctorFuji (1331807) | about 6 months ago | (#46427023)

No mod points, but would bump it up for the astute observation of if evasive manuevers were an AC or not and the point on regulatory creep.

Re:How did this go to trial? (1)

N1AK (864906) | about 7 months ago | (#46426887)

It sounds like several people probably had valid cause for complain. I certainly don't want random assholes buzzing me with their drones or RC aircraft, or getting in the way of manned aircraft.

Absolutely, the issue seems to be that the FAA sued him for using the drone without their permission and the judge slapped them down for the attempted land grab. If the bloke flew it dangerously then he should have been prosecuted for that (or laws should exist to make that a crime).

Re:How did this go to trial? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46427117)

Yea, but it's not worth being in court over. Usually these things work in the same way I got my "Speeding on the sidewalk" ticket...

So I was a Pizza delivery driver in college. I had a special permit to park on the "service" roads that lead to the front of the dorms. Well, the local police decided for some reason that 1 dorm was off limits. I was given a ticket despite my permit. The DA wanted me to settle for $50 but I'm a man of principle. In the end, they added a charge of "Speeding on a sidewalk" which I lost in court because sidewalks have a 5mph speed limit (how the hell you're supposed to know that I'm not sure) So I won the parking bit... I had a permit... but the DA refused to lose so I got the other ticket and lost on that. Mt defence in court was "I had no idea if I was breaking the limit, my speedometer starts at 15" which didn't go over well with the judge.

I'm sure they went to this guy, tried to give him some minor ticket to "teach him a lesson" and make a point... he refused, and something that should have been relatively minor turned into a full blow case like mine.

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427281)

You obviously don't realize that people can be (and have been) killed when struck by flying model aircraft. It's not just the idiots that lose fingers when hand-turning propellors or using chicken sticks, it's innocent members of the public just going about their business. And in this case Pirker was operating near a heliport, which almost certainly would have had an exclusion zone around it banning all use of flying model aircraft. Fees for Model Aircraft Club memberships are so high due to the public liability insurance that even model aircraft pilots must pay and they keep getting higher every year because of morons like Pirker.

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427299)

Sorry, that should have been a reply to the parent, bobthesungeek76036.

Re:How did this go to trial? (2)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 6 months ago | (#46427287)

Why do you say "whined"? It sounds like several people probably had valid cause for complain. I certainly don't want random assholes buzzing me with their drones or RC aircraft, or getting in the way of manned aircraft.

I would mostly agree with this except that he was presumably doing this on university property at
a request of the university so even if he was buzzing people this is something that needs to be
taken up with the university not with the FAA or the police. Laws for drones probably need to be
completely rewritten. If he is low enough to the ground to "buzz" people then in my opinion he
would fall into a vague "university airspace". Likewise if someone is flying over my house low
enough to "buzz" me at my house, then are in my "air space" aka "personal space". There
should probably be some minimum distance that every property owner is allowed to claim as
their own personal airspace. Just like you can't walk through my backyard without my permission
you shouldn't be able to fly through my backyard without my permission or some sort of
relationship with me. A UPS driver gets temporary permission to walk through my yard and a
public sideway gives temporary permission to walk through my yard but otherwise it's mostly
considered my yard.

Re:How did this go to trial? (3, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 6 months ago | (#46427391)

In the free market culture we have, it is very probable that the person filing the complaint (possibly anonymously) was the one who lost the bid for the job.

Estimates of distance and portrayal of peril can be very subjective.

Re:How did this go to trial? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426649)

Step 2: Guy accepts payment for same.

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426669)

Several problems...

1. Did the pilot simple fly a model plane and the University decided to file a complaint over some bullshit, pick one, terrorism, no permission to fly into a publicly funding space, ect...

2. Did the pilot have a camera attached to the plane? And thus it would count for the advertising campaign...

3. OR, did the pilot use the word "advertisement" as a means to hopefully get a judge to rule in his favor?

Now if I want the half-assed answer to this I gotta query every published story to figure out what really happened. If he is an advertiser, this isn't David vs. Goliath worthy. If it was an average Joe Hobbyist that had no cameras and no banners on the plane and he was facing fines, that would be worthy.

Re:How did this go to trial? (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 7 months ago | (#46426671)

Should've filmed some cops doing their job.
That would've put burrs under saddles.

Re:How did this go to trial? (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 7 months ago | (#46426943)

Trashy TV shows do it all the time from the helicopters. They especially like car chases.

Re:How did this go to trial? (2)

dimko (1166489) | about 7 months ago | (#46426689)

It appears that authority doesnt like idea that he can fly for-profit drone. They believe there is legislation, that controlls flights, unmanned ones, both for-profit flights and amateur ones and they basically want money for that, especially from for profit ones.

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

StripedCow (776465) | about 7 months ago | (#46426843)

What happened a step 2?

2. Profit!

Re:How did this go to trial? (0)

dywolf (2673597) | about 6 months ago | (#46427277)

It went to trial because HE sued the FAA.
The FAA's rules are very clear. And he clearly violated them.
And if he's a regular R/C plane user, he should be fairly familiar with those rules.

And really I think the judge erred in not siding with the FAA, if you assume he had to pick sides.

HOWEVER...I think the best solution would be the creation of distinct classes of drones in order to seperate out the small relatively harmless things (like this guy's foam glider), from large commercial autonomous drones that actually could pose a danger to bystanders.

model plane != plane (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 7 months ago | (#46426629)

That's the meat of the verdict - since that's not given in the summary.

The FAA alleged that since Pirker was using the aircraft for profit, he ran afoul of regulations requiring commercial operators of "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" -- sometimes called UAS or drones -- to obtain FAA authorization.

But a judge on Thursday agreed with Pirker that the FAA overreached by applying regulations for aircraft to model aircraft, and said no FAA rule prohibited Pirker's radio-controlled flight.

Re:model plane != plane (5, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 7 months ago | (#46426745)

Not really. A model plane is not a regular aircraft, but it is an "unmanned aircraft system", and he was using it commercially i.e. to shoot an advertisement video. Sounds to me that the FAA is right to assert that this falls under their regulation.

However the article implies that there is more to the case: "As a general matter, the decision finds that the FAA's 2007 policy statement banning the commercial use of model aircraft is not enforceable". In other words, the judge didn't say that the rule was not broken, but that the rule itself is poorly drafted.

Re:model plane != plane (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 7 months ago | (#46426915)

So if he stuck a camera on a kite the FAA should step in too?

Re:model plane != plane (2)

Alioth (221270) | about 7 months ago | (#46426973)

If he does it commercially, yes.

Re:model plane != plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427223)

Take a step back from what the words of the regulation say, and try and explain why.

Re:model plane != plane (3, Informative)

dywolf (2673597) | about 6 months ago | (#46427335)

Yes. And the FAA has cited kites that fly too high, or are too large, or carry rather large payload. Or some combination thereof.

No, the FAA generally doesn't care about your little backyard peice of paper on a string. Just dont fly it near and airport and intentionally try to get it sucked into a jet engine.

However people have made kites a few hundred feet across, weighing a few hundred pounds, and capable flying thousands of feet in the air. The FAA starts to care about that. Particularly if it could interfer with aircraft.

Re: model plane != plane (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426957)

RC is not unmanned.

Re: model plane != plane (2)

HybridST (894157) | about 6 months ago | (#46427065)

This.

Also: I can go purchase an rc plane/heli complete with cam transmitter and perform the same activity right now in a comparable location. There are TOYS that can accomplish this. Have the FAA complained yet about flying toys with video? Serious question.

Re: model plane != plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427119)

No, but in France someone got arrested (and fined) for playing with such a toy in his garden.

Re: model plane != plane (3, Informative)

BitZtream (692029) | about 6 months ago | (#46427187)

Yes!

The DJI Phantom is a 'toy' that is causing them A LOT of problems with morons who can buy it, fly it, and get in trouble with it. They are in fact specifically mentioned in some FAA reports as they decide on how to deal with these issues.

Re:model plane != plane (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 6 months ago | (#46427107)

I wonder what the FAA's reaction would have been to a kite photo platform? It would have arguably been the same level of hazard to people and helicopters.

And the "active heliport" sounds like BS to me. If the guy was taking an advertising video, I'm assuming he at least mentioned it to the operations department at the medical center, who would have verified that no activity was planned at the heliport while the video was being shot. "Active" in the FAA sense probably means "approved for use", not "helicopters coming in and out while the model was in the air".

Re:model plane != plane (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 6 months ago | (#46427189)

Not really. A model plane is not a regular aircraft, but it is an "unmanned aircraft system", and he was using it commercially i.e. to shoot an advertisement video. Sounds to me that the FAA is right to assert that this falls under their regulation. However the article implies that there is more to the case: "As a general matter, the decision finds that the FAA's 2007 policy statement banning the commercial use of model aircraft is not enforceable". In other words, the judge didn't say that the rule was not broken, but that the rule itself is poorly drafted.

Yup. The way I read it, the judge thinks the UAV designation doesn't fit the model plane in question. I mean, the only FAA-licensed commercial drone flyer is operating over vast tracts of Arctic tundra, whereas Pirker's craft flies above him in a relatively small radius where the radio signals are received. The safety mechanisms on a long-range drone are entirely inappropriate to something that never even goes a mile away from the operator.

Re:model plane != plane (2)

anorlunda (311253) | about 6 months ago | (#46427195)

A manufacturer of toy planes who test flies one before sale, is doing it commercially.

A retailer of rubber band powered balsa gliders who flies a demo inside his store is flying it doing it commercially.

A kid's video of his Xmas present balsa glider flying past the Xmas tree, and posted on YouTube with ads is commercial flying.

Strict interpretation of the FAA's words lead to horrible absurdities.

Horribles are what lawyers use to get laws stricken down by courts.

People who write regulations need to temper zeal with reason.

Re:model plane != plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427237)

A policy statement is not a rule. There is an important difference. To be a rule a specific procedure needs to be followed which involves public input and review. A policy statement is an attempt for an agency to create law without any public input or review. The enforceability of policy statements in general is unclear and you will find conflicting judicial rulings. In this case the FAA was trying to enforce a policy statement in an area which it is unclear that they had an right to regulate. This is particularly in dispute because congress has subsequently specifically granted them the right to regulate unmanned aircraft and directed them to develop rules by 2015. If they already had the right then why would congress feel the need to specifically grant it to them?

Until those rules are developed it is certainly not clear that the FAA can regulate unmanned aircraft and in fact in this case a judge has ruled they can't.

Re:model plane != plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426747)

It makes you wonder what defines a model plane?
I could envision a big gray area surrounding that question.
As there is such things as "Manned model ships" [wikipedia.org] I could see "Manned model aircraft"

Re:model plane != plane (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 7 months ago | (#46426811)

The difference is, Manned model ships serve a particular purpose. They are pretty much always used for training, as they are designed to handle and react like the full size versions. (they use them to train ship pilots to dock and maneuver at low speeds). There is no equivalent purpose for a model aircraft.

Re:model plane != plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426853)

I think the argument

serve a particular purpose

is not a good one. I am sure using manned model ships for training was an after thought. I know there are guys who have manned modelled WWII battleships, who like to maneurve their "Bismarks" for pleasure. What about "Manned model trains" what purpose? As I said it is a gray area.

Re:model plane != plane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426897)

Manned 1/3 scale B-17 Flying fortress [modelairplanenews.com]
That looks cool!

Re:model plane != plane (2)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 6 months ago | (#46427173)

It makes you wonder what defines a model plane? I could envision a big gray area surrounding that question.

That seems to be the nub of the case -- the judge seems to be of the opinion that the definition of UAV is targeted at bigger, longer range craft. If the FAA had had a specific regulation for small, short-range craft, I doubt the judgement would have favoured Pirker....

he was being a dick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426633)

"Pirker operated the aircraft within about 50 feet of numerous individuals, about 20 feet of a crowded street, and within approximately 100 feet of an active heliport at UVA, the FAA alleged. One person had to take "evasive measures" to avoid being struck by the aircraft, the agency said."

He flew a model next to a helipad and wonders why the FAA are stomping on him. They apparently overreached a bit when going into the commercial motivations for flying the model, but he was being a dick and the FAA is not entirely wrong to stomp on people who are flying like a dick.

Re:he was being a dick (4, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#46426645)

"Pirker operated the aircraft within about 50 feet of numerous individuals, about 20 feet of a crowded street, and within approximately 100 feet of an active heliport at UVA, the FAA alleged. One person had to take "evasive measures" to avoid being struck by the aircraft, the agency said."

This must have been very frightening. How were the people present to know that the operator wasn't a muslim and the plane about to explode?

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426675)

That's racism, you know that right?

Re:he was being a dick (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 7 months ago | (#46426737)

Not really. It's stereotyping people based on religion, not race. Very different thing, even if there is a statistical correlation.

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427055)

The existence of a popular polyseme which doesn't apply does imply the absence of any polyseme which does. In particular, for the purposes of "racism", muslim is most certainly a race.

William F. Buckley award... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427137)

... for sending me to the Wiktionary with "polyseme"

Re:he was being a dick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426741)

Muslims aren't a race, so it's not racism.

Re:he was being a dick (3, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 7 months ago | (#46426769)

Since when do muslims constitute a race? Silly as that statement is, racism it aint.

With that said, no terrorist of any persuasion would be so dumb as to stick a (tiny) bomb in an R/C plane. There are much easier and effective ways to blow up people.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 6 months ago | (#46427197)

That's racism, you know that right?

That was a satirical comment, you know that right? Chrisq was mocking mass hysteria....

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426679)

well you shouldn't fly near silly people, but that isn't the issue, flying near a helipad without really good written clearance and a NOTAM is just wrong.

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426707)

You don't need a NOTAM for a foam glider, dumbass. This is trespassing. That's what they should have gone after him for.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 7 months ago | (#46426795)

Doesn't the area around a helipad count as restricted airspace? Not sure how it is in the US, but over here model airplanes (including foam park flyers) are strictly banned from flying in such airspace. Breaking that rule will get you in trouble with airspace regulations; they won't just do you for trespassing.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 7 months ago | (#46426929)

Active helipad means "concrete slab where we can land a heli for a medivac". It wasn't the penn station of helicopters.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 7 months ago | (#46426825)

He was being paid by the hospital, to use the model aircraft to get arial pictures of the hospital, for the hospitals advertising campaign. I doubt trespassing was the issue here. the FAA's primary problem is that he's running afoul of their "no drones for profit" rule, and they are using the bystanders and helipad presence to make him seem more vile and reckless. TBH, no one probably thought the idea through worth a hell. (really? your going to fly a model plane near a helipad?) but at the same time, the FAA's "You can't use a foam glider with a camera for profit" rule is over reaching.

Re:he was being a dick (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#46426979)

Exactly. Though we don't know if he had coordinated with the hospital about flying near the landing zone, but one would hope he checked with the department before filming - as most responsible adults (and anyone versed in model aircraft) would have done. Those helicopters don't just suddenly appear - when they get call out it's a fairly big deal, and personnel are waiting for their arrival. If it was a shot of the helicopter on the pad, there are always responders in the support building and I would expect they were in on it, in that case.

The reassignment from the pedestrian "model aircraft" to the commercial/evil "drone" label seems to have emboldend the FAA to be more proactive in their regulatory stance. If (and that's a big if) model flying becomes much more common (like Amazon's delivery service) and crowded public airspace is genuinely a problem, then there would be a reason for concern. However, this was fulfilling a private contract on the land operated by one of the parties.

Re:he was being a dick (3, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 6 months ago | (#46427037)

arial

Aerial.

Once again, don't try to write words you've only heard, not seen in print.

And special caveat, don't use "The Little Mermaid" as a guide to how to spell "aerial"....

Re:he was being a dick (2)

geogob (569250) | about 6 months ago | (#46427053)

I thought he was quite font of his spelling.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 6 months ago | (#46427125)

Bad joke! Bad!

Seriously, arial font occurred to me just as I hit "submit", but I admit I wouldn't have come up with something as clever as you did....

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427091)

And special caveat, don't use "The Little Mermaid" as a guide to how to spell "aerial"....

You might need to read up on your Disney. It's Ariel. /pedantic

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426829)

You don't need a NOTAM for a foam glider, dumbass. This is trespassing. That's what they should have gone after him for.

Trespassing??? Did you read TFA? He was working for the UofV Medical Center. I'm sure he had permission to be on and about on the premisses.

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426955)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org]
"A NOTAM is filed with an aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of any hazards en route or at a specific location. The authority in turn provides a means of disseminating relevant NOTAMs to pilots."

"hazards such as air shows, parachute jumps, kite flying, lasers, rocket launches, etc."

if I was overflying a medical centre helipad, which has unscheduled air ambulance arrivals, with a foam glider, then hell yes, I would notify the authority and expect a NOTAM. I would also informally make sure that the air ambulance specifically knew about it.

Re:he was being a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427105)

if I was overflying a medical centre helipad, which has unscheduled air ambulance arrivals, with a foam glider, then hell yes, I would notify the authority and expect a NOTAM.

He was flying near (not overflying) a medical centre helipad on the request of said medical centre in order to make a promotional video for said medical centre.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 7 months ago | (#46426711)

With such an attitude, you must be terrified everywhere, all the time. The bomb can be hidden everywhere, and often you don't know who is driving that car/truck or who is flying that airplane. The terrrorist might even be a pedestrian. Can you tell the difference at a distance?

Frankly, with such an attitude, the only thing you should really be afraid of it your own head. Your paranoia is making your life miserable.
Also, such a remark is pure discrimination.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

immaterial (1520413) | about 7 months ago | (#46426831)

There can't possibly be this many people on Slashdot who are incapable of understanding a very clear and obvious joke. I hope there's some meta-joke here I'm not getting.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46426715)

He had big stickers all over it that says "MERICA!" terrorists would never do that.

Re:he was being a dick (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#46426723)

He had big stickers all over it that says "MERICA!" terrorists would never do that.

Not with out the "Death to" prefix anyway

Re:he was being a dick (0)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 7 months ago | (#46426971)

He flew a model next to a helipad and wonders why the FAA are stomping on him. They apparently overreached a bit when going into the commercial motivations for flying the model, but he was being a dick and the FAA is not entirely wrong to stomp on people who are flying like a dick.

You sir are a unapolagetic "moocher", obviously ignorent of the Galt-ian philosophies of liberty which divinely entitle -- nay, oblige -- this man to use his superior intellect and skills to pilot and above all profit by flying this cheap, personal risk-less drone in an environment which should be free of all oppressive government regulations, no matter how many leechers walk or crash into the path of his unfiled flight-plan. The world's creative and productive elites will not be held back by the like of you and your FAA -- they'll strike!

WtF!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426657)

"I think he's still asleep. He lives in Hong Kong and they're 12 hours off," Schulman said

The University of Virginia couldn't find anyone in the US to take the pictures??? *shakes head*

The FAA was very very wrong on this one (1, Flamebait)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 months ago | (#46426889)

One of two possibilities:

1) The FAA does not understand the difference between a drone (which does not require visual contact with the operator to be flown) and a toy airplane (which cannot be controlled out of sight of its operator).

2) The FAA is trying to consolidate more power to government by conveniently misinterpreting the rules to give them the ability to ensnare model airplane owners in a tangled web of onerous regulation and raise more money.

My vote is on #2.

Re:The FAA was very very wrong on this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426953)

One of two possibilities:

1) The FAA does not understand the difference between a drone (which does not require visual contact with the operator to be flown) and a toy airplane (which cannot be controlled out of sight of its operator).

2) The FAA is trying to consolidate more power to government by conveniently misinterpreting the rules to give them the ability to ensnare model airplane owners in a tangled web of onerous regulation and raise more money.

My vote is on #2.

Option 0: like a trademark holder, in the common law tradition (which at times values precedence over logic), if they don't defend their authority, they lose it. Therefore, it is better to force the courts to rule on initial edge cases, so that in the future they aren't screwed when they need the authority to prevent real screw-ups.

Re:The FAA was very very wrong on this one (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 6 months ago | (#46427165)

One of two possibilities:

1) The FAA does not understand the difference between a drone (which does not require visual contact with the operator to be flown) and a toy airplane (which cannot be controlled out of sight of its operator).

Actually, visual contact is not needed to control a model plane, it's just hard to determine how it is actually responding.

2) The FAA is trying to consolidate more power to government by conveniently misinterpreting the rules to give them the ability to ensnare model airplane owners in a tangled web of onerous regulation and raise more money.

My vote is on #2.

More like the guy was operating in a manner that was irresponsible and they decided to take action. Quite frankly, it's people who operate model a/c in such a manner that makes life difficult for those who enjoy the hobby safely and responsibly, and I am glad to see the FAA take action against irresponsible operators.

Re:The FAA was very very wrong on this one (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 6 months ago | (#46427221)

One of two possibilities:

1) The FAA does not understand the difference between a drone (which does not require visual contact with the operator to be flown) and a toy airplane (which cannot be controlled out of sight of its operator).

Many model aircraft pilots now wear goggles and use a camera to fly by first-person-view. Raphael Pirker [personal-drones.net] is one of them. This is a fairly recent development, and regulators need to adapt to it. However, for the moment, the knock-on effects in terms of range and "busy-ness" of the surrounding landscape make it a pretty practical way to make a distinction between "drone" and "model aircraft".

FAA's side on this (1)

Mononoke (88668) | about 7 months ago | (#46426891)

The FAA's entirely overreaching position on "commercial drones" [faa.gov]

I understand wanting to regulate full-sized military-style drones, but going after small commercial entities flying go-pro carrying quad-copters is a bit much.

Re:FAA's side on this (1)

plover (150551) | about 6 months ago | (#46427027)

Do the Go-pro carrying quad-copters fly in a different atmosphere than commercial aircraft? No? Then at some point the two can come in contact with each other. The FAA needs to have some regs that govern the places where these two could meet. "No flying anything (toys, kites, balloons, drones) within X of an airport" seems perfectly reasonable.

Re:FAA's side on this (1)

Mononoke (88668) | about 6 months ago | (#46427127)

They already have rules like these. Model airplane flyers have abided by them for years. What the FAA is trying to do is ignore those standing rules because there's money involved and they want their licensing fees.

heliport (1)

kqc7011 (525426) | about 7 months ago | (#46426907)

Was the heliport the hospitals? By "active" does that mean that the heliport was actually being used at the time by a helicopter or that the heliport is used regularly but not at the time the drone was flying? If a helicopter was taking off or landing and if the drone was in flight and actually near the heliport at the time, then I could see the charges. There are many painted circles with H's in them that are not used very often. If these are going to be considered active heliports, lots of questions will need to be asked. We had one of these painted circles at work and if it was used as a heliport twice a year, that would have been a busy year for it.

Re:heliport (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 7 months ago | (#46426935)

Active heliport just means a registered landing place with the FAA.

Re:heliport (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#46426995)

By active, they generally mean available for landing/takeoff. They all have restricted airspace around them 24/7, just like airports. It's a bit overreaching for the FAA to get all wrapped around the axle when they guy was working for the owner of the pad (UVa/UVa Health).

Re:heliport (1)

kqc7011 (525426) | about 6 months ago | (#46427285)

I was wondering if the "active" was for the charges only. As in, there was helicopter activity. Not generally available. No, all do not have restricted air space at all times. It, the pad could have restricted airspace when it is used as a heliport but when it is not being used it can be a parking lot with no restrictions. I have seen a house in a wildland fire area with a heliport, with a lighted landing area and a windsock. The owner built the heliport (to FAA specs.) just in case of a wildfire so that the firefighting helicopters could use it. The builder was a retired firefighter and wanted a little extra protection. It has been used for the firefighting helicopters too. But mostly it was a paved area that vehicles were parked on. Others that I have seen are larger piers that have a helicopter landing area designated that are used daily as a pier and seldom as a heliport. But it still is a heliport.

I was once a drone pilot, he says in a hushed tone (1, Insightful)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 7 months ago | (#46426913)

I used to build and fly 2 meter gliders anywhere I could launch them, only FCC concerns I ever had was the frequency I was controlling them with.
Getting damn risky now.

FWIW my fav was the Gently Lady http://www.towerhobbies.com/pr... [towerhobbies.com]

Re:I was once a drone pilot, he says in a hushed t (5, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 6 months ago | (#46427319)

No, you were never a drone pilot.

You were an RC aircraft pilot.

The FCC governs radio rules, we're talking about the FAA, which governs airspace.

You were bound by the same laws as this guy for your aircraft to NOT be a drone. Once you break these rules, you become a drone and as such require full certification.

RC aircraft MUST be below 400 feet AGL.
RC aircraft MUST remain in line of site of the operator.
RC aircraft MUST NOT be operated for ANY commercial purpose.

If you break any of those you MUST have a waiver or a Certificate of Airworthiness for the aircraft (just like all commercial aircraft, including that Cessna some guy you know has) or you are breaking the law.

You were never allowed to fly your glider within 10 miles of controlled airport, and 2 or 5 miles of an uncontrolled airport. Ever.

Your ignorance of these rules does not mean they didn't exist.

FYI: I built and flew my first Gentle Lady (from Carl Goldberg!) when I was 14 :)

I've lost line of sight to my aircraft, not a good feeling when you are aware of how much damage EVEN a Gentle Lady could do if it hit someone in the head with that hardwood nose at 20 knots or so that they fly. Light they are, but still significant mass.

Now ... however, my aircraft ARE drones (all have ArduPilot or ArduCopters controllers in them now), now when I lose line of sight, I flip a transmitter switch and the aircraft brings itself home via autopilot ... it goes into fully autonomous mode and comes home :) Of course, this is exactly what the FAA wants to avoid since that 'flight home' has at times involved flying into the side of a house as it tried to regain altitude for the trip home. That bird was a lost cause anyway, but none the less, one can argue it never would have hit the house had it followed the original rules.

My son was born last year, I already ordered him a Gentle Lady to build, and a Sophisticated Lady for myself (The gentle lady with a T tail and electric motor instead of winch/tow/upstart launch.

What the hell is going on around here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426967)

Exactly how much time and tax-payer money did the U.S. prosecutor waste on this nonsense? So every kid with a model plane is now possible subject to a $10,000 fine?

WTF IS WRONG WITH AMERICA?

The judge should have disbarred the US attorney that brought this case, period!

Re:What the hell is going on around here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427031)

Exactly how much time and tax-payer money did the U.S. prosecutor waste on this nonsense? So every kid with a model plane is now possible subject to a $10,000 fine?

Sure. Because it's for commercial use. Now, you could say that it shouldn't be fixed, but instead some sort of sliding scale, a formula as opposed to someone's judgement, to avoid bias -- wouldn't want someone's model aircraft use in promoting a lemonade stand from being regulated the same way as a UCAV prototype for Boeing. But aren't you now wasting more of your precious tax-payer time and money deciding the perfect sliding scale for something that is obviously not going to happen all that often, instead of just saying "there's a fine if things go bad, we'll deal with it when we come to it"?

Law by Buzzword (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46426987)

The filthiest of lawmakers always exploit the sheeple by suggesting a thing is 'illegal' because it is part of the latest 'moral outrage' synthetically created in the mainstream media. Video games, comics, rock-n-roll- the filthy politicians suggested each was already 'illegal' under the 'yellow journalism' rule.

The USA has had rules controlling and permitting model aircraft for DECADES. Using the word 'drone' doesn't change this reality, save in the minds of depraved politicians who think law isn't written, but whatever the stupidest of sheeple are convinced the law must be by vile gutter journalistic tactics, as seen daily in every mainstream media organ in the USA (just witness the coverage of The Ukraine).

So, a judge is going to respond "why are you morons thinking the rules have been re-written, simply because it is common to describe model aircraft with cameras as 'drones'. Problem is, these filth lawmakers that see their vileness shot down in court will now use whipped up public sentiment to create new laws that ban once lawful use of model aircraft.

And yet, while your right to fly model aircraft will be mostly gone within a few short years, the depravities at Google will use their power, influence and money to re-write the rules on the use of cameras where people previously had an expectation of privacy, to allow Google Glass to be legal while driving, in changing rooms even when children are present, and in private environments where the majority of occupants do not wish to be filmed.

We are living in a world where monsters are seeking to make black white, and white black. Corporate Rights are the only 'rights' to be protected (so Monsanto gets to ban food labelling with respect to GMOs). Individual Rights are rapidly depreciated (right to protest, right to fly model aircraft) by using constant propaganda campaigns in mainstream media outlets demonising the desires and actions of minorities.

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46427049)

thousands of children start crying and interest in piloting as a job from such children drops... end result... future pilot shortage.

FAA & Public Safety (1, Insightful)

redshirt (95023) | about 6 months ago | (#46427051)

I'd like to read the court's judgement to better understand the reason, but while the FAA may seem overbearing in this case, the FAA is charged with public safety, and they take it very seriously. Anyone that did complain to the police or the FAA had Good Reason [go.com] . Incidents with RC aircraft are not uncommon [google.com] . I have to agree with the FAA on this one. If someone is appearing to be reckless with their aircraft, regardless of the type, it needs to be addressed.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>