Category Archives: Legal

Regulation, restrictions, lawsuits, criminal prosecution

The FAA wants a system that automatically clears drones near airports.

Controllers get calls when drone pilots want approval to fly within 5 miles of an airport — and with an average of 250 reported close encounters per month, it’s clear that some aren’t even bothering with the formalities. The FAA has clearly had enough of this, as it recently made an emergency request to bypass the usual regulations and use an automate system to approve drone flights in restricted airspace. Instead of waiting 2-3 months for clearance (or calling in at the last possible moment), you could get the A-OK within 5 minutes.

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Drone destroyed and £1500 fine for illegal drone operation in Guernsey.

Dane Wicks (27) had a flyaway in Guernsey that left him out of pocket and without a drone. Guernsey is an island in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy, France.

Mr Wicks pleaded guilty yesterday to using a surveillance drone within 150 metres of a congested area on 21st May 2017. That congested area was Guernsey Airport, and within 50 metres of a structure not under his control, that structure, a hanger owned by Aiglle Flight Support.

His flyaway ended up next to a parked VIP jet.

The judge fined Mr Wicks £1500 ($1975) and ordered that his drone is destroyed.

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Skyward Approved to Give Commercial Drone Operators Instant Access to Controlled Airspace with LAANC

Skyward, a Verizon company has been approved to give commercial drone operators instant access to controlled airspace with the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) services from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The program will roll out this fall at Cincinnati International Airport (CVG), Reno (RNO), San Jose (SJC), and Lincoln (LNK) among others.

LAANC will enable businesses to access airspace that previously required the submission of a manual request for authorization, and it will automate the approval process, reducing the wait time from months to seconds.

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DJI WILL SHARE DRONE OWNER INFO WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT

DJI, the world’s largest drone maker, already exercises control over how people can operate their drones by imposing geo-fences around airports (in compliance with FAA regulations). They also enable geo-fences around areas where law enforcement has requested a Temporary Flight Restriction–such as wildfires or, more controversially, protests. Now they’re rolling out a technology called AeroScope which will broadcast the equivalent of a “drone license plate number” to law enforcement officials with the proper receiver, ensuring that drone owners can no longer operate their craft with anonymity.

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DJI unveils UAV traffic tracking system

Aeroscope will operate on the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz Wi-Fi bands and broadcast each drone’s “position, altitude, direction and speed, make and model, serial number, and any additional ID info that pilots wants to provide,” DJI’s policy veep Brendan Schulman told us this afternoon in Brussels. “Additional ID info” could include things such as the drone’s registration number, if that was a requirement, or contact details for the pilot if he wanted to include that.

Conceptually, the system will operate in the same manner as manned aviation TCAS (traffic collision and avoidance systems), albeit on Wi-Fi bands rather than the 1.3GHz frequency reserved for TCAS. This, DJI told us, is because its drones are already fitted with Wi-Fi radios and using those bands avoids the problem of a hardware upgrade across hundreds of thousands of customer devices.

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Pilot of drone which hit an Army UH-60 helicopter east of Staten Island, New York has been found.

At approximately 7:20 p.m. Sept. 21, the drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle, and the helicopter collided.  The Army helicopter sustained damage to its main rotor blade, window frame and transmission deck.  A motor and arm from a small drone, identified as a DJI Phantom 4, were recovered from the helicopter. The NTSB was notified of the incident Sept. 22 and began its investigation that day. In the following days investigators were able to identify and subsequently interview the drone operator. The drone operator also provided flight data logs for the incident flight.

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Federal Judge Overturns City Drone Ordinance In First Ruling Of Its Kind

The City of Newton, MA, like many state and local governments, thought it could regulate drone flights in the airspace over its city limits.  It passed a law this past December that sought to ban unmanned aircraft flights below 400 feet, flights over private and public property without the landowner’s permission and to require local registration of drones.  A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled today that the City of Newton was wrong : it does not have that authority because it is preempted by the federal government.

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Peeping Drone Pilot arrested in Chicago, Il.

A 52-year-old female “victim” observed the drone flying outside the 42nd floor of a condo tower in the 500 block of North Lake Shore Drive around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Amit Kleiman, 31, attempted to recover the drone when it landed on the third floor, police say.

He was taken into custody and charged with one count each of criminal trespass; reckless conduct; and breach of peace. Kleiman was also charged with two counts of having a small  unmanned aircraft, police say.

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Racehorse hit by drone in parade ring incident at Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland

The drone was flying over the parade ring and briefly landed on the racehorse, St Killenagh, causing a commotion, after which the operator was approached by a delegation of senior Turf Club stewards.

Killarney racecourse manager Micheal Lucey has described the incident that led to Keith Watson’s runner St Killenagh being struck by a drone in the parade ring before he contested a handicap chase on Tuesday night as reckless.

“He was a tourist and I’m not sure he understood the gravity of what he was doing,” Lucey added. “But what happened was reckless, there’s no doubt about that.

“These things are small and easily disguised and brought into a racecourse. I’m not sure what protocols will have to be put in place to ensure they’re not there, but certainly advertising and signage to the effect that drones aren’t to be used and that prosecutions will follow if they are.”

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