Spencer, IA: (Mar. 13, 2014) – A federal judge last week struck down a fine imposed by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) against a drone operator, saying there was no law banning the commercial use of small drones.
The case involved a drone operator who was fined $10,000 by the FAA for operating a drone recklessly while filming a commercial for the University of Virginia’s medical school.
The FAA had previously issued a policy advisory to agency employees who had asked questions about how to handle problems with model aircraft. Since 2007, the FAA has insisted its rules applied to drones, as well.
But, NTSB Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty agreed with the defense attorney who argued the advisory wasn’t enforceable. The FAA may appeal the ruling, or it may issue an emergency rule banning small drone use.
But, for now at least, the judge’s decision opens the skies below 400 feet to farmers, photographers and entrepreneurs who have been battling the FAA over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.