Pirker, who is known as “Trappy” within the drone community, flew a 4.5-pound Ritewing Zephyr-powered glider at extremely low altitudes as he maneuvered the craft through tunnels with moving cars below. He also flew the drone near railroad tracks and civilians – one of who had to dodge out of the way to avoid being struck. But despite all of this, Pirker refused to pay the fine and hired a lawyer instead.
Pirker’s lawyer, Brendan Schulman, claimed that the FAA has never regulated model aircrafts and hasn’t followed the necessary protocol to make an official regulation against them. The FAA has repeatedly claimed that flying drones for commercial purposes is illegal, but apparently they were wrong.
A judge with the National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that there are no laws against flying a drone commercially and that the FAA has never undertaken the required public notice to make an official regulation. This not only means “Trappy” doesn’t have to pay the fine, it also allows people to do whatever they want with drones and charge money for it. All the companies that have been harassed by the FAA for flying drones also have nothing to worry about – at least for now.
The FAA could potentially establish an emergency ruling to outlaw commercial drones but it’s unclear how long that could take. The FAA has also kept quiet regarding the decision and hasn’t indicated how they plan to regulate unmanned aircrafts in American skies.
The drone age is upon us and it’s no-holds-barred.