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Aerial photographers, surveyors and filmmakers who want to fly small drones in U.S. airspace are able to rejoice after a judge dealt a setback to efforts by federal regulators to rein in use of the unmanned aircraft.
Raphael Pirker, who had been docked $10,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for using a drone to shoot a promotional video, won an appeal yesterday of the fine for reckless flying. The judge in the dispute dismissed the first-ever such fine, saying the FAA has no authority over small unmanned aircraft.
There is increasing demand to use small drones for a wide array of commercial purposes. The FAA has identified the dividing line between a model aircraft and a small drone as more one of intent, rather than of technology. If it is used for commercial purposes, it’s a drone. If it’s used purely for recreational purposes, it’s a model aircraft.
The FAA said US Airways Flight 4650 from Charlotte, N.C., a 50-seat jet, was approaching Tallahassee airport when it passed the drone, which the pilot described "as a camouflaged F-4 fixed-wing aircraft that was quite small." The drone was more similar to a model aircraft flown by hobbyists rather than a so-called quadcopter that many see as the type of unmanned aircraft with commercial potential.
"as a camouflaged F-4 fixed-wing aircraft that was quite small."
"The pilot said that the UAS was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it," Williams said. "Thankfully, inspection to the airliner after landing found no damage. But this may not always be the case."
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: imitator
Your link doesn't work.
The QF-4 and now the QF-16 are painted grey with orange tails. It's more visible than the camouflage.
Wow, talk about a double standard. A pilot report is good enough to identify an F-4, but it's not good enough to say that it was an RC plane, because you don't want it to be one.
You don't get it both ways. If he was close enough to say it was an F-4 looking UAV, then he was clearly close enough to see if it was full size or not. If he couldn't tell it was a full up F-4, then you can't say that it was an F-4 in the first place.
"The airline pilot said that the UAS [unmanned aircraft system] was so close to his jet that he was sure he had collided with it," Mr Williams said at a drone conference in San Francisco.