News & Analysis as of

'Tis the season: FAA launches safety campaign for unmanned aircraft

In a December 22, 2014, teleconference, representatives from three private unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) organizations, along with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta, announced a new small...more

Aviation & Aerospace and Surface Transportation Quarterly Newsletter

In This Issue: - Update on Developments in California Drone Law - One Community Gets Relief from Aircraft Noise - California Once Again Relinquishes Clean Air Act Enforcement Responsibility to the...more

Implications of the NTSB’s Decision That Drones are Aircraft

The NTSB issued a decision on November 17, holding that drones are aircraft and subject to the code of federal regulations that govern aircraft. In Michael P. Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration v. Raphael...more

NTSB Overturns Administrative Law Judge Decision and Holds That Federal Aviation Regulation 91.13 (Careless or Reckless Operation)...

The Federal Aviation Association (FAA) is feverishly working on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) governing commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), which it intends to have ready by the end of 2014. Details...more

NTSB Ruling: FAA Regulations Enforceable Against Drones

In the ever shifting landscape of drone law, there has been another seismic shift. In a November 18, 2014 ruling, the NTSB held that the FAA does have the authority to enforce its regulations against certain model aircraft...more

Huerta v. Pirker: NTSB Rules that UAS Are “Aircraft” and Subject to FAA Prohibition on Careless and Reckless Operations

On November 18, 2014, in a unanimous decision, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are: “aircraft” within the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) statutory and...more

Huerta v. Pirker—NTSB Says No More “Gray Area” for Drone Operations

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have operated within an uncertain legal framework while players across a rapidly growing range of commercial industries — from energy to rail transport to forestry to all types of...more

NTSB Finds That Drones Are “Aircraft” Under Federal Law

Order reverses an earlier ruling by an Administrative Law Judge in a closely watched case that challenged the FAA’s authority to regulate drones - On November 18, 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)...more

Alert: NTSB Determines Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Are Within the FAA'S Jurisdiction

The National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") today issued a decision affirming the jurisdiction of the FAA to regulate unmanned aerial vehicles. The NTSB found that the statutory definition of an "aircraft" included in...more

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Are 'Aircraft' Once Again

On November 17, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reversed an administrative law judge’s decision that had called into question the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) authority to regulate Unmanned Aircraft...more

NTSB Says Drones Subject to Federal Aviation Regulations - The Ruling Calls Attention to the Need for New, Sensible Regulations...

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has overturned an administrative ruling in favor of an aerial photographer, upholding the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) determination that unmanned aerial systems...more

One Code to Rule Them All: Dronecode

Drones have just found their new best friends: coders. On Oct. 13, the Linux Foundation unveiled a nonprofit organization called the Dronecode Project, an open-source development initiative uniting thousands of coders for the...more

Drone on Drones: Tracking the Spread of Malaria from the Sky

As the use of unmanned aerial vehicles becomes increasingly mainstream, innovative uses of drones are springing up across sectors and continents. Researchers on the island of Borneo are using a small fixed-wing drone to track...more

Alert: FAA to Allow Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Film Industry

On September 25, 2014, the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") granted six movie companies exemptions to use small unmanned aerial vehicles ("sUAVs") or "drones" for closed set filming and movie production. Cooley...more

Drone Technology Generates Significant Legal Buzz

Overseas, the military is unrestricted in its use of UAVs for routine surveillance purposes. No fourth amendment considerations are raised during battle. No search warrants need be obtained, trespassing laws are not adhered...more

Drone Filmmaking and the Technological Power Shift

There is something stirring in the skies, and it’s about to turn the independent filmmaking world upside down. With this year’s arrival of accessible, affordable, and—most importantly—legal unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or...more

DOT Releases Passenger Protection Rulemaking #3; FAA Considers Commercial Drone Operations; Other Regulatory Issues

It has been a busy month at the Department of Transportation, with the DOT finally releasing its long-anticipated proposed rule on Transparency of Airline Ancillary Fees and Other Consumer Protection Issues, better known as...more

PART TWO: Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) – aka Drones Legal Issues: Where Are We Headed?

There have been almost daily news stories about the advent of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“UAVs”), also referred to as “drones,” and how commercial usage is expected to explode over the next several years. There have been...more

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”) – aka Drones Usages and Regulation: Where Are We Headed? Part One

The ever-quickening pace of technological innovation creates serious obstacles for legal, legislative, and regulatory regimes that are notoriously slow to adapt. One of the newest arenas in which this struggle is playing out...more

Drones: A Bird’s-Eye View of the (Non-Privacy) Legal Landscape for UAS

A recent near midair collision between U.S. Airways Flight 4650, a CRJ-200 jet with a 50- passenger capacity, and a drone has (deservedly) sparked a flurry of commentary regarding safe drone operation. This near miss, which...more

Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s an Unmanned Aircraft System! States Grapple With Limits on Domestic Use of...

For the public, the term “drone” aircraft conjures images of half-size, remote-controlled and weaponized airplanes tracking down terrorists half-way around the globe. Little thought is given to the commercial use of drones in...more

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