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Old October 14th, 2013, 03:53 PM   #16
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Regulation works both ways. It may mean there are many things you'd like to do but can't, but it also tells you what you can do. So provided you stay within the regulations there should be no fear of random enforcement of non existing rules.

Drone are full of issues, not just safety but also privacy concerns. There is a video doing the rounds of an "official" video crews multicopter falling into the large crowd at a religious event, fortunately only minor injuries, but clearly common sense is not being used. You can't fly one of these risk free over large crowds. Most people won't walk under a ladder if they have a choice so why expect them to be happy about having an inherently unstable aircraft above their heads. Regulation is needed otherwise things will get out of control and unsuspecting people will get hurt or killed.

I fly a hexacopter and fully intend to complete the BNUC-S course and certification process so I can use it commercially in Europe. If you want to fly it through a tunnel over cars then you do it on a closed set where the drivers of the cars know the risks, doing it anywhere else is madness and if this is true then the operator deserves to be penalised. Is it any wonder there are so many people that think drones are fair game for shotguns?
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Old October 14th, 2013, 05:38 PM   #17
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
The EMPLOYER will be held liable in a large lawsuit...
I'm afraid that is not entirely true.... The employer may be held partially responsible... but FAA regulations will always first look at the Pilot In Command.

Here is a direct portion of the FAA regulation -- Notice the part that states "is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft." That goes a long way towards letting the employer, the manufacturer and Tower/Ground control operators off the hook when something goes wrong and causes an accident.


14 CFR 91.3 - Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command
§ 91.3
Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command.
(a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.
(b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 08:48 PM   #18
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

No doubt the pilot is where the decision to fly or not should rest - but several posters have suggested that en employer will pressure the employee to fly when it is not safe to do so, so the pilot flies against their better judgment. In that case liability would also land on the employer, for recklessly ignoring expert input,

There are a lot of "classes" of "drones", and one article I recently read suggested the need to sort out what sort of drone you're dealing with, probably by range, and lifting capability. And where and how it is being used. Again, applying some common sense seems like a good start, instead I guess we are at the "wild west" stage.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 02:03 AM   #19
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Employers can put pressure on pilots of all types, even airlines. Exclusive: Safety warning as budget airlines such as Ryanair cut fuel levels for flights - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent

It's up to the pilot to ensure that they're operating safely and within their skill levels when working on a production. As has been mentioned, the pilot has final authority and if there's an accident it'll be pilot error, rather than the employer made them do it.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 05:50 AM   #20
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

With regard to lawsuits:

In the US, a lawyer for the party who was damaged will invariably name everybody connected with the incident except their client in the lawsuit. That would be:
the operator,
the party who hired the operator,
and probably the manufacturer of the plane and the control unit.
Maybe even the property owner where the drone operator was standing, at least I wouldn't be surprised.

If someone was watching who might have had knowledge or ability in the drone operation and could have known there could be a problem and maybe stopped or corrected it, like a drone operator trainer, say, they could also be named.

At least in US legal altercations this seems to be a fairly typical lawyer approach because it tends to be a "winner take all" situation in the court. In Europe, or at least in places like Germany and Austria, the costs to the guilty parties are apportioned out so maybe that probably helps to cut down on going after "deep pockets".

Last edited by John Nantz; October 15th, 2013 at 08:51 AM. Reason: spelling: invariably
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Old October 15th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #21
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Yes there are two aspects to this - regulatory actions by the FAA to fine the folks responsible for the unsafe operations, and liability when an injury or property damage occurs. But the two are somewhat related in that a violation of a regulation may lead to a denial of insurance coverage which likely has an illegal activities exclusion. Read the fine print on that policy.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #22
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

No one is being fined. An operator was sent a letter by the FAA but the operator has hired a lawyer and will be at the Admin hearing. The arguments on the side of the operator are listed here

http://www.kramerlevin.com/files/upl...A-v-Pirker.pdf



When you read the rebuttle you will be amazed that the FAA is even trying to do this. If it were in a court of law the Judge would throw the entire case out based on legal ground

The FAA has chosen not to regulate model aircraft and its written into their original charter. Dont see how you can overlook that.

Here is a better informed website to follow the case

The FAA’s complaint against Trappy | sUAS News
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Old October 15th, 2013, 06:01 PM   #23
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

That's a nicely written defense. Spendy too.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #24
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
No doubt the pilot is where the decision to fly or not should rest - but several posters have suggested that en employer will pressure the employee to fly when it is not safe to do so, so the pilot flies against their better judgment. In that case liability would also land on the employer, for recklessly ignoring expert input,
I think my concern would be less about overt pressure, more about the pilot tending to push boundaries for fear of somebody else being employed the next time if they didn't. Marginal weather, for example? If you were a hobbyist, you just play safe, "I'm not going to risk my expensive machine in this." But if you don't get paid? You may think the risk of damage to your machine (and cost) is worth the certain loss of money and prospects if you don't give it a go.

Either way, it still means that there is a big difference between doing many activities on a hobby basis or commercial.

Incidentally, I think it needs to be made clear that Ryanair were NOT trying to force their pilots to do anything at all against the rules in the earlier mentioned story - and the newspaper had to print a clarification to that effect. There was no question of pilots being asked to take off with less than the calculated minimum fuel load for the flight (including the official safety margin), all that was being said was not to take off with any more than 300kg above that.
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Old October 15th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #25
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cash View Post
When you read the rebuttle you will be amazed that the FAA is even trying to do this. If it were in a court of law the Judge would throw the entire case out based on legal ground

The FAA has chosen not to regulate model aircraft and its written into their original charter. Dont see how you can overlook that.

Here is a better informed website to follow the case

The FAA’s complaint against Trappy | sUAS News
Really, this can't end well, whatever the legal outcome. (Which I don't intend to comment or speculate about.)

Even if Trappy wins the case, I can't help feeling that the end result will eventually be far more draconian legislation as attitudes become more and more polarised, and debate becomes more bitter. Whatever the law eventually decides about the individual case, then looking at the link above and the video that was shot, I can only feel that Trappy has put on record material that may well get used to argue for much tougher restrictions and legislation. I can only speculate that the more responsible commercial operators are far from pleased to see his footage.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 02:33 AM   #26
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
Incidentally, I think it needs to be made clear that Ryanair were NOT trying to force their pilots to do anything at all against the rules in the earlier mentioned story - and the newspaper had to print a clarification to that effect. There was no question of pilots being asked to take off with less than the calculated minimum fuel load for the flight (including the official safety margin), all that was being said was not to take off with any more than 300kg above that.
Indeed, although there has been a number of cases of Ryanair flights having to be given priority landings at their alternative airports because they were low on fuel. An airline doesn't want to carry unnecessary extra fuel, because it costs fuel burn just to carry it, it's a matter the correct balance.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 05:07 AM   #27
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

the difference between a professional and an amateur is the money, only.
both must use common sens and know the rules.
But the pro is paid for that.
So if the fligth requires to close a street , needs 5 assistants, a huge drone to lift a FS 700, the insurance for camera and eventual damages... the price invoiced to customer must reflect that.
After all it ithe reaspon customer go to professional, because they know the job, have the equipement, knows the rules and have insurances.

Obviously , the customer come to the pro, saying , my nephew has a little drone with a gopro and ca do that for 100 bucks, why should i pay you 3000 ?
then let the customer gamble on his chance, and yes there are 90% chances he got the pictures for almost nothing. But you wouldn't loose a customer, you just avoid an occasion to be in a big mess for 100$.
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Old October 16th, 2013, 11:40 AM   #28
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
The EMPLOYER will be held liable in a large lawsuit... there is a financial dis-incentive already in place for malicious, reckless or grossly negligent behavior.

...
Except that a contractor working on a gig for his client is NOT an employee of the client. The contractor needs to have his own liability insurance as the legal liability for an accident caused by his negligence will be visited on him, not his client.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 07:05 PM   #29
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Here's Trappy on youtube, commenting about the what they do and about the fine. I think he incriminates himself by saying "Whenever we travel around we like to film places that we go to from up above, and give a more challenging angle to it so we try to fly as close to buildings as possible, fly down mountains really fast, and yeah have fun that way"

In essence, he's trying to push boundaries and limits, which I think is an invitation for disaster.

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Old October 18th, 2013, 02:51 AM   #30
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

I just read the entire Motion to Dismiss and it certainly appears that the FAA has not adopted any legally binding regulations to this day, let alone two years ago when the incident in question took place.

Perhaps most ironic (and I should have remembered this as a licensed private pilot) is that by its own definition, Part 91 operations do not require a commericial pilot certificate to engage in aerial photography or survey for hire.

This is not to say that there won't be future inclusion of model aircraft into the FARs, but as it currently stands, the FAA has NO LEGAL grounds to assess any penalty in this named incident. Their 2007 'policy' has not gone through the required Notice of Proposed Rule Making. That is just one of the many legal arguments where their complaint falls flat. There is not now, nor has there ever been any FARs that apply to model aircraft, commerically operated or otherwise.

Any reckless or careless operation complaints or enforcement of penalties in this incident should have beend handled by local law enforcement, not by a federal agency.

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