Drone Law Defense
- The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (“FAA”) is the federal body responsible for regulating civil aviation in the United States and its surrounding international waters. This includes the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”)—drones.
- The drone industry has been relatively stable. However, in 2016, the FAA provided multiple exemptions for companies seeking to operate drones in the United States. This sparked an immediate growth and popularity in the drone industry.
- The key drone legislation is the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which includes important changes to how individuals can safely operate UAS in the United States.
- Federal drone laws are separated mainly into two categories: (1) commercial use and (2) recreational use (including educational uses). It is important to understand the differences between these two categories because the FAA provides different drone regulations for commercial use versus recreational use.
- Consider hiring a law firm that is knowledgeable about evolving regulations associated with drone technology.
Experienced Drone Law Defense Team
If you need advice regarding drone laws and how it applies to your commercial, recreational, or educational use of drone technology, do not hesitate to contact our drone law defense team today.
Technology has become increasingly sophisticated over the past several decades and has given the general public the recreational and commercial use of drones.
It is necessary that federal authorities make sure that the use of such novel technology is regulated, enforced via legislation, and, consequently, that behaviour that violates such legislation is disciplined.
Having experienced legal counsel on your side is critical because drone law is a novel area of law that is riddled with evolving regulations. Law firms specializing in drone law is consequently hard to find.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our team of attorneys is competent to handle legal matters regarding drone technology.
Our team can handle a wide range of services regarding drone technology, including the federal registration process, acquiring patents for your proposed business, protecting your trade name, and defending your business against alleged violations of federal law regulating the use of drones.
We can offer strategic counsel at every stage of your quest to either construct a drone-related business or use drones recreationally.
Do not wait to get in touch with a qualified team of drone law attorneys today.
Put Oberheiden, P.C. on your side to advise you on these legal novelties regarding emerging technology and the use of drones.
Introduction to Drone Legislation: History and Authority
The Federal Aviation Authority
The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (“FAA”) is the federal body responsible for all issues relating to civil aviation in the United States and its surrounding international waters, including the regulation of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”).
The FAA is the federal authority that (1) sets the regulations for new drone pilots, experienced drone pilots, and individuals seeking to use drones for commercial or recreational purposes; (2) provides safety tips for flying; and (3) sets the requirements for getting the approval to use drones.
The Legality of Drones
Flying a drone is legal in the United States. However, there are substantial rules and regulations surrounding their use by individuals—whether in a commercial or recreational capacity.
Drone regulations are constantly evolving as technology advances and businesses seek to expand. It is therefore critical that individuals are compliant with all federal regulations in order to avoid fines and penalties.
It is recommended that individuals retain counsel to advise them on drone regulations, including the process for getting started and attaining federal approval.
The History of Drone Regulation
The drone market has been in its beginning stages of market growth for years and has traditionally been unable to break through into mainstream culture, acceptance, and use.
However, in 2016, the FAA provided multiple exemptions for companies seeking to operate drones in the United States under FAA Part 107. This has enabled the drone industry to “take off” in market growth.
Since then, the drone industry has grown in popularity. Business Insider reported in March 2020 that the drone market size is expected to grow from $4.4 billion in 2018 to $6.3 billion by 2025. Further, consumer drone shipments will reach 29 million by 2021.
The Key Drone Legislation
The key drone legislation is the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018—H.R. 302 (P.L. 115-254). This Act extends the FAA’s funding through fiscal year 2023 and includes important changes to how individuals can safely operate UAS.
The legislation directs the FAA to address aircraft noise, expedite the financing of airport projects, promote cooperation with foreign partners regarding the certification process for U.S. aircrafts, and establish clear FAA performance objectives
Similar to federal legislation, state agencies have their own regulations that apply to individuals operating drones.
Commercial versus Recreational Use of Drones
Federal drone laws are separated mainly into two categories: (1) commercial use and (2) recreational use (including educational uses). These categorizations are important because there are different FAA drone regulations for commercial use versus recreational (and educational) use.
Briefly, all drone pilots must register with the FAA. Drone pilots must follow the FAA’s Small UAS Rule. This rule requires the drone pilot to obtain a Remote Pilot Certification from the FAA and operate under Part 107.
Alternatively, if the individual is not a commercial flyer, the individual must follow the rules for recreational drone flyers. Individuals flying drones for fun must still adhere to the FAA’s regulations for recreational flyers.
If an individual plans to operate a drone commercially or as a part of a business, there are certain FAA regulations that must be followed.
Operating an unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) requires that the individual pass an FAA test and receive Part 107 certification. Part 107 guidelines apply to small drones weighing less than 55 pounds—Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule.
The certification received from the FAA is called a Remote Pilot Certification. Afterwards, the drone must be registered with the FAA.
Once the individual is certified and registered, they can fly their drone commercially for their business operations.
Recreational (and Educational) Use
If an individual plans to operate a drone recreationally or for fun, there are much less strict requirements from the FAA that the individual needs to be aware of. Educational purposes also qualify as a recreational use.
While Part 107 governs the flying of small drones weighing less than 55 pounds in the United States, there is an important statutory exception that allows individuals to fly drones recreationally without complying with the requirements of Part 107.
This exception–49 U.S. Code § 44809—”Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft” provides that the individual may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or FAA authority if the operation complies with ALL of the following requirements:
- the aircraft is flown for recreational purposes;
- the aircraft is operated in accordance with the programming of a community-based organization’s set of safety guidelines under the FAA;
- the aircraft is flown within the visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft or a visual observer;
- the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with any manned aircraft;
- in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of Class E airspace, the operator obtains prior authorization before operating and complies with all airspace restrictions;
- in Class G airspace, the aircraft is flown from the surface to not more than 400 feet above ground level and complies with all airspace restrictions;
- the operator passed an aeronautical knowledge and safety test and maintains proof of this passage to be made available upon request; and
- the aircraft is registered and marked and proof of registration is made available upon request.
Agencies Regulating Drones
The FAA is the main federal agency regulating the use of drones in the United States. The FAA enforces the Federal Aviation Regulations (“FARs”), which are requirements that control all aspects of aviation.
In addition to the FAA, the following agencies regulate the operation and use of drones:
- National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”): The NTSB may require the filing of an aviation safety report on an individual’s drone. There are also reporting requirements that an individual must follow following the crash of their drone.
- Department of Transportation (“DOT”): The DOT maintains regulations on the safety of transporting materials within the United States, which includes, for instance, the transportation of materials via drones.
- Department of Commerce (“DOC”): The DOC may be involved where the use of drones relates to foreign policy considerations such as cybersecurity risks or the need to protect American technology.
- Transportation Safety Administration (“TSA”): The TSA administers alien fight student programs for training and regulates the carrying of drones through U.S. airports.
The above list is only representative of some of the federal agencies responsible for regulating the use of drones.
If you have any concerns regarding federal authority on the use and operation of drones, contact our attorneys today.
Need Advice Regarding Drone Laws and Regulations?
Flying and operating drones is becoming a popular recreational activity as well as an important part of new business operations. It is therefore important to be aware of the FAA’s rules and regulations for using drones in the United States.
However, complying with the evolving laws regulating drone technology can be challenging. It can be even more challenging to find a law firm that is competent to advise clients on drone laws and regulations.
If you need advice regarding drone technology and the evolving drone laws, you need the advice of a skilled attorney right away.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our attorneys are trained in drone laws, the FAA’s authority to regulate drones for both commercial and recreational use, the process for obtaining certification, and whether the use of the drone qualifies under the statutory exception.
Call us today at 888-680-1745 or contact our office for a free consultation to advise you on drone technology.