News

Drone operator who challenged the FAA's authority ban to commercial flights settles case

WASHINGTON – An attorney for a drone operator who challenged the government’s ban of commercial drone flights says his client has settled the case for an $1,100 fine.

The Federal Aviation Administration initially sought to fine Raphael Pirker $10,000 for flying his small drone around the University of Virginia campus while making a paid video.

The FAA said Pirker operated the drone in a reckless manner. The agency bans commercial drone flights except for a few operators who have been granted waivers.

Pirker argued the FAA couldn’t enforce such a ban when it had never issued regulations governing drone flights. The FAA is working on regulations but they have been repeatedly delayed.

A judge initially sided with Pirker, but he was overruled on the grounds that the FAA controls the national airspace.