Raphael Pirker Official Leweb Photos
Flight regulators and a drone pilot have settled litigation that was at the center of an ongoing battle over whether the Federal Aviation Administration may bar the commercial use of drones in the US.
Raphael Pirker was fined $10,000 in 2011 in the government’s first legal action against an on-the-ground pilot. Piker was operating a 4.5-pound drone and was cited for illegally operating the plane for commercial purposes and operating it in a “wreckless manner” while filming a commercial over the University of Virginia. He fought the citation, claiming that the government was enforcing a law against the commercial application of drones when there was no such law, among other things.
In March, he prevailed before an administrative law judge, a decision that was reversed in November. Along the way, the government began opening the door, albeit slightly, to the commercial use of drones, allowing them on a case-by-case basis. Hollywood, for example, was granted the right to make movies with drones last year.
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