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A Quick Comment on a Forbes Article on Drones

  • News

I wanted to add a few points on the “Disruptive regulation, or ‘Mother May I?’” section of the recent Forbe’s article Drone Disruption: The Stakes, The Players, And The Opportunities

It seems that much of the focus of the VC money is on the technology with very little being put into regulatory “R & D.”   People start thinking about lobbying to get around the regulatory problems by getting Congress to give the FAA a special type of legal authority, but once again, we are back at the regulatory R & D point because that new special authority is going to have to assimilate and interact with all the other provisions of the already existing regulatory structure.

On top of the lack of VC money going into the legal R & D area, many of the large companies are being represented by lawyers in the drone law sector who are not qualified. One great example is where this one law firm wrote an exemption for their client for a flight controller, not an aircraft. Let that sink in for a second. You get exemptions for aircraft, not exemptions for parts of an aircraft which showed the sub drone 101 knowledge of this lawyer. That lawyer left the firm and another lawyer in the firm picked up a massive global company as their client. Another example is of legal malpractice where another lawyer at another law firm negligently didn’t complete certain paperwork for their client’s exemption and the exemption was denied which put the client in a bind for having to wait months and months till approval.

Lastly, there is also a lot of flux because the FAA is relying on their “guidance” not law, and when they do rely on regulations, they arbitrarily apply, or turn on, the regulations, as if they were light switches, that had historically never been applied to unmanned aircraft. Currently there is a lawsuit going on in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the FAA’s drone registration regulations. My firm is assisting John Taylor, the Plaintiff. Basically, the FAA went too quickly and legally goofed up their registration regulations by not following two acts of Congress. Those regulations  have a chance to be thrown out by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the court right below the US Supreme Court, because they were illegally created which is going to cause things to slow down because the FAA will make sure all their ducks are in a row. See here for a  more detailed analysis of the FAA breaking the law Congress passed. This will cause the FAA to think twice about ramming through a microdrone rule too quickly.

I hope this helps. :)

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