Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wimberley, Texas: Man Sues Federal Aviation Administration Over Drone Policy

Gene Robinson of Wimberley uses drones to search for missing people, but the Federal Aviation Administration is shutting him down.

The FAA sent Gene a cease-and-desist letter because current law states that it’s illegal to fly drones for commercial use.

"We don't use it for compensation, which has been the argument for so long,” Robinson said. "Our little airplane has been credited with eleven recoveries already. We've been in thirty states and four countries.

Robinson filed a suit saying "there is no legal basis for the FAA to prohibit the operation of a model aircraft for volunteer search and rescue activities."

"We feel like the process has been stagnated and has taken way longer than needed to be completed," he said.

In 2012, when drones’ popularity was growing, Congress told the FAA to come up with new drone guidelines by 2015, but the FAA is moving slowly.

"If they get this legislation wrong, there are going to be some serious consequences and there are going to be a lot of people who are angry with them if they don't do it correctly," Aaron Sankin, a journalist with The Daily Dot, said.

The FAA has to balance safety with privacy, and determine what use is legitimate and what's not.

Until then, they've shut down practically everyone.

"The FAA is really trying to balance everything and come up with something that works for everyone, but it's complicated," Sankin said.

Some of the money the FAA received to study drones went into building six different testing sites around the country, one of which is in College Station.

The FAA is supposed to have the new policy guidelines by 2015.

- See more at:

Drones used to find missing people: Wimberley based company using drones for search and rescue, recovery missions

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