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You Need to Fight This Summer – Or Its All Over.

Drone Laws Blog by Antonelli Law

FAA Reauthorization Bills Don’t Prevent Death From a Thousand Local Drone Laws

Today, my law firm Antonelli Law defended someone facing a ticket from a major city’s drone ordinance. If found guilty, the Part 107 operator faced thousand of dollars of potential fines as well as time in jail.

Today’s outcome, a subject for a future article, is what no doubt will become more common throughout the United States, even for properly licensed FAA Part 107 operators,  as more cities and local municipalities seek to control the “drone craze” with local law enforcement doing what is actually the FAA’s job.

The problem, as I describe in July’s RotorDrone Magaxine article (click below for a free look) is that without the 2017 FAA Reauthorization Act containing what is called “express preemption” to kill off these stupid state and local drone laws, thousands of drone pilots – even those acting properly with a Part 107 FAA license – will be harassed and have to unfairly defend themselves in court.

Neither the House or Senate Versions of the 2017 FAA Reauthorization Bill Clearly State Only the FAA Can Police the Skies – And YOU Need to Change This!

As of this writing, from what I have seen from both the US House and US Senate, neither versions of the 2017 FAA Reauthorization Bill clearly state that only the FAA can police the skies. They do, however, both offer to study the probloem for the next 5 years or so. In the meantime, the patient known as the US drone industry led mostly by small business entrepreneurs, may crash and burn leaving only the very biggest players to survive. That’s not very American.

So click below to read my July 2017 RotorDrone magazine article “This Summer is for Flying and Fighting” and please call your representatives in the US House and Senate to demand they include “express federal preemption” in the 2017 FAA Reauthorization Act, and vote NO to othe rbills including the Drone Federalism Act.

Simply call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or visit the following links to find your representative:

Jeffrey Antonelli RotorDrone Magazine - Legal View July 2017

Click Here (FOR FREE) Jeffrey Antonelli RotorDrone Magazine – Legal View July 2017 about the 2017 FAA Reauthorization and other drone bills.

If you already have a subscription to RotorDrone, click in your email for the electronic version and turn to page 76 for Legal View by Jeffrey Antonelli

Legal caveat: Nothing in these articles are legal advice. Speak with a qualified attorney about your legal situation.

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Drone Regulations in 2017 – Will Growth of the U.S. Commercial Drone Industry be Collateral Damage of the Trump Surprise?

Drone Laws Blog by Antonelli Law

Part Four in a Series on Federal Preemption – Mark Del Bianco, Special Counsel to Antonelli Law

Prognosticators and pundits in Washington and far outside the Beltway are trying to read the (admittedly very skimpy) tea leaves and figure out what the unanticipated Trump victory means for [fill in the industry, country or policy area of your choice here].  I’ll play the game, but rather than opining on broad, sweeping issues, I’ll focus on the wonky issue of what the election means for the U.S. commercial drone industry.

I’ll start by stating a couple of assumptions that underpin my analysis.  First, unlike most industries, stakeholders in the commercial drone industry want more federal regulations.  The sooner, the better in most stakeholders’ view.  Second, the industry has only limited potential for growth absent federal rules permitting flights at night, flights over uninvolved people, flights beyond the operator’s visual line of sight (BVLOS), and autonomous flights. 

The state of play right now is that the FAA, having promulgated the initial Part 107 rule in August, seems to be picking up steam in its regulatory process. See http://www.dronedefinition.com/on-his-way-out-us-transportation-chief-anthony-foxx-sets-drones-free/. Its Pathfinder program is developing data on BVLOS and autonomous flight. The agency has been drafting a rule that would allow flights over uninvolved people, and according to reports has sent the draft to OMB for approval.  That OMB review can take 90 days or more, so it could easily stretch into the new Trump Administration.

Trump, like other recent Republican presidents-elect, has called for a moratorium on new federal agency regulations during the first part of his presidency.  According to the campaign website, the moratorium would apply to all new regulations “that are not compelled by Congress or public safety in order to give our American companies the certainty they need to reinvest in our community, get cash off of the sidelines, start hiring again, and expanding businesses.” See https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/regulations.  Neither the website nor any of Trump’s speeches provide much guidance about how long the proposed moratorium might last.  Given the uncertainty, it seems very possible that new drone regulations may not be in place until late 2017 or even 2018.  Given the explosive pace of technological development in the industry, this delay could leave the U.S. commercial drone industry at a tremendous competitive disadvantage compared to other countries that have put a comprehensive framework in place.  It is possible that the U.S. commercial drone industry’s growth could actually be collateral damage of the election.

There may be a small silver lining in the regulatory cloud.  Like many in the commercial drone space, I see the patchwork of problematic (and often unconstitutional) state and local laws as a substantial and growing roadblock to the growth of the industry in the U.S.  But now there’s news that Palm Beach, Florida, which had enacted an ordinance with scant care for whether it conflicted with federal law, has acknowledged the need to consult with federal authorities as it rewrites its law to protect its most famous resident, Donald Trump. http://m.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/local/drone-regulations-on-hold-to-discuss-trumps-safety/ns62W/. Perhaps the other localities where Mr. Trump owns homes (such as Los Angeles) will take a similar approach.  Who knows, common sense might break out nationwide.

About Attorney Mark Del Bianco 

Attorney Mark Del Bianco is Special Counsel to Antonelli Law’s DSC_2812Drone/UAS Practice Group. Mark has more than three decades of experience representing clients in federal administrative rulemaking, enforcement proceedings, and court reviews at the DOJ, ITC, FCC, FDA, CPSC, and NHTSA. He has litigation experience ranging from state trial courts to case briefs in the United States Supreme Court, and in recent years has litigated the constitutionality of state laws at the intersection of technology and privacy. He also provides transactional and regulatory assistance to a wide array of clients, including fiber networks, satellite service providers, business owners, application developers and cloud services providers.

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How to Get a Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) FAA Part 107 Waiver

Drone Laws Blog by Antonelli Law

In our first post of 2017, we would like to talk about Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) FAA Part 107 waivers – What are the steps to getting one, and How much does it cost to obtain professional help in applying for one?

As it now stands, the process for obtaining a BLOS waiver from the FAA under Part 107 can hardly be described as transparent or straightforward. We hope the new Trump Administration will make sure this process becomes more business-friendly. The same hope applies to UAS airspace authorization requests, too.

Many companies contact us here at Antonelli Law – domestic and international – seeking advice for obtaining the BLOS waiver. Many of them have very compelling stories and technology to offer. We wish we could provide both a standardized process (and standard legal fee) that is clear and predictable in scope and timeline, but trying to do so with the FAA involved is simply not possible. At least right now.

What we can do is explain the basic steps in the process and a very general ballpark estimate on what we will charge for our assistance. Obviously the scope of work and cost varies as to whether you are looking for what is basically extended visual line of site operations for farmland, or you want to deliver things far from the ground control station  – especially it is compounded with the possibility of flying over people.

However, the general steps are as follows:

Step One: Develop your concept of operations and risk assessment

Step Two: Develop testing data either overseas or at an FAA test site. Alternatively participate in the FAA Pathfinder Program.

Step Three: Draft the actual beyond line of sight (BLOS) waiver request under Part 107, technically parts 107.31, 102.200 and 107.205. 

The fees for helping you through this are approximately (depending on the complexity and risk of your operations) $10,000 to $15,000 or more.

If you wish to fly BLOS involving delivering something that is not owned by the company – like Amazon is famously trying to do – currently there is no process for this available under Part 107 and another avenue must be pursued.

These are just the basics, but we hope this provides some insight whether you are an operator looking to expand your UAS operations or an investor evaluating a company pitching you  getting regulatory approval from the FAA to fly and make money as promised. 

Antonelli Law offers a $350 comprehensive consultation by telephone with you, our FAA consultant, and an attorney to discuss your UAS goals and whether, and how, you may obtain FAA approval.

If you would like to make an appointment for our $350 comprehensive consultation, please call us at 312-201-8310 or you may also use the contact form below.

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FAA Now Allows Class C Part 107 Airspace Authorizations

Drone Laws Blog by Antonelli Law

On October 31st, the FAA began accepting applications from Part 107 commercial drone operators who want to fly in Class C Airspace.

What’s Class C? Think John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA or Midway Airport in Chicago, rather than LAX or O’Hare which are both Class B. There are more than 120 Class C airports in the United States.

How to Obtain a Part 107 Airspace Authorization – Like Class C

In order to obtain a waiver for airspace authorization, applicants will need to fill out the FAA’s online form available here. The form for special airspace authorization requires the name and phone number of the PIC, as well as providing the geographic coordinates of the proposed operations. Applicants may also want to consider creating a map of the proposed geographic area, to be provided upon request to the FAA.

Some Tips For Applying For Class C Airspace Authorizations

Applicants will need to submit a waiver for each unique airport they are looking to operate in. Applicants should also  seriously consider breaking up their submission into multiple parts, to make the submission easier for the FAA to review and approve.

The FAA has reported that they have rejected 71 Part 107 waiver requests and 854 airspace applications. Do it right the first time.

The Timeline For Approvals for Part 107 Class C Airspace Authorizations

The FAA allows itself up to 90 days to review an application, but has a goal of eventually reviewing and issuing approvals within a matter of hours. This is a brand new process for Part 107 operations so we can expect some delays and changes in protocol. Hopefully a fully computerized process to obtain airspace authorizations for Part 107 operations will be implemented soon for immediate approvals.

Part 107 Waivers vs Airspace Authorizations

At the time this post was published (November 2nd), the FAA has posted 131 approved Part 107 Waivers to their website, the vast majority of which have been for nighttime applications. The FAA has not yet posted applications that have been approved for special airspace authorizations.

Need Help Applying for Part 107 Airspace Authorizations and Waivers?

The Antonelli Law Drone/UAS Practice Group has filed several waivers for its clients. To speak with an attorney to discuss filing a waiver and obtain a quote, call 312-201-8310 or email us at jeffrey@antonelli-law.com.

Note: No part of this post or dronelawsblog.com consists of legal advice. In addition, the process, conditions, and timelines of obtaining approval from the FAA change often and therefore the reader is encouraged to review the FAA source materials on the FAA website.

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Four Antonelli Law Clients Received Nighttime Part 107 Waivers Today!

Drone Laws Blog by Antonelli Law

Four Antonelli Law Clients Received Nighttime Part 107 Waivers Today!

Today, the first day that federal commercial drone regulations referred to as Part 107 became effective, four of Antonelli Law’s UAS clients received permission to fly during nighttime in Class G airspace.

All four clients had previously submitted Section 333 petitions to fly pursuant to the the 2012 FAA Reauthorization Act and requested permission to fly during nighttime.

Under Part 107, a number of drone (UAS) operations are prohibited unless a 107 Waiver is obtained. They are found in Section 107.205:

107.25 – Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft. However, no waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.

107.29 – Daylight operation.

107.31 – Visual line of sight aircraft operation. However, no waiver of this provision will be issued to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.

107.33 – Visual observer.

107.35 – Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems.107.37(a) – Yielding the right of way.

107.39 – Operation over people.

107.41 – Operation in certain airspace.

107.51 – Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.

If your company wishes to obtain a Part 107 waiver in one or more of the categories, contact Antonelli Law at 312-201-8310 or email Jeffrey Antonelli at Jeffrey@Antonerlli-Law.com 

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Antonelli Law Drone/UAS Practice Group
Antonelli Law Drone/UAS Practice Group

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