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Aviation Law

Drone operator gets $10K fine tossed

Posted Mar 7, 2014 2:21 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A drone operator fined $10,000 for allegedly flying his unmanned craft too low has won dismissal of the fine.

Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled on Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration could not ban commercial, low-flying drones based on a policy statement adopted outside the formal rule-making process, Reuters and Politico report. Geraghty is an administrative judge with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Geraghty was considering the case of Raphael Pirker, who was accused of flying his drone too low and too close to people while making an aerial video for possible use by the University of Virginia. He was represented by Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, which created a drone practice group late last year.

The FAA said it was reviewing the decision and noted the possibility of an appeal to the full NTSB, Reuters says. The decision is here (PDF).

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