What are some of the current legal issues facing drone operators today?
Steve Hogan is an attorney at Ausley & McMullen, focusing on commercial drone law since 2012. He specializes in assisting clients in obtaining waivers for drone operations. Steve is the host of the weekly podcast, Drone Law Today, and he is the author of The Drone Revolution: How Robotic Aviation Will Change the World. In this episode, Steve talks about current legal issues, why some operators may not want to toss out their Section 333 exemption, privacy and air space concerns, and state and local regulations.
In This Episode
- [ ] Introduction. Steve Hogan is an attorney with Ausley & McMullan in Tallahassee, Florida working with commercial drone companies since 2012.
- [ ] Legal Overview. Steve provides a short overview of the current state of the legal issues in the drone industry. Part 107 is now in effect, but still new to many operators.
- [ ] Section 333 Exemptions. Drone operators that have a Part 107 certificate and a Section 333 exemption may still find value in maintain their 333 exemptions. That gives operators some flexibility in conducting missions that may not be covered in the Part 107 certificate.
- [ ] Part 107 Glitches. Generally, the only glitch that Steve is aware of in the Part 107 process is an inconsistency on the part of airport traffic controllers in approving (or not approving) commercial drone flights.
- [ ] State Regulations. Steve discusses the two types of drone legislation typically enacted at the state level. One side advocates for a “Permission-based” approach, whereby the legislation specifies the types of uses or missions that can be flown by a drone. The other side advocates a “Prohbitive-based” approach that lists the types of uses or missions that cannot be performed by a drone. Both have merits and shortcomings. The Permission-based legislation is more positive, but if a drone operator may not be able to use a drone for a purpose which is not expressly listed in the regulations. On the other hand, the Prohibitive-based legislation sounds negative or restrictive, but if a use is not specifically outlawed by the legislation, it can be considered okay.
- [ ] Privacy Concerns. Steve shares some of the issues with State regulations attempting to protect privacy concerns. The Federal Government is primarily concerned with the protection of the national airspace; whereas, States are concerned with protecting privacy and property. Complicating the issue across the nation is that privacy is defined differently by states, which results in different regulations or approaches between states.
- [ ] Aerial Property Rights. Steve comments on the emerging concerns related to aerial property rights and drone flights. He uses examples from Florida and the “drone slayer” to illustrate the challenges in this area.
- [ ] Local Regulations. Another layer of potential regulation can occur on the local level. Many communities are developing (or have developed) local ordinances attempting to restrict drone use in certain parts of the community. It’s an ongoing issue and one that drone operators and industry organizations will need to monitor.
- [ ] On The Table for 2017. Actions that we should see in 2017 include the release of the Micro UAS Rule and a process to allow night flight and beyond visual line of sight.
- [ ] Drone Law Today. Steve is host of the Drone Law Today Podcast, and he discusses the origins of the legal podcast, its focus and content.
- [ ] Closing