The level of hysteria following the decision of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reversing the administrative law judge’s decision in Pirker and upholding the authority of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to regulate UAS is noteworthy if, for nothing else, its sheer stupidity.
One blogger suggests that, based upon the NTSB decision, a paper airplane is regulated. Another suggests the decision doesn’t really have any meaningful effect because all it does is address the “careless and reckless” operations of UAS. We guess what they’re saying, albeit they’re wrong, is that so long as you don’t operate carelessly and/or recklessly, it’s okay to operate a small UAS for business or commercial purposes. Another suggests that balsa wood gliders are now regulated.
C’mon people! Get a grip! Grow up! We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re engaging in such hyperbole to make a point. The problem is that the point you’re trying to make is not only wrong, but it encourages people to engage in dangerous behavior that can only end badly.
There are a couple of simple truths:
- Mr. Pirker, from the description of how he operated his UAS as outlined by the FAA, clearly did so in a careless and reckless manner.
- Mr. Pirker, and anyone else who emulates him, deserves a $10,000 penalty
- The NTSB was totally and completely correct in reversing the Administrative Law Judge. In fact, if they had done anything else, they would have been engaging in careless and reckless behavior.
- The FAA and law enforcement should clamp down, both civilly and criminally, on those who think this is all a big joke. This is an area where vigorous prosecution will have a deterrent effect.
- Any individual or company that wants to be in the UAS business ought to stop their bitching and moaning, put on their big boy pants and file for an exemption with the FAA. It’s not a complicated process and it’s the only responsible way of proceeding.
Commentators, bloggers and others, including certain lawyers, who choose to believe they know best and are increasingly critical of the FAA, ought to, simply stated, grow up. This is no game. Until you have been involved in the aftermath of a mid-air collision, you have no idea what you’re talking about.