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Fri, Apr 11, 2014

FAA Grounds Non-commercial Search And Rescue UAV Flights

FAA Behaves Like A Petulant Child Trying To Prove A Point By Misbehaving

Once again the FAA has gone after the operation of UAVs as if they actually had regulations to control it. Only last month, an NTSB judge ruled that the FAA did not have control over drone flights because they were using an internal document that has not gone through a regulatory process.

As reported in an article published on arstechnica.com, a group in Texas that voluntarily searches for missing persons through the use of a UAV in a non-commercial operation is being told by the FAA they need approval to do so. The group known as Texas EquuSearch Mounted Search and Recovery Team voluntarily helps local authorities search for missing persons with the aid of a UAV mounted television camera.

In the article it’s reported that the group’s founder, Tim Miller said, "This technology gives us a better chance at finding missing people alive without the high cost of using helicopters, which are often not even available, and making the best and safest use of our volunteer searchers' time during the critical first hours. The drones help me fulfill the promise I make to families that I will use every resource available to bring home their missing loved ones." According to EquuSearch, they have found more than 300 persons alive in some 42 states and eight countries.

The FAA contends that the search and rescue organization can, through an email process, request a certificate of authorization on a case-by-case basis. However, there still appears to be no regulatory reason for this sort of bureaucratic approach.

It seems beyond reason that the FAA continues with this approach to UAV operation without addressing it through the standard regulatory process. It looks like another case of the FAA taking the path of ruling through intimidation alone regardless of the law.

FMI: http://texasequusearch.org, www.faa.gov, www.auvsi.org

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