Drone pilot and FAA settle for $1,100 in key commercial use case

Very interesting, precedent-setting legal case. Expect more of these.


Raphael Pirker, who is probably the world’s most famous drone pilot, has reached a deal with the Federal Aviation Agency, which had sought to impose a $10,000 fine on Pirker for using an unmanned aircraft to take pictures for the University of Virginia in 2011.

Pirker issued a statement through his company, Team BlackSheep, that described the settlement, which will require Pirker to pay $1,100 but does not admit any regulatory violation, as “favorable.”

“We are pleased that the case ignited an important international conversation about the civilian use of drones, the appropriate level of governmental regulation concerning this new technology, and even spurred the regulators to open new paths to the approval of certain commercial drone operations.”

The case, which began in 2013, quickly took on national significance as a test of the FAA’s power to regulate unmanned aircraft at a time when consumer drones are exploding in popularity among hobbyists, and when a wide variety of industries are clamoring to…

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