Federal court opens the door to commercial delivery drones

Credit: Lakemaid Beer

The whirring of little blades could soon be heard all across the United States, heralding the delivery of everything from electronics to pizza and beer. Thanks to a new ruling by federal judge Patrick Geraghty, everyone from Amazon to Lakemaid Beer is free to send their busy little drones into the skies, packages in tow. The first place they'll fly, however, is straight into the face of the FAA regulators who started the whole legal battle in the first place.

Back in 2007, the FAA issued a policy notice stating that commercial drones were illegal. When television commercial director Raphael Pirker flew a fixed-wing drone through New York City and near the Statue of Liberty, the FAA slapped him with a $10,000 fine. Pirker hired a lawyer and fought the case, and he's managed to win, setting a legal precedent for commercial drones.

As it turns out, official FAA regulations and policy notices are not the same thing. What the FAA assumed was the law of the land for the last seven years, has in fact been more like a suggestion. This opens the legal floodgates for anyone and everyone who owns a drone and wants to do business with it — at least for now. The FAA can, at any time, establish the policy notice as a regulation. They can even institute an emergency rule, which would take less time. At this very moment, however, the skies are friendly and the clouds beckon to your drone-delivered parcels in welcome.

Scribd, via Motherboard

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