Drones vs. Government: Who Owns America’s Skies?

The Federal Aviation Administration is suing a man for selling footage he captured while piloting his remote control drone in a case that could decide the future of personal and commercial drone use in America.

After Raphael Pirker uploaded his footage of University of Virginia’s medical campus to his website, Team Blacksheep, which sells drone parts and produces drone videos, an advertising agency approached him about using it for a commercial. Pirker’s operation was then classified as commercial — which the Federal Aviation Administration doesn’t look kindly upon — and the FAA sued him for $10,000. Pirker says that Team Blacksheep is the first civilian drone operation to be sued by the government.

“They claim it was reckless because we were flying close to buildings, close to statues,” Pirker said in a Mashable video. “They said we almost hit somebody, which actually wasn’t true, but we are now going to go to trial.”

If Pirker wins the case, it would mean that the FAA has no authority over model aircraft in national airspace, so businesses and people would be free to film without fear of prosecution.

“And if we lose, exactly the opposite.” Pirker said. Watch the video above to learn more about Pirker’s story.

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Image: Mashable


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