Why Are Search-and-Rescue Drones Grounded? – IEEE Spectrum

Gene Robinson of Wimberly, Texas, is a licensed pilot and also flies radio-controlled model airplanes—not an unusual combination. About a decade ago, he realized that a model aircraft outfitted to take aerial photos could be enormously useful in locating people who have gone missing—perhaps because they’ve been abducted or maybe just because they are very young and have wandered off into the woods alone. His efforts have paid valuable dividends over the years—helping find the remains of nearly a dozen people. But since late February his search-and-rescue model airplanes have been grounded: That’s when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration notified him in writing that what he has been doing is illegal.

Since 2007, the FAA has maintained that model airplanes, no matter how small, cannot be flown for commercial purposes until the agency puts regulations in place to accommodate them. But thousands of people fly radio-controlled (RC) model airplanes as a hobby, and what Robinson has been doing with his 2-kilogram, electrically powered, foam-and-plastic planes is really no different. “This is a double standard we’ve had to deal with for almost seven years,” says Robinson.

via Why Are Search-and-Rescue Drones Grounded? – IEEE Spectrum.

It’s stupid, arbitrary regulatory regimes like this that cause so many people to distrust government.

Some faceless bureaucrat decided, on his own authority, that this is illegal. Mind you, if Mr. Robinson was simply flying his RC aircraft in an identical manner, but not supporting a SAR effort, he’d be perfectly legal.

And by the way, what’s with a regulatory decision (in the absence of regulations, no less!) mandating whether or not an activity is illegal? Illegal is generally synonymous with unlawful, and I was under the impression that laws are made by the Congress, not obscure regulators.

9 thoughts on “Why Are Search-and-Rescue Drones Grounded? – IEEE Spectrum”

  1. “Illegal is generally synonymous with unlawful, and I was under the impression that laws are made by the Congress, not obscure regulators.”
    There’s a FEMA reeducation camp in your future.

  2. How A.F.U’d can this possibly be. As another contributor said “thrashing corpse”. Jeez!!!

  3. Because we say so, peasant!

    It seems that America has transformed itself from its Lockesian roots where one was free to do anything that was not specifically prohibited to a bureaucrat’s wet dream where one can only do what the bureaucrats allow you to.

    1. It’s like USAF flying rules vice USN flying rules. Our government takes after the AF.

  4. Congress gave up making laws to the beauracrats a long time ago. To much like work and cut into time needed to whore their useless votes out

Comments are closed.