Antonelli Law UAS Client Aerial Inspection Resources Receives Section 333 Approval

Antonelli Law UAS client Aerial Inspection Resources (A.I.R.) received approval from the FAA on May 5th to operate drones (UAS) to closely inspect elevated electrical components without climbing structures and risking serious injury.

A.I.R. ‘s unique Unmanned Aerial Systems ( “UAS” ) perform close-up evaluations and document hazardous hard-to-reach industrial systems.

A copy of the FAA Grant of Exemption under Section 333 can be viewed here: Aerial_Inspection_Resources_LLC_11467

Aerial Inspection Resources may be contacted by calling (503) 512-5156.

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Another Antonelli Law UAS Client Receives FAA Approval

Another Antonelli Law Section 333 client received approval from the FAA today to fly UAS commercially.  Hawaiian aerial photography provider Owlcam LLC  has been granted approval to provide real estate videography and photography.

A copy of the FAA Grant of Exemption under Section 333 can be viewed here: Owlcam, LLC – 11396

Owlcam LLC may be contacted by calling (808) 652-9890 or via email at currstix@mac.com

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Antonelli Law to Exhibit at AUVSI May 5-7

Antonelli Law’s Drone/UAS Practice Group is again exhibiting at AUVSI’s annual conference, Unmanned Systems 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia May 5-7, 2015. Our booth is 1434, just steps from the central Innovation Hub.

Stop by our booth to speak directly with the attorneys involved in our Section 333 work, including the recent FAA approval for our client Nixon Engineering. Our attorneys are personable as well as highly qualified in federal rulemaking, intellectual property, insurance and other helpful areas for UAS.  For example, those dealing with data privacy should get to know attorney Mark Del Bianco, who advises on data security obligations as well as regulatory and legislative policy.

In the meantime, attorneys Jeffrey Antonelli and Mark Del Bianco will be at the sUAS Expo in San Francisco April 29, 30, and May 1st. We look forward to meeting you.

If you would like to drop us a note in advance of meeting us at AUVSI or the sUAS Expo, feel free to use the contact form below or call us at 312-201-8310.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

 

Antonelli Law Client Receives Section 333 Approval

Antonelli Law Drone/UAS Practice Group is proud to announce its client Nixon Engineering Solutions has been granted approval for commercial UAV flights pursuant to Section 333 of the 2012 FAA Authorization and Modernization Act in the mining and oil & gas industries.

A copy of the FAA Grant of Exemption under Section 333 can be viewed here:Nixon Engineering Solutions LLC – 11252(1)

Nixon Engineering may be contacted by calling  (318) 747-9669 or via email at knixon@nixoneng.com

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Two New Section 333 Petitions Filed by Antonelli Law

Two more Section 333 petitions for exemption were filed by the Antonelli Law Drone/UAS Practice Group on March 30, 2015, bringing the total filed to six, with others pending:

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Virgina Drone Laws – Preempted?

Recently the Virginia General Assembly passed a number of bills related to privacy and new technology. Among the bills is one requiring police to obtain a warrant before using a drone for surveillance. As technology increases and privacy has the potential to decrease, it is telling that the Virginia General Assembly realizes this danger and enacted legislation to restrict drone use by government agencies.

The legislation could have far reaching effects as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers new regulations. There is more to the Virginia legislation than just protecting privacy, however. It gives certain local governments the power to restrict anyone, including hobbyists, from flying drones, regardless of the weight. This could create huge issues in the future when the FAA allows drone use by commercial operators. Currently the FAA allows hobbyists to fly drones that weigh less than 55 lbs provided they follow safety guidelines. Would the local government ban on drones apply to commercial operators that the FAA has specifically allowed to fly? Would the local law be pre-empted by federal law? We think, yes, the local laws will be preempted by Federal law.

Preemption, by virtue of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, states that when activities are considered more national than local in character then the federal laws related to them preempt, or take precedence, over state laws. To the extent the Virginia law purports to outlaw conduct that Congress or a federal agency with subject matter jurisdiction, here the FAA, has specifically held is or should be legal, there is conflict preemption and the state law is invalid. We expect a challenge to the Virginia state law restricting drone use sooner rather than later, but certainly when the FAA approves the proposed regulations. Further, if the FAA grants a Section 333 exemption to a Virginia operator, that law may get challenged soon.

One of the Antonelli Law Firm’s attorneys lives (and is licensed) in Virginia and is keenly watching the legislation and the associated privacy concerns. While privacy does need to be protected, it seems there are better ways to protect it than a blanket law restricting all drone use. As far back as 2011, privacy concerns were in the news as Texas police used drones in high risk operations. The ACLU had comments then stating they did not disapprove of drones, absolutely. They went on to say that they object to the pervasive use of drone surveillance on the general public. There are many good uses for drones including searching for missing persons and even high risk police operations.   These activities do need to be tempered with privacy protections. However, local laws cannot and should not be those protections.

Something to watch especially for our Virginia residents and clients.

Today guest blog was written by attorney and airline pilot Kate Fletcher who is of counsel to Antonelli Law’s Drone/UAS Practice group. Kate’s aviation experience, along with special counsel Mark Del Bianco’s federal rulemaking and privacy issues experience, greatly add to the firm’s capabilities.

If you would like more information or would like to speak with the firm’s Principal Jeffrey Antonelli call us at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Enter the code below.
captcha

Five More Section 333 Approvals By FAA

Today, the FAA approved five new Section 333 petitions for exemption for sUAS.  This brings the total to 28 US companies and individuals now possessing FAA approval to fly UAS commercially.

  1. Capital Aerial Video
  2. Chevron 
  3. Digital Harvest
  4. Picture Factory
  5. State Farm

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you. See  our recent Section 333 filings for an indication of the quality of our work:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Drone NPRM – What We Need to Do Now

We have reviewed all 190+ pages of the FAA’s proposed rules for commercial use of drones (“small UAS”). Our review confirms the initial impression we posted on Monday. Overall, the proposed rules are much more flexible and conducive to commercial operations of small UAS (those weighing 55 pounds or less) than most industry observers expected.

But the formal rulemaking process has just begun; it will be 18 months or more until the proposed rules become final. In the meantime, there is still a lot of heavy lifting to be done to make sure that the final rules are as favorable as possible to the smaller stakeholders in the commercial drone space – new manufacturers, distributors, and all types of innovative operators. All of these stakeholders need to become more involved than they have been to date. There will be an opportunity to file public comments (the deadline will be sometime in late April or May). There should also be an opportunity to file reply comments responding to other parties’ comments, although that’s not mentioned in the FAA NPRM.

The FAA is not experienced in rulemaking proceedings that involve hundreds of parties with diverging and opposing views. They will struggle with this process. The only way to ensure that the commercial pilots, large agriculture firms, manned helicopter operations and defense/homeland security firms don’t dominate the rulemaking process and erect barriers to the development of innovation and competition is to file comments on the important issues.

Smaller sUAS stakeholders will generally want to file comments supporting the FAA’s position on several key issues in the proposed rules:

  1. No pilot’s license or flight school should be required
  2. No visual observer should be required
  3. No ATC permission should be necessary to operate in Class G airspace
  4. No airworthiness certification should be required for an sUAV

Depending on their business plans, smaller sUAS stakeholders may want to oppose the FAA’s position on other issues in the proposed rules:

  1. The daylight operation limitation
  2. The visual line of sight limitation
  3. The 500 foot AGL limitation
  4. The prohibition on flying over people not involved in the commercial operation
  5. Other geographic limitations on sUAS operations

In addition, the FAA asked for comments on several other issues that are likely to be crucial for some smaller stakeholders. The most important by far is the proposal to create a new category of microUAS involving drones weighing under 4.4 pounds. This category would cover many drones used solely for data acquisition purposes (surveying, photography, etc.). They would be subject to fewer regulations than are in the NPRM, and could potentially be allowed to fly over people not involved in the commercial operation.

Other issues that could be important to smaller stakeholders are whether the final rules:

  1. Can include ways in which a first-person-view device could be used by the operator without compromising the risk mitigation provided by the proposed visual-line-of-sight requirement.
  2. Should provide for a process (such as a letter of authorization or a waiver), by which the FAA could relax operating restrictions on sUAS equipped with new technology that addresses the safety and other concerns underlying the proposed operating restrictions.
  3. Should include a process to modify the rules quickly as technology advances (e.g., the development of sense and avoid technology that could lead to beyond-line-of-sight operation).

If there are issues that you strongly support or oppose in the proposed rules, or that you believe should be in the rules but are not, you should be filing comments. We can help you articulate your concerns in a way that will maximize your impact. For more information, telephone us at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Today’s guest post was written by Mark Del Bianco, special counsel to the Antonelli Law Drone/UAS Practice Group.  Mr. Del Bianco has 30 years of experience representing clients in rule-makings and enforcement proceedings. His litigation experience ranges from state trial courts to case briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, and has litigated the constitutionality of state laws at the intersection of technology and privacy.

#Drone NPRM

The Proposed sUAS Rules Are Here

This Sunday, the FAA and DOT finally released their proposed rules for commercial use of drones weighing 55 pounds or less in our national airspace. The good news? No pilot’s license or flight school will be required to operate a drone commercially. The bad news? The formal rulemaking process has just begun and we will have to wait until at least 2 years until the proposed rules become final. Until the final rules go into effect, which will probably not be until 2017, anyone who wants to operate a drone commercially and legally will still have to submit a Section 333 petition for exemption.

Highlights of the Proposed sUAS Rules:

  1. No pilot’s license or flight school required
  2. 500 foot altitude limit
  3. Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace are allowed with the required ATC permission
  4. Pass an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  5. Visual observer not required
  6. No ATC permission necessary to operate in Class G airspace
  7. No airworthiness certification of the aircraft

Here is the full text of the proposed Rules: FAA sUAS NPRM

In addition, President Obama released his Memorandum on privacy relating to domestic use of drones

Let Antonelli Law Help you Draft Your Public Comments

Now is the time to make your voice heard. Once the proposed rules are published in the Federal Register sometime in March or April, industry and the public will have just 60 days to submit public comments on them. The FAA is required to consider all the public comments about the proposed rules  and allow the public to participate in any hearings. The agency may make adjustments to the proposed rules based on the public feedback it receives. Sometime in 2016 or 2017 it will issue the final rule, which will have the force and effect of law.

If there are issues that you strongly support or oppose in the proposed rules, or that you believe should be in the rules but are not, you should be filing comments. We can help you articulate your concerns in a way that will maximize your impact. Antonelli Law’s UAS Co-Counsel, Mark Del Bianco, has 30 years of experience in federal agency rule-making proceedings.  For more information or to speak with Mr. Del Bianco, telephone us at 312-201-8310 or use the contact form below. sUAS-160x480-1-29-2015

 

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Two More Section 333 Approvals by FAA

Today, the FAA approved two new Section 333 petitions for exemption for sUAS. The first is for Asymmetric Technologies LLC of Columbus, Ohio and the second is for Blue Chip UAS.  Special congrats to Asymetric Techologies whose general counsel, Stuart C. Sparker, we met at the Ohio UAS Conference in 2014.  This brings the total to 23 US companies and individuals now possessing FAA approval to fly UAS commercially.

Asymmetric_Technologies_LLC‘s approved use is solely to inspect the underside of a bridge over a canyon. Its petition described the project as near US Highway 93 in Mohave County, Arizona, sitting above Raster Wash adjacent to the Burro Creek Wilderness Area approximately 70 miles south east of Kingman, Arizona.

The approved sUAS to be used by Asymetric Technologies LLC is manufacturerd by Microdrones, weighs 8.5 pounds, and limited to  flight times of 45 minutes and 27 mph. It has a GPS assisted barometer and return to home (RTH) technology in the event of a lost command and control link. The FAA specifically mentioned that the VO must not participate in operating the camera or other instruments, as its role is to aid the pilot in command (PIC) in its see and avoid duty,

For Blue Chip_UAS their approved uses include agriculture, oil and gas, aerial photography, and wildlife industries using a 10 pound sUAS, the Sensurion Magpie MP-1, with a speed of 68 knots.  The most interesting aspect of Blue Chip UAS’s grant of exemption is that the FAA is permitting it to operate within 5 miles of an airport as long as there is a letter of agreement between Blue Chip UAS and the airport’s management and the COA and NOTAM requirements are met.

Both Asymetric Technologies LLC of Columbus Ohio and Blue Chip UAS are required to use PICs with at least a private pilot’s certificate (license) with a third class medical certificate.

If your company would like assistance filing its own Section 333 petition to fly UAS commercially, contact firm principal Jeffrey Antonelli at 312-201-8310 or fill out the contact form below and we will contact you. See  our recent Section 333 filings for an indication of the quality of our work:

If you are interested in an excerpt of Jeffrey Antonelli’s recent appearance discussing drones on Chicago Tonight please click here.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

An Antonelli Law blog on UAS/Drone Law