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Comment Re:FAA & Public Safety (Score 1) 236

despite previously saying that model aircraft use was unregulated

Their answer to that, of course, is that it's no longer "modeling" when you're flying something through the air for commercial use.

I agree that they need to follow proper rule making procedures, and get this done for real. In the meantime, it's a complete mess, and the administration is thumbing its nose at the law (from congress) that set a timetable for having this wrapped up. Deliberate foot-dragging with no consequences for anyone except all of the people looking to earn and spend money in this area. For an administration that pretends that it cares about the economy and jobs, this is just more of the same BS.

Comment Re:model plane != plane (Score 1) 236

Since when do gliders have props spinning at high RPMs?

Who cares? The case in question wasn't about a glider. It was about someone flying FPV under power, diving under bridges through traffic, looping the hospital helipad, etc. That's not "glider" activity. The guy used the same style craft for his stunts buzzing the Statue Of Liberty and other high profile structures with lots of people right under his area of operation, while flying outside line of site. Props, spinning. Feel free to stick your nose or a finger into that while it's flying. I wouldn't.

Comment Re:FAA & Public Safety (Score 1) 236

in other words they were prosecuting him for not having a licence that he couldn't possibly get

You mean, like you couldn't possibly get a permit to launch a multi-stage, liquid fueled rocket from your back yard into LEO? Well, since you can't get that permit, they would be total asshats for fining you if you did it anyway, right?

It is the point - address the recklessness

The pilot's recklessness is EXACTLY why he was fined. The administrative judge's initial ruling (it was just an initial one - this still has a long way to go, including eventually to an actual federal court if the agency wants that to happen) was that the rule making process that was used to back up the agency's policy wasn't properly followed. So the pilot wiggles out of his fine on a technicality, not because he actually deserved to avoid the fine.

Comment Re:What the hell is going on around here? (Score 1) 236

So every kid with a model plane is now possible subject to a $10,000 fine?

Does "every kid" use an out-of-line-of-sight FPV RC plane to fly at street level through traffic, buzz a hospital's active helipad, and make people on public streets duck while the pilot is making video that he uses to show off the stuff he sells? Interesting.

Comment Re:model plane != plane (Score 1) 236

If somebody tosses a styrofoam plane into the air and it bonks a passerby, it is very unlikely to cause significant physical harm

Have you actually seen these FPV "foamies?" We're talking about things that are carrying a camera, a brushless gimbal, flight controller with associated daughter components, one or more heavy/dense lithium batteries, a prop spinning at high RPMs (frequently made from very sharp carbon fiber), and ... the whole thing can weigh several pounds, with some of them easily flying at well over 50mph (some well over 100mph).

Care to get "bonked" by one of those?

Comment Re:How did this go to trial? (Score 3, Insightful) 236

If I throw a rock at you, clearly you will have to duck.

But the FAA's policies make specific reference to model aircraft, and repeatedly get into things like "guided" and "sustained" flight. Meaning, the reason an RC drone isn't a rock is that you're actually sending it, under control, through a sustained flight in the air. The FAA's authority begins an inch off the ground, not 100' or 10,000' - which is why they're still in charge of safety when a 747 is 1' off the runway, or 1,000' off the runway.

but I'd say they would only have a case there if a helicopter were attempting to operate in the area and the guy kept flying his plane

A hospital helipad is a 24x7 controlled bit of air space. And more to the point, the pilot in question is all about goggles-on FPV flight. He's seeing where he's going by watching through a small nose camera and a relatively low-res RF video downlink. The guy we're talking about ("Trappy" Pirker) makes a big deal about how he flies FPV out of line of sight. Flying that way, he's got absolutely no situational awareness (say, a medivac helicopter coming in from above or from the side, out of his FPV cam's forward view).

Comment Re:How did this go to trial? (Score 3, Insightful) 236

It went to trial because HE sued the FAA.

No, he didn't. The FAA fined him for operating recklessly, and he followed the usual administrative procedure to challenge that fine.

That's not to say that some law suits aren't appropriate in this area - if for no other reason than that the FAA is ignoring legal mandates from Congress to get this area sensibly on the books in short order. The Obama administration, and their people running the agency in question (which is part of the executive branch) is, just as they're doing by randomly and unilaterally modifying and ignoring hard dates and requirements in the ACA, are just blowing off the law on this matter. That, in and of itself, has no bearing on the case in question, but it's causing this to be dragged out for no reason, as hundreds of millions in new economic activity is sitting on the sidelines holding its breath. Thanks, administration. We can tell what your priorities are.

Comment Re:How did this go to trial? (Score 3, Informative) 236

He didn't get in trouble because he was flying recklessly, but because he was trying to earn a living.

No. This was specifically because he was being reckless. His videos showing him flying at street level through traffic, buzzing the hospital heliport, etc.

The reason the FAA became aware of his asshattery is that he uses his jerky stunt flying to promote his business (he sells multirotor hardware, among other things). He's an attention whore, and puts together his videos with a deliberately provocative tone, and it caught up with him. The issue of commercial vs. hobby was incidental, and the administrative judge's ruling didn't speak to that directly anyway.

Regardless, this isn't even a "final" ruling. For now, he's had his fine dropped. Heavy, onerous regulations are coming for RC/FPV operators, and it will be ugly (licensing, air worthiness certificates, medical exams, etc).

Why should buzzing a crowd be okay, but buzzing a crowd FOR PROFIT be illegal?

Buzzing a crowd isn't OK either way. Regardless of the state of the FAA's pending new regs, plenty of local laws against reckless endangerment can be brought to bear, and this sort of ruling is going to pour gas on the fire of a thousand local jurisdictions throwing together a patchwork nightmare of laws against Evil Drones. This ruling is actually a bad thing.

Comment Re:If you don't like it.... (Score 1) 431

Since you are such a rational individual and by no way superstitious, you should have no fear to do the following: reply to this post by stating clearly that you hereby sell your soul to Satan for the price of a bag of Cheetos. If you have balls you will also include in this deal the souls of everyone in your family.

Sure, but first you have to let me take your photograph, to prove that you're not afraid that it's going to steal your soul.


Comment Yes, we do actually believe in the rule of law (Score 2) 519

A Massachusetts court applying laws as written, rather than making up some bogus progressive interpretation to satisfy their liberal bias? That IS news!

Examples of this?

We don't "make up bogus progressive interpretations." We take great pride in the commonwealth's constitution, which aside from being the first in the nation, predating the federal constitution, and in fact serving at its model, is also one of the most protective of individual rights.

Remember the whole gay-marriage thing, and how MA was one of the first? There's a reason. Our own constitution said we had to treat everybody equally. The courts said "yup, since the state holds the keys to marriage, we gotta treat everybody equally." Case closed. Done.

Also: stop abusing the term "liberal" in this context. Liberal, in a constitutional and individual freedom/liberty sense, usually more accurately describes the "conservative" side of the political spectrum. It's "conservatives" who keep trying to strip people of their voting rights, for example. It's "conservatives" who most often try to impose religion on others, violating separation of church and state (indeed, "god" was inserted into the pledge of allegiance by a republican, for example, in the mid-1900's.) It is "conservatives" who keep trying to advocate for an unequal tax base that vastly favors the rich. It's "conservatives" who keep trying to violate women's basic human rights (ie control of their bodies.) It's "conservatives" who keep trying to censor. It's "conservatives" who have presented the notion that some people are not deserving of the right of marriage. It's also usually "conservatives" who do most of the warmongering and have pushed a very aggressive foreign policy, especially around preemption.

All that is, constitutionally, quite "liberal"/radical.

Comment and further, the court agreed with legislating it (Score 1) 519

Further, the court specifically said they felt it SHOULD be illegal to take an 'upskirt' photo.

The hooplah over this is patently ridiculous and demonstrates the lack of ethics in modern journalism - or the desperation for pagehits, something we used to only see among bloggers.

My main concern is that in the rush to "fix" this, someone screws up the law and ends up making it unconstitutional or otherwise overly broad.

Comment Re:why the press don't generally report suicide (Score 1) 126

I said that mentioning a note (or the reason for the suicide) is the worst thing the media could do, not that it is commonly done.

Mentioning the reasons is an invasion of privacy, and validates suicide as a solution to problems others may be having. Very similar to why notes are not mentioned.

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