America Isn't Waiting for the FAA to Get Its Act Together on Drones


Drones AND a gay marriage. It's a Reason coverage two-fer!
Propellerheads Aerial Photography

A New York congressman having his wedding recorded via drone has prompted new hissy fits from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), who is still insisting on the authority and ability to shove genies back into bottles and manhandle horses back into barns. And it has an amusing twist, the Associated Press notes. The congressman is on the subcommittee that oversees the FAA:

The agency's carefully worded statement doesn't mention Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., by name, but said it was looking into "a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York, on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions."

Maloney has acknowledged hiring a photographer to produce a video of his wedding using a camera mounted on a small drone. The wedding took place in Cold Spring on June 21. Maloney is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, which oversees the FAA.

Top agency officials have testified extensively before Congress about their concern that commercial drones could collide with manned aircraft or injure people on the ground. Congress has been pressing the FAA to move faster on creating regulations that will allow commercial drones access to U.S. skies. The agency has been working on regulations for about a decade.

As I've previously noted, the FAA said it will be another decade or longer for those regulations. In the meantime, as this case shows, commercial enterprises are incorporating drones and resisting the FAA's efforts to leave them grounded for 20 years while it gets its act together. Maybe the FAA investigating the company that orbited Maloney's nuptials will prompt Congress to push for timely commercial regulations and not some poorly conceived, likely unenforceable, challenged in court, blanket ban. (But then I'm sure the regulations will be awful as well, with absurd licensing and fee schemes and rent-seeking up the wazoo.)

The most hilarious response to Maloney having a drone hovering over some church in New York comes from the reporting by the New York Daily News. They contacted the office of Maloney's challenger, Nan Hayworth, the Republican whom Maloney beat in 2012 to get into office. Proving there's absolutely nothing a candidate won't use to make his or her opponent appear dangerous or out of touch with the electorate, spokesman E. O'Brien Murray tosses on a pearl necklace and clutches away like nobody's business:

"Clearly Sean Patrick Maloney doesn't think that the rules apply to him, despite the fact that such rules come from the FAA that he helps oversee from his position on the Transportation & Infrastructure committee," Murray said.

'Unfortunately, this is exactly what people are so frustrated with when it comes to Washington politicians. Sean Patrick Maloney thinks he is above the men and women in the Hudson Valley he represents."

Well, the guy did manage to snag a fireworks show at his wedding as well, so there is that. At least they didn't gay-bait him (Maloney married a dude). Anyway, you can watch the actual drone video yourself below and decide whether this is anything for the FAA to get all upset about:


Previously, Zenon Evans noted a safety panic about drones and police helicopters in New York City that appeared a bit overblown.

NEXT: GOP Skeptical of Obama Justice Department's Probe of Obama IRS

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  1. The FAA owns the skies, the FCC owns the airwaves…

    OTish: You and your car enthusiast club go out somewhere with lots of nice twisty roads. You have a support van with a luggage carrier on top, but instead of luggage it deploys a drone with flies along your route looking for dangers like cars coming the other way, deer, cops, etc. You and your friends receive updates as needed from the support van.

    1. True FAA owns the skies but since drones are midrange and being controlled in the air they have been looking at possible homeland security to take on the role of overseeing and licensing drones.

  2. Florke? I hope he took Maloney’s last name and isn’t hyphenating. Florke sounds like something out of ’90s comedic sci-fi.

    1. Florke you in the gnibbits!

  3. Congress has been pressing the FAA to move faster on creating regulations that will allow commercial drones access to U.S. skies.

    When will they create regulations to make walking legal is what I want to know.

    …spokesman E. O’Brien Murray tosses on a pearl necklace…

    What the hey is going on over there at Nan’s campaign?

  4. Anything that isn’t expressly legal is forbidden.

  5. OT: http://news.yahoo.com/principa…..24955.html

    Hey kids! Show school spirit by wearing one of the school colors! Oh! You chose white. Unfortunately this means you’re racist.

    A star high school athlete in rural Marshalltown, Iowa has been suspended for three football games this fall because he posted a social media image of himself enthusiastically festooned from head to toe in white clothing during school spirit week. In the photo, he made the letter “W” with his hands ? which in this case stands for white.

    The school colors at Marshalltown High appear to be red, white and blue. Van Staalduine wore white because school officials had asked members of his class to wear white during school spirit week festivities.

    “The actual school chose the colors that each grade would be wearing,” Cathy Van Staalduine explained. “Juniors wore white. So Blair, of course, being active in the school, dressed from head to toe in white.”

    1. No pointy hood?

    2. Oh wait. I just realized that the kid didn’t choose white. The school chose it for him.

      1. The school chose it for him.

        And then suspended him. What the fuck… I don’t even…

      1. He plans to tap into Lowry’s experience before she leaves.

        Experience at what? Being a complete shitheel?

    3. “The Van Staalduine family is now demanding that the principal quash the suspension and issue a public apology. Otherwise, they say, they will file a lawsuit to protect their son’s good name.”


  6. Also OT, how do you fix this? When I click my bookmark for H&R I often see day old posts. To see new posts I have to click on the RSS button. Is this some sort of cookie thing?

  7. Anyway, you can watch the actual drone video yourself below and decide whether this is anything for the FAA to get all upset about:

    No need to watch the video: no, it isn’t.

    1. This. The youtube thumbnail of the video would indicate that the quadcopter is lower than the roofline of the church. It’s none of the FAA’s business.

  8. On topic:
    I finally fixed the propellors on my phantom. I’ll see if I can make the news this weekend, either by flying near LAX or peeping in some windows.

    1. Is this from when you ran it into a tree?

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