droneOn September 2, 2015, the FAA issued a replacement for the long standing Advisory Circular 91-57 that was issued on June 9, 1981.  Advisory Circular 91-57 (AC 91-57) was originally issued as guidance for model aircraft operators.  More recently, AC 91-57 has gained additional notoriety because it has been relied upon in judicial decisions regarding the applicability of the Federal Aviation Regulations to the operation of unmanned aircraft.  See e.g. Huerta v. Pirker, NTSB Docket No. CP-217 (Nov. 18, 2014) (concluding that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) meet the legal definition of “aircraft,” and that the FAA may take enforcement action against anyone who operates a UAS or model aircraft in a careless or reckless manner); rev’g, NTSB Docket No. CP-217 (Mar. 6. 2014) (finding that FAA has no enforcement authority to fine Respondent because there was no enforceable FAA rule regarding model aircraft at the time of the flight).

Continue Reading FAA Releases Updated Model Aircraft Guidance

The Federal Aviation Administration posted a win this week when the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its decision reversing and remanding the decisional order issued by an administrative law judge (ALJ) in the case of Michael Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration v. Raphael Pirker.

Continue Reading A Win for the FAA, Status Quo for the UAS Industry

It seems that almost every day there is another news release concerning some aspect of the commercial utilization of and applications for drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), now more commonly referred to within the regulatory community as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).
Continue Reading Commercial Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems? Are They Legal?

On February 12, 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407, operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407, crashed on an instrument approach to Buffalo – Niagara International Airport.  All 45 passengers and four flight crew died, along with one person on the ground.
Continue Reading The Effect of the “1,500 Hour Rule” and New Pilot Certification and Qualification, Requirements for Air Carrier Operations

On July 29, 2006 a De Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter departed the Sullivan, Missouri Regional Airport on a local skydiving flight.  Shortly after liftoff the right engine failed, the aircraft lost altitude, and crashed about ½ mile beyond the end of the runway. All on board died.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the right engine turbine blades failed but could not determine the cause of the failure.
Continue Reading Let the Lawyer Beware — Punitive Damages and Strict Liability in Missouri