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NTSB Overturns Administrative Law Judge Decision and Holds That Federal Aviation Regulation 91.13 (Careless or Reckless Operation) Applies to Unmanned Aircraft Systems

On December 1, 2014 by Schnader

As science and technology progress, science fiction often becomes reality. Unmanned aircraft systems were the fodder for comic books not so long ago; now they are a reality. While the many applications of UAS are exciting, the legal hurdles facing this industry are not insubstantial. The NTSB’s decision in Huerta v. Pirker holding that the Federal Aviation Regulations, including 14 C.F.R. §91.13 governing careless/reckless operation of “aircraft,” apply to UAS may represent a small setback for the integration of UAS. The impending Notice of Proposed Rulemaking being prepared by the FAA likely will represent a bigger one. History reveals that the UAS industry will overcome the obstacles set before it. The participants who share in that success likely will be those who pay attention to the legal realities and prepare accordingly, utilizing the guidance/assistance of legal counsel as necessary.

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