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Judge rules commercial drones aren't illegal

The Federal Aviation Administration might be quick to remedy this decision, but at least for the time being, commercial drones are considered legal. According to The Verge on March 6, the ruling was made during a lawsuit coming from a man who was fined $10,000 by the FAA.

This remote controlled toy aircraft has four helicopter-type blades, flies silently, and has several cameras -- one pointing down, one pointing forwards. It hovers a few feet off the floor of the store. It is controlled by an IPad-type device. Brand name
This remote controlled toy aircraft has four helicopter-type blades, flies silently, and has several cameras -- one pointing down, one pointing forwards. It hovers a few feet off the floor of the store. It is controlled by an IPad-type device. Brand name Wikimedia Commons, Tomwsulcer

The Swiss drone operator, named Raphael Pirker, was fined while using a drone to film a commercial for the University of Virginia. However, despite the FAA’s 2007 ban on using commercial drones, federal judge Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation safety board ruled that the FAA hadn’t made any legally binding decisions against their use.

TechCrunch notes that drone regulation has largely gone unregulated by the FAA and in 2012 Congress instructed the agency to have official rules ready by December of 2015. Their report further notes that it doesn’t appear that the FAA will meet that deadline.

With this ruling, perhaps the FAA will have its hands forced. However, there is still a chance that the FAA will appeal the decision. In that instance, the case would be moved to the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C.

For now, the ruling allows unmanned small drones to fly for commercial purposes, including photography, spraying crops, deliveries and similar purposes.