FAA Asks Law Enforcement to Help Police Unmanned Aircraft Use

By Marty Stern, Ed Fishman, Jim Insco, and Tom DeCesar

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released new guidance directed to local and state law enforcement asking for help in policing unmanned aircraft flights that violate its policies. The FAA is concerned with an apparent increase in the unauthorized or unsafe use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems by individuals and businesses. 

While line-of-sight, low altitude hobby use of small model aircraft is permissible under FAA policies, the FAA takes the position that all commercial use without prior FAA authorization, even of small model planes, violates its policies and is unlawful.  The FAA is also concerned with potentially unsafe operations by both hobbyists and unauthorized commercial users.  In an effort to beef-up enforcement of its policies, the agency is taking the unusual step in reaching out to state and local law enforcement for assistance. The FAA’s action comes at a time when the TMT sector and other industries have been waiting for the FAA to release long overdue proposed rules on the commercial use of small UAS.

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