by Dave Weiman
In this issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine, there are several articles intended to keep us out of trouble when it comes to potential violations to Federal Aviation Regulations, and make us aware of our rights when it comes to Federal Aviation Administration enforcement actions.
First, attorney Greg Reigel discusses changes in the way FAA enforcement actions can be settled. Things are more formal now, says Reigel, and must be documented with a written “settlement agreement” that is executed by both parties. As you will read, Mr. Reigel feels that formalizing such agreements is a good thing, so long as we do not unknowingly give up our right to file a claim against an aviation safety inspector who may have acted improperly or contrary to law during an investigation upon which the legal enforcement action was based (see article on page 10).
Next, attorney Russ Klingaman brings to our attention FAA’s definition of an “aircraft” as it pertains to unmanned aerial or aircraft systems (UAS), often referred to as “drones.” According to Mr. Klingaman, if a pilot operates a drone in a careless or reckless manner, his/her pilot certificate could be in jeopardy (see article on page 12).
The Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics also addresses the operation of unmanned aircraft systems, and is requiring their owners to pay the state’s aircraft registration fee. In addition, if the UAS is used for commercial purposes, the owner/operator will be expected to obtain a commercial operator’s license from the State, the same as any other aviation business (see article on page 46).
Regardless of whether or not we intend to go out and buy a UAS for recreation or commercial purposes, it is important to fly our manned aircraft with caution, especially at low altitudes.