T&K Partner Publishes Article on Commercial Use of Drones in For the Defense

Fort Worth – Trial Partner Jenny Henry authored the article “Commercial Use of Drones in a Holding Pattern” for the August 2014 issue of For the Defense.

In the article, Henry explores the question of whether the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) can safely integrate drones into U.S. airspace before businesses take off without it. According to the article, “in simple terms, the FAA position is that no person may operate an unmanned aircraft in U.S. airspace without specific authority. Whether authority will be granted and the extent to which a drone may be operated depends on whether the unmanned aircraft is used as a public aircraft or a civil aircraft, meaning for business or commercial purposes. If a model aircraft is used solely for recreational purposes, no authorization from the FAA is required.”

While the FAA is working to draft regulations to safely integrate drones into the National Airspace System by September 2015, Henry outlines the eight unique challenges the FAA must address that are causing a delay in drafting the proposed regulations. The article states that “ultimately, the pace of integration [of unmanned aircraft into U.S. air space] will be determined by the ability of industry, the user community, and the FAA to overcome technical, regulatory, and operational challenges.”

The author explains, “in the meantime, states are getting involved with their own legislation on issues such as privacy and operation by local law enforcement agencies.” Some are eagerly awaiting the commercial use of drones and others are not. Henry concludes, the FAA “insists that integrating the use of [drones] in U.S. airspace is among its top priorities. But it cannot rush its deliberative process for fear that doing so may sacrifice safety, and the expense of that would be too great.”

To read the full article, please click here.