Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Maybe We Can Get Our Beer and Other Supplies By Drones After All

Awhile back, toward the end of January, I bemoaned the fact that the Federal Aviation Administration put the stop to a brewery who was trying to deliver beer to ice fishing enthusiasts out on a Wisconsin lake.  
Flower deliveries via drone? So far, it looks
like it might be legal.  

Well, now, there's a glimmer of hope.

In a move similar to the beer drone enforcement, the FAA in February ordered FlowerDeliveryExpress.com, part of Wesley Berry Flowers, in Michigan to stop its experiment of delivery blooms via drone, CBS Detroit reported.

However, a federal administrative law judge, Patrick Geraghty, ruled that he could not accep the FAA's argument for regulating drones, which applies to flights below 400 feet.

Had he agreed with the FAA, the judge said, "a flight in the air of a paper airplane or a toy balsa wood glider could subject the operator" to FAA penalties.

The judge's ruling applies to fights under the ceiling of 400 feet. Drone flights above that are still definitely iffy in the legal department.

Geraghty wasn't ruling on the flower deliveries, but instead another guy who was fined $10,000 for reckless flying when he used a drone to film a 2011 University of Virginia promotional film, CBS Detroit said.

Official FAA rules about drones are due late this autumn, but those rules have already been delayed over and over again.

Judge Geraghty's ruling in favor of the Virginia photographer basically means there are currently no rules for drone flights that don't go above 400 feet. The Detroit florist said that means he'll resume testing his drone flower delivery system.

And presumably, beer can go out via drone to those Wisconsin ice fishing enthusiasts.

You know what would get really interesting is now that pot is legal in Colorado, will drones deliver that, too?

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