from the watching-the-watchers-watching-themselves dept
Drones: they’re a thing. They were once reserved for the military to use to remote control the fiery death of scary people most of us have never met, some of whom may occasionally, ahem, be, you know, American or whatever. Now all kinds of commercial applications are being explored for these sky-borne death-machines, like getting me my damned tacos delivered through the sky, the way God intended. Well, the FAA went all crazy-pants over the idea of businesses using UAVs, which was followed by the NTSB ruling that the FAA had no jurisdiction over commercial drones. Following an FAA appeal, the agency then decided to claim that drones were only for fun, not profit. You know, like sex.
That brings us to today, where we get to read news about the FAA investigating the use of a drone to take sky-recordings of the wedding of a US Congressman who sits on the subcommittee that oversees the FAA.
The agency’s carefully worded statement doesn’t mention Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., by name, but said it was looking into “a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York, on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions.”
Maloney has acknowledged hiring a photographer to produce a video of his wedding using a camera mounted on a small drone. The wedding took place in Cold Spring on June 21. Maloney is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s aviation subcommittee, which oversees the FAA.
Well, if the NTSB can’t get the FAA to calm the hell down about minor commercial uses of drones, darkening the memories of a congressman’s wedding with a pointless investigation sure as hell might. Particularly when that congressman is directly involved in overseeing said FAA. Boys, you may just have bit off a little more than you can chew.
And this all comes off as particularly silly, given that this particular drone is the increasingly common small helicopter with a video recorder attached to it. The chances that this thing is going to interfere with airborne Boeings seem, shall we say, slim.
“On their wedding day, Sean and Randy were focused on a ceremony 22 years in the making, not their wedding photographer’s camera mounted on his remote control helicopter,” Stephanie Formas, spokeswoman for Maloney, said in a statement. Formas, citing the judge’s ruling, said there was “no enforceable FAA rule” or regulation that applied to “a model aircraft like the helicopter used in the ceremony.”
I rather expect that point to be driven home at an upcoming subcommittee meeting.