A Federal Judge has ruled against the FAA with respect to their ban on the use of drones for commercial purposes, such as filming real estate from overhead, dismissing a $10,000 fine the FAA had issued to one such operator who was filming a commercial in Virginia.
The judge’s decision could open up the skies below 400 feet to farmers, photographers and entrepreneurs who have been battling the FAA over the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles.
NTSB Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled Thursday that the policy notices the FAA issued as a basis for the ban weren’t enforceable because they hadn’t been written as part of a formal rulemaking process.
The ruling, for now, appears to make it legal for drones to fly at the low altitude as part of a business — whether that’s delivering beer, photographing a baseball game or spraying crops.
The FAA had pledged to issue a formal rule on the commercial use of small drones by the end. In the meantime, the FAA could issue an emergency rule or appeal the judge’s decision.