FAA investigates congressman's drone wedding video - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

FAA investigates congressman's drone wedding video

Posted: Updated:
By JOAN LOWY
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Aviation Administration indicated Wednesday that it is investigating whether a video of a congressman's wedding last month violated the agency's ban on drone flights for commercial purposes.

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.

Top agency officials have testified extensively before Congress about their concern that commercial drones could collide with manned aircraft or injure people on the ground. Congress has been pressing the FAA to move faster on creating regulations that will allow commercial drones access to U.S. skies. The agency has been working on regulations for about a decade.

"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.

The FAA has approved a few limited commercial drone operations. But the agency has also been sending letters to commercial operators across the country - including other videographers and companies that hire videographers - to cease their drone flights or face fines.

One videographer, Raphael Pirker, challenged the $10,000 fine the FAA tried to level against him for flying a small drone in an allegedly reckless manner near the University of Virginia. An administrative law judge sided with Pirker, whose attorney argued the agency can't ban commercial drone flights when it hasn't formally adopted safety rules governing drone flights. The FAA has appealed the case to the five-member National Transportation Safety Board. A decision is expected this fall.

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."

The wedding photographer subcontracted Parker Gyokeres of Propellerheads Aerial Photography in Trenton, New Jersey, to shoot the video. Gyokeress posted outtakes of the wedding on his company's website and created a YouTube video.

Maloney's wedding video was first reported by the New York Daily News.

___

Online:

Outtakes of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney wedding video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajkxExd_nTI

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • U.S. & World NewsMore>>

  • Official: Air Algerie flight 'probably crashed'

    Official: Air Algerie flight 'probably crashed'

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:21 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:21:37 GMT
    The official Algerian news agency says an Air Algerie flight from Burkina Faso to Algiers has disappeared from the radar.
    An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, officials said. France's foreign minister said no wreckage had been found,...
  • Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:17 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:17:34 GMT
    Israeli tanks and warplanes are pummeling the Gaza Strip as U.S. and other diplomats push for a cease-fire with Hamas militants.
    Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian...
  • Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated

    Wyoming cave with fossil secrets to be excavated

    Thursday, July 24 2014 11:15 AM EDT2014-07-24 15:15:13 GMT
    For the first time in more than 30 years, paleontologists are preparing excavate a sinkhole-type cave in northern Wyoming that contains the ancient remains of tens of thousands of animals.
    For the first time in three decades, scientists are about to revisit one of North America's most remarkable troves of ancient fossils: the bones of tens of thousands of animals piled at least 30 feet deep at the bottom...
Powered by WorldNow
General information or questions:
kxinfo@kxnet.com

News:
Bismarck:
Phone: 701-223-9197
News Fax: 701-223-1985

News:
Minot:
Phone: 701-852-2104
News Fax: 701-838-1050
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KXNET. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.