In The News

James Mackler Talks Drones, NTSB Ruling with the Media

Bone McAllester Norton attorney James E. Mackler talked with UAS Magazine last week about the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) ruling on the Raphael Pirker case. Pirker flew an unmanned aerial system (UAS), more commonly known as a “drone,” over the University of Virginia campus in 2011, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) required him to pay a $10,000 civil penalty for operating the aircraft in a careless or reckless manner. A law judge with the NTSB dismissed that order, citing the FAA had not enacted an enforceable regulation for the aircraft.

“. . .I don’t think it makes very much practical difference in terms of the way the industry and the law are progressing,” James said in the article. “Congress has already told the FAA that they have to come up with regulations governing the commercial use of UAS. Congress has essentially preempted this issue, making it clear that they do expect unmanned systems to be treated as aircraft and operated in a safe manner.”

Earlier that day, James commented in a separate article for the magazine about dispelling a UAS myth. He explained that the Pirker case is more about when the flight occurred and that it had little to do with the current state of UAS regulations.

James served as a panelist in Mind2Marketplace’s event on UAS last week, held at the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport. “I think it’s going to be another 10-20 years before we see larger UAV’s integrated into airspace. The FAA needs to move a little bit faster in order for it to be allowed to be used in a commercial manner,” he told a reporter from Fox17.

James is the founder of Bonelaw’s UAS focus, the first of its kind in the region. He also leads the firm’s veteran and military law efforts.



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