An audit by the Transportation Department's inspector general has found that the Federal Aviation Administration is going to miss the September 2015 deadline for integrating drones into the national airspace, The Washington Post reported earlier this week. While Congress legalized drones in 2012, the FAA was supposed to come up with rules by September 30, 2015.
The implications of a decision by an administrative law judge that the Federal Aviation Administration can't impose a $10,000 fine for the commercial use of a small UAV, or drone, is overstated, C. Andrew Keisner, an attorney writing in TVNewser, says. The FAA will likely proceed to create binding rules for drones under the Administrative Procedure Act, and it is "risky for advertising & media companies engaging UAV operators to enter into any long-term contracts that assume the FAA will not proceed with making whatever binding rules it deems necessary to regulate UAVs," he says.
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a $1.2 million defamation judgment an airline pilot received after the airline reported that he could pose a security risk, Forbes reports. Justice Sonia Sotomayor cited the New York Times v. Sullivan in ruling that Air Wisconsin was entitled to immunity for statements its employees made to the Transportation Safety Administration as long they weren't materially false, Forbes further reports. The employees reported that the pilot, who failed multiple tests, was "mentally unstable." Forbes also reports "the decision reiterates the key test for whether a statement is defamatory. For a statement to be materially false, the court said, it must produce a different effect on the mind of the person who receives it than would the truth."
The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon's plan to make deliveries by drone face some legal hurdles: "legal experts point to safety risks and issues such as whether people on the ground might take umbrage to Amazon’s aircraft flying over their property." For example, neighbors could sue for trespass if the drones crossed into their property's airspace, The Journal reports.
Remember that scene in West Wing in which Toby Ziegler wanted to use his cell phone while in the air on a commercial passenger jet? Well, he still wouldn't be able to make a cell phone call, but he could read his e-book, listen to a podcast or watch a video. The New York Times reports an advisory panel to the Federal Aviation Authority is expected to make such a proposal soon. "The guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and watching videos, according to several of the panel’s members who requested anonymity because they could not comment on the recommendations," according to the report. "The ban on making phone calls, as well as sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using Wi-Fi, is expected to remain in place, the panel members said."