Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Attorneys Richard E. Doran and Steven M. Hogan are at the cutting edge of the emerging law governing domestic use of unmanned aircraft systems ("UAS"), commonly known as "drones."

Ausley McMullen has been working with the drone industry since 2012. We were involved in Huerta v. Pirker, the first case to ever address the FAA's authority to regulate unmanned systems. Our amicus curiae brief filed in support of Mr. Pirker can be accessed here.

Ausley McMullen has published the first ever book on State Drone Law. You can get a free copy of State Drone Law: State Laws and Regulations on Unmanned Aircraft Systems at this link.

Steven Hogan is the host of Drone Law Today, a weekly podcast that addresses current developments and future trends in "drone law." He is the author of The Drone Revolution: How Robotic Aviation Will Change the World. You can obtain a free copy of the book at this link.

Rapid developments in drone technology have revolutionized the possibilities for public, hobbyists, and commercial use of these devices in the national airspace system. The demonstrated capabilities of UAS of all sizes — ranging from small devices weighing less than 55 pounds to multi-ton aircraft — have sparked the development of a brand new industry across the world.

After years of development, the FAA has implemented Part 107, its regulations for the use of commercial drones in the national airspace system. These regulations allow for limited commercial operations with the possibility to obtain "waivers" for more expansive uses. Waivers are required for drone operations that are not specifically allowed by the regulations, such as drone operations at night or beyond visual line of sight ("BVLOS").

Ausley McMullen assists companies in obtaining waivers for drone operations.

Importantly, the Part 107 regulations only apply to "sUAS" platforms, or drones that weigh less than 55 pounds. Flights of UAS that weigh more than 55 pounds will require a different authorization, like the Section 333 Exemptions that the FAA previously issued for all drone operations.

Our firm has obtained Section 333 Exemptions for a number of clients. We are continuing to assist companies with exemptions for UAS flights that cannot be performed under Part 107.

Government use of drones requires a different set of authorizations from the FAA. Though governments and other "public" entities can choose to fly drones under Part 107, specialized approvals for "Public UAS" operations are advisable. Our firm is well equipped to assist public entities in obtaining approval for Public UAS operations.

Please contact Mr. Hogan at shogan@ausley.com for more information about how our UAS practice can help your organization.