Welcome aboard!

Welcome to “droninglawyer,” a (manned) blog focused on legal and popular news about “unmanned aerial vehicles” (“UAVs”).

According to the  Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), a UAV is an unmanned aircraft or “device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air that has no onboard pilot.  This includes all classes of airplanes, helicopters, airships, and translational lift aircraft that have no onboard pilot.” Unmanned aircraft are known by a host of names, including remotely piloted vehicles (“RPV”), drones, robot planes, and unmanned combat aerial vehicles, but do not include missiles and rockets.

UAVs serve a variety of useful purposes for society.  These include  traffic surveillance, weather monitoring, communications relay, border management, maritime patrol, crime prevention, forest fire monitoring, and drug interdiction.  Commercially,  UAVs perform fishery and agricultural management missions, freight, pipeline monitoring, aerial photography, and search and rescue tasks.  UAVs do “dull, dirty, and dangerous” activities that save human costs and serve important economic objectives.

UAVs are controversial, too, however.  The public hears daily about unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) called “predators” and “reapers” and “hunter killers” deployed to stalk and eliminate terrorists. In a speech at the National Defense University, President Barack Obama confirmed that Americans who go abroad to wage war against America are entitled to no more protection from drones “than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a SWAT team.”  Whether the federal government would use drones to kill citizen-terrorists within national boundaries is unknown.  No wonder the term “drone” is used to suggest that remotely controlled aircraft are lawless menacing robots.

This blog is dedicated to following and offering commentary about this important aviation technology.

Thank you for reading.

Timothy M. Ravich