New Advocacy Group Targets Drone Pilots

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Every other aviation cohort has some kind of association -- from Ercoupe owners to airline pilots -- so it's no surprise that a new group has launched this week for those who fly unmanned aerial systems. The new Drone Pilots Association aims to promote the interests of those who are interested in commercial use of UAS. "The DPA is not intended to represent pure hobbyists, who have long been represented by the Academy of Model Aeronautics," wrote Peter Sachs, who organized the new group. "If you are strictly a hobbyist, join the AMA." Sachs said the new group's goal is to promote the commercial use of drones and oppose "the FAA's overreach, its false statements regarding the law and its intimidation tactics."

Sachs, an attorney who works as a private investigator, writes a blog called Drone Law Journal. John Goglia, a former NTSB member who blogs for Forbes, wrote this week that he is on the Advisory Board for the new group. Goglia said he believes "the FAA could safely allow the commercial use of small UAVs (for example, those under five pounds)" so the U.S. could benefit from "the commercial promise of this exciting new technology." Sachs said there is no charge to join the DPA; however, he expects membership fees will be set in the future. "We all want the ability to operate commercially, and we all want to operate safely and responsibly while doing so," he wrote. "Let's combine our voices using the DPA and see what we can do to reach those goals. If enough members sign up, we will then raise funds to mount a challenge to the FAA's Interpretive Rule."