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Many drone operators might not be doing it legally

Posted by Editor on October 10, 2018
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Michael Corso, an aerospace engineer and attorney at Fort Myers law firm Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, is a sought-after presenter in the emerging area of drone law. Most of his practice in that arena is as a consultant to insurance companies and businesses that use drones for a number of different reasons.

The realm of drone use is ever-growing, given millions of drones nationwide are used by individuals and businesses.

“Realtors use [drones] a lot,” he notes, “and I’m not so sure they are all within the bounds of the law.”

Both the law regulating drone usage and awareness of that law lag behind the growth in drone popularity, Corso says. For example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) controls all air space 400 feet and higher, which identifies the legal ceiling for drone operations. In addition, drones may not be flown within a 5-mile radius of any airport.

Corso believes that both restrictions are frequently violated, and enforcement is virtually nonexistent. He says a homeowners association in the Fort Myers community of Paseo was recently contacted about the legality of a resident flying a drone there, and it was determined that the neighborhood is 4.7 miles away from Southwest Florida International Airport – therefore technically illegal for drone flight.

Corso says he has yet to defend a company or individual for damages related to drones, however. Currently, it’s more about preventing such claims.

If a drone does cause damage, however, it could be costly for homeowners or businesses. Since drones are considered “aircraft,” their use is excluded from most homeowners and business insurance policies.

Source: Business Observer (Florida) (10/05/2018) Warfield, Andrew

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