The below ↓headline is misleading, but the implicit question is valid—what was the Congressman thinking?
Representative Sean Patrick Maloney is a Member of the House Transportation & Infrastructure’s Aviation Subcommittee and from that position he has direct input into the legislation and indirectly into the policies of the FAA. It is not unusual for Members of this Subcommittee to intervene on behalf of his constituents in regard to FAA matters, for example proposed FAA enforcement actions. As a member of that legislative body, he was provided with frequent briefings about the UAS controversy. With that position of power and influence, it is reasonable to expect that a member of this Committee, a relationship akin to being on a Corporate Board, to respect and comply with the rules issued by the FAA.
The above ↑ picture was taken by Propellerheads Aerial, which is run by Parker Gyokeres, a former U.S. Air Force photographer. As noted in the below↓ article and other reports, the photographer was hired by someone involved in the wedding. It was also indicated that he Congressman “tweeted” pictures of his wedding noting that it was a view from a drone. Mr. Gyokeres is quoted as saying that his experience with drones is the basis for his future business and would qualify him to operate this aircraft safely, if the FAA had issued the UAS regulations.
The FAA has acknowledged that it is investigating the incident. Quite clearly the Representative is not directly responsible; for he did not fly the aircraft. Mr. Gyokeres’ apparent admission, that he flew the UAS with knowledge that it was a violation, assures that he will draw some sanction from the FAA; furthermore, such an expression of his willingness to violate the FARs will be the basis for denial of an UAS certificate to operate commercially.
Weddings are special occasions and pictures of scenes are memorabilia which will be cherished for years. It APPEARS that the Congressman knew about the impropriety of this aerial photography under the highly publicized regulations of an agency for which he has important legislative voting power and administrative oversight. The FAA will have to take action against Mr. Gyokeres, will likely penalize him, but most significantly his disregard of the FARs will serve as a bar to his future business.
In the best interpretation of the facts, this is most unfortunate. Under the most negative inferences of what happened, this would constitute a most irresponsible action by those involved.
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