Trappy’s lawyer responds to FAA allegations

December 12, 2013 12:08 | By | Add a Comment

The lawyer of Team Blacksheep founder “Trappy” has filed a “memorandum of law supporting his motion to dismiss” in response to the complaint by the FAA. In case you have not been following this legal fight, the FAA wants to fine Trappy for flying a RC foam wing on a university campus for money. They can’t seem to make up their minds whether it was the “reckless flying” or the fact that Trappy was financially compensated by the land owner – operating an RC model aircraft for any kind of financial gain is a hot topic in the US right now.

As a substitute for the unenforceable policy statement, the FAA retreats to last-resort arguments granting itself the extraordinary power to regulate and penalize the operation of any device found in the air, at any location, and without prior notice to the public. This overextension is based on two seemingly simple but completely flawed premises: first, that the definition of “aircraft” in 14 C.F.R. § 1.1 is so broad that it has always included model aircraft, and, second, that the FAA’s jurisdiction extends to activity conducted even an inch above the ground and inside tunnels — locations outside the navigable airspace.

Both of these propositions fail as a matter of law. The definition of “aircraft” is expressly stated in section 1.1 to rely upon context, and that context is unquestionably manned operations.

The full text of the reply can be read here

One of the core arguments right now is whether or not the FAA is responsible for airspace below 700 feet, a question that was raised on a few days ago.

Whether or not this will end up saving Trappy the $10.000 fine the FAA demands him to pay remains to be seen.



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