Congressman Lands In Even Hotter Water For UAV Wedding Footage

Posted by Betsy Lillian on July 18, 2014 No Comments
Categories : Policy & Regulations

After New York Rep. Sean Maloney had his wedding to partner Randy Florke filmed with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), he was accused by some of not being relatable to average citizens after he publicized it on social media.

Now, things seem to be getting worse: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has something to say about it, too.

ABC News has reported a statement from the agency, which does not directly refer to Rep. Maloney but says it is looking into ‘a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York, on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions.’

Parker Gyokeres, the UAV operator, told ABC News that he feels “horrible.” The video that was posted online was just his supplemental material, and the couple never specifically asked that it be posted, he claims.

The footage, uploaded to YouTube by Propellerheads Photography and also posted to Vimeo, has since been deleted. The congressman originally shared a link to it on his Twitter account and came under fire on America Rising for having “the most extravagant wedding of all time.”

Capitol Police and the sheriff’s department reportedly gave Gyokeres and his crew the OK to film, and Maloney himself was even told by the wedding photographer subcontractor that he would not be breaking any rules.

The footage showed the couple emerging from the venue and being greeted with showers of rice from the massive crowd. After spanning the guests milling about the yard, the video ended with an intimate view of fireworks. Other than the bright “married” sign in the middle, the show appeared not much different from the various Independence Day fireworks shows filmed by UAVs.

The FAA recently published a Federal Register notice on its interpretation of the statutory special rules for model aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

The guidance came after recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people, the agency said. The FAA reaffirmed that the Act’s model aircraft provisions apply only to hobby or recreation operations and do not authorize the use of model aircraft for commercial operations.

Interestingly enough, Rep. Maloney happens to be part of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee.

Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth believes the congressman ought to leave the aviation committee altogether, according to a report from the New York Daily News. ‘It is a blatant conflict of interest to be sitting on a committee while being investigated by an agency it oversees,” she said.

Read the entire ABC News report here.

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