Texas EquuSearch to Resume Drone Operations

From the Houston Chronicle, July 19
HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas-based group involved in searches for missing persons around the nation said it will resume using drones in its work after a federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a warning the group received to stop using them didn’t have any legal consequences. Texas EquuSearch had sued the Federal Aviation Administration, seeking to overturn what the group described as an order it had been sent in February by email prohibiting the nonprofit organization from using drones. While a three-judge panel for a federal appeals court Washington, D.C., dismissed the lawsuit, Brendan Schulman, an attorney for Texas EquuSearch, said that was good for the group. In its ruling, the appeals court said it can’t review the case because the email Texas EquuSearch had received didn’t represent the FAA’s final conclusion on the use of drones. Final rules on drone use are expected next year.”The challenged email communication from a Federal Aviation Administration employee did not represent the consummation of the agency’s decision-making process, nor did it give rise to any legal consequences,” the panel with the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit wrote in its two-page order.Schulman said while the ruling doesn’t resolve the legal issues related to drone use, it clarified there was no valid order from the FAA prohibiting Texas EquuSearch from using drones.”Texas EquuSearch is free to resume its humanitarian use of drones,” he said.

Continue Article at the Houston Chronicle

Additional Articles:

· KRTV (ABC 13): Texas Equusearch Says It Will Resume Drone After Federal Court Ruling
· Wall St. Journal: Judges Dismiss Challenge to FAA’s Drone Policy
· FAA Press Release
· ars technica: Search-and-rescue drone mission readies for takeoff after defeating FAA
· Digital Journal: All volunteer search and rescue team fights FAA, wins
· Motherboard: The FAA’s Cease-And-Desist Orders to Drone Pilots Are Bogus, Appeals Court Rules