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Commercial Drone Pilots Cheer Judge Finding Against FAA

Aerial photographers, surveyors and filmmakers who want to fly small drones in U.S. airspace are able to rejoice after a judge dealt a setback to efforts by federal regulators to rein in use of the unmanned aircraft.

Raphael Pirker, who had been docked $10,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for using a drone to shoot a promotional video, won dismissal yesterday of the fine for reckless flying. An administrative law judge determined the FAA had no authority over small unmanned aircraft when it imposed the first-ever such fine on a drone operator. The FAA today appealed the decision.