FAA tells Gorham man take down drone business website

GORHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A Gorham man has spent the past year using a personal drone to provide businesses and people with beautiful aerial views of Maine.

Last week, however, Steve Girard was contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration. In a voicemail Girard was told members of the FAA had seen his website and claimed it violated drone regulations for commercial use. The FAA requested he take down his website.

According to Girard, he tried to call the FAA back to receive some clarification but his attempts were unsuccessful.

Girard said, "I was like, OK I am all about following the rules I just can't find any right now."

He chose to take the pricing off of his website and use it as a way to showcase his hobby and the images he has gathered from around Maine.

The reason behind the FAA call, according to Girard, is that calls were coming in of others flying droves above the regulated 400 feet near lighthouses.

"I understand why and what they are trying to do. That is right where the airplanes come into the Portland airport. So I understand their concern," said Girard.

However, the Gorham resident said he did not violate any of the regulations and felt he was being punished for the mistakes of others.

"We just want to do a small business. We know how to fly it and respect people's privacy. We do it safely. So, yes people do stupid with a lot of different things. Drones, it is just something new," said Girard.

The issue, there are no specific laws or regulations banning commercial drone use.

In a statement FAA spokesperson Jim Peters said, ""The FAA's goal is to promote voluntary compliance by educating individual UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws. The FAA's guidance calls for inspectors to notify someone with a letter and then follow up. The guidance does not include language about advertising. The FAA will look into the matter."

The FAA proposed regulations last month, they will be hearing public comment until April 24. Once the public comment portion is over, it could be another year before regulations are approved.


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