Minnesota Beer Drone Delivery Served With Cease and Desist Order

The first and only beer drone delivery was bittersweet. The unmanned aerial expedition brought Lakemaid’s winter lager to an isolated ice fishing shack by Lake Millie Lacs. The delivery was successful, but also caught some unwanted attention from the FAA, who quickly brought the alcoholic drone to a quick stop.

Currently, commercial drones are not allowed under FAA regulations. They are also prohibited from being above 50 pounds and are not allowed to fly above 400 feet or over highly populated areas. Obviously, Lakemead violated some of those policies, but that may change very soon.

The FAA is set to make regulatory changes for commercial use, possibly by next year. Furthermore, a recent ruling in a case against Raphael Pirker could make the use of commercial drones legal. The case, as ruled by Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation Safety Board, was in favor of the defendant who used a drone on the campus of the University of Virginia. Geraghty essentially said that the FAA’s 2007 policy cannot be held as a legally binding law since it did not properly notified the public of the law, which was vague and unenforceable because the FAA “has not issued an enforceable Federal Acquisition Regulation regulatory rule governing model aircraft operation; has historically exempted model aircraft from the statutory FAR definitions of ‘aircraft’ by relegating model aircraft operations to voluntary compliance with the guidance expressed in [the 2007 policy notice], Respondent’s model aircraft operation was not subject to FAR regulation and enforcement.”

If the ruling stands, commercial drones may be buzzing around real soon, including Amazon’s and this pharmaceutical UAV in San Francisco.

Pirker Decision