FAA Records of Fine Levied Against Drone Hobbyist

Derek Mead filed this request with the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States of America.
Tracking # 2014-009077
Status
Completed

Communications

From: Derek Mead

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

I am looking for any documents related to fines levied by the FAA against operators of an unmanned aerial vehicle. Specifically, I am looking for records pertaining to a fine levied by the FAA against a UAV hobbyist who was flying in New York City last year.

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Derek Mead

From: Federal Aviation Administration

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Derek Mead

Under 49 CFR 7.44, "A fee is not to be charged for any time spent searching for a record requested under subpart C if the records are not for commercial use and the requestor is a representative of the news media, an educational institution whose purpose is scholarly research, or a non-commercial scientific institution whose purpose is scientific research."

These documents will be used by Motherboard (www.motherboard.vice.com), a science and technology news website that has reported extensively about the integration of commercial unmanned aerial vehicles and proliferation of hobby aircraft in the United States. A small sampling of our coverage of these issues can be found here: http://www.motherboard.vice.com/tag/FAA

Moreover, section e of 49 CFR 7.44 suggests that "documents will be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the official having initial denial authority determines that disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor."

The public confusion surrounding the implementation of unmanned aerial vehicles is well documented—in public forums, at industry conferences where the FAA's Jim Williams has found it important to clarify certain things (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98LF5azVxLg), and on social media. In fact, some of this confusion has been documented on our website at these two urls: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-pope-proved-the-us-government-is-making-up-drone-rules-on-the-fly and http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-faa-suggests-drone-pilots-ignore-its-own-cease-and-desist-orders

For those reasons, I request that the appropriate fees be waived. I also request any and all documents relating to any proposed fine that the FAA has levied against any commercial and/or hobby unmanned aerial systems operators in the United States. I also request any and all "cease-and-desist" orders or similar documents sent to commercial unmanned aerial systems operators within the last year. I request that any and all appropriate fees be waived for those documents.

Best,
Derek

From:

Mr. Mead,

The FAA FOIA office has made the determination that your fee waiver for this FOIA request has been denied. The UAS office will be contacting you to inform you of the charges/fees associated with this request.

Respectfully,

Derek M. Honda
AFS FOIA Coordinator / AFS Forms Management Officer
AFS-140 Flight Standards
email: derek.honda@faa.gov
Work: 202-267-4190
Fax: 202-267-7636
https://employees.faa.gov/org/staffoffices/afn/tools_resources/foia_tool_kit/
http://www.faa.gov/forms/index.cfm
https://employees.faa.gov/tools_resources/forms

From: Derek Mead

Hi Derek,

An update on this is past due—I'd like an update, please. If possible, could you call me to discuss why our fee waiver was denied? 301-412-7324

Thanks,
Derek

From: Derek Mead

Am still waiting on this.

Thanks,
Derek

From:

Mr. Mead,

The FOIA office has made the determination that your fee waiver has been denied because it does not fall under the criteria set forth in 49 CFR 7.44.

Lizett please contact Mr. Mead and give him a status update on his FOIA request.

Respectfully,

Derek M. Honda
AFS FOIA Coordinator / AFS Forms Management Officer / AFS Directives
AFS-140 Flight Standards
email: derek.honda@faa.gov
Work: 202-267-4190
Fax: 202-267-7636
https://employees.faa.gov/org/staffoffices/afn/tools_resources/foia_tool_kit/
https://employees.faa.gov/tools_resources/forms
http://www.faa.gov/forms/index.cfm

From: Derek Mead

Lizett—This is long past due and have heard no new information from you. I'd also like to formally appeal the denial of my fee waiver. Is there a means to do that? Was Motherboard determined to not be a journalistic entity?

Thanks,
Derek

From: Federal Aviation Administration

A letter stating the requester must agree to or prepay assessed or estimated fees in order for the agency to continue processing the request.

From: Federal Aviation Administration

A cover letter granting the request and outlining any exempted materials, if any.

From: Federal Aviation Administration

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

From: MuckRock.com

To Whom It May Concern:

I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information request, copied below, and originally submitted on May 1, 2014. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response, or if further clarification is needed. You had assigned it reference number #2014-009077.

Thank you for your help.

From:

Mr. Mead,

The final response was completed and it is in route to you with the records via USPS. You should be receiving the response with records by next week.

Respectfully,

Derek M. Honda
AFS FOIA Coordinator / AFS Forms Management Officer / AFS Directives
AFS-140 Flight Standards
email: derek.honda@faa.gov
Work: 202-267-4190
Fax: 202-267-7636
https://employees.faa.gov/org/staffoffices/afn/tools_resources/foia_tool_kit/
https://employees.faa.gov/tools_resources/forms
http://www.faa.gov/forms/index.cfm

From:

Good Afternoon Mr. Mead:

A response letter was mailed out to you on August 8, 2014.

Thank you.

Lizett Culley
Management Specialist, AFS-82
Office of UAS Integration
Phone (202) 267-8098

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