The FAA alleged that Pirker acted on October 17,
2011, as pilot in command of Unmanned Aircraft
System (UAS), a Ritewing Zephyr powered, glider
aircraft, at the University of Virginia’s
medical school, Charlottesville, Virginia while
filming a commercial for the University and that
Pirker was compensated, in that payment was
received for video and photographs taken during
The FAA fined Pirker $10,000 for violation of
the provisions of Part 91, Section
91.13(a), Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).
Pirker appealed his case before the National
Transportation Safety Board office of
Administrative Law Judges.
On Thursday, NTSB Administrative Judge Patrick
G. Geraghty ruled that the policy notices the
FAA issued were not enforceable because they
hadn’t been written as part of a formal
rulemaking process. That neither Part 1,
Section. 1.1, or the 49 U.S.C. Section
40102(a)(6) definitions of "aircraft" are
applicable to, or include a model aircraft
within their respective definition. The model
aircraft operation by Pirker was subject only to
the FAA's requested voluntary compliance with,
the Safety Guidelines stated in AC 91-57.
At the time of Pirker's model aircraft
operation, there was no enforceable FAA rule or
FAR Regulation, applicable to model aircraft or
for classifying model aircraft as an UAS,2s.
the findings Judge Geraghty dismissed the case
against Pirker. The Judge ordered the FAA case
against Pirker be dismissed, Order of Assessment
be vacated and the case be terminated.