Drone Law Services

Need help navigating drone law? Tired of wasting time? Feeling frustrated because you can’t find reliable or experienced advice?

Rupprecht Law, P.A. is a boutique law firm that practices in the area of drone law. That’s it. We do only drone law all day every day.

We are licensed and insured.

Rupprecht Law currently advises to wide variety of companies interested in using drone technology, from small start-ups to many companies that generate revenue in the billions of dollars per year.

Aviation Law Services


Consultations

Remember that saying, “There are no stupid questions.”  That’s wrong. There are stupid questions …. those are the questions you didn’t ask me and then you ended up getting yourself and your company into trouble because you failed to ask them. :)  The attorney-client privilege is a wonderful thing. It protects the content of our conversations so we can have open conversations without fear it will be used against you. Please note that this does not apply to consultants. It’s attorney-client privilege, not attorney-consultant. If I was a prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney coming after you, the first person I’m going to send a subpoena to will be the consultant you are working with. They have 1 of 3 choices: (1) lie and risk going to jail, (2) not talk and risk going to jail, or (3) rat you out. As an attorney, I have a fourth option, the attorney-client privilege would shield our conversations and I stay quiet.

I have streamlined the process people can use to hire me.  This is how I handle consultations. I charge a flat rate of $200 for 30 minutes. During that time, you can ask me as many drone questions as time permits. I can also ask you questions to clarify things. I can also sometimes see some issues you might not be aware of and answer those issues. For example, I might just respond, “That’s a great question but here is the big gotcha on the backend that you need to know about.”

To get started, scroll to the bottom and contact me. I’ll send you two links so you can sign a digital contract and pay via credit card. We’ll schedule a time to talk. You can also send over a list of questions you might have before we hop on a call. You ask me as many questions as you want during that time.

Here are some of the questions I get asked:

  • Are there any good business opportunities right now?
  • We want to start a business doing  X.  What issues do you see?
  • I received a letter from the FAA saying they are investigating me, what do I do?
  • What are some ways I can mitigate my risks?
  • How do I set up a drone training program?
  • I took photos for fun and now I want to sell them. Can I do this?

Issues you might have not thought about:

  • The FAA’s view of how operations should be done (under a waiver/exemption/authorization) and how that interacts with employment classification (1099 vs W2). This is a big issue when it comes to setting up an operation with multiple pilots.
  • How the Department of Transportation’s regulations affect your operations. The FAA has safety authority while the DOT has economic authority. Many people are not aware of some of these DOT regulatory “gotchas” until I tell them they have been violating the law for years.
  • How the TSA regulations might apply to your internal in-house training operations.
  • How you might want to obtain a particular type of rarely asked for insurance if you are providing drone flight instruction.
  • How certain items of technology might be regulated.
  • How certain types of equipment attached to a drone might trigger certain federal laws or hazmat laws.

Applying for a Waiver (Beyond Line of Sight, Swarming, Reduced Visibility/Cloud Clearance, Etc.).

Are you interested in a Part 107 waiver or a Part 91 waiver? I can help with some of them. I have helped over 100 clients obtain waiver approvals. My waiver passage rate for waivers overall is 90+%.

Before you send me a quick email, I created an in-depth FAQ post on waivers and authorizations.

We can also schedule a 30 minute road mapping session ($200) where you and I can come up with a legal/business game plan to achieve your goals with waivers. You might think you have it all figured out but……sometimes there are some fun “gotchas” on the backend that you might not be aware of. We can discuss those during the road mapping sessions.  Waivers involve risk assessments, waiver applications, training manuals, operation manuals, checklists, emergency procedures, etc. Yes, I’ve done all of those.  The more complex the operation and the waiver, the more complex the paperwork.

On top of that, certain waivers have certain issues that others don’t you might not be aware of. One may have a ground risk issue while another may be air and ground risk.

To obtain waivers, I’ve created (no, I don’t outsource like other well known drone attorneys with no aviation background):

  • Operations Manual
  • Training Manual
  • Safety Management System Manual
  • Safety Security Instruction Manual
  • Qualitative risk assessments
  • Quantitative risk assessments (these are my favorites).
  • Concept of Operations (CONOPs) documents.

Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Applying for a Certificate of Authorization (COA) (To Not Broadcast Remote ID or to Fly Near an Airport)

Airport COAs. I have helped clients obtain over 50 COA approvals. I’ve even obtained COAs to fly on an airport while operating under a waiver.  Commercial drone operators sometimes need help operating in Class B, C, D, or E at the surface associated with an airport airspace. The LAANC system is beneficial for many operations but not all such as when you need to operate really close to the airport (one of those zero areas on the airport facility maps) or when you want to use a waiver or exemption in the airspace (e.g. flying at night in controlled airspace). For situations like those, you might want a Drone Zone COA. I have helped clients obtain airspace COAs (including exercising their night waivers at the airport).

I currently charge a flat rate of $500 per COA per airport provided there is no waivers involved. Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.

Remote ID COAs. There are times where you might want to obtain an authorization to deviate from the remote identification broadcast requirements such as: you’re law enforcement and you don’t want the drug dealers to be able to detect your drone or your operations cannot comply due to some physical/technical reason (FPV racing is an example).

Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Petitioning for Exemption (Flying Aircraft 55-Pounds & Heavier, Part 137 Drone Spraying Operations, package delivery, etc.)

In July 2016, the FESSA changed what is allowed under the Section 44807 exemptions (formerly called Section 333 exemptions). While Part 107 replaced the need for many of exemption operations, there are very good reasons to have an exemption such as:

  • Drone spraying operations (crop dusting, pesticide spraying, pollinating, etc.)
  • Operations involving aircraft that are 55-pounds or heavier (because Part 107 is only for under 55 pound aircraft).
  • Part 135 package delivery.

As of 7/20/2019, I have helped clients obtain 50+ granted exemptions.

Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Starting a Drone Spraying Operation

One thing I’ve been focusing heavily on is assisting clients with starting their drone spraying operations.

Process: A petition for exemption needs to be filed. In parallel to this process, you go through the agricultural aircraft operating certification at the local flight standards district office level. I’ll give you instructions on how to do this. Basically, you file an application to them and send them the manuals we filed in support of the petition for exemption. Once the exemption is granted, we schedule with the FAA an in-person inspection where they verify your knowledge and skill of flying the aircraft. If you pass, you then obtain an operating certificate.

In order for the spraying operations to be in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations (other laws may apply as well), the pilot needs a remote pilot certificate, the drone must be registered, you need the exemption, AND the agricultural aircraft operating certificate has been issued.

Time: Turn around times on an exemption from the FAA is about 90-180 days from filing to approval, unless there is a government shutdown. Turn around time on the agricultural aircraft operator certificate can be 3-9 months depending on many factors.

Deliverables: The deliverables are determined by what you select.

 

  Cost Exemption Manuals Agricultural Aircraft Operating Certificate Answering Whatever Drone Law Questions You Have
Level 1 (Only under 55 Pounds) 1,800 Filed by me. I file stock manuals I created. No customization. Step-by-step guide. Study material. You file the paperwork and resolve any issues encountered with the FAA. You study on your own and find the answers on your own beyond what I don’t answer in the 30 minutes. 30 Minutes
Level 2 (Only under 55 Pounds) 3,000 Filed by me. Work with you to customize manuals to your needs. I then file. Answering questions regarding FAA created certification problems. Emailing or calling FAA inspectors to resolve problems. Step-by-step guide. Study material. 120 Minutes (Useful when preparing for your inspection)

 

From me, I’ll file the exemption. If Level 2 is selected, I’ll assist you in creating the operations and training manual. I’ll need you to decide on the finished training and operations manual.

From you, I need the contract signed AND payment before I start working. During the process, you’ll need to supply me the aircraft manual (what the manufacturer gave you). If Level 2 is selected, I’ll assist you in creating the operations and training manual. I’ll need you to decide on the finished training and operations manual.

My Experience: I have helped 19 clients obtain an exemption and 8 agricultural aircraft operating certificates. I have had 0 rejections of my 137 exemption petitions.

Information: I wrote a large article on drone spraying and it is posted here. https://jrupprechtlaw.com/drone-sprayer/  It goes into the economics, the law, how the law affects the economics, etc.

FAQs:

  • Can I add aircraft later? Yes. The best way to do it is to have one aircraft on the exemption which is the same you plan on flying during the inspection. The exemption will say you just need to have any future aircraft listed on your letter of authorization (it’s some pieces of paper that comes with your operating certificate and is not to be confused with a certificate of authorization for airspace). You get your local FAA aviation safety inspector to list any additional aircraft on the LOA. 1 exemption and 1 operating certificate with a LOA that can list multiple aircraft.
  • How does it work with aircraft over 55 pounds? Basically, 55+ pound aircraft operate under a different set of regulations (which means we need those specifically exempted in the exemption). The easiest way to do things is just have 2 exemptions: 1 for under 55 and 1 for 55+. Why? because the under 55 exemption does not have any buffer zone issues regarding how far you need to stay away from people or airports while the 55+ exemption DOES which can get problematic when you are near people and airports.
  • My aircraft CAN fly over 55 pounds. Does that mean I cannot get an under 55 exemption?  No, you can have an aircraft capable of flying 55+ but you just limit the payload to keep it under 55 to fly under the exemption without any buffer zone or airspace issues. You could in theory have one aircraft and two different exemptions. You would “mow the lawn” with the 55+ exemption and “weed wack” with the under 55 when you are near people, houses, cars, etc.
  • Can I add waivers later on or do I need to get them now? You can add on the night and/or swarm waivers after you obtain the operating certificate and exemption. This is actually better as it presents less headaches during the initial process.

My goal is to get you to an approved exemption, valid operating certificate, and your Chief Supervisor having an FAA endorsement to supervise agricultural aircraft operations.  I have had ZERO denials.

Please keep in mind services from HSE or UASolutions Group CANNOT provide legal advice to you which can greatly hamper your operations. It also exposes you to risk because your conversations might not be covered by the attorney client privilege. Even if they provide you legal advice, they won’t have any insurance covering them giving you legal advice and you’ll be unprotected in case they mess up.  I am a licensed attorney which can provide legal advice. I also have liability insurance to help my clients in case I mess up.

Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Helping Government Entities Obtain a Public Certification of Authorization (COA)

The federal statutes that lay out what a public aircraft is can be confusing. But before you decide to obtain a public COA, it’s important to understand what is the best tool to help accomplish your mission. Some of the consultants and drone resellers push public COAs (because they aren’t proficient in aviation law) and lead government entities down a road that is not best for them.

A public COA is one of multiple legal approvals that government entities can use. See my large article comparing the different methods.  Rupprecht Law, P.A. can assist a government entity in understanding the best route to accomplish their goals which might include obtaining a public COA.

This can include drafting and seeking approval of a public aircraft operator declaration letter, and filing the COA application through the portal. Please note that if a consultant is offering to draft a public aircraft declaration letter, they are most likely committing the unlicensed practice of law in doing this. This can give your operation a “black eye” if it comes to light the person who is helping you comply with the law is breaking the law in the process. Furthermore, it’s also extremely unwise to rely on a consultant’s advice regarding public aircraft operations as a violation can be extremely unforgiving. Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Outside Legal Counsel

Are your attorneys wasting too much time trying to figure out how to navigate the Federal Aviation Regulations? Rupprecht Law, P.A. can help assist your general counsel to get through difficult problems because the firm specifically focuses on aviation and drone law. Your legal counsel can get accurate answers to the many details and complexities of this area. I’ve done this many times with companies. I can help educate your current in-house legal counsel on the major issues they need to be aware of or just take all of these issues off their hands so they are free to focus on more important work. Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Federal Aviation Regulation Compliance

Do you have general questions about whether you can do a certain type of operation? Stop wasting time looking through articles online or searching the Facebook groups. You can hire me for as small as 30 minutes at a time to answer your questions. 30 minutes costs $200 and you can ask as many drone law questions in that period of time as you want! Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Setting-Up Drone Enterprise Operations Inside a Company

Developing the manuals to scale out a nationwide program is an important task.  Rupprecht Law, P.A. is currently working with companies now on concepts of operations, putting those concepts in a manual, and then integrating those manuals into employee flight instruction operations. Scroll to the bottom and fill out the contact form to start the process.


Defense in a FAA Enforcement Action

Sometimes the FAA chooses to start an investigation against unauthorized commercial drone operations or there is a violation of the regulations or exemption restrictions. This is more and more on the rise. I have helped counsel clients through numerous investigations. On top of that, I’ve also coordinated with their local defense attorneys in formatting the best strategy.


Assisting a Criminal Defense Attorney in a State Law Related Drone Prosecution

The states, towns, and counties are all starting to create drone laws which causes all sorts of problems. Many of the arrests that are done under state law have to do with apparent violations of the federal aviation regulations. I can assist your local criminal defense attorney in preparing the best defense for you by helping him to understand what is and what is not the federal aviation law. We can develop a strategy to attack the case using my aviation law knowledge which may involve on filing certain procedural motions, formulating deposition questions, obtaining documents inside the FAA, etc. Scroll to the bottom to contact me.


All Other (Risk Assessments, Manuals, Business Advice, Reports, Roadmap, Etc.)

The firm gets all sorts requests relating to drones and law. Here is a list of some of what I have done (I don’t outsource like other law firms):

  • Developing quantitative risk assessments for drone operations under a proposed waiver. I love doing these where you calculate probability of fatality per hour for a given operation and location.
  • Created:
    • Safety management system (SMS) manuals.
    • Operations manuals with emergency procedures, checklists, down aircraft recovery plans, accident/deviation reporting procedures, etc.
    • Training manuals for company wide operations.
    • Special Security Instructions (SSI) manual.
  • Created Concept of Operations (ConOps) documents for waiver operations.
  • Set up a Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement between my client and the Federal Aviation Administration.

If you have a legal question regarding drones, contact me.


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