Uncrewed Aircraft Defined

Determining what is, and is not, an “aircraft” is so important because it determines whether it falls under the purview of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). If it does, then it is held to the same standard as traditional manned aircraft and must comply with all of the same requirements. 

Upon initial review, defining “uncrewed aircraft” seems to be intuitive and somewhat self-explanatory. However, with close examination and careful thought what is and is not “uncrewed” becomes less clear. For example, what if there is not a pilot in the aircraft but the aircraft is being flown by a person standing on the ground, using a remote control? Or must an “uncrewed” aircraft be one that is flown completely autonomously without any human input? 

The plain wording of Article 8 makes clear that the drafters intended “pilotless aircraft” to include aircraft that were remotely controlled, e.g., from the ground (via radio signals); thus, “pilotless aircraft” in the sense that Article 8 refers to an aircraft flown without a “pilot” of Article 32, which provides, “the pilot of every aircraft and the other members of the operating crew of every aircraft engaged in international navigation shall be provided with certificates of competency and licenses issued or rendered valid by the state in which the aircraft is registered”.

When is a uav – “pilotless”?

Defining “pilotless” is of great importance because, “no aircraft capable of being flown without a pilot shall be flown without a pilot over the territory of a Contracting State without special authorization by that state and in accordance with the terms of such authorization. Each contracting State undertakes to ensure that the flight of such aircraft without a pilot shall be so controlled as to obviate danger to the Civil aircraft.” 

The term “without a pilot” was later clarified to mean that an “aircraft which is intended to be operated with no pilot on board shall be further classified as unmanned,” Furthermore, “unmanned aircraft shall include remotely-piloted aircraft.” 

An aircraft is not required to be fully autonomous in order to be uncrewed. An aircraft that is controlled by a person is still “uncrewed”, so long as the person controlling the aircraft is not located within the aircraft. For example, a quad-copter- drone that is controlled remotely by a person on the ground is still an unmanned aircraft. RPA as “an [uncrewed] aircraft which is piloted from a remote pilot station”. 

all aircraft are subject to article 8

All uncrewed aircraft, whether remotely piloted, fully autonomous or combinations thereof, are subject to the provisions of Article 8 and inter alia the ICAO. Annex 7 makes it clear that remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), are simply one type of uncrewed aircraft, and all uncrewed pilotless aircraft, whether remotely piloted, fully autonomous, or combinations thereof, are subject to the provisions of Article 8 of the Chicago convention. Because RPAS are aircraft, ICAO is responsible for their international air travel. They are held to the ICAO standards.

Somewhat ironically, the Chicago Convention, which is considered to be the magna carta of civil aircraft, never actually defines the word “aircraft”. In 1967, in response to advancements in technology, ICAO re-defined “aircraft” as “any machine that can drive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the are other than the reactions of the are against the Earth’s surface,” 

This change in the definition of “aircraft” came primarily as a response to the invention of “hovercraft”. A hovercraft is a machine that elevates itself off of the ground by pushing in downward to lift the vehicle off of the ground. Because a hovercraft creates lift by pushing air onto the ground it is not capable of “flying” more than a few inches in the air. 

The need for ICAO to redefine one of its most fundamental words, “aircraft” due to development of previously unforeseen technology—the hovercraft—is a perfect example of how quickly technology can change and how it can make prior norms outdated.

The Dunaway Law Group provides consulting to UAS programs across the United States.

Discovery in Litigation

What is Discovery of Evidence?

During a lawsuit, each party has the opportunity to request formal “discovery” from the opposing party. These requests for discovery are accomplished by sending the opposing party three or four different “packets” with each requesting different types of information.  

stack of legal documents

Uniform Interrogatories:

Uniform interrogatories are a series of questions that are listed in the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. Depending on the type of case there is a set of different questions for the opposing party.

Non-Uniform Interrogatories:

Non-uniform interrogatories are questions written by one party to a lawsuit. They send the questions to the opposing party and wait their response.

For example, a non-uniform interrogatory might ask, “Explain in detail why you did not make the payments as agreed”.

Request for Admissions:

“Requests for Admissions” allow one party to a lawsuit the opportunity to present statements to the opposing party in a way where they should respond in the affirmative. If the responding party does not respond in the affirmative then they must provide an explanation of why they denied the statement.

For example, a Request for Admissions could state, “Admit you did not pay back the money as agreed”. If the opposing party did not pay the money back as agreed then they to “Admit” the statement.

However, if a party denies a Request for Admissions they must explain why it is not a true statement. For example, if the statement reads, “Admit you did not pay back the money as agreed”. Answer, “Deny, We agreed that instead of paying you in cash, I could pay you back by putting a new roof your rental property.”  

Request for Documents:

We are given the opportunity to request up to 10 different sets of documents from the opposing party. In Arizona, the opposing party has 20 days–in a Superior Court case or 30 days in the Justice Court–to produce the documents requested and their written responses.

Lastly, similar to 26.1 initial discovery statements. These discovery requests are not submitted to the Court. In fact, the Judge will never see this information unless specifically and formally introduced as evidence at trial. So don’t worry about impressing the judge, we are simply exchanging all relevant information with the opposing party.

If you need help from an experienced Arizona attorney, then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the State of Arizona.

Flight Operations Manual

Why Your Organization Needs a Flight Operations Manual
For Your UAV- Drone Program

Flight operations manual will help your organization be more effective, cost efficient, successful, and successful. Its power cannot be overstated. An organized, focused, specific, plan for your UAS program will saves lives, reduces costs, and gives people an actual increased level of protection.

  1. BENEFITS OF HAVING A FLIGHT OPERATIONS MANUAL:

There is an almost infinite number of benefits of having a Flight Operations Manual.

By taking subjectivity out of the situation. You might have someone who is overzealous. Willing to take unnecessary risks. You might have someone who is inexperienced as to the capabilities of the UAS. You might have someone who is not aware of the laws and know what they can and cannot do.

  1. Create a pre-flight checklist.
    1. Just like on a plane.
  2. Standard operating procedures.
  3. What kind of training is required by the UAS pilot?
  4. Who will be in charge of maintaining the UAS?
    1. Who will make the repairs?
  5. What if you want to fly at night? Or beyond VLOS? What do you need to do? Is there someone who can help?

Airforce has a saying that its rules are written in blood. You can build off the experiences and mistakes made by those who have gone before you. Having a written set of guidelines keeps people from taking unnecessary risks, mental errors, keep systems from failing.

WHAT DOES A FLIGHT OPERATIONS MANUAL CONTAIN?

A traditional outline for a Flight Operations Manual will contain. It provides a standardized list of many things including the maintenance of UAV, pilot requirements.

Section 1- Flight Operations Manual: Organization and Administration

An overview of the organizational structure, including responsibilities, duties, and qualifications for all positions and titles within the operation. This section also includes personnel policies, pre-flight planning or checks, ongoing educational requirements, alcohol / drug policy, trip expenses, and record keeping.

Section 2- Flight Operations Manual: Safety Management System

The operator’s SMS, including the various forms, overall processes, and components, forming a continuous cycle of improvement. The Hazard Identification, Tracking, and Resolution System is customized for each operator in both text and graphic format. We can also provide separate files for each of the forms so that you may print / distribute them as needed.

Section 3- Flight Operations Manual: Operating Procedures

The operational control system including Trip Scheduling, Weather, Flight Rules, Performance, Fuel Requirements, Weight and Balance, Aircraft Defects, Use of Checklists and SOPs, Flight / Duty Time Limitations, Aircraft Equipment, and Passenger and Cabin Safety Procedures.

Section 4- Flight Operations Manual: Qualifications and Training

Details of the qualifications and required training for all Flight Department personnel.

Section 5- Flight Operations Manual: Aircraft Maintenance

An overview of the maintenance control system, including, Elements of Aircraft Maintenance, Aircraft Records, Preventative Maintenance, Deferred Maintenance Items / Discrepancy Management, Technical Dispatch, Parts, Material Control, Tool Calibration, Maintenance Arrangements, and Maintenance Safety Programs.

Section 6- Flight Operations Manual: Protection of Evidence

Evidence must be preserved for it to be admitted into evidence at trial.

Section 7- Flight Operations Manual: Company Forms

Samples of the forms referenced throughout the manual. We can also provide separate files for each of the forms so that you may print / distribute them as needed.

FLIGHT OPERATIONS MANUAL WILL BE CUSTOM

To your situation and unique geography. Do you have freeways, railroad tracks, We will send you sections of the manual for review, and schedule development sessions to review each section with key personnel from your department, conducted online at your convenience. After we have completed developing the manual you issue a copy of the full manual for your review “review draft”.

ONCE CREATED IT CAN BE A TEMPLATE

Of course, your needs and technology will change the needs of your UAS program overtime and the FOM can be updated for those changes. But the FOM will be a platform to build off of. This is why things needs to start off right. So that 10, 20, 30 years from now you aren’t trying to correct mistakes that have already been made.

How easy is it to straighten a tree when it is small? It can be done with a small wire, however, once a tree reaches a certain size it become almost impossible to straighten it.

Do you have an off-the-shelf flight operation’s manual?

While there may be common elements between each operators’ manual, the intent of the manual is to reflect your particular operation. Therefore, the manual will be unique. While a boilerplate manual is better than no manual the best part about creating your own is that it is specifically describes and details your operation.

GO – NO GO INSTRUCTIONS Operator-provided content, aircraft-specific SOPs, expanded Winter Operations, etc., may be included in Appendices. High-speed car chases.

If you need help from an experienced Arizona attorney, then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the State of Arizona.

What is an Easement?

“An easement is the right to use real property owned by another person for a specific and limited use.”

how are easements created?

Easements are created by several methods but the two most common ways in which easements are created are by an “express” act or through use of the land.

1. Express Easement– An express easement is created by deed, contract, or other written agreement. Express easements are the fastest and most cost-effective way to establish access to a property.

2. Prescriptive Easement– Prescriptive easements are created through the circumstances and facts surrounding the use of land which indicates the parties intended for it to exist. In Arizona, implied easements are created after a dominant estate has used the servient estate’s property in a continuous, uninterrupted and open manner for more than 10 years. There is not an official contract or written agreement for prescriptive easements.

Arizona law (A.R.S. § 33-2401) recognizes easements that may be requested by a landlocked owner who is surrounded by land owned by the state (of Arizona) or any political subdivision of the state, and states that “Notwithstanding any other law, reasonable access to private property shall not be denied by this state or any political subdivision of this state.”

Arizona law (A.R.S. § 12-1202) also recognizes a private landlocked landowner’s right to seek an easement from a neighboring landowner upon a showing of “reasonable necessity.”

different types of easements

  • Right-of-Way. A right of way easement lets people travel across a property for a specific purpose.
  • Easements of Support. A easement of support prohibits other parties from digging too deep and affecting the foundation of the property’s structures.
  • Easements of “Light and Air”. This prevents a neighboring property from building too high and affecting the view from the dominant estate’s structure(s).
  • Aviation Easements. Aviation easements allow the use of aircraft above a particular property.

terminating an easement

How Can an easement be terminated? Who Can Terminate it? There are four (4) basic ways an easement can be terminated:

  1. Termination by Expiration: An easement can be terminated by the expiration of an agreed upon time event. For example, there could be an agreement that an easement will last for 10 years at which time the easement will automatically terminate.
  2. Termination by Agreement: This happens when the owner expressly conveys the easement back to the grantor. For example, if Simon owns an easement over Garfunkel’s land, and Garfunkel requests that Simon release the easement, Simon may then execute the termination agreement and convey the easement back to Garfunkel. Once this agreement is signed by Simon, the easement in land will terminate.
Old abandoned building and rail.

3. Abandonment of an Easement: Easements can be terminated when the owner abandons his right to it. Usually, mere nonuse of an easement is not enough to qualify for termination. An easement may be terminated by abandonment only if the owner makes a clear, unequivocal, decisive act to abandon the easement.

4. Abandonment by Decision: A decisive act to abandon an easement could include creating a new alternate road to enter the property or installing fencing or a wall or some other time of barrier across the easement.

5. Merger of Easement and Land: Easements can be terminated by a merger of the dominant and servient properties. Under the doctrine of merger, if one party acquires the property subject to and benefited by an easement. The easement will have been said to merge with the other rights held by the owner. This makes sense, because an easement is the right to cross over the property belonging to another person. However, if you own the land, the easement will merge into the land because it is not necessary to have permission to cross your own property.

landlocked properties in arizona

In Arizona, it’s not unheard of for a piece of property in an isolated and undeveloped area to not have legal access to the property. Meaning there are not roads leading to the property and there are not Express or Prescriptive easements.

In this scenario, the landlocked owner has several options. If the seller of the Arizona property sold a portion of his or her land without a formal access roadway, then Arizona law implies in the sale of the property an easement across the seller’s remaining property for access–and utilities. If the seller of the land refuses, the landlocked owner can ask a court to enter an order compelling the seller to grant an easement. Because Arizona law generally presumes that transfer of real property includes by implication that there is a way the property can be accessed and used.

private condemnation of properties

A landlocked property in Arizona may be able to file a “private condemnation” lawsuit, where the landlocked owner can ask a court for just enough of the neighboring property to build and maintain a roadway in order to access the property. The landlocked owner must prove that there is no sufficient alternative access to the property. As in public condemnation, private condemnation requires compensation to the owner of the property being taken.

Conclusion

Understanding real estate law can be very confusing, in particular easements on shared water wells. If you have questions about your real estate then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1610 or by sending us a message HERE.

* The information provided is informational only, does not constitute legal advice, and will not create an attorney-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Additionally, the Dunaway Law Group, PLC limits its practice to the State of Arizona.

How to Register Drone

How to register your drone with the FAA.

Registering your drone with the Federal Aviation Association. The FAA has actually made the process rather smooth and straight forward.

Why is Drone Registration Necessary?

Plain and simple, the FAA wants every drone registered to increase the safety of people both in the air and on the ground. With more than 1 million drones registered with the FAA they have their hands full trying to keep people safe.

“Registration is all about safety,” says FAA spokesperson Jim Peters. “It provides us with a key opportunity to educate the new generation of airspace users that as soon as they start flying outside, they’re pilots. There are safety implications to how they fly, and there are rules and regulations they must follow. When necessary, registration will help us track down people who operate unsafely.”

Drone Pilots Will be Held Accountable for their Actions

There are countless examples of people flying their drones dangerously close to other aircraft and restricted areas. Drones have interfered with:

● Commercial airplanes,
● Planes and helicopters in the process of fighting wildfires.
● One even landed on the lawn of the White House.

The FAA sees the registration process as an important stepping-stone to a clear, long-term policy making drones safer for everyone.

Penalties for NOT Registering a Drone

It’s difficult for the FAA to enforce these penalties but the fines are steep.
● Civil penalties can reach $27,500!
● Criminal penalties can cost $250,000 and/or three years in prison!

Who Needs to Register their Drone?

Once the registration is complete then the pilot Registering once gives recreational pilots a registration number, akin to a driver’s license number. The recreation drone registration number applies to any drone that you may own and is good for three years. After the registration number expires then you will simply go through the registration process again.

When you buy another drone you’re not required to go through the registration process again because the registration number is for the person and not the drone itself. 

Who Does NOT Need to Register their Drone?

  • If the drone weighs less than 0.55 pounds.
  • If the drone is only flown indoors.
  • If the drone weighs more than 55 pounds it must be registered under the FAA Part 47 Registration.

If the drone is for commercial purposes—which means you’re using your drone to make money, then a different, more cumbersome registration process is required. To learn more about registering your drone for commercial purposes then read our post HERE.

How to Register Your Drone

You’ll register your drone through the FAA’s website at faadronezone.faa.gov. The FAA website makes the registration process very simple.

You’ll also get a registration certificate emailed to you, which you’ll need to print out (or keep handy on your mobile device) and have with you when flying. Once your drone is officially registered you are cleared for takeoff!

Place the Registration Number on Your Drone

Finally, the FAA registration number must be placed on the exterior of the Drone