Go ahead, fire up your commercial drones (for now)


When Amazon(s amzn) CEO Jeff Bezos demonstrated the company’s proposed delivery drones to a breathless Charlie Rose on national TV a few months ago, many looked the eight-bladed mini-helicopters and envisioned the havoc — and possible injury — they could wreak flying in public areas. At what price faster delivery?

But now, an administrative judge with the National Transportation Safety Board has ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration, which has tried to regulate commercial drones, lacks jurisdiction to ban their use. Just weeks ago, for example, the FAA grounded a Michigan company, preventing it from making Valentine Day’s flower delivery with drones. One purported reason for Bezos’s star turn on 60 Minutes was to push for easing the regulations on drone use.

On Thursday, Judge Patrick Geraghty dismissed a fine that the FAA imposed on a pilot two years ago for flying a drone “recklessly” over the University of Virginia…

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