|By Tony Hernandez, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The federal government currently prohibits the use of drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, for commercial purposes, according to the
"The way we look at it, if it's a profit making enterprise, it's commercial," said
Noel said the engineering firm works with the understanding it needs the permission of the property owner to fly a drone and take pictures of property. They view their use of the drone the same way a hobbyist might use a model aircraft, she said.
"It's unlike someone going to survey a whole neighborhood (with a UAV)," Noel said.
Donan staff at the McClung scene Thursday morning refused to answer reporters' questions about the drone. Instead, they handed a "frequently asked questions" document stating the company uses the operating guidelines of the
That document also made no mention of
"You can't fly an unmanned commercial aircraft by claiming you are following the model aircraft guidelines," Dorr said.
Noel said to her knowledge there has been no attempt by her company to seek any
If the city owned the aircraft, perhaps it could have legally used it to inspect the building. The
However, public use of drones also requires
"In order to operate any aircraft, whether its manned or unmanned, you need some level of approval from the
Dorr said the
"If we find out about a suspected commercial operation, our main goal is to get the operator to stop," he said. "We may call or send them a letter. If they're close enough we may visit."
"The way it was explained to me, I guess from a drone standpoint, it's a small helicopter like you buy your kids," Nance said. "I would say from my standpoint, they were taking appropriate actions they should be taking."
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