Who’s behind the Drone Pilots Association? I’m Peter Sachs, the publisher of dronelawjournal.com and TheDroneGuy on Twitter. I am an attorney and a vocal commercial drone advocate, and I have created the Drone Pilots Association (the “DPA”). The DPA is a brand new entity, but I have gathered together several very prominent members of the “drone world” as “advisors,” including a former NTSB Member and a former FAA Regional Counsel. Each of the advisors has intimate knowledge of the controversies concerning drones and the law, and each has valuable input to offer the DPA.
The Entity. The long-term plan is for the DPA to be an LLC or corporation, however due to the unexpected June 25, 2014 FAA Interpretation, the entity had to be formed very quickly, to begin its effort to fight the Interpretation in the D.C. Circuit Court. The DPA is not a 501(C)(3) non-profit. It is currently a simple DBA. And if you’ve never heard of me or don’t trust me, don’t join. If you want some background on me, it’s right here.
The Mission. The DPA’s mission is to be a single entity that represents the interests of all small commercial and non-hobbyist drone pilots. There are several entities that represent specific sectors of commercial drone operations. The intent of the DPA is to represent all of those sectors, regardless of the type of commercial or non-hobbyist operations. Commercial and non-hobbyists are affected by the FAA’s overreach, its false statements regarding the law and its intimidation tactics, especially in light of its recent Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, as published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2014. We all want the ability to operate commercially, or as a non-hobbyist, and we all want to operate safely and responsibly while doing so. Let’s combine our voices using the DPA and see what we can do to reach those goals.
Who Should Join? Anyone can join, but the DPA’s focus is representing current commercial drone operators, those who aspire to become commercial drone operators or any non-commercial non-hobbyists, such as members of a search & rescue teams, the fire service or law enforcement.
Who Should Not Join? The DPA is not intended to represent pure hobbyists, who have long been represented by the Academy of Model Aeronautics (the “AMA”). If you are strictly a hobbyist, join the AMA. Also, I call them “drones.” You may call them whatever you wish. No, I will not ever change what I call them and I won’t ever change the DPA’s name. If you don’t want to join because of the word “drone,” it’s probably best that you not join.
How Much Does it Cost? At this time, membership in the DPA is free. However, the sole benefit offered to members at this time is being the potential of a successful challenge to the June 25, 2014 Interpretation, and being a member of an entity composed entirely of those with the same or similar interests. The goal is to get as many non-hobbyists as possible into a single entity, so that when other features and benefits are considered, we will be able to obtain and offer them on a volume basis. So, basically we need numbers.
Future Feature & Benefits. The DPA plans to offer education, training, an insurance program and a legal services plan. When additional features and/or benefits are offered there will likely be an annual membership fee. Although that future fee is unknown at this time, it would likely be nominal and comparable to other, similar membership organizations. By joining now for free, you are not committing yourself to any future fees, as you may cancel your membership at any time.
To join the DPA, click here, or use the “Register” link in the upper right column (or down below if you’re using your phone). Once you have registered, you can login. None of your information you provide during registration will be disclosed. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.