A father and son from Connecticut are attempting to challenge the FAA in court over the agency’s rules regarding hobby drones. 19-year-old Austin Haughwout and his father Bret Haughwout, built two different drones last year; one with a pistol attached, and another with a flamethrower. Both drones were capable of firing these weapons remotely, and videos of the drones went viral on YouTube.
Once the FAA discovered the videos however, they issued subpoenas to the Haughwouts, ordering them to turn over information about their drones as part of an investigation to see if the drones violated their regulations. In a court filing, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Larson wrote “Based on media reports, the FAA believes that the respondents have built and/or operated at least two (drones) carrying weapons with the capability of causing serious injury to a person or property.”
The Haughwouts have refused to comply with the subpoena, on the grounds that it violates their 4th amendment rights. Furthermore, they don’t think that the FAA has any authority when it comes to hobby drones. According to the family’s lawyer, “They shouldn’t use airplane regulations. They should go get the authority from Congress. It’s about keeping the government in check as to what Congress said they can do.”
A hearing is scheduled in New Haven Connecticut on Wednesday, which will determine if the Haughwouts have to obey the subpoena. The hearing could set a major precedent for private drone owners everywhere, since it will decide if the FAA has any authority over hobby drones.
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