Should he have known better? Congressman's wedding drone might have violated FAA rule

His subcommittee oversees the FAA

WASHINGTON, D.C. - It was a big celebration last month – high-flying, you might say – when Rep. Sean Maloney, D-N.Y., married his long-time partner in Cold Spring, N.Y. To capture the moment, they hired a videographer who shot footage from a small drone. The problem is, that might have been illegal.

It wouldn’t be the first time a congressman wasn’t up to speed on a federal rule but there's a special problem for Maloney. He's is on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee — and it oversees the Federal Aviation Association.

The FAA has made it clear, or at least thought it made clear, that commercial drones are illegal. Administration officials have testified before Congress that they’re concerned about commercial drones colliding with other aircraft, meaning the kind that carry people.

Maloney hired the videographer, so the FAA is now looking into whether the wedding shoot violated the ban on commercial drones, according to The Associated Press.

What does Maloney have to say about all this?

"On their wedding day, Sean and Randy were focused on a ceremony 22 years in the making, not their wedding photographer's camera mounted on his remote control helicopter," Stephanie Formas, spokeswoman for Maloney, said in a statement.

Maloney put up the drone video, titled “Maloney-Florke Wedding Aerial Footage,” on YouTube, but it has since been deleted.

Print this article Back to Top

DecodeDC's Mission

DecodeDC's foremost aim is to be useful. That means being a reliable, honest and highly entertaining source of insight and explanation. It also means providing multimedia coverage of Washington's people, culture, policies and politics that is enlightening and enjoyable. Whether it's a podcast, a video, an interactive graphic, a short story or a long analysis, it will be based on this guiding principle: We are in DC but not OF DC.