FAA tells Lutz man to stop posting drone videos on YouTube

By Trevor Pettiford, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, March 12, 2015

Flying your drone could get you in a lot of trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration, as a Lutz man has found out firsthand.

Jayson Hanes likes fly his drone above and around different landmarks in the Bay area, then post the video on his YouTube page.

"I'm just trying to get that shot," he said. "You know, like you would with any camera, whether it be a cell phone or a full size DSLR."

His videos get a lot of hits, but now the FAA is stepping in and telling him to stop posting videos.

Hanes got a letter from the federal agency stating that he is considered a commercial operator because he has the potential to collect money from YouTube based on the number of people who click on his videos.

“I haven’t done anything commercial,” Hanes said.

But FAA officials beg to differ. They say the mere fact that there are ads on YouTube means he has the opportunity to make a profit.

In an email, FAA officials state, "The FAA's goal is to promote voluntary compliance by educating individual UAS operators about how they can operate safely under current regulations and laws.”

But Hanes says he may voluntarily not comply. He doesn’t feel he’s doing anything wrong and says he’s not making any money.

“In the meantime, I'm not about to run and hide," he said. "I don’t think that's the way we should conduct ourselves, is run and hide.”

FAA officials have not responded to requests for clarification as to how they can get drone enthusiasts to "voluntarily" comply with the rules.