In what may turn out to be a landmark ruling for drone operators across America Michael Singer a doctor and Harvard Professor has today beaten the City of Newton, Massachusetts in court.

It is significant because it may stop other States and Cities enacting their own rules outside of those laid down by the FAA.

Michael Singer had filed a suit against the City of Newton, claiming that a proposed ordinance was preempted by federal law and violated his rights.

“On December 19, 2016, Newton’s city council enacted Section 20-64 of the City
of Newton Ordinances, entitled Pilotless Aircraft Operation (the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance relates to small unmanned aircraft and their use in the national airspace system,’” says the complaint. “This is an action …seeking declaratory judgment that the Ordinance is preempted by federal law, violates Plaintiffs statutory rights of navigation, and violates Plaintiff’s rights under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and the Massachusetts Privacy Act, M.G.L. C. 214 §1B.”

The city further asked drone operators to register with the city clerk for a $10 fee.

sUAS News friend and drone law expert Jonathan Rupprecht is presently writing an in-depth article on the case on his website

Speaking to me by phone moments ago Jonathan said this.

“The Singer case is an extremely important decision which struck down a local drone ordinance as being in conflict with federal law.”

He also mentioned that his head was spinning and it would take a while to fully understand the nuances of the ruling.

Dr Singer and John Taylor have achieved far more with far less money in the model aircraft/drone space than the AUVSI, FAA, and AMA combined.

It will be interesting to watch now for reactions from these organisations.

Drone Stuff This Week regulars, Jonathan and Loretta Alkalay have worked on this case with Dr Singer well done to you both!

Join us tomorrow at around 11:30 Eastern (time may vary) in a live Hangout with Dr Singer and Jonathan Rupprecht.

I will add more to this story as details arrive.

In case you missed it, our chat with John Taylor after his win.

By Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.