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TES-v-FAA

TES-v-FAA

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Published by Jason Koebler
Texas EquuSearch suit
Texas EquuSearch suit

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Published by: Jason Koebler on Apr 21, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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09/22/2014

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D ThS QUpp
 
E OJ 
JAEDR 7QJ
RE FI\JE
ITED
STATES
COURT
O
APPEA{JS
THEDISTRICT
O
COLUMBIA
 ii i
 L RK
TEXAS
EQUUSEARCH
MOUNTED
 
SEARCH
AND
RECOVERY
TEAM,
 
RPSEARCH
SERVICES
INC.,and
 
EUGENEROBINSON,
 
Case
No
Petitioners
 
v
FEDERAL
AVIATION
 
ADMINISTRATION,
 
Respondent
 
PETITIONFORREVIEW
Pursuant
to
Rule
15 a
of
theFederalRules
 
AppellateProcedureand
49
U.S.C.
 
46110,Texas
EquuSearchMounted
Search
and
RecoveryTeam
 “Texas
EquuSearch” ,RPSearch
Services
Inc
andEugeneRobinson,herebyrespectftilly
petition
this
Courtfor
review
of
an
orderissued
to
them
on
February
2 
2014,
by
theFederalAviation
Administration
 “FAA.
A
copy
of
theorder
is
attached
 s
Exhibit
 
the
Order” .
The
FAAsOrdercommands
Petitioners
to
cease
all
use
of
radio-control
model
aircraft
in
connection
with
their
volunteer,unpaidsearch-and-rescue
effortson
behalfof
the
families
of
missingpersons.
The
Order
declares
inno
uncertain
USCA Case #14-1061 Document #1489196 Filed: 04/21/2014 Page 1 of 21
 
termsthat
such
operations
are
illegal”
and
demands
that
Petitionersstopimmediately.”
Since
its
founding 
Texas
EquuSearch
has
coordinatedvolunteer
searchers
in
over
1 4 
searches
in
42
statesandeightforeigncountries and
hasfound
over
3
missingpeople
alive
In
otherlessfortu natecases
the
organization’seffortshaverecoveredremains helpingfamilies
to
end
theagony
of
notknowing
their
loved
one’s
fate
permitting
closure
and
enablingthehumandignity
of
 
funeral.
When
a
disappearance
is
the
result
 
a
crime 
earlydiscovery
of
thevictim’s
remains
benefitsthecountrys
justice
system
by
preventing
deterioration
of
forensicevidence.Texas
EquuSearch
and
theotherPetitionershave
been
using
one
specific
technologicalinnovation
in
its
searches
since2005:
model
aircraft.A
modelaircraft equippedwith
 
camera
is
perhaps
the
singlemostpowerfulsearch and
rescue
tool
in
thecrucialea rlyhours 
and
beyond.Indeed 
to
date
photographs
taken
by
Texas
EquuSearchvolunteers
usingmodelaircraft
have
directly
pinpointed
the
location
of
remains
of
elevendeceasedmissingpeople.
The
modelshave
also
helped
direct
volunteer
resources
in
countlessothersearches
 
to
help
volunteers
avoidhazards
on
theground
to
facilitateresourceallocation
to
areas
of
greatest
interest and
tosave
timeduring
the
crucial
earlyhours
of
the
search 
USCA Case #14-1061 Document #1489196 Filed: 04/21/2014 Page 2 of 21
 
Petitioners
havestanding
to
apply
for
review
of
the
Order
because
of
theirsubstantialinte rest
in
th
agencysdeclaration
that
theirconduct
is
illegaland
must
be
halted.
See49
U.S.C.
 
461
10 a .
Sincethedate
of
the
Order 
Petitioners
have
notoperated
model
aircraft
for
purposes
of
search and rescue
activities despite
several
instances
in
which
the
technologywould
have
been
of
assistance
in
their
searchesfor
missingpersons.
The
Order
hashad and
continues
to
have 
an
immediate
and
significantimpact
on
Petitioners’
day to dayoperations.
As
reflected
in
various
FAApublicstatementsconcerning
model
aircraftoperation 
theOrd er
represents
the
agency’sdefinitive
position
on
the
us
of
modelaircraft
andassertsthestatus
of
law
with
an
expectation
of
immediate
compliance.Additionally althoughthere
is
noagency
processpermittingfurtherreview
of
the
Order
counsel
for
Petitioners
wrote
to
th 
FAA’s
Chief
Counselon
March
17
demanding
thatthe
Order
be
rescinded
and
providing
30
days
time
for
a
response.
A
copy
of
that
letter
is
attached
as
Exhibit
2 
TheFAAdidnot
respond
at
all,
thus
confirmingthattheOrder
representstheagency’sposition.
Immediatereview
of
the
Order
would
confirm
thatthere
is
no
legalbasisforthe
FAA
to
prohibittheoperation
of
a
modelaircraft
for
volunteer
searchand
rescueactivities.
As
willbe
elaborated
in
the
briefingthat
will
be
filed
in
this
proceeding
theFAA
h s
neverissued
a
regulationconcerning
modelaircraft
 
USCA Case #14-1061 Document #1489196 Filed: 04/21/2014 Page 3 of 21

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