Published March 1, 2017
PART 9 OF 9
The FAA’s Role
This is part nine of a nine part series will illuminating the FAA’s complacency and the role the FAA’s concession played in the violence against Water Protectors. A listing of the other eight articles is at the bottom of this article.
The FAA has asserted the exclusive right to control the airspace over the United States, including Native American nations.
The FAA licenses pilots and can revoke licenses. In October 2009, the FAA revoked the pilot’s license for two pilots who flew 150 miles out of their flightpath after losing track of time while using their laptops in the pilot’s seats.
The FAA can also ground airplanes for being out of compliance with the law. In April 2016, then candidate Donald Trump’s plane was grounded by the FAA because its registration was two months past its expiration date.
The FAA has confirmed its responsibility for investigating shooting down drones by investigating the Dedman drone shooting. The FAA is also a federal agency tasked with law enforcement and has assigned itself authority over the tribal lands.
However, even in the face of mounting evidence of serious violations of the law, including using domestic aircraft in a manner consistent with combat techniques, the FAA has not taken action to ground any of the planes, helicopters, or drones used in illegal manners in and around the Water Protector camps in North Dakota.
The FAA cannot claim a lack of knowledge of the events in North Dakota. The issues of pilot behavior, drones, and bad tail numbers have been covered extensively in the aeronautics press. They have acknowledged the complaint of one drone pilot, Dedman, whose drone was shot at and the anecdotes of other drone pilots.
In spite of their duty to regulate it, their assertion of exclusive right to control airspace, and their responsibilities under the bad man provision – the FAA has taken no actions to stop the extreme violations of the law.
Given the tapes showing the FAA’s seemingly cozy relationship with police in suppressing constitutional rights – it is an unknown if the FAA is turning a blind eye or if they are actively participating in colluding with the pilots and authorities in North Dakota.
LaRae Meadows is a freelance writer, who has been embedded at Standing Rock.
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