Portland "energy economist" in SE Portland's exclusive Eastmoreland area is all upset because the area was built next to a railroad switching yard. Never mind that the yard's been there for over a century, the engines cause pollution! And although the railroad agreed some time ago to use newer, less polluting engines, he doesn't think they're living up to that agreement.
He's sort of like the guy who buys a home under the flight path of an airport and then complains about the noise.
But he's also concerned about infill: this whole thing of some developer demolishing a house and building to homes on the property is terrible, and people who buy a house and then double its size is awful as well. It destroys the character of the neighborhood, you see. It's perfectly fine to do that sort of thing in other neighborhoods, but not in Eastmoreland!
So he bought a drone, equipped with a camera. His plan was to fly it around the neighborhood to keep tabs on the railroad and on any developers or contractors who might be working in the area. He probably also strolls around, peering into his neighbors' recycling bins in order to determine whether or not any of them are drinking alcoholic beverages.
In any case, his grand drone-spying plan has been - well, derailed: the FAA says he can't do it, and he's pretty miffed about that as well.
His plan violates Federal Aviation Administration regulations, according to the FAA.
Robert McCullough purchased the 2.6-pound flying camera to capture video of activity at the Brooklyn rail yard. He wants to know if Union Pacific is using old locomotives the company agreed to replace by the end of last year. He also plans to monitor development projects in Eastmoreland.
Operating a drone, or "unmanned aircraft system," strictly for recreational purposes doesn't require approval from the FAA. The administration's website implies the alternative is commercial or business use.
Not so, according to FAA officials. Any purpose other than "hobby or recreational use" is subject to FAA regulation, and the operator needs the administration's permission.
Gathering information for use in negotiations or arbitration with Union Pacific or local builders doesn't qualify as purely recreational, an FAA official said.
Well then, by golly, he'll get the required permits. Good luck with that - the requirements are neither easy to pass nor inexpensive, and it could take years; assuming he can pass at all. In any event, he's at least generated a lot of free publicity, which likely will garner him fewer jobs in the "energy econonomist" biz. What reputable company would hire a guy like him?