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Drone Used For Congressman's Wedding Sparks Debate

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney's wedding photographer used to drone to capture their special day, and it's caused an uproar.
Posted at 4:41 PM, Aug 05, 2014

One of the major decisions during wedding planning is who to trust with the camera. Lately, couples are choosing to trust drones. 

With the remote-controlled devices, couples are able to get a birds-eye view of their wedding. (Via AirVision)

Recently, headlines have been highlighting the use of a drone to tape New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney's wedding — which many claim to be a violation of the Federal Aviation Administration rules. (Via Politico, WCBS, TheBlaze)

The FAA makes it clear that unless you're flying for recreational purposes or as a hobby, you need FAA approval.

They even provide dos and don'ts — one of the restrictions being: "Don't fly model aircraft for payment or commercial purposes." (Via Federal Aviation Administration)

And since Congressman Maloney is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, which has some area of authority over the FAA, some think there is no excuse. (Via Getty Images)

Especially his Republican challenger in the upcoming election, Nan Hayworth, who lost to Maloney in 2012. (Via Getty Images)

​According to The Journal News, Hayworth issued a statement Tuesday calling on Maloney to step down as a member of the subcommittee. 

But according to The New York Times, Maloney was unaware of the aviation restrictions on drones at the time.

"Like most people who are about to get married, I wasn't up-to-date on the lack of regulations around the emerging technology of a wedding photographer mounting a camera on a remote control helicopter." (Via The New York Times)

ABC brings to light where some of the confusion may have stemmed — it actually wasn't the congressman who requested the drone, it was all the videographer's idea. 

The photographer who captured the aerial footage, Parker Gyokeres, gave his source material to the videographer while uploading the B-roll footage online — which then caused the chaos. He told ABC:

"This video, I feel horrible about, because it's not the congressman's video."

Gyokeres apparently got permission from the local sheriff's department to shoot the video, and he hasn't been contacted by the FAA yet.

"The FAA has been dragging their feet on this, and the longer they wait, the more and more folks are going out there and flying without any rules." ​(Via NBC)

And Gyokeres tells The New York Times that those rules aren't even going to cut it.

"There's an explosion of this technology, and it's not going to go away if they just tell us we can't use it. We want the FFA to tell us how to operate as safely as possible, and not flying is not the answer."

The FAA continues to emphasize safety as their main priority. Hayworth will face Maloney again in the November election.