Texas EquuSearch Sues FAA in Federal Court Challenge Agency’s Order to Stop Using Drones in Searching for Missing Persons

Since when is a non-profit considered commercial use?

Texas Equusearch has sued the Federal Aviation Administration in federal court to challenge the FAA’s order to stop using unmanned drones in the search for missing persons. Texas Equusearch,  a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been tirelessly been searching for missing persons for years and been using unmanned planes, drones, if you will since 2006. So once again we have federal government interference in the search for missing loved ones. I am sure this is what our Founding Father’s had in mind. Sorry, but I happen to think there is a huge difference between a non-profit organization searching for missing persons as compared to Amazon delivering packages.

TES_drones

Click HERE or on pic to watch VIDEO – pic screen grab from Houston Chronicle video

A Texas group sued the Federal Aviation Administration in federal court to challenge the agency’s order to stop using drones in the group’s searches for missing people, the latest round in an intensifying battle over regulation of the sector.

Search-and-rescue organization Texas EquuSearch, which has used unmanned aircraft to help search for missing people since 2006, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to set aside the FAA’s order to halt its use of drones. The group argued in a five-page petition filed on Monday that the FAA’s order has no legal basis and “is unlawful, arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not otherwise in accordance with law.”

The FAA said it is reviewing the suit. The agency suggested in an email that Texas EquuSearch could work with public entities that hold FAA authorizations to use drones, such as some police departments, and obtain emergency authorizations to conduct its searches.

The FAA has effectively banned the commercial use of unmanned aircraft in the continental U.S. It says the limit is needed to protect air safety, at least until the agency sets full rules for the devices—now expected by late 2015 at the earliest.

Is the federal government more concerned with its overreaching authority or helping the families of missing loved ones?

Tim Miller, founder and director of EquuSearch, said the Feb. 21 Federal Aviation Administration order prohibiting the operation of four drones has meant the nonprofit organization has not used them in three active searches for missing people in Katy, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Miller said the 4-foot-long drones have led to the discovery of 11 missing individuals and allow searchers to view large stretches of wooded areas, fenced property and bodies of water.

“I was hoping we’d get a response from them that was more positive and we didn’t have to go to this extreme,” Miller said of the FAA. “It’s time-consuming for us, and God only knows what the outcome is going to be.”

Brendan Schulman, a New York attorney representing Texas EquuSearch, said the lawsuit seeks to confirm the rights of nonprofits to use civilian drone technology for the nation’s benefit.

36 Year Old Thomas “Zachary” Bunker Missing Since 5/29/13 in Norwood, OH (Update I: Texas Equusearch Joins Search)(Update II: Found Deceased in Warren County)

36 year old Thomas “Zachary” Bunker has been missing since Wednesday, May 29, 2013 in Norwood, Ohio. Bunker was last seen at 8:30 a.m. on Ashland Avenue in Norwood, although he called his family that same day from the Ft. Ancient area, in Warren County, OH.  Zach was last seen wearing casual clothing, shorts and t-shirt and was seen driving his dark gray, 2013 Ford Explorer with Ohio license # EOC-4793. Police said Bunker is considered a “critically missing” person because of his mental state at the time of his disappearance.

Texas Equusearch was brought in at the request of Bunker’s family. Search crews spent Saturday looking for Thomas “Zachary” Bunker in the entire west side of Hamilton.  Police said they got a tip that came from that area.

Thomas_Zach_Bunker_missing

Thomas “Zachary” Bunker Missing Since 5/29/13

Thomas “Zachary”Bunker Description:

  • white male
  • 6 feet 2 inches tall
  • 185 pounds
  • brown hair and green eyes
  • He was operating a dark grey 2013 Ford Explorer with Ohio license EOC-4793.

Texas Equusearch will be holding a search for Zack Bunker at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 2, 2013. The Command Center will be at the Courtyard by Marriott, 1 Riverfront Plaza, Hamilton, OH.

For a downloadable poster, click here.

Your Search Coordinator is Dave Rader, and he can be reached at (513) 407-2018. Please bring snacks and water for the day, along with a picture id. No one under the age of 18 is allowed to participate in the search.

People with information about Bunker’s whereabouts are asked to call Norwood Police at 513-458-4520.

UPDATE I: Body of missing Thomas “Zachary” Bunker found deceased.

UPDATE II: The body of a missing Norwood man has been found in Warren County.

Thomas ‘Zachary’ Bunker was found dead off of South Nixon Camp Road near U.S. 350 on Tuesday, according to Dave Rader of Texas Equusearch.

Bunker had last talked to his family on Wednesday.

Volunteers and Texas Equusearch officials had spent much of the day on Monday searching for Bunker in an area near Fort Ancient, not far from where his body was found.

Tim Miller and Texas Equusearch to Assist NOPD in the Search for Missing School Teacher Terrilynn Monette in New Orleans, LA

Texas Equusearch joins the search for missing Teacher Terrilynn.

26 year old Terrilynn Monnette has been missing since the early hours of Saturday morning, March 2, 2013 when she was last seen  in the parking lot of Parlay’s bar in the 800 block of Harrison Avenue in Lakeview. Monnette was seen on surveillance video with a man. The individuals has since been identified and interviewed by NOPD detectives, police said, and is not considered a suspect. Terrilynn Monnette has not been seen or heard from since she left the bar parking lot in her car.

FACEBOOK: Find Terrilynn Monette

Search efforts for Terrilynn Monnette have come up empty … enter Texas Equusearch. Tim Miller and Texas Equusearch have been announced by the New Orleans Police Department that they will join the search for the missing Terrilyn Monette. Equusearch will arrive Tuesday or Wednesday to help search for the missing 26 year old girl. According to the NOPD, Equusearch will help search through the lagoons of City Park for Monette and her car.

The New Orleans Police Department has announced that it will be joined by the search and recovery team Equusearch as early as Tuesday evening (March 12) to assist with the ongoing efforts to find missing schoolteacher Terrilyn Monette. Ten days into the disappearance of the 26-year-old California native, the Houston-based nonprofit is set to arrive no later than Wednesday morning, the organization’s director, Tim Miller, told police.

Equusearch will help the NOPD in searching through the lagoons of City Park for Monette and her car. Police have been combing through the park and the vast green space between Parlay’s bar, where Monette was last seen March 2, and her apartment, covering the most likely route for her to get home.

 Police ask anyone with information on this missing person case, including the location of Monette’s 2012 black two-door Honda Accord, Louisiana license plate WUN494, to contact NOPD at 504.821.2222.

For more updates, provide you opinions and analysis, and to read others opinions and analysis, go to Scared Monkeys Missing Persons Forum: Terriyynn Monette.

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