The FAA Is Investigating A Congressman Who Used A Drone To Film His Wedding

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney serves on a committee that oversees the FAA, but allegedly violated rules against commercial drone use.

1. On June 21, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney married his longtime partner Randy Florke in New York’s picturesque Hudson Valley.

Laura Cavanaugh / Getty Images

Maloney and Florke — pictured at a gala earlier this year — have three children and have been together for decades. Maloney was elected in 2012 to represent New York’s 18th congressional district.

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2. Maloney and Florke’s wedding photographer hired Propellerheads Aerial Photography to capture the nuptials on video, according to The Blaze.

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The company specializes in drone videos, and the one produced for Maloney and Florke has the camera swooping over a church as the couple runs beneath a shower of rice. Parker Gyokeres, who owns the video company, told The Blaze he operates his drones safely and in compliance with model aircraft regulations.

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5. Using a drone for commercial purposes is illegal, however, and when the FAA found out about the video it began investigating Maloney, according to The Associated Press.

A statement from the FAA doesn’t mention Maloney by name, the AP reports, but reveals the agency is looking into “a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, New York.” That happens to be the same date and location as Maloney’s wedding.

The FAA has been working on regulations for commercial drone use for about a decade, the AP reports, and has testified about concerns that drones could collide with other aircraft. However, Congress has been pushing the agency to move more quickly.

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7. As it turns out, Maloney actually oversees the FAA as part of his job in congress.

Maloney serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and specifically is a part of the aviation subcommittee. That subcommittee oversees the FAA.

The New York Daily News reported that Gyokeres and Maloney discussed the “murky legality of drone use” beforehand. However, a representative for Maloney told TheBlaze the couple was focused on their ceremony, not on the drone-mounted camera.

Nan Hayworth, Maloney’s Republican challenger, criticized the incident Tuesday. “Apparently he decided that the rules didn’t apply to him,” she said in a statement. “He obviously doesn’t deserve to be on that subcommittee.”

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Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
Contact Jim Dalrymple II at

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