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City drone ban and new FAA regulations

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Coach, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. Coach

    Dec 17, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Here's a link to the ban:

    St. Bonifacius – Ordinance No. 115 | Sun Patriot

    From the law:
    "9-9.3 – Prohibition. No person, entity, governmental unit or law enforcement agency may operate a Drone within the air space of the City.
    9-9.4 – Exceptions. This Section does not prohibit the use or operation of a Drone in the City’s airspace if:
    a. a law enforcement agency first obtains a warrant authorizing its use; or
    b. a law enforcement agency determines, under particular circumstances, that there is immediate danger of death or serious injury to any person; or
    c. it is operated only within the boundaries of an individual’s real property, and has no surveillance capabilities."

    And here's a link to the FAA regulation on UAS:


    From the UAS regulation:
    "Operational UAS restrictions on flight altitude, flight paths; operational bans; any regulation of the navigable airspace. For example – a city ordinance banning anyone from operating UAS within the city limits, within the airspace of the city, or within certain distances of landmarks. Federal courts strictly scrutinize state and local regulation of overflight. City of Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal, 411 U.S. 624 (1973); Skysign International, Inc. v. City and County of Honolulu, 276 F.3d 1109, 1117 (9th Cir. 2002); American Airlines v. Town of Hempstead, 398 F.2d 369 (2d Cir. 1968); American Airlines v. City of Audubon Park, 407 F.2d 1306 (6th Cir. 1969)."

    I just spoke to the Mayor. He claims it's a complaint base law. That it gives the home owner the ability to stop someone from flying a drone over their property. He said I can still fly my drone in the city parks and such. But from what I've read on the law posted above, that's not true. I cannot fly a drone anywhere if it has surveillance capabilities.

    The mayor also said the FAA has no authority on 0-300'. That the city and home owners control that?

    I've also spoke to an officer last week. He chuckled about the law and how hard it would be to enforce.

  2. Jumping

    Nov 29, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Sargent, Texas
    Texas Gov't Code Chapter 4
    Sec. 423.003. OFFENSE: ILLEGAL USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TO CAPTURE IMAGE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person uses an unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately owned real property in this state with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image.

    Seems like LEOs in Texas have a huge grey area determining intent. How many images constitute "surveillance"? Since TX real property is 99% privately owned, strict enforcement leaves very little space for legal flights. Oh, and how would you illustrate to the average LEO your camera was not operating or surveilling or even recording? I just hope if I meet that public servant with my RC lit up, he/she is an objective, informed officer. I know most are.
  3. WetDog

    Oct 18, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Your mayor is, well, uniformed.

    The actual altitude where protected airspace starts is rather, shall we say, up in the air. Your city's legal staff should, at the very least, read this:


    TL;DR - it's complicated. First off, there is no 'minimum altitude' where the FAA ceases to have jurisdiction. If there isn't a roof over it, the FAA has some weight in the argument. Second, the current guiding Supreme Court case states that the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT can limit flights which interfere with ground operations and enjoyment of property. But not much else.

    New York City laws prohibit takeoff and landing anywhere but an approved airport or heliport - that's how they busted the Macy's Day Parade flyer. That should be an interesting case.

    I am not a lawyer and don't play one on television, but I'd suggest any small municipality avoid regulations like that. You're much more likely to be effective at reducing nuisance drone usage if you try to get the operator on harassment or stalking charges.
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