Drone Law in Maryland

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Recently had a friend ambushed by a 'caretaker' while flying at a local municipal park and told it was against Baltimore City law to fly any drones in any Baltimore City Parks. For sake of this discussion, he was flying within all FAA requirements.

Discussed with an attorney friend of mine and he pointed out the following legislation in Maryland...


Annotated Code of Maryland, Economic Development, §14-301

SB-370 (2015 session) - Approved by Governor Hogan, May 12, 2015.

Added by Acts 2015, c. 164 § 1, eff. July 1, 2015

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§14-301. Laws governing the testing and operation of unmanned aircraft systems

(a) (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) “Unmanned aircraft” means the flying portion of an unmanned aircraft system, flown by a pilot via a ground control system, or autonomously through use of an onboard computer, a communication link, and any additional equipment that is necessary for the unmanned aircraft to operate safely.


(3) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and all the associated support equipment, control stations, data links, telemetry, communications and navigation equipment, and other equipment necessary to operate the unmanned aircraft.


(b) Only the State may enact a law or take any other action to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the State.

(c) Subsection (b) of this section:


(1) Preempts the authority of a county or municipality to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems; and


(2) Supersedes any existing law or ordinance of a county or municipality that prohibits, restricts, or regulates the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems.


(d) This section does not affect federal preemption of State law.


Important fact to know, as many county, and municipal venues try to overstep their legal bounds. Keep in mind this legislation does not extend to privately owned property or those of the Federal government who are not bound by this statute.

Happy and Safe flying...

Cheers,
 
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I would think the city could create a law restricting flight from a park, but not necessarily over it. There are two things you have to consider, where you are standing while you are flying, and the airspace your drone is in. I am certainly not a lawyer, however.
 
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Thanks for the comment microlinux --- It all gets complicated at some point, but from the standpoint of operating a drone in a public (i.e. county or municipally owned) property, the State of Maryland has exclusive (except for Federal-FAA) jurisdiction on control/restriction of unmanned aircraft in these areas. Then again this is just a Maryland law so obviously in other states things could be vastly different. Regardless if it is technically 'ok' to fly in an area, I do my best to be respectful of others and work to help educate those I meet so our activities are looked on favorably and not as a bunch of airborne hooligans.
 
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Mike2A, have you or whoever was flying registered your drone with the FFA? I'm a local to Maryland, close to Baltimore. I know the city airspace is heavily occupied with law enforcement helicopters, new helicopters and helicopters giving tours of the city. With that being said, if your drone is registered with the FFA. The police can only enforce no fly zones as to where you take off and land.
 
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I am registered with the FAA...as far as flying within Baltimore City proper, I've flown over Federal Hill Park, Patterson Park and Druid Hill Park with no issues; this time of year these locations are fairly empty, once it warms up and many more people are out, it will be interesting to see if I encounter any objections.
 
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Good to know, I am actually planning on doing some filming in Baltimore next weekend. I am planning on launching from Federal Hill Park since it is a raised point for filming in the harbor, so this is good to keep in mind. Between federal, state and city laws the powers that be are really trying to kill this hobby.
 
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The only person that can set no flew zones is the FFA. The state and city can only prohibit where you take off/land and operate your drone from the ground. So as long as you fly within FFA rules and regulations in the air. No one can really say anything to you.
 
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Hi Guys, I am a new P3Pro owner living in the Baltimore-Canton area and I am really excited to get some great shots around the city, however I am concerned about all of the heliports. I would really like to try and comply with all of the FAA rules and regulations, which states you must contact any airport heliport within 5 miles.

Just curious if other phantom pilots in Baltimore are contacting the heliports prior to flying? If so, any tips or thoughts on this matter.

From my house, using the B4UFly app, there are 10 heliports within 5 miles!! Am I suppose to contact all of them before I fly?? Or are you just not worrying about doing this?

Thanks for any advice.
 

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In strict compliance; yes, you are to notify operators or ATC of any airport or helipad within 5 miles of your area of UAV operation. In practice, especially around dense urban centers with dozens of helipads, this becomes problematic and nearly impossible to meet. Most will tell you that they make every effort to operate as far from any active helipad as possible, always observe and yield to any air traffic and obey the 400 ft max. altitude rule. Popular sites in Baltimore city for drone flights are Federal Hill (view of inner harbor), Patterson Park and Druid Hill Park.
 
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply and info! Yes it does seem a little unrealistic to spend 30 minutes on the phone trying to notify 10 heliport managers just so I can fly my drone for 20 minutes. I see other posted videos of people flying around the city/inner harbor and i'm wondering to myself if they had called all the heliports prior to take off, sounds like the answer is probably not.

I have not flown above 200ft yet, and I imagine that the only helicopter randomly roaming at less than 400ft would probably be the police helicopter. Thanks again for your input.
 
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