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Banning Drone Flights

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jhunsbar, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. Jhunsbar

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    We have a local City that says all Drone flights are now illegal in the city limits even in your own backyard! Anyone ever heard of anything like this and how can they ban drone flights in free air or over your own property.
     
  2. B- Scene Films

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    Legally they cannot do this since they do not have jurisdiction of the airspace.

    That being said, a city can basically do whatever it wants without regard to jurisdiction on something like this because they know that it's unlikely that the law will be challenged. In the meantime, they can confiscate your drone or toss you into the city jail or whatever they like...

    So, be careful...

    Out of curiosity, what city is this?
     
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  3. apsphoto

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    This is a misconception, the FAA only has jurisdiction over the "navigable" airspace which is generally considered to be above 500' AGL. So the city can do that without issues. I too would like to know what city.

    Alan
     
  4. tcope

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    This is incorrect. US Code states that the US Government has "exclusive sovereignty of airspace". It also states that the FAA is in charge of that airspace. It further requires the FAA to create regulations for navigable airspace. The FAA has never given up their right to regulate airspace below 500 feet, they have stayed this and indeed, they are coming up with regulations for airspace below 500 feet. They have even gone to trial for flight below 500 feet. So there is no doubt that they are the only agency that can regulate any airspace.

    49 U.S. Code § 40103 - Sovereignty and use of airspace
    a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
    (1) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.

    ...

    b) Use of Airspace.—
    (1) The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall develop plans and policy for the use of the navigable airspace and assign by regulation or order the use of the airspace necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and the efficient use of airspace. The Administrator may modify or revoke an assignment when required in the public interest.
    (2) The Administrator shall prescribe air traffic regulations on the flight of aircraft (including regulations on safe altitudes) for—
    (A) navigating, protecting, and identifying aircraft;
    (B) protecting individuals and property on the ground;
    (C) using the navigable airspace efficiently; and
    (D) preventing collision between aircraft, between aircraft and land or water vehicles, and between aircraft and airborne objects.



    It's been ruled in court that a UAV is an "aircraft" as mentioned above.

    What you mention is most likely what a lot of local officials think... just because the FAA has not yet created regulations below 500' that this means they can regulate it or that there are not restrictions in that area. They could not be more incorrect. However, I feel that many of them know they cannot regulate airspace but do it anyway. They feel that the laws don't apply to them... only their laws apply to other people.
     
    #4 tcope, Nov 3, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
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  5. BigAl07

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    I hate to admit it but that's not correct Alan. The FAA has absolute authority over airspace and it has been tried and proven in court.
     
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  6. Oso

    Oso

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    I agree with @B- Scene Films. Your city (assuming you're in the US) has no authority to regulate the airspace that is under the jurisdiction of the FAA. However, it could be a massive pain in the *** to challenge for now.
     
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  7. snowghost

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    Yes what city?
     
  8. SteveMann

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    Yes, what city? Put your location in your profile so that we won't be asking.

    "apsphoto" makes the same mistake that a lot of local amateur legislators make, that "Navigable Airspace" is defined as starting at 500 ft. The FAA Act of 1958, which in Section 307(a) Use of Airspace says that "The administrator is authorized and directed to develop plans for and formulate policy with respect to the use of the navigable airspace; and assign by rule, regulation, or order the use of the navigable airspace under such terms, conditions, and limitations as he may deem necessary in order to insure the safety of aircraft and the efficient utilization of such airspace. He may modify or revoke such assignment when required in the public interest.". Navigable airspace is not defined anywhere in this act of Congress - it's left up to the FAA administrator.

    Many people erroneously conflate "controlled airspace" with "navigable airspace". There is no hard-coded definition of "navigable airspace". Controlled airspace mostly starts at 500 ft, but can be higher or lower depending on the location. 14 CFR §91.119(d) 'Minimum safe altitudes' does say that 500 ft is the minimum safe altitude for airplanes, but helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft may operate as low as they wish as long as the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In other words, it's still navigable airspace.
     
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  9. SteveMann

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    I have watched town leaders enact illegal laws for decades. The logic goes like this - "I know that my proposed ordinance would probably not survive a court challenge, but by the time anyone with the means to challenge my ordinance steps up, I will be long gone from this office and I don't have to answer for it. In the meanwhile, I will appear to be 'doing something'."

    (This is an almost exact recollection of a conversation I had with a San Jose, CA City Councilwoman when she was proposing to close a local airport in violation of FAA Grant Assurances in 1990.)

    Her vendetta failed, by the way, but she did go on to become a Congressperson.
     
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  10. SteveMann

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    Is it just me, or does anyone notice the absence of the AMA when such ordinances are on the docket? Do they not care unless one of their fields are impacted? Do they not see the camel's nose in the tent?
     
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  11. B- Scene Films

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    I often wonder why the AMA acts the way it does when laws like these get imposed.
     
  12. tcope

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    They could voice their opinion initially but I don't know that this would change anything. After that, they would need to fume suit to challenge the law (or wait for someone to be charged and then defend that person). The latter would be extremely costly and would need to be done thousands of times.

    I'll bet the AMA is taking the position that they don't want to be in the practice of challenging laws. They would rather have input on future direction. It's far cheaper and easier. Keeping your rights in the country (and it's probably true everywhere) can be very expensive. It's why we have Montana :)
     
  13. Jhunsbar

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    HI guys the city doing it is a small town called McDonald, Ohio. Its been all over the news and has a lot of people worried. Big government takes over!!
     
  14. SteveMann

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    How hard would it be to send a letter to the city council outlining the laws for the city attorney to review? It may not change anything but it would greatly weaken any defense of the ordinance in later challenges because they were warned that the ordinance was probably not legal.
     
  15. Jhunsbar

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    I think that would be a great idea. The thing is its 1 city over from where I live and don't want all these small towns here getting any ideas
     
  16. tcope

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    It would not weaken it legally as prior knowledge does not change anything. It only serves to show people what is really happening. The cities or counties will simply argue that their interpretation of the US Code was different. I don't disagree and would like to see the AMA be more active but I've seen many other organizations act the same way.
     
  17. SteveMann

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    Amateur Legislators.
    The "First Reading" was October 7, and if McDonald, OH is like most other cities, the second reading will be 30-days later. Anyone may comment to the city council:

    Contact Us

    This is from their October 7 meeting minutes:
    McDonald Village Council
    October 7, 2015
    First reading of an Ordinance Restricting The Use Of “Unmanned Aerial Vehicles” Also Known As “Drones” Over The Airspace Within The Corporation Limits Of The Village Of McDonald, Ohio; Exemptions; And Requirements Thereof.
    It was moved by Mr. Puckett, seconded by Mr. Klase that the ordinance pass first reading as read.
    Discussion: Mayor Holmes expressed his appreciation to Council for their proactive approach and the Solicitor for looking into it and drafting something for Council.
    Roll call:
    Mr. Puckett – aye Mr. Klase – aye
    Mr. O’Brien – aye Mr. Harvey – aye
    Mr. Fisher – aye Mr. Seitz – aye
    Regular readers here already know my boilerplate response, but I did send it to the McDonald City Council about five minutes ago.
     
  18. SteveMann

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  19. SteveMann

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    The law is pretty unambiguous:
    49 USC § 40103 - Sovereignty and use of airspace
    (a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
    (1) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.