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South Carolina Law

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sprouseod, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. sprouseod

    Aug 18, 2014
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    This may have been covered before, but if you live in SC please contact your state representative and senator and tell them how absurd this bill is. If you are 300ft over someones house and taking a video of the horizion, where does it say they own that air. I would bet that one of the sponsors of the bill got a bug up their butt because a drone was flying near them so they proposed this law.

  2. Racerguy23

    Jul 6, 2015
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    I'm in NC but had plans to do some flying down there. This is good to know. Definitely ridiculous.
  3. SteveMann

    Aug 27, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Westford, MA
    The Federal law is clear:
    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.​

    The United States relies on the Air Commerce Act of 1926, 44 Stat. 568, 49 U.S.C. §171 et seq., as amended by the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, 52 Stat. 973, 49 U.S.C. §401 et seq. Under those statutes, the United States has "complete and exclusive national sovereignty in the air space" over this country. 49 U.S.C. §176(a). They grant any citizen of the United States "a public right of freedom of transit in air commerce through the navigable air space of the United States." 49 U.S.C. §403. And "navigable air space" is defined as "airspace above the minimum safe altitudes of flight prescribed by the Civil Aeronautics Authority." 49 U.S.C. §180. And it is provided that "such navigable airspace shall be subject to a public right of freedom of interstate and foreign air navigation."

    Some amateur legislators find a Wikipedia description of "navigable airspace" and incorrectly assume that's 500 ft because 500 ft is the typical minimum safe altitude. But they would be wrong. 14 CFR §91.119 'Minimum safe altitudes' defines minimum safe altitudes, and helicopters and "weight-shift control aircraft" (I. E. Hang Gliders) are exempt from the 500 ft minimum. Also, personal drones are considered 'aircraft' for the purposes of enforcing 14 CFR 91.13 - 'Careless or reckless operation', and personal drones are advised to stay below 400 ft, so that also lowers the floor of "navigable airspace".

    I have never seen a statutory definition of "navigable airspace".

    In the 1946 case U.S. vs. Causby, the Supreme Court said landowners have exclusive right of airspace surrounding their property. In part, the decision says “The landowner owns at least as much of the space above the ground as the can occupy or use in connection with the land”.
    Taylor Magyar likes this.