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Suffolk County N.Y. Trying to ban UAV 's

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Atom1234, Jun 8, 2015.

  1. Atom1234

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    Suffolk County Legislators Tom Muratore and William Spencer have introduced " A LOCAL LAW TO PROTECT PRIVACY IN SUFFOLK COUNTY." As drafted, this legislation would affect operations at and above a "County facility " of "Any remotely controlled machine that flies in the air, under the control of a person on the ground. This includes, but is not limited to, remote control airplanes, helicopters and drones." These areas would include Suffolk County beaches, parks, preserves, or any property owned, or perhaps even operated by, Suffolk County.

    I have been in communication with Mr. Muratore and his staff since before the bill was submitted to the Suffolk County Legislature's Public Safety Committee. The bill was tabled in that committee, however changes have been made and it appears the bill will be moving forward in the committee in the future.

    I've arranged for Mr. Muratore to meet with representatives of Suffolk County, and immediately adjacent, AMA clubs to discuss his legislation and collectively answer questions and concerns. The legislator's office has scheduled our meeting for Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 2:00 PM. I am awaiting the location from Mr Muratore's office, however they have tentatively suggested Hauppauge. I had requested a later time of day to accommodate those who have job commitments. Unfortunately that is not possible due to Mr. Muratore's schedule.

    Due to anticipated room limitations, I'd ask we limit attendance to one representative from each club. Presumably the club president or a designated individual best suited to ask questions and represent the club. Hopefully I'll have word from the legislator's office on Monday as to an exact meeting address. I'll let you know should space be available for more than one representative for Thursday's meeting.

    Please pass along information about this meeting to the appropriate officer(s) or representative in your club if you are not that individual.This is significant legislation and I encourage each club to participate! It would be helpful if you could let me know if your club will be represented. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

    Best Regards
    Eric

    Eric Williams
    Vice President, District II
    518-356-2057
    Academy of Model Aeronautics
    Visit amadistrictii.org
     
  2. MrGoodwreck

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    Good luck.

    Should also get some of the Kite people involved. I'm pretty sure that Kite flyers like to fly in parks, and on beaches.
     
    #2 MrGoodwreck, Jun 8, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  3. tcope

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    Have you read the crap these two spew out about drones? I have no doubt they could care less what anyone says about their illegal law. They changed the wording of the law buy did not hide their true agenda in that they did not bother to change the wording in their intent. They still want to ban photos from drones. They are also attempting to claim jurisdiction over airspace under 500 feet. Clearly still in violation of US Code. My recommendation, have an attorney attend the meeting and point these things out. I don't see them giving any consideration to the people flying the things they have an agenda against.

    These two idiots tell people that drones will look into windows and read sensitive documents. Someone should take a drone with them, hold it up and show them that you can't read a document from more then a few inches away (held by hand with no props). Take your phone out and snap a photo. Ask them if they intend on making cell phones illegal as well. Check to see if a county facility has any cameras. As them if people should not fear photos being taken of them why they would not fear photos from those cameras.

    Read up on public airspace and air rights. Air rights give a landowner the right to enjoy their land up to 500 above their ground. This does not allow the land owner to regulate that airspace. These idiots know that but are trying to make it look like this gives them the right to regulate that space. Take a copy of the US Code on this subject.
     
  4. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Good luck. Suffolk county is one of the most corrupt counties in the country.
     
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  5. SteveMann

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    Not true. 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”.

    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 [Footnote 4] 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." Id.

    State and local governments have considered legislation that purports to regulate drone flight, but if challenged in court, any such laws would be considered preempted by the federal government's intent to "occupy the field," and therefore be invalid. By federal statute, "[t]he United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States" (49 U.S. Code § 40103(a)(1)). The passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, (Senate Bill, Section 607(g)) confirms the federal government's intent to continue to "occupy the field" of flight, thereby invalidating (through preemption) any state or local laws that purport to regulate it. [I forgot where I found this, it may have been Dronelaw.com].

    Paragraph (32) of subsection (a) of Section 40102 of Title 49 of the United States Code gives the FAA exclusive responsibility for the National Airspace System which, according to the FAA starts as soon as the aircraft is airborne.

    Also from Dronelaw (I think):
    There are already laws of general applicability (such as voyeurism or nuisance) that would apply equally to a drone if a drone happened to be the object used to violate that law, but they would be essentially meaningless since existing statutes would already cover those crimes regardless of whether they were committed with a drone. And by exclusion, such laws could inadvertently make the undesirable activity legal by other means.

    The laws that are on the books are all technology agnostic. They apply to computers, they apply to still cameras, they apply to wireless microphones, they apply to video cameras … and there’s no reason that they can’t be applied – as already written – to drones. Relying on existing legal protections should be the obvious choice. That means that what people are most fearful of – being stalked, harassed, or surveilled by a drone, or being victimized by a peeping tom behind a drone – are already acts bound by law. Simply put: the states have things covered.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. tcope

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    and my main point states:
    The county owns the property so they are attempting to create a law that is only enforceable if they own the airspace above their lane up to 500'.

    Boring part below....

    I don’t agree that air rights give land owners exclusive control of space up to 500’ above their property. Laws exist that give landowner an _easement_ of 500’ above their property. Before they had all the airspace above their property and then airplanes game into existence. So this airspace needed to be limited. However, landowners needed to be able to build, plant trees and basically have the right to use some airspace. So they were allowed this easement.

    The US and the FAA has the sole jurisdiction over _ALL_ airspace. A property owner has the right to _use_ airspace over their land, up to 500’ but they don’t own or control the “airspace”. Being able to use airspace and owning and being in control that area are two different things. If a person builds into that area (or plants a tree for example), it’s no longer airspace and they own that land. Again, property owners retain the right to _use_ airspace up to 500’ above their property.

    Public airspace exists above 500’.

    In the case of Causby (I won’t go into details but it’s an interesting case), the planes were flying at 83’ and they ruled that this interfered with Causby’s use of the land as it was intended (a chicken farm). This does not mean he owns the airspace or that he has jurisdiction over that airspace. What this means is that a property owner has the right to use enjoy their land as it was intended. This also means it’s now been established that this, at least, extends 83’ above the property. As there are no other cases of infringement from a higher altitude, we don’t know how far this extends. We only know it ends at 500’.

    Suffolk County’s law is actually unrelated. They make an _attempt_ to make it seem legit but it’s different. They are looking at the fact that it’s been established that above 500’ is public airspace and that they have an easement up to 500’ but then they veer off the track and think this means that they can enforce law on airspace below 500’. The US and FAA never gave up their sole rights of jurisdiction over this airspace. So they have no legal standing to make a _law_ that states other people can’t operate in that space just because they own the land (they also appear to attempt to govern the area _around_ their land in their poorly worded law). Now, if they want to state that someone flying a drone over their property infringes upon their right to use the land as it was intended, they are free to do this. We have laws (case law) that should allow this argument to go to a judge. But, again, this has nothing to do with the subject we are discussing of the law they are attempting to pass. I have _no_ issue with them attempting to make a such a claim. However, I feel they would have a difficult time proving their case. What this means is that people are free to enjoy their rights (of flying drones and taking photos) as long as it’s not bothering anyone. We don’t need a law saying it’s illegal regardless as to if it affects anyone.
     
  7. SteveMann

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    This "navigable airspace begins at 500 ft" is only given as examples in court cases, but there has never been a decision that I can find that established 500 ft as the floor of controlled or navigable airspace or otherwise defined by law.

    If you know of case law or FAA rules that only airspace above 500 ft is public, then I would like to know.

    Perhaps the county is relying on the vague wording in 49 U.S.C. § 176(a). that grants 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.

    "Navigable airspace" is not directly defined anywhere but always defined as "by regulation" in reference. Show me the regulation.
     
  8. MapMaker53

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    Eric, I work right near Hauppauge and would be interested in stopping by if my workload permits that afternoon. I wouldn't have much to say except that providing legal areas in certain large county parks for drone flying would greatly help reduce illegal flying that would most-likely occur in all areas of the county as drone popularity increases if a total ban on drone flying in all county parks was to be implemented. I compare it to the areas of ocean beaches that have been set aside to accommodate surfing activity. I think there certainly is enough open land in large county parks to safely accommodate people who like to fly drones.

    EDIT: Sorry, I read your post as being a call for AMA members if space permitted. If attendance is limited to club reps, then I would simply suggest someone in attendance make the above point if you feel it appropriate.
     
    #8 MapMaker53, Jun 9, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2015
  9. tcope

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    That should not be needed as it's not related and only further clouds the issue. For the purpose of this thread it does not matter what happens above 500'. The issue I have is that Suffolk County has no right to make a law to govern airspace below 500'. I _think_ we both agree on this.

    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/49/40103
    "(a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
    (1) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States. "

    As you have stated in the past, this is _all_ airspace. Clearly Suffolk County is attempting to make a law to govern airspace.

    What I did was then to go on as to why they probably think they have a right to do this at under 500'. I further was showing why this is incorrect as well.
     
  10. SteveMann

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    We don't differ on the law, but I would leave the 500 ft argument out of the conversation. "Suffolk County has no right to make a law to govern airspace" PERIOD.

     
  11. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Reposting my thoughts from a different thread as they apply here as well:

    I agree with dronelaw's interpretation [see http://www.phantompilots.com/threads/flying-at-a-reservoir-this-weekend.44471/page-2#post-409174]. No issue there. It does leave a significant gap (or overlap in areas where local legislation exists) that will likely need clarification from a higher court at some point in the not too distant future.

    I think everyone would agree that I shouldn't be able to take off from my property and then go fly all over my neighbor's property 3ft above the ground filming his hot wife sunbathing. There are no FAA rules that specifically prevent this. It's the FAA's airspace and I took off from my property. Am I intruding on my neighbor's property? Yes. Am I invading his privacy? Yes.

    Local authorities can and probably will cite privacy, nuisance and intrusion laws. And in the above example, that would make sense. But what about alternative scenarios:
    • I fly above my own property at 100ft and happen to record something in my neighbor's property and put it on Youtube.
    • I fly over my neighbor's property at 100ft, flying past it and over other properties but flying back over my neighbor's property multiple times.
    • What about the same at 50ft? What about 300ft?
    • How much time over my neighbor's property is too much?
    • How low is too low?
    • Does carrying a camera make a difference?
    • Is intent the only factor when it comes to privacy? If I accidentally record my neighbor's hot wife sunbathing topless and I upload it to youtube, should that be OK?
    I can understand why local authorities want to nip this in the bud. The majority of their constituents probably don't like drones. I can also see this being case before the supreme court in the not too distant future.
     
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  12. tcope

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    I have no issue with anyone enforcing existing laws. What I am 100% against is a county passing a law that _clearly_ is illegal and that it then makes an innocent person, exercising their given rights, prove that they are not guilty because the law is illegal. What _SHOULD_ happen is the law makers and lawyers for the county should look at the information that has been given to them, understand that the law is not legal and then not propose it. We've given them the US Code to show that the FAA is the only one to who can regulate any airspace. But they choose to ignore this. I ask, why? To me, it appears that they simply don't care. They have an agenda against drones specifically.

    What also detest is that they _will_ use this law simply to harass people into doing what is perfectly legal. They won't arrest anyone... they will simply _threaten_ to arrest them under a current law. Most people will then give up their right to fly and move along.

    If someone walking into a county facility feels offended by a done that might be taking photos... let them contact the police and have a citation issued if they feel they have a case against the drone operator infringing upon the public's use of that land. That is how this matter should be handled.
     
  13. tcope

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    Agreed. I only mention is as there must be a reason that the proposed law limits itself to 500'. So there is a possibility that the county will bring this up (probably saying that air rights give them the ability to regulate...as land owners... air space under 500'). So it's good background information to know. Otherwise someone might think that the county is correct in this claim.
     
  14. snerd

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    When you outlaw UAV's, only outlaws will have UAV's. Lawmakers forget that drone flyers are also their constituents. And elections come every couple three years.......



    Sent from my iPhone 6+ using Tapatalk Pro
     
  15. SteveMann

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    I believe that the County is confusing "uncontrolled" with unregulated". There is no unregulated airspace in the US. Uncontrolled airspace is airspace where an Air Traffic Control (ATC) service is not deemed necessary or cannot be provided for practical reasons.

    The Paradise Valley newspaper website has an article which incorrectly says: "The airspace above private homes not adjacent to land controlled by an air traffic control tower up to 500 feet is considered Class G Airspace, which has been defined as unregulated airspace or non-navigable."

    Class G airspace is uncontrolled, not unregulated.
     
  16. MikeTess

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    You guys can argue this all day long and any way you want....right or wrong...it doesn't matter. This G-**** liberal NY is going to do whatever they want and get away with it!
    Perfect example: they took away our AR15 "assault rifles" based solely on their scary black appearance in the middle of the night. That criminal politician from my hometown of Rockville Centre named Dean Skelos sold out legal gun owners and let the bill pass to the floor and Governor Cuomo passed the SafeAct without proper public input at the 11th hour. Do you really think they care about rights or laws here or your right to a hobby? Come on....it's all about appeasing the "soccer moms" and sucking up for the liberal Democratic vote here. Forget it Johnny, it's over. I'm moving out of this liberal **** hole pretty soon!
     
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  17. tcope

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    I don't disagree. I'm hopeful that there might be some common sense to prevail but I'm not holding my breath. I think it _is_ possible that if there is enough public awareness and public record on this matter that they would be less likely to try to slither this into law. A person could say that this does not affect them as they don't live in NY or don't plan on flying near a Suffolk County facility but you can be assured, if this makes it on the law books that other cities and counties will figure they can simply do the same.
     
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  18. MikeTess

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    Neighboring Nassau County will eventually follow suit and the New York City Council is already drafting their version of a "drone" ban which encompasses Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. And btw, it includes RC planes and helicopters, basically anything with a camera. Your vote as a RC hobbiest doesn't matter since you are a fraction of 1% of the vote. It's just more smoke and mirrors that politicians use to make it appear to their constituents that they are progressive and proactive. It just makes me sick!
     
  19. SteveMann

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    There is no overlap. The FAA is the sole authority with regulations for flight. Local authorities have laws of general nuisance to protect people's privacy.

    The FAA has no jurisdiction over privacy. That is a state function and there's already laws on the books covering privacy, peeping and stalking. Existing laws are technology agnostic and it doesn't matter if you use a drone or a camera on a stick, the same laws apply.

    How do you accidentally film someone nude in their backyard and then accidentally upload it to Youtube?
     
  20. Suwaneeguy

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    Just my two dimes worth.
    There is no such thing as "privacy in public".
    I can stand on the beach and take all the pictures I want. Attach that same camera to a remote controlled flying machine and suddenly it is illegal.
    I can stand on the ground and take all the photos of any county or state building I want.
    I can even stand on a 500 foot crane and take all the pictures I want.
    Yet the same photos taken by a flying machine will now become illegal?

    SteveMann, thank you for posting the two items about airspace.
    Before the FAA was formed, yes people owned the airspace and could control it.
    After the FAA came to be, the game was changed.

    These dunderheads who call themselves legislators fail to do proper research before blindly writing a law which will only get erased from a high court order.

    For that meeting, I would suggest you contact Peter Sachs and ask him to attend.
    He is a pilot and a member of this board.