Huffington Post interviewed the USDRA yesterday on the pending California bill:
“When people hear the word drone, the first thing they think of is camera platforms hovering over their houses … and one of our biggest challenges when we’re talking to folks is that not all drones are the same,” he said. Not all have cameras.
Shevett also pointed to the difficulty of keeping drones from accidentally crossing boundaries, especially in rural areas where the boundaries aren’t always clear.
“If one of these strays over somebody’s property line, even if it’s just going around a turn or whatnot, is that suddenly an arrestable offense?” he asked.
Read the entire article on Huffington post.
The California House of Representatives has just voted to amend the Civil Code to make it illegal to fly “Unmanned Aircraft” over private property to an altitude of 350′ without permission of the owner:
(a) A person wrongfully occupies real property and is liable for damages pursuant to Section 3334 if, without express permission of the person or entity with the legal authority to grant access or without legal authority, he or she operates an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system less than 350 feet above ground level within the airspace overlaying the real property.
As of this writing, the bill has passed to the senate after passing in the house. It is not yet law.
It’s unsurprising this sort of legislation is coming through the pipeline, in the wake of certain incidents involving shotguns. This particular legislation is aiming to clarify the ambiguity regarding “Below 400′ AGL” airspace. The FAA provides guidelines to safe operation, but are unclear on how low an operator can legally fly…
- Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
- Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
- Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
- Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
- Don’t fly near people or stadiums
- Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
- Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization.
Expect more legislation like this as drones become more commonplace, and certain drone operators continue to operate them irresponsibly.