Review your fellow classmates’ assignments and do a peer-review at least 200 words per student review.
Remember to answer as “first person”, do you agree or disagree with your classmate’s assignment.
In 2016, the FAA amended its regulations to allow the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems in the National Airspace System (NAS). These changes address the operation of unmanned aircraft systems and certification of their remote pilots.
The amended rules, 14 CFR Part 107, provide for individuals to obtain their Remote Pilot Certificate, as well as operating rules for drone operators who do not fall into recreational drone operations. Part 107 defines permissible hours of flight, line-of-sight observation, altitude, operator certification, optional use of visual observers, aircraft registration and marking, and operational limits.
Because federal registration is the exclusive means for registering UAS for purposes of operating an aircraft in navigable airspace, no state or local government may impose an additional registration requirement on the operation of UAS in navigable airspace without first obtaining FAA approval.
One example of a local government that tried to impose additional regulation is the case of Singer v. City of Newton, where a Massachusetts district court found a portion of local drone ordinance preempted by FAA regulation.
Michael Singer, a physician, had hoped to use small unmanned aircraft to deliver medical services but in December 2016, the city passed an ordinance that would have made any such project impossible. The ordinance-imposed conditions on the operation of pilot-less aircraft, in addition to those already imposed by the FAA.
Singer said that he could not comply with both sets of rules and still fly his drones so he sued to prevent the city from enforcing the ordinance, challenging four provisions in particular: (1) the requirement that all owners register their pilot-less aircraft with the city clerk’s office; (2) the ban on flight below 400 feet over private property without the landowner’s consent;
(3) the ban on flight over any city or school property without the city’s permission; and (4) the requirement that aircraft in flight remain within the operator’s line of sight (Harvardlawreview, 2018).
He argued that federal regulations passed under the Federal Aviation Act of 1958 preempted these restrictions. In the end, Singer won the case and the judge invalidated the city’s proposed ordinances.
Having that said, certain states have imposed their own laws that supplement Part 107 federal law and contain certain restrictions that are state-specific.
For example, Florida Senate Bill 766 “Surveillance by a Drone”, prohibits the use of a drone to capture an image of privately-owned property or the owner, tenant, or occupant of such property without consent if a reasonable expectation of privacy exists (Florida Senate, 2015).
Other states such as Georgia, have even passed laws that pre-empt local governments in the state from creating UAS regulations (Georgia General Assembly, 2019).
In our case, it would really depend on what state the incident occurred in and what specific law applied at the time. If this happened in a state that had no specific laws that further regulate drone operations, then I would certainly dispute it in court since only Part 107 rules would apply.
If, however, I happened to be somewhere where additional, more restrictive state laws applied, then I would certainly pay the fine and blame myself for not properly researching the law. In the end, it all comes down to the operator being responsible for knowing all the rules that apply and making sure that proper research has been done prior to going out and flying.
While Part 107 covers federal law on UAS operations, some states have implemented additional, more restrictive rules that operators need to be familiar with, and abide by when flying in their territory.
Florida Senate (2015). Senate Bill 766 – The Florida Senate. Retrieved from http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2015/0766
Georgia General Assembly. (2019). House Bill 481 – UAS/Provide for Preemption. Retrieved from http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US
Harvard law review (2018). Singer v. City of Newton. Retrieved from https://harvardlawreview.org/2018/05/singer-v-city-of-newton/
The Remote Pilot Certification allows an operator to fly a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for work or business purposes under Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 14 Part 107. The drone must be 55 lbs. or less and all operations must meet regulations.
Part 107 covers the regulations, operational requirements, and procedures that must be followed in order to be in compliance (Getting Started, 2019). Although the Remote Pilot Certification allows an operator to fly a drone in the airspace for business purposes, local regulations and flight restrictions must be followed.
In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) relinquished its control over state laws when it comes to Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).
The FAA “acknowledges the important role of state and local regulation” (New FAA drone, 2016) on UAS. With this ruling, municipalities have the ability to pass and enforce local ordinances to regulate the use of the airspace, unlike with manned aircraft.
In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower passed the Federal Aviation Act, which gives the federal government authority over the national airspace, preventing local municipalities to create the same restrictions on manned aircraft (A Brief History of the FAA, 2017).
Over the past decade, there has been significant growth in the UAV industry. As a result, the FAA has passed regulations and procedures that must be followed to operate the aerial vehicles.
Additionally, “The United States has witnessed a growing trend of state and local drone-specific regulations that extend beyond the guidelines and restrictions established for non-recreational and recreational drone users by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)” (Michel, 2017).
These local ordinances prohibit flying over someone else’s property, public land, and the use of UAVs for surveillance. In many cases, ordinances have been imposed due to drone accidents.
According to Michel (2017), “the adoption of these rules is largely motivated by a sense that the FAA’s regulations are not comprehensive and strict enough to prevent potential abuses of the technology” (p. 3). The public perception of UAVs has pushed for local ordinances to be created in order to prevent the public’s safety and privacy.
In the case above, the penalty is legitimate. Although all the proper channels were followed in order to obtain the Remote Pilot Certification to fly the drone it is up to the operator to fully comply with all the regulations in Part 107. Title 14 CFR Subpart B 107.49, known as Preflight familiarisation, inspection, and actions for aircraft operation, states:
Prior to flight, the remote pilot in command must: (a) Assess the operating environment, considering risks to persons and property in the immediate vicinity both on the surface and in the air. This assessment must include: (2) Local airspace and any flight restrictions (eCFR, n.d.)
Therefore, it is the operator’s responsibility to know the local ordinances in order to prevent such events from happening. As a result, I would have accepted the penalty as legitimate. In the future, following the PAVE checklist from the Aeronautical decision-making (ADM) approach would be beneficial to the pilot in preventing the situation from reoccurring.
The PAVE checklist is a useful tool that runs the pilot through four key areas: pilot, aircraft, environment (including airspace), and external pressures (FAA, 2016).
By utilising this preflight checklist, the local airspace regulations would have been checked, which would have prevented the scenario.
A Brief History of the FAA. (2017, January 4). Retrieved from https://www.faa.gov/about/history/brief_history/Links to an external site. .
eCFR – Code of Federal Regulations. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=e331c2fe611df1717386d29eee38b000&mc=true&node=pt14.2.107&rgn=div5#se14.2.107_147.Michel, Arthur H. Drones At Home. (2017). Local and State Drone Laws [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://dronecenter.bard.edu/files/2017/03/CSD-Local-and-State-Drone-Laws-1.pdfLinks to an external site.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). (2016, August). Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide. Retrieved from https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/remote_pilot_study_guide.pdfLinks to an external site.
Getting Started. (2019, May 17). Retrieved from https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/Links to an external site. .
Michel, Arthur H. (2017, March). Drones At Home [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://dronecenter.bard.edu/files/2017/03/CSD-Local-and-State-Drone-Laws-1.pdfLinks to an external site.
New FAA drone rules reject federal preemption of state and local drone laws. (2016, Jun 23). Targeted News Service Retrieved from http://ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.libproxy.db.erau.edu/docview/1799329713?accountid=27203Links to an external site.