I was at a store yesterday and noticed that different types of drones were for sale. I noticed there were no warnings on the packaging about where they could be flown and registration requirements. It is important to remember that both the state and federal government have laws concerning where one can fly drones. An example is that while the FAA may not restrict flying drones at Valley of Fire State Park, the State of Nevada prohibits it. The FAA page for drones is a useful resource for people who own and/or operate drones. They also have a phone app advises where one can and cannot fly drones. The FAA app B4UFly lists SECTA as having an airport. It also prevents drone operation near heliports, of which there are many in the Valley. The bottom line is that at least in the valley, there are more places that you can’t fly a drone than where you can. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The FAA has come up with new regulations regarding drone registration. The FAA now requires that drones between .5 and 55 pounds be registered starting December 21, 2015. Drones purchased after December 21, 2015 will have to be registered before they can be operated. Drones purchased before December 21, 2015 will have until February 29, 2016 to be registered. This is the link to the FAA website to register drones starting on December 21, 2015.
Failure to register an airplane or drone can result in a civil penalty of up to $27,500. The criminal penalty is up to 3 years in prison or a $250,000.00 fine. This is imposed by the federal government not the state.
Remember that drones cannot be operated within 5 miles of an airport. That covers most of the Las Vegas Valley. However, there is an RC Airplane operation by the Silver Bowl where a person can legally fly RC airplanes and drones.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Amazon has proposed special air space for drones. According to CNBC at the Unmanned Aerial Traffic Management Conference put on by NASA and attended by the FAA Amazon has proposed reserving the first two hundred feet above the ground for hobby drone use, two to four hundred feet for commercial drone use and a buffer between four to five hundred feet. This is a good proposal. After an initial review I see several areas of concern:
1. How does the operator know how high the drone is? Will an altitude display be required on the remote control or will the GPS software be required that prevents the drone from being flown in the wrong air space?
2. It doesn’t address the current regulatory requirements of not flying a drone within five miles of an airport. One would be hard pressed to get five miles away from an airport in the Las Vegas Valley. Will the GPS software keep the drone out of no fly zones?
3. Language needs to be put into place that the drone operator is required to not fly in the area when emergency air vehicles such as police, fire fighters or medical evacuation helicopters are in the area. Can software be installed so that when emergency air vehicles are in the area that the drones automatically land?
The next question is how much will the software and hardware add to the cost of a drone?