State and Local Law

You have jumped through all of the FAA hoops.  Are you ready to fly?  Well, be aware that there may be state or local laws, ordinances, or regulations that limit where you can fly (see here) or minimum altitude.  Whether these laws are preempted by federal law is the subject of my next article.  

These laws are being proposed every day, so I can’t cover them all.  As an example, in the last session of the California legislature, Senate Bill 142/Assembly Bill 1327 would have set a minimum floor of 350 feet for a flyover without the owner's permission.  Gov. Brown vetoed the legislation.  

But, the reality is more complex.  The standard Rule 333 exemption requires that “all operations shall be conducted over private or controlled-access property with permission from the property owner/controller or authorized representative.”  And, check with your insurance company — you may have promised not to fly without the owner’s permission.  In other words, there may no overflight at any altitude without the owner’s permission.

There is a good bet that if you use your drone to take photos of "private, personal, or familial activity and the invasion occurs in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person” you have crossed the line no matter where you live.  (Cal. Civil Code 1708.8, as amended 2015)

In general, expect there to be some local law prohibiting (a) using your UAS for voyeurism, (b) using your UAS for hunting or fishing, or to interfere with or harass an individual who is hunting or fishing, or (c) attaching firearms or similar weapons to UAS.


`© Robert Rose 2015