HELP! Albany county (NY) Proposes county wide BAN on all RC/UAV systems

Discussion in 'MōVI FAQ - Tips and Tricks' started by Jeremy Raco, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. Jeremy Raco

    Jeremy Raco New Member

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    I have owned and operated an aerial cinema company for two years in upstate New York. It has come to my attention that a local assemblyman in Albany County NY (district 11) is proposing a county wide ban of all UAV and RC platforms. I live in Albany county and I fear that my company will suffer a great loss if this law is passed. There are no attorney's close to me that could properly represent myself or anyone else locally involved in the aerial community. I was wondering if you guy's have run into any issues like this or heard about any similar stories in other parts of the country. Any articles online, facts or precedent's that you guys may know would be extremely helpful. There is a public hearing in Albany tomorrow night and I was trying to gather as much information as possible to help resolve this issue. Thanks for your help! This is the proposal link if you were interested in reading it. Have a great day!

    Link: http://app.albanycounty.com/legislature/resolutions/2015/20151013/2015-LL_Q.pdf

    -Regards,

    Jeremy Raco
     
  2. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    From the PDF: "No person shall use or operate a drone within Albany County, unless they are a government agent acting within the scope of their official duties"

    Wow. That means, at a stroke, all model aircraft activities are shut down as well. I've emailed to Rich Hanson of the Academy of Model Aeronautics -- he's the government relations officer for the AMA. I think he might have a thing or two to say to the good folks at the Albany NY legislature. They're about to stomp out of existence an 87-year old tradition of model aircraft flying.

    Check out: http://dronelawjournal.com/ which (right at the end of the page) states:

    State and local government drone law.

    State and local governments have passed 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 FMRA 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.​

    State and local governments may, however, regulate two things related to flight:​
    • They may regulate their own agencies‘ drone flight operations; and
    • They may regulate the locations on the ground from which drones may be launched, landed or operated.
    It's that last line that's the kicker.

    I'd join the AMA today if you're not already a member -- then call them and request assistance! http://www.modelaircraft.org/
    There's nothing to stop you both running an aerial cinema company and flying as a hobbyist. The only difference is that you cannot fly commercially when you are flying as a hobbyist -- just remember to smile when you're flying as a hobbyist then everyone knows you're doing it for fun.

    Andy.
     
  3. Michael McVay

    Michael McVay Active Member

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    Another place to reach out to is AUVSI. They are another very loud voice for us when it comes to things like this.
     
  4. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Rich Hanson send that there would be a vocal contingent of recreational pilots and AMA senior folks at the hearing. While that might not save the situation for commercial sUAS pilots, at least it might give the legislators pause that there are unintended consequences from what appears to be draconian action.

    Andy.
     
  5. Pablo Barrera

    Pablo Barrera Member

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    hey buddy,
    contact Bill Callahan in NY. His office is in the city but he is one of the top drone lawyers around.
    here is his website. http://callahanandrobinson.com/
    He is our legal counsel. I highly recommend him.
     
  6. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Also it is worth noting that the FAA is concerned that state and local authorities are getting into the sUAV regulation business.
    Check out this document from the FAA on that topic: https://www.faa.gov/uas/regulations_policies/media/UAS_Fact_Sheet_Final.pdf

    The FAA "owns" the national airspace system as mandated by Congress.

    Here's what the FAA says that state and local authorities CANNOT control (at least not without consulting the FAA):

    EXAMPLES OF STATE AND LOCAL LAWS FOR WHICH CONSULTATION WITH
    THE FAA IS RECOMMENDED
    • Operational UAS restrictions on flight altitude, flight paths; operational bans; any regulation​
    of the navigable airspace. For example – a city ordinance banning anyone from operating​
    UAS within the city limits, within the airspace of the city, or within certain distances of​
    landmarks. Federal courts strictly scrutinize state and local regulation of overflight. City of​
    Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal, 411 U.S. 624 (1973); Skysign International, Inc. v. City​
    and County of Honolulu, 276 F.3d 1109, 1117 (9th Cir. 2002); American Airlines v. Town of​
    Hempstead, 398 F.2d 369 (2d Cir. 1968); American Airlines v. City of Audubon Park, 407​
    F.2d 1306 (6th Cir. 1969).​
    • Mandating equipment or training for UAS related to aviation safety such as geo-fencing​
    would likely be preempted. Courts have found that state regulation pertaining to mandatory​
    training and equipment requirements related to aviation safety is not consistent with the​
    federal regulatory framework. Med-Trans Corp. v. Benton, 581 F. Supp. 2d 721, 740​
    (E.D.N.C. 2008); Air Evac EMS, Inc. v. Robinson, 486 F. Supp. 2d 713, 722 (M.D. Tenn.​
    2007). ​

    The document above gives an example of what state and local authorities can control:

    EXAMPLES OF STATE AND LOCAL LAWS WITHIN STATE AND LOCAL
    GOVERNMENT POLICE POWER
    Laws traditionally related to state and local police power – including land use, zoning, privacy,​
    trespass, and law enforcement operations – generally are not subject to federal regulation.​
    Skysign International, Inc. v. City and County of Honolulu, 276 F.3d 1109, 1115 (9th Cir. 2002).​
    Examples include:​
    • Requirement for police to obtain a warrant prior to using a UAS for surveillance.​
    • Specifying that UAS may not be used for voyeurism.​
    • Prohibitions on using UAS for hunting or fishing, or to interfere with or harass an individual​
    who is hunting or fishing.​
    • Prohibitions on attaching firearms or similar weapons to UAS.​

    Andy.
     

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