City Use and Regulation of Drones

If your city is considering using or regulating drones, you’ll want to check out the League’s new information memo on this topic.

The new memo, Drones: Municipal Use and Regulation, outlines legal developments surrounding drones (officially called unmanned aircraft systems [uas]). It includes a discussion of how cities are using drones, how cities can legally operate drones, and other considerations for cities before flying drones.

The memo also reviews a city’s authority to regulate drones and includes links to helpful Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) documents and materials.

Just in time for FAA pilot program
The LMC memo is very timely, as the FAA recently announced a UAS pilot program that offers local governments the opportunity to partner with the drone industry to help integrate drones into the national airspace. It appears to be a great opportunity for cities to have an impact on this new technology.

The timeline to get on board the program is flying by—cities must notify the FAA of their interest in participating in the program within 20 days of the official publication of the program.

The program will enable selected entities to operate drones beyond what current FAA regulations generally allow. For example, it may allow the entities to fly drones over people or beyond the visual line-of-sight of the drone’s operator.

For more information
If you have questions about the memo or the FAA pilot program, contact LMC Research Attorney Quinn O’Reilly at qoreilly@lmc.org or (651) 281-1271.

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