Who is behind Drone Prepared?
Drone Prepared is a new initiative from the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of uncrewed systems and robotics. AUVSI represents corporations and professionals from more than 60 countries involved in industry, government and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets. AUVSI advocates for the establishment of laws and regulations that enable the development and expanded operation of uncrewed systems, including drones.
Learn more at auvsi.org.
What is the Federal Government already doing with respect to Drone Laws?
The U.S. has the safest airspace in the world. This is because of pervasive regulation and oversight by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As the central regulator for the airspace, the FAA ensures that aircraft are safe, pilots are qualified, and that the airspace is appropriately managed to avoid collisions and crashes.
Congress has directed the FAA to integrate drones into the airspace, and the FAA has put the drone industry on the path forward for success. With continued operation of the BEYOND and Integration Partnership Agreement (IPA) Program, the FAA is already successfully engaging with state, local, and tribal governments, as well as industry partners, on the successful integration of drones into the National Airspace System.
Why shouldn't states pass avigation easement laws?
Touted by its proponents as a way to establish state ownership of airspace and create pathways for the growth and development of the UAS industry, avigation easements will do just the opposite. Not only would the development of drone toll roads take a long time and place an undue financial burden on an emerging technology, but fragmented access to low level airspace will lead to negative consequences for safety in the national airspace.
Inhibiting the use of low-level airspace, which easements would do, would only increase congestion in higher airspace, increasing the likelihood of collisions between aircrafts. Additionally, the establishment of state-by-state airspace laws would only create a web of complex and confusing regulations that would make it impossible for companies to engage in a revolutionary industry.
What if there’s a drone spying into my window or hovering over my property?
There are already laws on the books in most states that establish privacy protections, prohibit voyeurism, and forbid nuisances. Since these laws already exist, these actions, even when done with a drone, are already against the law. If a drone is being used to spy on or harass you it is illegal, just as it would be if a person were doing those things. The vehicle with which the crime is committed is not of relevance. Since these actions are already prohibited, it would be unnecessary and onerous to single them out with specific regulations.
What about drones delivering contraband?
The delivery of contraband to state and local correctional facilities is already prohibited in State laws. The manner of delivery is not restricted, making it applicable to drones. When actions are already prohibited, as is the case in the delivery of contraband, existing code should be applied in lieu of additional or new state laws. While the urge may be to over-legislate new technologies, often it is better to simply apply existing law.
If a drone flies over my property, can I shoot it down?
It is illegal to do so. As set out in 18 U.S. Code § 32, it is against federal law to willfully “[set] fire to, damages, destroys, disables, or wrecks any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.” The term “aircraft,” includes any contrivance invented, used, or designed to fly in the air, which covers drones. This action is also illegal under State laws as “criminal damage to property” – and has been prosecuted as such. Shooting down any aircraft, crewed or uncrewed, is a dangerous and illegal activity that could result in harm to other people and property.
Can just anybody fly a drone?
No. While all individuals can fly a drone for recreational purposes, they must pass a knowledge test before operating. To fly commercially, operators must become a Federal Aviation Association (FAA) certified Drone Pilot and pass the Knowledge test, as well as receive Part 107 registration from the FAA. For some commercial operations, such as operating beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS), organizations must go even further and apply for and receive a waiver from the FAA to operate.
All drone operators, whether recreational or commercial, must register their drones with the FAA and display that registration number on the drones themselves. All drones must also be operated in compliance with Remote ID, which is the ability of a drone in flight to provide identification and location information that can be received by other parties. These registration and testing regulations ensure that all drones are being operated safely by knowledgeable users, and that drones are always able to be identified when in the air.
Why should I want drones to operate?
Commercial drone operations provide immense public benefits for the people and the States that they operate in. They bring new industry into States, bringing in money in investments and creating new workforce opportunities. Drones can be utilized in numerous ways to benefits states, from aiding in infrastructure inspections to delivering critical goods, such as medicine, directly to the consumer. Having a favorable regulatory environment will allow all of these benefits to be realized and allows States to take advantage of them.