An article today on Fortune’s website brings up a valid point. Even if you follow all of the FAA regulations in regards to flying your drone, you could end up getting fined or even arrested. Why you ask? Well the answer is simple. Because certain States and municipalities have taken it upon themselves to make their own drone laws apart from FAA regulations that carry separate punishments.
So before you fly, you might want to double check the local laws. Bard College has an excellent online resource that tracks local laws. So far the have registered 135 laws across 31 States. They also highlight 24 local areas where jail time is even possible for illegal drone use.
Another great source to is the Drone Law Today blog. They offer a comprehensive book of State laws available for free. They also have an excellent YouTube course that explains the basics of drone law.
Every month more such laws are being introduced so it’s important to keep up to date. It is also important to note that the FAA is against these local laws because it will create a patchwork of regulations that could created useful standards difficult.
In the “State and Local Regulation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Fact Sheet” written by the Federal Aviation Administration Office of the Chief Counsel in December of 2015 it states: “Substantial air safety issues are raised when state or local governments attempt to regulate the operation or flight of aircraft. If one or two municipalities enacted ordinances regulating UAS in the navigable airspace and a significant number of municipalities followed suit, fractionalized control of the navigable airspace could result. In turn, this ‘patchwork quilt’ of differing restrictions could severely limit the flexibility of FAA in controlling the airspace and flight patterns, and ensuring safety and an efficient air traffic flow. A navigable airspace free from inconsistent state and local restrictions is essential to the maintenance of a safe and sound air transportation system.”