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California Strikes Down Drone Regulations

October 28, 2015 Hastings and Hastings

Drones are becoming more a more widely seen. They are already extremely popular in recreational circles around the world and it is likely that they are soon to become vital in business as well. They are mobile, quick, fun, can fly, and can be controlled by remote control. They are certainly interesting devices, and funny enough, they are also divisive devices. California Governor Jerry Brown recently stated, “Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination.”

Current California Restrictions

Currently, flying drones have a reasonable amount of freedom to navigate through the air. Regulations are different for commercial and recreational drones. As of now, FAA regulations prohibit recreational drones from flying about 400 feet. They must also stay a reasonable distance above homes and commercial buildings. There are also restrictions in place as to where drones are permitted to take off and land.

New Proposed Restrictions

A new bill was recently proposed which would have severely limited the air space available to both commercial and hobbyist drones. The proposed bill would have made it illegal for drones to fly lower than 350 feet above private property, without first gaining permission. Recreational drones are not allowed to exceed 400 feet, while commercial drones may soon not be permitted to exceed 500 feet. The proposed bill would have afforded drones a rather narrow ribbon of airspace.

Striking Down the Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown struck down the restrictive bill. Drone technology is very exciting and offers both hobbyists and businesses a nearly infinite number of interesting opportunities. Gov. Brown wanted nothing to do with stifling the growth of the drone industry. It appears that state regulations may have little power over drones anyway. The FAA has stated that it has sole authority over airspace and that it alone can dictate and regulate traffic. Either way, it seems the air above us is becoming an increasingly crowded and interesting place indeed.