Regulating Drones and Protecting Privacy
Posted by Councilmember Englander on October 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM
This Wednesday, the City Council unanimously passed the August motion, co-authored by Council President Herb Wesson and myself, aimed at bringing sensible regulation to the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the City of Los Angeles.
The motion limits drone operation within 5 miles of an airport, requires the operator to maintain visual line of sight on the drone while operating, limits flight height to below 400 feet above the Earth’s surface, prohibits night flight and operating in the flight path of manned aircraft.
Over the past several years UAS, often referred to as drones, have become increasingly popular and affordable. It is estimated that over 2 million drones were sold last year alone with drone sales increasing each year. As their numbers have increased, so too have their impacts. Often, operators of these devices fly them in dangerous ways such as operating them over crowds or in the flight paths of manned aircraft. Recent reports have documented UAS being operated over wildfires interfering with fire suppression as well as commercial aircraft in their approach to LAX. This trend is expected to continue and accelerate. Experts estimate that within five to ten years there will be over 100,000 UAS in the skies over Los Angeles at any time.
Recent reports have documented UAS being operated over wildfires interfering with fire suppression as well as commercial aircraft in their approach to LAX. Fire departments across the state have been forced to stop or postpone air drops on fires, severely hampering fire suppression efforts. It is important to educate the public about drone operation. A midair collision with a drone can crash a helicopter or aircraft.
Click here to read the LA Times story.
-Mitchell Englander, Chair of the Public Safety Committee