Saturday, August 8, 2015

Regulations on drones and helicopters proposed

NYC Council/William Alatriste
From Gotham Gazette:

Pointing to insufficient efforts on the part of the Federal Aviation Administration, New York City Council members are taking regulation of the city’s skies into their own hands.

In asserting their authority with respect to helicopters and drones on a turf traditionally maintained by the federal government, council members may find themselves in ambiguous legal territory. But they tell Gotham Gazette that they are acting in the interest of public safety and in part to push other levels of government to act.

Council Members Carlos Menchaca, Helen Rosenthal, and Margaret Chin introduced a legislative package of two bills last month that would prohibit the operation of sightseeing helicopters, citing concerns about noise pollution. The council members are supported by “Stop the Chop NYNJ,” a group of community members who complain the noise from sightseeing helicopters are diminishing quality of life.

“What we’ve tried to do is approach this issue from the perspective of the FAA, from the federal body that’s required to regulate this industry. And we’ve tried so hard to regulate this industry to some avail, but not totally dealing with the problems,” Rosenthal said a press conference in July. “What we’ve done at the City Council is identify a different way to deal with the problem, and that is through the issue of noise. And in fact what the city can do is to ban tourist helicopters...they are responsible for this incessant noise.”

The City Council does not have the authority to regulate airspace over the city in terms of flight patterns— that’s under the purview of the FAA. But the council does have some regulatory power, as Rosenthal referenced.

City Council members have introduced two bills looking to curb the use of drones. One, introduced by Council Member Dan Garodnick would ban drones from the city’s airspace with the exception of NYPD drones that had obtained a warrant. In an interview with Gotham Gazette, Garodnick acknowledged that his bill starts from the “strictest possible place.”

Garodnick said that he believes there is reasonable place and time for drone enthusiasts to operate their unmanned aerial systems, but doesn’t want to “open the floodgates” before tools to enforce regulations exist.

The second bill, introduced by Council Member Paul Vallone, would seek to impose a series of regulations on drone usage.

Vallone’s bill would prohibit using UAVs for surveillance purposes, at night or operating them within five miles of any airport and within a quarter mile of schools, houses of worship, hospitals and “open-air assemblies.” Importantly, it also would require users to operate their drones within their line of sight, a requirement also suggested by the FAA.


Anonymous said...

Instead of touring helicopters, NYC needs touring blimps.
They are a hell of a lot safer, very quiet and could be used to promote tourism to Queens.
An added plus....advertising usage. NYC or any other entity can place their logo, message or emblem on a blimp.
And ideal location for a blimp port? The old College Point airfield.
This makes a lot of sense.
Didn't somebody once propose this good idea years ago? Why wasn't'the it done?

Anonymous said...

Paulie Conehead: "My people arrived in this country from France on a flying ship like this."

georgetheatheist said...

And ideal location for a blimp port?

A masthead at the top of the Queens Plaza Clock Tower.

Anonymous said...

In other words We don't want drones filming us as we take bribes or patronize hookers,with all the politicians going to jail we need some laws that protect Us,you people elected us to rip you off and control you,let us do our job, dam it!!
Do you know how much money a Hair Plug job cost?

Anonymous said...

Blimps make good target practice too!

Alan Gross said...

I recently wrote to a city counsel member proposing legislation to ban helicopter sightseeing. For the past decade and a half or so, I've been unable to find suitable property for a blimp sightseeing venue. Unfortunately, all the sites I felt could work were unavailable for one reason or another. My favorite location was (and still is) the disused Flushing Airport site. Until members of the city council recognize this alternative and recommend a safe and viable piece of property, it will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Back on the July Fourth weekend there was a drone flying up and down Rockaway Beach right over our heads and when I asked the lifeguard supervisor he said the guy does it all the time.He said it was legal as long as it didn't go above 1,000 feet because it might interfere with planes.
Next day in Elmhurst Park a guy had a remote controlled helicopter with a three foot blade that was whirling at high speeds and kids were playing nearby.
I wrote the Park's Dept. to ask what the policy was on these dangerous activities and I received a letter informing me that it is illegal to operate these devices in city parks and beaches except in designated areas.
When I was a kid my father and I would fly our hand controlled plane in the model plane field in Forest Park.I don't see anyone using the field anymore when I drive by.I guess with the remote controlled devices they just don't want to stay in a small area but when they crash people can get hurt. A couple years ago a guy got killed by his own helicopter in an area off the Belt Parkway.
Park dept.says it will inform employees about the regulations.

Anonymous said...

When you have spent a few hundred on these, it's kind of boring to fly them in a spot away from people and aircraft. Being callous about the danger posed goes with the territory.