Senator Feinstein just authored a bill to give local jurisdictions regulatory authority over all aspects of sUAS and Model Aircraft

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Proposed Bill


This bill aims to allow local jurisdictions such as states, counties, cities, towns the right to control airspace for sUAS purposes.  Commercial art 107 and hobbyists will affected.


What will this potentially cause?

  • A concentric ring of laws that may contradict each other.
  • Proposes 200 foot standoff from any private property as a minimum federal guideline.  This will shut down closed set filming in close areas where you already have to get film permits.  It will kill anyone wanting to do real estate shots.  
  • It will cause added confusion and extra bureaucracy to already arduous and complex set of rules and standards to operate in. 
  • It will make it harder or shops trying to comply while opening further opportunities for those wishing to ignore the rules.

How can you have a conflicting guidance?  Well you could have a job to fly in an area where you are inside 200 feet of someones property.  By this law you would have to climb your aircraft to 200 feet AGL or higher.  But it might be in controlled airspace where you have an ATC authorization to a max of 100 feet AGL because that might be the highest level you can fly at due to proximity of an airport.  So in effect you cant fly.

Local jurisdictions already have a method to regulate drone use.  The loophole is the launch and recovery of them.  And for certain operations such as closed set filming they can and have already established permits.  Extra rules from different departments will further what acceptable and what is not.

What really needs to happen, IMO?  Congress needs to let the FAA codify model aircraft rules, treat them like ultralite manned aircraft in Part 91 but in the Part 107. This will make on simple set of rules that will not be arbitrary and piece milled sets of rules, guidance and advisories.

What can you do?  Write your two senators.  I would suggest a hard copy as that will make more of an impression if their staff offices are being flooded with thousands of physical envelopes, versus simply just writing e-mails which are easier to ignore.  

If you stay silent it may happen.  BTW, this is by partisan it is being co sponsored by Tom Cotton.  Tom Cotton politically is on the far opposite fringe of the right political spectrum to Feinstein being on the far left.  So this is not a liberal versus conservative issue.  

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First, I don't dislike Feinstein, I despise Feinstein. She and Putin should write a book on the perfect government. She didn't anymore write this bill than I did. But someone must step up to the plate and assist 'experts' to clarify personal rights versus drone-owner rights before this blows up in our faces and our drones get shot out of the air with no recourse. Regulation is coming and we must learn to condemn and force out peeping toms while at the same time allowing legitimate hobby and commercial users as much latitude (npi) as possible - but not at the expense of privacy and other personal liberties. These days of fly anywhere, video anything will be over soon, one way or the other. If you cannot fly a helicopter on my place and take video, your drone cannot either. And it's my right to remove it by any means I deem necessary (without personal injury) - with no recourse from the UAV owner or any govt. Pretty much, without special permission (and 107), you should only fly over your own property or any govt property unless designated as "UAV denied." Not on anyone else's property (w/o perm) or lower than 200' above it. Americans are not going to give up basic civil liberties so we can fly our UAV and video when and where we want to. They will go back to chopper video, manual inspections and 'ground photos' of real estate. Pilots/owners will need to learn to advise and assist the army of "regulation writers" and negotiate appropriate rules or UAVs as we know them (and use them) will be gone with the stroke of a pen.

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If the incident that triggered Feinstein was seeing a drone right outside her window, then going after 200ft is a bit excessive. At even 100ft, what sUAV could pose a threat really? However, I am of the opinion that better regulation is part of the needed effort to build a better reputation for commercial & professional drones, like what Bubba discussed. Also, I believe that a state or local community should have the right to regulate what happens in their own areas when it concerns something as personal as drones. So, with that said, if the area of jurisdiction proposed was more reasonable, like say 20ft or even 30ft, it would keep both ends of the spectrum happy. As far as I can tell, with something more like that, professional drones can still do most of the work they want while not posing any real harm or threat to people or their environment, and home and property owners don't really need to worry about trespassing or privacy violations (given the states implement laws we expect them to). Even starting off with a complete ban of drones within that jurisdiction, it's not too bad, and with time and engagement from respectable drone-user entities, those laws would improve to better reflect the reality.

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First, we introduce a law that Senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen (especially Diane NotSo Fine Stein) can't dye their hair AND that members of the Supreme Court must retire at age 65. 

If commercial pilots (aircraft) are forced to retire and quit flying, no judge should be sitting on the bench.  And Feinstein shouldn't have access to hair coloring (goes for Trump too...) ?

If the above passes, then and only then might we consider moving regulation of UAVs to states, counties and municipalities.

Edited by Luke Warm
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The ignorant left and ignorant right are now taking it upon themselves to muddying the waters and allowing anyone and everyone to regulate our industry. The result will be that the regulations in place that for the most part work and everyone knows (or should) gets replaced by local, county, state regulations that make it even more difficult to know and operate under making unmanned aviation the opposite of what it currently is; safe.

Let politicians do what politicians do best: not think, not inhale and not work for the greater good. Leave the rest to professionals.

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Dear Friends:  The proposal by Senator Feinstein is fraught with flaws and vagueness  but unfortunately  represents issues raised nationwide by many who are not fully informed.  .Its not simply California.  I wrote the following letter, mailed this weekend to the Senator. 






Edited by jonathan atkin
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  • 2 weeks later...

I hate to say this, but it sounds to me like this legislation was written this way because they (who wrote the legislation) simply do not want any drones in their area....but don't want to outright say it. It's a shame it is written in the manner it was and disturbs me to no end. The fact that both sides of the political spectrum are involved also scares me. 

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