It’s a Bird…It’s a Drone…It’s a Bird and a Drone?

According to a recent CNN report, Dutch police are utilizing eagles to snatch drones out of the sky. Although the United States has not yet employed birds as drone predators, with the recent influx of drones into public skies, cities across America are taking an aggressive legislative approach to regulating unmanned aircraft systems.

For example, in recent weeks, West Hollywood, California, has implemented new ordinances, in conjunction with FAA drone regulations, which tightly restrict the permitted uses and flight paths of drones in its city. After a series of West Hollywood drone miscues—including a drone which flew into power lines, knocking out power to the city; drones which have been used as “peeping toms”; and a drone which forced an LAPD air unit to change its landing path—the Los Angeles Times reports that the city cracked down on the rights of unmanned aircraft enthusiasts to fly their drones in West Hollywood airspace.

Navigating the world of drone regulations and statutes is complex and presents legal quagmires for debate. To address some of the most common drone pitfalls, the FAA has partnered with industry associations to create the Know Before You Fly campaign. Additionally, the FAA has created a smartphone app, B4UFLY, which aids unmanned aircraft operators in determining whether there are any restrictions or requirements in effect at the location where they want to fly.

At Cruser Mitchell, LLP, our Drone Litigation Team can assist you in complying with local ordinances and federal regulations with respect to unmanned aircraft systems.