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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S NACo


Up until 2014, approximately 430,000 drones were sold to U.S. consumers. But the market has taken off since then,


In


2016, more than 1 million drones were purchased. Chances are, your neighbor or relative owns a drone. Te FAA, cognizant of the rapid expansion of this technology, issued a formal rule in June 2016 regarding drone operations, known as Part 107. It detailed what drone pilots can or cannot do, such as stating the pilot must be able to see the drone at all times during flight (a visual line of sight), mandating flights can only take place during daylight and designating a maximum speed and altitude, among many others. While released in the name of safety, Part 107 does not answer all concerns posed by county government. In August 2016, the FAA announced it was creating a Drone


Advisory Committee. Tis committee would officially provide recommendations to the FAA for future regulations and rulemak- ing. With over 400 applicants, NACo was successful in having one of its own, former Riley County, Kan. commissioner Robert Boyd, appointed to this committee. Its members — including the drone industry, drone technology, federal advocacy and other stakeholders — began meeting in October 2016. Privacy, governance and federal pre-emption are issues that matter most to county government. Since its inception, the FAA has controlled the skies, from the blade of grass in one’s backyard, to the heavens.


While this has held true for manned aircraft, local governments


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have had some control in terms of ordinances and laws control- ling certain aspects of flights. For example, while local govern- ment cannot claim jurisdiction of aircraft flight, it can control where that aircraft takes off from and can control the times of day when takeoff and landing are permitted. No-fly zones, while federally regulated, have been requested by lo-


cal governments for sensitive infrastructure and special events. Te same principle should apply to drone flight, where the ease of access is much simpler since anyone can walk into a store and buy a drone. County governments, while proponents of drone technology,


are on the front line of responding to UAS issues, being respon- sible for certain enforcement. While not specifically mandated by the FAA, law enforcement must attend to laws being broken, whether they be with a car, bike or drone. Airports must rely on law enforcement to ensure drones do not veer into takeoff and landing approaches and protected airspace. Local police must take the call when privacy is invaded.


It is


for these and many other reasons that local governments must be actively involved with federal stakeholders as these laws formulate. While everyone agrees drones are here to stay, local govern-


ment’s role will continue to be of the utmost importance in pol- icy implementation. Trough education and collaboration with federal stakeholders, an environment that protects the public while allowing UAS enthusiasts to safely control their craft, can be reached.


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This publication was made possible with the support of these advertising


partners who have helped to underwrite the cost of


County Lines. They deserve your consideration and


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please call Christy L. Smith at (501) 372-7550.


50


COUNTY LINES, WINTER 2017


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