FAA official bemoans growing patchwork of state drone laws

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BY: JAMES DREW

The US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) unmanned aircraft systems integration office has cautioned state and local government legislators in America against creating a patchwork of rules and regulations relating to the operation of drones.

Because UAVs are defined by law as aircraft, the FAA’s rules for operating in the national airspace system preempt any state or local ordinances, but a “quirk” in the legal system means laws that are out of step with federal regulations stay in place until challenged in court.

For instance, Nevada passed a law making it an offence to fly drones below 250ft, but the FAA’s proposed small UAS rule would permit flights to a maximum altitude of 500ft and within visual line of sight.

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