DRONE FLYING IS PROBLEMATIC IN ARIZONA
Flying drones for commercial purposes is still a matter of debate at federal level. But for recreational drone operators, the situation seems to be murky.
Two Arizona communities, Paradise Valley and Phoenix are taking local regulations up a notch in light of privacy violation concerns. Unmanned air vehicles have greatly increased in popularity, with hobbyists flying them increasingly often.
But Phoenix, as well as Paradise Valley legislators deem drones, particularly those carrying a camera rather illegal for infringing on residents’ privacy.
Paradise Valley for instance is currently looking into delivering an ordinance that makes flying drones without a permit illegal. Of course, commercial operators would be left out of this restrictive regulation.
The Mayor of Paradise Valley, Michael Collins stated:
“Our residents move to Paradise Valley because they like the privacy. They like the large lots. They like the distance between neighbors. They like the dark quiet skies and they really cherish the quality of life that brings.”
In Phoenix, privacy takes a prime place as well. Sal DiCiccio and Michael Nowakowski, both councilmen in Phoenix drafted an ordinance that looks at safeguarding residents’ privacy above all.
Drone flying is prohibited to be used for recording of filming other residents without their consent. The draft is pending until federal legislation comes to clear the ground for commercial drones.
Across the U.S. the same concerns have been mirrored time and time again. Not only are drones deemed the perfect means for spying on your neighbor, they are also unsafe considering the altitudes they can reach.
The unmanned air vehicles are seen as a danger to aircrafts, into which they could collide, as well as to people who could suffer from a drone crash or distracting their attention while driving.
While it is understandable a legal framework must ensue with view to drone flying either for commercial purposes or simply recreational, these fears seem overblown. Taking one worst case scenario and basing regulations on the possible outcomes is being overly cautious.
Drones, or unmanned air vehicles have proven their efficiency under a multitude of scenarios and could provide great aid for more sectors than the military, where the technology first took off.
Drones equipped with cameras can efficiently map vast territories, inspect and provide air surveillance. Visualization is a powerful economical tool. For market development, the unmanned air vehicles seem to hold the key.
It was the military that used unmanned air vehicles in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompting the public’s interest in drones. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems logged 3 million flight hours, out of which 80 percent were logged in Iran and Afghanistan.
It only took one more step for drones to become a key tool for other industries as well. Police departments, border police, the oil and gas industry are just a few examples of sectors where drones have proved their utility.
To this extent, commercial drone use awaits federal regulations to be developed and enacted. Meanwhile, hobbyists flying the unmanned air vehicles for recreational purposes do not need the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Nonetheless, as in the case of Phoenix and Paradise Valley, local communities and 25 states have so far enacted laws that address drone flying, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.