If you're into flying a recreational drone in and around Raleigh parks, you may want to pencil in the Raleigh City Council meeting scheduled on July 13, 2017. The City of Raleigh has proposed operating regulations specific to recreational drone use in city parks that shows an overall theme of PRIVACY. DUN DUN DUN. While most of the proposed regulations mirror both the North Carolina and FAA laws/regs already in existence, some of the proposed regulations add additional burdens and difficulties to recreational drone pilots.
Under the proposed Raleigh Recreational drone regulations, you will not be able to do the following:
- Operate your drone within 50 feet of a public park boundary;
- Operate over people/public events;
- Operate outside designated park hours;
- Operate within a 5-mile radius of an FAA airport (remember this post?);
- Operate higher than 400 feet or outside the visual line-of-sight of the pilot;
- Operate a drone in poor weather conditions;
- Operate a drone while drunk/high/under any illegal influence; or
- Operate for the purpose of harassing wildlife or the public (recall N.C.G.S. §113-295).
Most of the above should sound familiar minus the references to public parks and "designated park hours." Based on the proposed operating regulations, only certain Raleigh parks will allow recreational drone flying. Within each park that allows drones, only certain areas of these parks will actually allow drones in flight. These proposed regulations also provide for schedules in which drones can be flown within these select parks/park areas AND only certain parks will allow drones with attached cameras. See below for the details:
Is there good news? Of course.
For starters, you'll be able to schedule drone playdates with your friends in the "dog park" equivalent for drones. If you live close to a park and have privacy concerns, you should feel good knowing the City of Raleigh has taken your privacy concerns under advisement and are trying to be fair to drone users while protecting the privacy if its citizens. There is also a brief carve-out in the proposed regulations that permits the Department Director to waive the above-mentioned rules (although it is unclear what this process/application may look like). If this bothers you, I suggest you attend the City Council meeting on July 13th at 6pm and make your voice heard. You can also ask your local state representative to be more like Florida.