Yesterday the FAA issued a Fact Sheet regarding federal regulations on drone use and the need for states and localities to make sure that any legislation consider to be consistent with that.
The FAA noted in their introduction that increasingly state and local government are looking at regulations for UAS with 45 states considering restrictions. They also note that public comments received by the FAA express “concern about the possible impact of state and local laws on UAS operations.”
The document cites its “authority to regulate the areas of airspace use, management and efficiency, air traffic control, safety, navigational facilities, and aircraft noise at its source.” The operative word is “authority” and the FAA make clear they have it and explain why any state or municipal UAS laws need to follow the FAA.
Substantial air safety issues are raised when state or local governments attempt to regulate the operation or flight of aircraft . If one or two municipalities enacted ordinances regulating UAS in the navigable airspace and a significant number of municipalities followed suit, fractionalized control of the navigable airspace could result. In turn, this ‘patchwork quilt’ of differing restrictions could severely limit the flexibility of FAA in controlling the airspace and flight patterns, and ensuring safety and an efficient air traffic flow. A navigable airspace free from inconsistent state and local restrictions is essential to the maintenance of a safe and sound air transportation system.