When it comes to hashing out urban drone law, it’s unclear whether the FAA and local governments are on the same page. Mike Slack, the managing partner & co-founder of Slack Davis Sanger, told Texas Lawyer that he doubts the FAA and cities have had any serious discussions to date. He described the challenges to privacy, air safety, and commercial operation that are present with the lack of coordination between the federal agency and local governments.
“At some point, when we get commercial pressure on utilizing drones to make deliveries, there’s going to have to be an interaction between city leaders and the feds in shaping and defining the permissible quarters and permissible airspace utilization in a safe manner,” Slack predicted.
“The FAA has done nothing to equip the cities and the counties to address their problems—and that can be everything from privacy issues, annoyance, harassment, or just simply something like kids flying drones over stadiums or from the frat house to the sorority house,” he said. “All of those things already take place in every city, especially where there’s a university, and yet nobody really knows how to deal with that.”
It’s still kind of the law of the jungle at the local levels, and the FAA really needs to step up and do some education and outreach, and some work, particularly in urban areas, says Slack. In fact, this is primarily an urban area problem that has to be dealt with by the FAA, he said.
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