New UAS Laws Take Effect in North Carolina on Dec. 1

Two unmanned aircraft system (UAS) laws that were passed in July in North Carolina will take effect on Friday, Dec. 1, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has announced.

H.B.128 prohibits drone use near prisons, jails, and any other correction or containment facility, the department says. “Near” is defined as a horizontal distance of 500 feet or a vertical distance of 250 feet. Signs will be placed around facilities to remind drone users of the boundaries.

On the other hand, according to the NCDOT, H.B.337 revises existing state drone laws: The language of the law has been changed to clarify that UAS laws will now apply to model aircraft, as well. Model aircraft users are still exempt from the state’s permitting requirements, the department notes. (North Carolina requires UAS pilots to have a separate operator permit if they are flying for commercial purposes or if they are a government organization.)

The NCDOT says other revisions in the law loosen restrictions on the use of UAS in emergency management. The law permits emergency management agencies to use drones for all activities related to emergency management and removes a restriction on the use of special imaging technology; the use of technologies such as thermal cameras was previously only permitted for scientific purposes.

The state’s UAS Knowledge Test Study Guide has been updated to reflect these changes and is available on the N.C. Division of Aviation website, the NCDOT says.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Are there no laws that make it a crime to deliver contraband into a prison?

    If it’s already illegal, then why do you need a new law just because of the method used to deliver the contraband material? Is it to fuel your fear of personal drones? Is it to justify your paranoia over personal drones?

    Maybe the legislators missed their memo from the FAA: https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=84369

    The FAA has exclusive sovereignty of all airspace.
    49 USC § 40103 – Sovereignty and use of airspace
    (a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit.—
    (1) The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.

    Only the FAA may regulate flight.
    Only the FAA may create a no-fly-zone

  2. Pure politics. Local politicians committed $5M to make NC the epicenter of the drone industry then did nothing with it. The money was to flow through DOT to the NextGen Air Transport Center. However, they decided to hold that money indefinitely and never doled it out. Several years later they are still sitting on that cash. Part of the problem is nobody at DOT knows anything about the industry or technology but they like having that slush cash available. This was just a lame attempt to look like they are doing something with it.

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