Must-Know Drone Laws in California

Must-Know Drone Laws in California

The drone market is growing by the minute, as more unmanned aircraft are deployed for various purposes. Some are flown all for fun, while some drones are used to solve real-life issues. A good example is Zipline and their medical delivery drones. India, too, is now using drones to help curb the dire rate of deaths by drowning.

But despite the growing popularity of drones and the benefits they offer, many people are still unimpressed, saying they aren’t the best pragmatic solution and citing security as the biggest issue. It is for this that the legislative body is forced to impose limits on when, where, and how drones can only be used.

However, filtering relevant information in the 14 CFR Part 107—Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems can be a real challenge, even for a drone enthusiast. And the federal governments’ failure to add separate clauses pertaining to drone regulation only makes identifying fly zones in each state more burdensome than it already is. But thankfully, it’s not impossibly hard to comprehend either. This article’s here to help you understand these rules better, particularly the drone laws in California, one of the states with the highest number of registered UAVs.

Drone Laws in California, USA

As with the state of New York and other states in the US, California follows the same provisions in Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Hence, in order for drone pilots to operate drones in California, they must meet the requirements set by the FAA.

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Drone Laws California 2018

The rules governing the use of drones differ based on what they are used for.

  • Commercial use
    • The drone must be registered with the FAA, the pilot must be an FAA-certified drone pilot, and both drone and pilot must follow the rules declared in Part 107.
  • Government use
    • The government can operate as civil operators (governed by regulations of National Airspace System) or public aircraft pilots (through part 107 of FAA). For the latter, a Certificate of Authorization (COA) must be obtained.
  • Other uses
    • When operating beyond the provisions of the FAA, the pilot operating the drone must appeal a Part 107 Waiver to be exempted from the rules.

Local Drone Laws in California

It is important to note that the 1787 US Constitution still supersedes any resolutions, which must also be formulated within its principles just like Part 107. Hence, the FAA’s drone code is always inferior to the Constitution, but higher-ranking than local ordinances.

Local Drone Laws in California

However, if Part 107 is inadequate, incompetent, and underachieving, the states and local governments can release drone-related ordinances that uphold the Constitution, as well as FAA’s regulation, without undermining or contradicting both.

As a result, the state of Califonia has three state-wide laws pertaining to the use of drones in the state.

  • Senate Bill 807, approved September 29, 2016

    This bill provides immunity from civil blame to emergency respondents who unintentionally damaged a drone while rendering medical or nonmedical care.

  • Assembly Bill 1680, approved September 29, 2016

    This bill penalizes drone pilots operating at the scene of an emergency, which in turn hampers or delays the medical or nonmedical care or the respondents providing such. In this case, the drone pilot is guilty of a misdemeanor.

  • Assembly Bill 856, approved October 6, 2015

    This bill prohibits the use of drones for the purpose of trespassing into a person’s land or property to capture images, sound recordings, or other data. And so long as the person finds the manner offensive, the pilot is liable of physical invasion of privacy.

Due to the complexities of the national drone policy and local ordinances, the FAA strongly suggests communicating with them to avoid committing an offense.

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