North Carolina Legislative committee approves proposed law to regulate “drones”

(Posted by Patrick Gannon on April 23, 2014 –  (SEE MY COMMENTS AT THE END)

Proposed legislation regulating drone use in North Carolina would open the door for use of the unmanned aircraft by government agencies and for commercial flights once the Federal Aviation Administration allows them.

The draft legislation, approved unanimously Wednesday by the House Committee on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, includes proposed regulations that lawmakers said were intended to protect residents’ privacy, while at the same time allowing government agencies to use drones for legitimate purposes and putting North Carolina at the forefront of an emerging new industry.
Welcome-North-CarolinaRep. John Torbett, a Gaston County Republican and co-chairman of the drone committee, said he expected the legislation to be considered in the General Assembly’s short session, which begins May 14.

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The legislation would require the state Aviation Division to develop a knowledge and skills test, which all drone operators must pass. The test must be ready by Feb. 1, 2015. The law would require licenses for commercial operation of drones. Licensees would have to be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license from any state or U.S. territory and pass the drone test. The proposal directs the Aviation Division to immediately begin developing the licensing system so it’s ready soon after the FAA authorizes commercial drone flights.

Illegal commercial use of a drone would be an infraction on first offense and a misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.

Lawmakers said they would continue to work to improve the legislation as the session nears.

View the draft legislation here:.2014 UAS report FINAL (PDF)

Question: If it took only a few weeks for North Carolina to come up with their proposed rules, why has it taken the FAA more than 10 years…?

And…. why does North Carolina think it needs to add one more hurdle for sUAV operators over and above any future requirements by the FAA? Does North Carolina require private pilots or airline pilots to pass a separate state test to fly in North Carolina? What about a UAV that crosses a state line from another jurisdiction? Whose idea was this anyway? Approved unanimously? Nobody thinks twice about overriding jurisdiction from a federal agency?

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