The attractions industry has an interest in the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for safety inspection and entertainment purposes. It also has an interest in protecting the safety of its guests and workers by strictly limiting the use of unauthorized drones above an attractions facility.
The “FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012” called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS) by September 30, 2015. While the deadline was missed, the FAA is moving in this direction. Notably they have:
- On June 21, issued a final rulemaking on the commercial use of small UAS;
- Established a UAS registration; set-up and begun issuing commercial UAS exemptions (Section 333);
- Established an aviation rulemaking committee set up issue recommendations this April;
- Increased altitude authorizations for commercial UAS Section 333 exemption holders;
- Increased outreach and education efforts such as the “No Drone” Zone” campaign.
On July 15, President Obama signed into law, H.R. 636, a FAA extension bill, which will provide authority for FAA programs through Sept. 30, 2017. The bill also includes provisions related to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones.
IAAPA successfully advocated to Congress for necessary industry protections to prevent unauthorized third party use of UAS in or near amusement parks and attractions facilities.
Specifically, Section 2209. Applications for Designation of the bill will:
- Require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish a process to allow fixed-site facilities (which include amusement parks) to petition the FAA Administrator to prohibit or restrict the operation of UAS in close proximity to their property;
- Mandate the FAA Administrator consider aviation safety, protection of persons and property on the ground, and national security or homeland security in making its determination; and
- Allow a property owner to file an application to operate UAS over their property.