Holyoke drone regulations move forward

Proposal reviewed by the state's Aeronautics Division

FILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, a drone operated captures videos and still images of an apartment building in Philadelphia. A panel of privacy experts and technology companies organized by the Obama administration has issued guidelines for using drones without being overly intrusive. The suggestions are voluntary, but some business interests involved in the debate hope the guidelines head off tougher regulations that they fear could smother the drone industry in its infancy. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke City Council President Kevin Jourdain told 22News they could pass the proposed drone regulations as early as next month.

The regulations would include requiring drone owners to get written consent from property owners if they plan to fly on or over their property. Drone owners would also be restricted from flying at nighttime.


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The City Council said it’s not just about privacy concerns, it’s also about safety. “Concerns about people sort of buzzing baseball games and other activities that are out in the public that might be distracting and maybe even a safety concern,” said Councilor Linda Vacon.

Jourdain added that Massachusetts’ Aeronautics Division has reviewed the proposal. He expects it to pass in September. Below is a copy of the regulations::

Proposed Drone (UAS) Ordinance, City of Holyoke, In City Council,

  1. Definitions
    1. “Aircraft” shall be defined as any contrivance invented, used, or designed to navigate, or fly in, the air.
    2. “Drone” shall be defined collectively as any unmanned aircraft, unmanned aircraft system, model aircraft, rotorcraft or similar device or aircraft.
    3. “Model Aircraft” shall be defined pursuant to section 336 of Public Law 112-95.
    4. “Rotorcraft” is defined as an aircraft whose support in the air is chiefly derived from the vertical component of the force produced by rotating airfoils. See 702 CMR §2.01.
    5. “Unmanned Aircraft” shall be defined as any unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.
    6. “Unmanned aircraft system” (UAS) shall be defined as an unmanned aircraft and associated elements including communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently.
    7. “Visual line of sight” shall be defined as (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) the operator must use his or her own natural own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight.
  2. Scope
    1. All unmanned aircraft systems, drones, model aircraft and rotorcraft (collectively drones) shall be under the scope of this ordinance to the extent allowed pursuant to state and federal law and regulation.
    2. This ordinance shall be limited to those drones that weigh less than fifty five (55) pounds.
    3. This ordinance shall further be limited in scope to those regulations which are not in conflict with FAA regulations or any applicable state law.
  3. Regulated Activities and Operational Limitations
    1. All drones shall comply with all regulations and operational limitations of the Federal Aviation Administration.
    2. A drone may take off from and land on private property owned by the UAS operator, and as permitted from such private and public property after having received the prior written consent of that property owner.
    3. Any operator of a drone shall:
      1. Shall comply with all regulations and operational limitations of the Federal Aviation Administration.
      2. Maintain at all times a visual line of sight to the drone while operating the drone.
  • Not operate over any persons not directly participating in the operation, not under a covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary vehicle.
  1. Not operate except in daylight-only or civil twilight (30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset, Eastern Standard time) with appropriate anti-collision lighting.
  2. Not photograph or videotape any resident in their own home or on their property without prior written consent of those person or persons.
  3. Not operate over the private property of another unless prior written consent is obtained from the property owner.
  4. Not operate over any property owned by the City of Holyoke unless prior written consent has been obtained by the City of Holyoke.

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