Georgia Drone Laws (2017)


NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

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 Current as of July 1, 2017

6-1-4 of Official Code of Georgia Annotated

(a)

(1) As used in this Code section, the term ‘unmanned aircraft system’ means a powered, aerial vehicle that:

(A) Does not carry a human operator and is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft;

(B) Uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;

(C) Can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely; and

(D) Can be expendable or recoverable.

(2) Such term shall not include a satellite.

(b) Any ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state regulating the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems shall be deemed preempted and shall be null, void, and of no force and effect; provided, however, that a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state may:

(1) Enforce any ordinance that was adopted on or before April 1, 2017;

(2) Adopt an ordinance that enforces Federal Aviation Administration restrictions; or

(3) Adopt an ordinance that provides for or prohibits the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property except with respect to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes.

(c) The state, through agency or departmental rules and regulations, may provide for or prohibit the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property.

 

 

The Georgia House passed a resolution (HR 744) to create a committee to look into drones.  The committee issued their report on December 1, 2015.  The report listed out specifically 15 recommendations. While not law, it gives us a “flavor” as to what the Georgia House is thinking.

 

1. Continue to monitor FAA Regulations with regards to registration requirements of hobbyist operators. The committee does not want to duplicate the process or hinder the industry.

2. Form a commission made up of legislators, researchers, industry experts, and others deemed appropriate to help develop policy and encourage industry expansion within the state.

3. Continue to encourage our universities and technical colleges to find ways to get involved by offering classes, certifications, or any other opportunities that may be deemed necessary.

4. Encourage the state and its agencies to use drone technology in areas where it could provide a cost savings or improve safety.

5. Look for opportunities to encourage venture capitalists to help with startups in Georgia.

6. Protect citizen privacy by making it unlawful to video or photograph another person’s property without permission with limited exceptions to this.

7. Prohibit weaponizing a drone. 8. Make it a violation to fly in or around certain locations such as the capitol.

9. Allow local governments to restrict the use of drones on their publically owned land.

10. Make it unlawful to fly around or to interfere with an emergency scene or to interfere with public safety personnel carrying out official duties.

11. Require law enforcement to have a search warrant to use drones in areas to collect evidence where someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

12. Require any videos or photos taken of private property by a government entity without evidentiary value to a specific case to be purged.

13. Make it unlawful to take off from or to recover a drone from private or public property without permission.

14. Prohibit use of drones for hunting and fishing or to use a drone to interfere with someone else that is hunting, fishing, or trapping.

15. Prohibit the use of drones within so many feet of a public road without permission.

The Governor of Georgia issued on November 2nd, 2016 an executive order “That a Commission on Unmanned Aircraft Technology appointed by the Governor is hereby created to make state-level recommendations to the Governor consistent with current FAA regulations as well as the State’s business and public safety interests.”

The Governor appointed to the commission:

  • David Vigilante, Legal Senior Vice President, CNN
  • Christopher Davidson, State Archivist/Assistant Vice Chancellor, Georgia Archives, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
  • Jacob Hinton, Partner, Flyover Services LLC
  • Lewis Massey, Partner, Massey, Watson & Hembree LLC
  • Michael Wall, VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Comcast (Georgia)
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Jonathan Rupprecht

Mr. Rupprecht is an aviation attorney who focuses on drones. Read more about his background as a commercial pilot, flight instructor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University grad, and legal author. He has had media appearances on Forbes, Newsweek, Politico, NPR, Marketwatch, The Independent, Motherboard, and other sources. Feel free to send Jonathan a message here.