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Government moves to ban drones in 400 national parksThe National Park Service is taking steps to ban drones from 84 million acres of public lands and waterways, saying the unmanned aircraft annoy visitors, harass wildlife and threaten safety. (www.cbsnews.com) More...
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By the way, I believe your reference to "400 crashes" is to an article headlined "400 Military Drone Crashes Since 2001" that appeared in today's AvWeb. Although I strongly believe that autonomous see-and-avoid is a baseline requirement for introduction of UAVs into civilian airspace, I note that 400 crashes in 13 years is about 31 crashes per year, and that many of those were in war zones, or bad weather, or when the UAV was many hundreds, even thousands of miles from its operator. I think your reference in the context of operations over national parks is misplaced.
first I don't know why they are called drones. I am a quadcopter user and flied many times in parks, beaches, nature and I have never heard anyone complaining, actually I just get "how cool is that", "I love it", "where can I buy one", etc so I guess who ever is making these rules obviously is afraid of being filmed while doing something illegal. I always fly safe, keep distance, never close to airports, and always spotting for any type of danger closing in. now the gov wants to control us from taking pictures from the air, whats next?
Robert, one of the purposes of national parks is "to provide for the enjoyment of the same....: (http://www.nps.gov/aboutus/history.htm) It seems to me that "just for pleasure" signifies enjoyment and that's what national parks are for. Of course, you may mean that you don't like how some people enjoy the park; you'd rather everyone enjoyed it your way. I'm sorry; perhaps you could enjoy the many parts of the park that snowmobiles don't use. Now,in fairness, the rest of that national parks' purpose statement is "in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations," and some people claim that mechanized access is more detrimental than access on foot or mule or covered wagon, but is that really true? An aircraft flying over certainly has less impact on the park than someone on the ground who disturbs rocks and plants and animal habitat by their very presence. In fact, I'd say that a snowmobile, operated responsibly by a person who cares about the park, is less detrimental than a hiker whose not ashamed to snatch a fossil as a souvenir or agitate an animal to get a selfie. Banning forms of access is wrong; national parks belong to all the American people - access can and should be arranged to provide for the enjoyment of all the people.
Perhaps I'm being slightly paranoid,but perhaps the US Government has motives other than protecting the flora and fauna. I believe that it is possible that several areas of parkland in the US also possibly house constructions that are meant to be kept from prying eyes. The overfly restrictions also help to maintain secrecy without disclosing the true reason for the restrictions.
A ban is unnecessary and inappropriate. Far more fair to all users of national parks would be a set of sensible limitations developed in coordination with FAA and user groups. A limit such as "no operation of UAVs within 500 feet of any person on the ground without each person's express written permission" would accommodate park users who want their activities recorded. "No operation within 500 feet of protected animals that are visible from 500 feet" would protect both wildlife from aircraft and aircraft from overzealous enforcement. Minimum altitudes might be established by a formula based on size of UAV and decibels emitted at cruise power. Such limitations would be fair, appropriate and enforceable and far preferable to a blanket ban. Many potential users of national parks cannot experience the parks because of handicaps or finances. Any technology that makes national park vistas more accessible should be encouraged, not banned.
Are there any existing noise ordinances in these parks that these drones would be violating, or are they actually below those limits? Some of those motorhome generators can get pretty loud and are sometimes restricted too.