Coddington, Hicks & Danforth

San Francisco Business & Commercial Legal Blog

Are drones a new type of first responders?

The world is increasingly viewing drones as a life-saving device with many potential uses. As the tech continues to grow, so do the inventive ways humans are seeking to use them for good.

There are incredible examples around the world of drone users coming to the rescue. As the tech grows, we hope to see more safety uses for drones. However, drone owners must always make sure they are following the law when operating drones, even for the good of others in order to avoid legal consequences.

FAA rules and regulations to follow to keep your drone legal

Drone technology is advancing at such a rapid speed that existing laws can feel restrictive. However, understanding how current law works can protect users from legal issues.

In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration has a “line of sight rule,” which is important for anyone operating a drone to understand. This rule mandates that drone operators keep the unmanned aircraft within eye shot at all times.

What to know about California drone laws

According to Recode, nearly 800,000 drones are registered with the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in the United States. In response to the increasing number of drones in the sky, the FAA wrote a number of regulations related to the use of drones for both private and commercial use. How are these laws affecting residents of the Golden State?

FAA guidelines restrict when and where you can use a drone including airports and national parks. As the mechanisms of federalism work, California expanding on these restrictions to fit statewide needs.

How drones are affecting delivery services

California is known for being on the forefront of new drug laws in the United States. The legalization of marijuana has spurned new and creative endeavors across the state. Technology drives many of these undertakings via smartphone apps and the blockchain. How does the law affect this kind of innovation?

Companies like Amazon are experimenting with drone delivery. The service is not widespread yet because they are facing obstacles from the Federal Aviation Administration regulations against flying drones for commercial use, but that isn't stopping everyone. At the end of 2017, one California couple pushed the limits of technology and drug laws after allegedly using a drone to deliver controlled substances in Riverside.

Going to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area? Leave your drone at home.

If you own a drone, you would probably enjoy taking it to some of California's most scenic areas in order to get one-of-a-kind pictures. If you want to go to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, however, you ought to leave your drone at home. Otherwise, you could find yourself in some trouble.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area covers around 80,000 acres of beautiful California landscape that includes the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, The Presidio and Alcatraz -- and numerous points between and around those locations. That leaves a lot of area where the National Park Service began prohibiting the use of drones starting in 2014. This includes the Golden Gate Bridge.

Drone owner flings paper fliers over football stadiums

California is no stranger to radical expression of strongly held personal beliefs. Aviation is just one of the many ways messages transmit across a large audience. However, anytime these attempts encroach upon the legal ordinances set in place, a legal matter is certain to arise.

Drone mission failure

FAA requires drone registration, once again

On December 13, 2017, President Trump signed a bill that reinstated the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) drone registry requirement. As a part of the National Defense Authorization Act, if you own a drone weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds, you'll now need to register your aircraft.

The FAA estimates that there will be 2.3 million drones sold this year. With that increase in aircraft, they seek to deploy more strict regulatory measures. The registration rule, however, has found itself on shaky legal ground in the past.

Flying drones near California wildfires prohibited by FAA

The recent outbreak of wildfires ravaging Southern California has made for some stunning imagery. Across the web, photos and video capturing these unruly blazes have gone viral depicting what is often a breathtaking scene. These once-in-a-lifetime shots can be enticing for amateur and professional photographers alike, and you may think this is a perfect occasion to use a drone for aerial shots. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) disagrees.

On Sunday, December 10, the FAA issued several temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) for areas surrounding the Southern California wildfires. These TFRs apply to all aircraft--including drones--that are not a part of firefighting efforts.

What are the no-fly zones for drones?

Look in the sky: It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ... a drone?

Drones, also known as small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), are the newest fun flying machines. But you can't fly a recreational drone just anywhere. So where are the no-fly zones in the airspace? Read on to find out.

Drones: the good, bad and the ugly

Unless you are living under a rock, you have noticed the rapid increase in popularity of drones in recent years. The use of these small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) has become so common that drones are sold not only in specialty stores, but also big box stores. They can be easily purchased online -- by anyone.

Let's look at some positive uses for drones as well as some negative impacts and outcomes that may occur.

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