More commonly called drones, the terms Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), and Remotely Piloted Vehicle (RPV) all refer to an unmanned aircraft flown by a pilot via a ground control system. The rules and regulations regarding drones and their operation by the City and private citizens are rapidly changing.
If you want more information about FAA drone rules, or to report a drone that is not following those rules, reach out to your local FAA flight standards district office (FSDO).
The FAA's investigators may be able to investigate your report and follow up with the drone operator. Federal Aviation Regulations prohibit the unsafe or unauthorized operation of an aircraft, including drones. Unsafe operations may result in substantial civil penalties and possible action against an operator's FAA-issued certificate, or may be subject to criminal response by law enforcement in accordance with local laws and ordinances.
Portland FSDO 3180 NE Century Blvd Hillsboro, Oregon 97124
City flights conducted by staff with Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA (requiring passing a test including the following topics):
Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
Crew resource management
Radio communication procedures
Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
Aeronautical decision-making and judgment
Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
City of Albany UAS flights shall be undertaken only with an FAA licensed Pilot in Charge (PIC) supervising all UAS operations.
UAS flights shall be undertaken with a designated “Visual Observer” assisting the PIC in identifying hazards, changes in weather conditions or mission critical events.
Visual Observer will assist the operation of UAS by:
Maintaining a clear view of the area of operation.
Communicating with the Pilot In Charge either within speaking distance or with a portable radio/cell phone.
Keeping the Pilot In Charge advised of any possible hazards such as power lines, birds, other aircraft, rocks and hazardous weather conditions.
Ensuring safety by crews:
Before taking off and after landing, the UAS shall be inspected for wear and/ or breakage and shall not be operated if the inspection reveals any wear or breakage that may interfere with control of the UAS.
Before taking off, the PIC shall conduct a visual and audible assessment to ensure no other aircraft are overhead or in the area to be filmed/photographed/observed.
If other aircraft are in the area, the flight is not to be undertaken until the airspace is clear.
The PIC shall not operate higher than 400’ above ground level, at night or outside line of sight without prior authorization from the FAA. Permitted flight times without FAA waiver is ½ hour before official sunrise to ½ hour after official sunset.
The PIC shall avoid flying over people to the extent that can be avoided.
The PIC shall ensure that municipal UAS flight occurs following conditions laid out by the City of Albany Airport Manager.
Use of a UAS shall be coordinated with the incident commander or senior city department personnel on scene.
UAS pilots shall be aware of weather conditions, maintenance conditions of the UAS, flight crew physical readiness and other potential impacts to UAS flight.
Respecting your privacy
Departments must have an authorized purpose to collect photos or video using a UAS or use the UAS-collected photos or video.
Before each flight, city employees must evaluate potential privacy risks (Things such as flight over homes and yards, unintended observation of persons, unintentional capture of license plates, etc) and develop steps to mitigate those risks (things such as using an alternate flight route around homes, not recording until over the mission area or keeping the camera angled away from potential privacy risks).
Should information be incidentally collected that could be used to identify persons or private information, Departments will make every effort to remove all personal identifiable information from raw data footage.
Departments must restrict access to any raw UAS footage it retains to authorized staff. Distribution of raw UAS data is restricted to authorized departments for the purpose of cleansing and processing data only. In all other circumstances, the City may not disclose raw, unprocessed UAS-collected data to the public except for exigent public safety needs or as required by law. The City of Albany’s Public Records Request Forms will be used for public requests for UAS data.