The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued new rules for hobbyist drone pilots to keep the national airspace safe and available for both manned and unmanned aircraft. Hobbyist or recreational drone pilots are no longer exempt under Section 336 and are now required to follow these new FAA rules and regulations in controlled airspace.
But, what about flying drones in residential areas? This is a question that we hear frequently. The answer is: currently, no Town ordinance prevents a drone from flying over a residence.
We are regulated by federal law regarding restricting certain movement of drones because of federal airspace laws in part (FRN 49 USC44809), but Section 423 of government code Title 4 states in part:
Sec. 423.003. OFFENSE: ILLEGAL USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TO CAPTURE IMAGE. (a) A person commits an offense if the person uses an unmanned aircraft to capture an image of an individual or privately owned real property in this state with the intent to conduct surveillance on the individual or property captured in the image.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the person destroyed the image:
(1) as soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in violation of this section; and
(2) without disclosing, displaying, or distributing the image to a third party.
(d) In this section, "intent" has the meaning assigned by Section 6.03, Penal Code.
If you have questions or concerns about a drone near your property, call the Little Elm Police Department non-emergency number at 214-975-0460.
Read the new rules for drones from the FAA here.