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Austin Declared a Drone-Free Zone During SXSW 46

itwbennett writes Organizers of SXSW said this week that flying of drones is banned for safety reasons. 'The airwaves and/or frequency spectrums generally used in the remote control of drones are too congested during the popular event to ensure operation safe from interference,' they said in a statement. The Austin Police Department will be watching for drones in crowded or public areas and anyone flying one could have it seized, the organizers warned.
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Austin Declared a Drone-Free Zone During SXSW

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I think i care more about homeopathy than this shit.

  • FCC and FAA (Score:2, Troll)

    by BobSutan ( 467781 )

    Under who's authority? Has anyone ran this ban past the FCC and/or FAA? You know, the controlling agencies for radio frequencies and the nation's air space?

    I question the police's unilateral authority on this to just up and arrest RC operators willy nilly without a crime having been committed. At best someone may be guilty of trespassing if they are operating one on the property, but if they're not and just fly one overhead and take pics/video, then what?

    • Under who's authority?

      The city of Austin, the State of Texas, and probably whatever county Austin is in.

      I question the police's unilateral authority on this to just up and arrest RC operators willy nilly without a crime having been committed.

      Reckless endangerment. But the story doesn't say anyone is being arrested. It says the device will be confiscated.

      but if they're not and just fly one overhead and take pics/video, then what?

      Operation of an aircraft in a reckless manner, below the minimum altitude over a populated area. Both FAA regulations.

      • Re:FCC and FAA (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Gordo_1 ( 256312 ) on Thursday March 12, 2015 @06:45PM (#49245631)

        OK, but are local police allowed to unilaterally enforce FAA regulations without say the FAA being involved (which I don't know, but assume is the case here)?

        • Austin, as usual, is full of shit.

        • Short answer: no. But if you're on the ground they probably don't need to, strictly speaking.

          Much better to be in the plane and refuse to land. Don't be like this guy [aopa.org] and cooperate. Though if he didn't land, apparently Sgt. Yosemite Sam was going to start firing his handgun at the glider 3000 feet in the air (and hoping the bullets went... where, exactly, when they missed?) so take that with a grain of salt.

          There are two powers that can compel a plane to land: 1) the FAA and 2) a military intercept (which i

        • You will find reckless endangerment statutes all over the place, not just in the FAA regs. If you taxi an airplane off the taxiway and head for a group of people on the ramp you don't need to wait for the FAA to arrest you, the local cops will be happy to do that for breaking local laws. Even if the group of people are standing on the taxiway.

          I already pointed out the jurisdiction that would be involved, more than just the FAA. I also pointed out two FAA regs that were relevant, which would provide support

  • mine. all mine.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What if you train a mouse to fly a miniature aircraft and have it fly around SXSW, is that allowed?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They could insert all the memories and learning they need into this mouse. According to my understandings

  • The city council could pass an ordinance, which APD could then enforce, but as it stands, unless the ordinance has been passed recently, no such ordinance exists.

    That said, the parks and recreation department did recently decide to ban all R/C airplanes in all parks [austintexas.gov] (page 11), with the only current exceptions being the HCAM and ARCA fields. That said, those rules only apply to parks -- if you fly from a street, or your driveway or a school or something, they don't apply.

    (Oddly enough, I don't think anybody

    • The city council could pass an ordinance, which APD could then enforce, but as it stands, unless the ordinance has been passed recently, no such ordinance exists.

      From here: [droneshield.org]

      August 30, 2014 -- Austin, TX -- UT Police detain operators of two drones flying over stadium during football game. Possible charges include reckless conduct. Texas law Sec. A 423.003. Illegal use of unmanned aircraft to capture image may also apply.

      City police can enforce state laws.

      • by dougmc ( 70836 )

        423.003 [state.tx.us] likely did not apply there, because that's not really private property and I doubt the intent was to "conduct surveillance". (The term has a specific legal definition -- "Observation and collection of data to provide evidence for a purpose" -- and I'm not sure Texas has a more specific definition. Is looking for a cool picture "providing evidence"?)

        Also note that APD's supposed ban says nothing of cameras, only of "drones". (No, contrary to what the media may tell us, R/C aircraft do not all hav

    • by dougmc ( 70836 )

      Turns out I was wrong here -- the ordinance does already exist [municode.com] :

      13-1-1 - DEFINITIONS. ...
      (6) AIRCRAFT means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air.

      13-1-11 - CERTIFICATION REQUIRED.
      (A) This section does not apply to a person properly assigned to operate an aircraft by military authority.
      (B) A person may not operate an aircraft in or over the corporate limits of the city unless:
      (1)the person has an airman's certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration; and
      (2)the aircraft the person is operating has received a certificate of air worthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration.
      (C)The operator of an aircraft in the corporate limits of the city shall deliver the operator's airman's certificate and the aircraft's certificate of air worthiness to a police officer or airport official on demand.
      Source: 2003 Code Section 13-1-4; 1992 Code Section 17-2-4; Ord. 040729-16.

      Of course, that ordinance is so vague that it effectively bans all hobbyist R/C airplanes in the city -- including at the two R/C club fields in town -- all the time, not just just during SXSW. It also bans paper airplanes. And kites [abckitefestival.com]. And frisbees too. (Letting your bird fly is OK, however, as birds are not devices.)

      And it's been this way since at least 2003, though I don't think anybody really thought that it might apply to all of these th

  • anyone flying one could have it seized, the organizers warned

    But if someone is flying it, it's not a drone...

  • So tell me again how a music festival is going to congest the airwaves and spectrum? Lets get specific. Are they suggesting that their equipment will drown out all 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz signals? What about those people flying drones on UHF or VHF? Are they suggesting that those frequencies will be drowned out too? How about autonomous drones that return to home when there's a disconnection with the receiver? Are they blotting out the GPS signals that drones can use for autonomous flight?

    Either the premise is an ab

    • So tell me again how a music festival is going to congest the airwaves and spectrum? Lets get specific. Are they suggesting that their equipment will drown out all 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz signals?

      Yes.

      So do not sit in front of the speakers, unless you want to be microwaved to death.

  • I wish we could ban the hipsters as well.
  • They should man up and admit that they hate bagpipes, rather than just outlawing the drones.

    (Of course, if they did that, they might lose half a dozen attendees.)

  • ...that what they really want is to keep people from using drones to film stuff if they didn't pay to see. Their reasoning is bullshit otherwise.

    As for FAA regs, yeah, whatever. I don't think any of what's been posted so far could successfully be used in court unless you really acted like a tool while using a drone over SXSW. Good luck catching the operator unless they're a moron and standing right outside the fences. Most drones are too quick and agile to be followed, and there is very little they can do t

  • What is this? A city ordinance? Are we talking about a $500 fine? Could you actually face jail time for flying your drone? The stories I've looked at say yes. But also interesting, Chaotic Moons Studios have loudly protested the ban since the ban has grounded their drone- Drone Tyrone. http://venturebeat.com/2015/03... [venturebeat.com] Apparently it can shoot silly string, spray paint and a 3 foot flame. Also, Bryce Bencivengo, Austin’s senior public information officer, has said some exceptions will be made for some

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