PA – Pennsylvania

Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

Ripening gourds at the vegetable garden display at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Photo courtesy of the CIA World Factbook

Pennsylvania government website just for reference.

The PADOT has a PADOT UAS Page.

Pennsylvania Legislature in case more laws were written since this book was published.

Map courtesy of Wikipedia

Google Earth

Last updated on June 6, 2024

Airspace

In addition to checking the FAA UAS Facility Map or B4UFLY or SkyVector or Google Maps one should consider also FAA JO 7400.10F – Special Use Airspace which is an order, published yearly, providing a listing of all regulatory and non-regulatory special use airspace areas, as well as issued but not yet implemented amendments to those areas established by the FAA.

Special Use Airspace consists of airspace of defined dimensions identified by an area on the surface of the earth wherein activities must be confined because of their nature, or wherein limitations are imposed upon aircraft operations that are not a part of those activities, or both. The vertical limits of special use airspace are measured by designated altitude floors and ceilings expressed as flight levels or as feet above MSL. Unless otherwise specified, the word “to” (an altitude or flight level) means “to and including” (that altitude or flight level). The horizontal limits of special use airspace are measured by boundaries described by geographic coordinates or other appropriate references that clearly define their perimeter. The period of time during which a designation of special use airspace is in effect is stated in the designation. All bearings and radials in this part are true from point of origin. Unless otherwise specified, all mileages in this part are stated as statute miles.

Restricted Areas: No person may operate an aircraft within a restricted area between the designated altitudes and during the time of designation, unless they have the advance permission of:

(a) The using agency described in § 73.15; or

(b) The controlling agency described in § 73.17.

These using agencies may be the agency, organization, or military command whose activity within a restricted area necessitated the area being so designated. Upon the request of the FAA, the using agency shall execute a letter establishing procedures for joint use of a restricted area by the using agency and the controlling agency, under which the using agency would notify the controlling agency whenever the controlling agency may grant permission for transit through the restricted area in accordance with the terms of the letter. The using agency shall:

(1) Schedule activities within the restricted area;

(2) Authorize transit through, or flight within, the restricted area as feasible; and

(3) Contain within the restricted area all activities conducted therein in accordance with the purpose for which it was designated.

For the purposes of this part, the controlling agency is the FAA facility that may authorize transit through or flight within a restricted area in accordance with a joint-use letter issued under § 73.15.

Prohibited Areas: No person may operate an aircraft within a prohibited area unless authorization has been granted by the using agency. For the purpose of this subpart, the using agency is the agency, organization or military command that established the requirements for the prohibited area.

Military Operations Areas: A Military Operations Area (MOA) is airspace established outside of Class A airspace to separate/segregate certain nonhazardous military activities from IFR traffic and to identify for VFR traffic where these activities are conducted. Activities. MOA’s are established to contain certain military activities such as air combat maneuvers, air intercepts, acrobatics, etc.

Alert Areas:  Airspace which may contain a high volume of pilot training activities or an unusual type of aerial activity, neither of which is hazardous to aircraft.

Warning Areas: A non regulatory warning area is airspace of defined dimensions designated over international waters that contains activity which may be hazardous to nonparticipating aircraft. The purpose of such warning areas is to warn nonparticipating pilots of the potential danger. Activities may be hazardous.

National Security Areas: A national security area (NSA) consists of airspace of defined vertical and lateral dimensions established at locations where there is a requirement for increased security of ground facilities. The purpose of such national security areas is to request pilot cooperation by voluntarily avoiding flight through the NSA. When circumstances dictate a need for a greater level of security, flight in an NSA may be temporarily prohibited by regulation under the provisions of 14 CFR Section 99.7, Special Security Instructions. Such prohibitions will be issued by FAA Headquarters and disseminated via the US NOTAM System.

 

 

 

Crewed Aircraft in your Airspace

CREWED AIRCRAFT

Lastly, if you want to be informed about crewed aircraft flying in the vicinity of your drone operation, you can always check with apps like FlightAware or ADS-B Exchange

 

 

18 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 3505

18 PaCS § 3505

Unlawful use of UA.

(a) Offense defined: A person commits the offense of unlawful use of UA if the person uses an UA intentionally or knowingly to:

(1) Conduct surveillance of another person in a private place.

(2) Operate in a manner which places another person in reasonable fear of bodily injury.

(3) Deliver, provide, transmit or furnish contraband in violation of section 5123 (relating to contraband) or 61 Pa.C.S. § 5902 (relating to contraband prohibited).

(b)  Grading: The offense of unlawful use of UA shall be graded as follows:

(1) An offense under subsection (a)(1) or (2) is a summary offense punishable by a fine of up to $300.

(2) An offense under subsection (a)(3) is a felony of the second degree.

(c) Exceptions for law enforcement officers: Subsection (a) shall not apply if the conduct proscribed under subsection (a) is committed by any of the following:

(1) Law enforcement officers engaged in the performance of their official law enforcement duties.

(2) Personnel of the Department of Corrections, local correctional facility, prison, or jail engaged in the performance of their official duties.

(d) Other exceptions: Subsection (a)(1) and (2) shall not apply if the conduct proscribed under subsection (a)(1) or (2) is committed by any of the following:

(1) Firefighters, as defined in section 2 of the act of December 16, 1998 (P.L.980, No.129), known as the Police Officer, Firefighter, Correction Employee and National Guard Member Child Beneficiary Education Act, or special fire police, as provided for in 35 Pa.C.S. Ch. 74 Subch. D (relating to special fire police), engaged in the performance of their official firefighting or fire police duties.

(2) Emergency medical responders, as defined in 35 Pa.C.S. § 8103 (relating to definitions), engaged in the performance of their official duties.

(3) An employee or agent of an electric, water, natural gas or other utility while engaged in the performance of the employee’s or agent’s official duties.

(4) An employee or agent of a government agency while engaged in the performance of the employee’s or agent’s official duties.

(e) Aerial data collection: Subsection (a)(1) shall not apply if the conduct proscribed is committed by a person engaged in aerial data collection if:

(1) the person utilized the UA in a manner which complies with FAA regulations or the UA is authorized by an exemption that is issued by the FAA; and

(2) the person did not knowingly or intentionally conduct surveillance of another person in a private place.

(f) Definitions: As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Bodily injury.”  As defined in section 2301 (relating to definitions).

“Law enforcement officer.”  An officer of the US, of another state or subdivision thereof, or of the Commonwealth or political subdivision thereof, who is empowered by law to conduct investigations of or to make arrests for offenses enumerated in this title or an equivalent crime in another jurisdiction and an attorney authorized by law to prosecute or participate in the prosecution of the offense.

“Private place.”  A place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

“Surveillance.”  Using or causing to be used an UA to observe, record or invade the privacy of another.

“Unmanned aircraft.”  An aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

53 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute § 305

53 PaCS § 305

State Preemption

Local regulation of UA prohibited.

(a) Preemption: The provisions of 18 PaCS § 3505 (relating to unlawful use of UA) shall preempt and supersede any ordinance, resolution, rule or other enactment of a municipality regulating the ownership or operation of UA. As of the effective date of this section, a municipality shall not regulate the ownership or operation of UA unless expressly authorized by statute.

(b) Municipal use: Nothing under 18 PaCS § 3505 shall prohibit a municipality from using UA within the boundaries of the municipality for municipal purposes and regulating that use.

(c) Definition: As used in this section, the term “municipality” shall include a county, city, borough, incorporated town or township or home rule, optional plan or optional charter municipality, any other general purpose unit of government established by the General Assembly, a municipal authority and any entity formed pursuant to Ch. 23 Subch. A (relating to intergovernmental cooperation).

 

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Rules

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

In an effort to balance public safety, privacy concerns, view-shed and sound-shed protection, and FAA rules and regulations with the popular recreational use of drones or other types of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the Bureau of State Parks recently implemented a new management policy.

The bureau permits drone and other UAS use at six designated flying sites within the following state parks:

Beltzville State Park

Benjamin Rush State Park

Hillman State Park

Lackawanna State Park

Prompton State Park

Tuscarora State Park

Drone and UAS operators need to contact the park office of the flying site that they plan to visit to ensure compliance with all rules and regulations.

Please be advised that the entire park at each of these locations is not open to UAS or drone usage. Only the designated flying site within each park is open to UAS use.

The use of drones or other UAS is restricted at all other Bureau of State park locations.

University Drone Policies

Indiana University of Pennsylvania 

PennState University

Shippensburg University

University of Pennsylvania 

University of Pittsburgh

Ursinus College 

West Chester University

Note: This list is just a sample… many more could be added.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

2023 – DLA Distribution Susquehanna hosts Advanced Study of Air Mobility students

 

Short Essay Questions

Question 1

You have been hired by a Drone Startup Company. Your boss has immediately assigned this job to you.

They need you to prepare a one-page memo detailing the legalities of filming a spring festival at Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, pictured above.

They need you to mention any state laws and local ordinances.

They specifically want to know what airspace you will be operating in, and whether or not you need an airspace authorization, with or without LAANC capability.

Lastly, there is a bonus for you if, as you scroll through this chapter, you find any typos or broken links!

Question 2

Do the state drone laws implicate the First Amendment? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 3

Do the state drone laws implicate the Fourth Amendment? Or involve law enforcement officers obtaining warrants? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 4

Do the state drone laws contain a preemption clause? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 5

Does the state have UAM/AAM laws? If so, describe, citing the exact law.

Question 6

Are you aware of any new laws or policies not mentioned above? If so, describe, citing the exact law or policy.

 

 

 

License

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Drones Across the World Copyright © 2023 by Sarah Nilsson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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