TN – Tennessee

Flag courtesy of Wikipedia

Fall Creek Falls, the tallest waterfall in the eastern United States, is located on the Cumberland Plateau

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Tennessee government website just for reference.

The TNDOT has a TNDOT UAS Page.

Tennessee 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

 

Tenn. Code Ann. § 13-24-400

Aviation.

No person shall voluntarily bring, land or cause to descend or alight within or upon any park, any airplane, flying machine, balloon, parachute, or other apparatus for aviation. “Voluntarily,” in this connection shall mean anything other than a forced landing. Any landing other than one caused by mechanical or structural failure of the aircraft or any of its parts shall be deemed to have been made voluntarily, and this shall include landings caused by error or oversight, negligence, or failure to comply with FAA regulations or rulings. This section is to be construed in pari materia with Section 13.24.240 of this code. This section shall not apply to parachuting activities in conjunction with the Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration in Centennial Park.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-901

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-901

Part definitions.

As used in this part:

(1) “Image” means any capturing of sound waves, thermal, infrared, ultraviolet, visible light, or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other conditions existing on or about real property in this state or an individual located on that property; and

(2) “Unmanned aircraft” means an airborne device that is operated without an individual in or on the device.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-902

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-902

Lawful capture of images — Use for lawful purposes — Retention of image captured for purpose of damage assessment.

(a) Notwithstanding §39-13-903, it is lawful to capture an image using an UA in this state:

(1) For purposes of professional or scholarly research and development by a person acting on behalf of an institution of higher education, as defined by §49-7-802, including a person who:

(A) Is a professor, employee, or student of the institution; or

(B) Is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the institution;

(2) In airspace designated as a test site or range authorized by the FAA for the purpose of integrating UAS into the NAS;

(3) As part of an authorized operation, exercise, or mission of any branch of the United States military, consistent with the Constitution of the United States;

(4) If the image is captured for the purposes of mapping; provided, the image of any person or thing on private property captured in the course of mapping shall be subject to §39-13-905 as an image captured incidental to the lawful capturing of an image;

(5) If the image is captured for the practice of land surveying, as defined in §62-18-102, by a duly registered land surveyor, pursuant to title 62, chapter 18, part 1; provided, the image of any person or thing on private property captured in the course of land surveying shall be subject to §39-13-905 as an image captured incident to the lawful capturing of an image;

(6) If the image is captured by or for an electric or natural gas utility:

(A) For operations and maintenance of utility facilities for the purpose of maintaining utility system reliability and integrity;

(B) For inspecting utility facilities to determine repair, maintenance, or replacement needs during and after construction of such facilities;

(C) For assessing vegetation growth for the purpose of maintaining clearances on utility easements; or

(D) For utility facility routing and siting for the purpose of providing utility service;

(7) With the consent of the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image;

(8) For law enforcement purposes, as permitted by §39-13-609;

(9) If the image is captured by state or local law enforcement authorities, or a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of state authorities, for the purpose of:

(A) Surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be declared;

(B) Preserving public safety, protecting property, or surveying damage or contamination during a lawfully declared state of emergency; or

(C) Conducting routine air quality sampling and monitoring, as provided by state or local law;

(10) At the scene of a spill, or a suspected spill, of hazardous materials;

(11) For the purpose of fire suppression;

(12) For the purpose of rescuing a person whose life or well-being is in imminent danger;

(13) If the image is captured by a Tennessee licensed real estate broker in connection with the marketing, sale, or financing of real property, provided that no individual is identifiable in the image;

(14) Of public real property or a person on that property;

(15) If the image is captured by the owner, operator or agent, or a person under contract with the owner, operator or agent, of an oil, gas, water, or other pipeline for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining, or repairing pipelines or other related facilities, and is captured without the intent to conduct surveillance on an individual or real property located in this state;

(16) In connection with oil and gas pipeline and well safety and protection;

(17) In connection with port authority surveillance and security;

(18) As authorized or permitted by the federal aviation administration for use in a motion picture, television or similar production where the filming is authorized by the property owner and a state or local film permit agency, if required;

(19) As a part of a commercial service that has received authorization from the FAA to use UA or an UA operating under regulations promulgated by the FAA for commercial use of UA;

(20) If the image is captured by the department of transportation, or a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction of or on behalf of the department of transportation, for the purpose of planning, locating, designing, constructing, maintaining, or operating transportation programs or projects; provided, the image of any person or thing on private property captured by or for the department of transportation pursuant to this subdivision (a)(20) shall be subject to §39-13-905 as an image captured incident to the lawful capturing of an image;

(21) If the image is captured for the practice of photogrammetric mapping by an individual who holds the “certified photogrammetrist” designation of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing or other national scientific organization having a process for certifying photogrammetrists; provided, the image of any person or thing on private property captured in the course of photogrammetric mapping shall be subject to §39-13-905 as an image captured incident to the lawful capturing of an image; or

(22) If the image is captured by the Tennessee emergency management agency, created in §58-2-104, for emergency management purposes, including surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be declared, coordinating a disaster response, and conducting preliminary damage assessments of real property and infrastructure following a disaster. An image of a person or thing on private property captured by the Tennessee emergency management agency pursuant to this subdivision (a)(22) is deemed to be an image captured incidental to the lawful capturing of an image for purposes of § 39-13-905.

(b) An image captured for law enforcement purposes by a state or local law enforcement agency, or by a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction of or on behalf of such agency, shall be handled in accordance with §39-13-609 and shall not be used for any purpose other than the lawful purpose for which the image was captured as permitted by this section.

(c) An image captured pursuant to subdivision (a)(22) for the purpose of damage assessment may be retained by the Tennessee emergency management agency for no longer than one (1) year or, if the disaster is later declared a major disaster by the President of the United States, for the retention period required by the federal emergency management agency for data related to damage assessment. All images captured for any other purpose shall not be retained by the Tennessee emergency management agency for more than fifteen (15) business days.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-903

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-903

Unlawful capture of image with intent to conduct surveillance a misdemeanor offense — Defense.

(a) Subject to the exceptions set forth in §39-13-902(a), a person commits an offense if the person:

(1) Uses an UA 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;

(2) Knowingly uses an image in a manner prohibited by §39-13-902(b);

(3) Without the venue owner or operator’s consent, uses an UA to intentionally capture an image of an individual or event at, or drop any item or substance into, an open-air event venue wherein more than one hundred (100) individuals are gathered for a ticketed event;

(4)(A) Knowingly uses an UA within or over a designated fireworks discharge site, fireworks display site, or fireworks fallout area during an event as defined in §68-104-202, without the consent of the owner or operator of the event; and

(B) For purposes of this subdivision (a)(4):

(i) “Discharge site” means the area immediately surrounding the fireworks mortars used for an outdoor fireworks display;

(ii) “Display site” means the immediate area where a fireworks display is conducted, including the discharge site, the fallout area, and the required separation distance from mortars to spectator viewing areas, but not including the spectator viewing areas or vehicle parking areas; and

(iii) “Fallout area” means the designated area in which hazardous debris is intended to fall after a pyrotechnic device, including display fireworks, is fired;

(5) Knowingly uses an UA over the grounds of a correctional facility; or

(6)(A) Without the business operator’s written consent, knowingly uses an UA within two hundred fifty feet (250′) of the perimeter of any critical infrastructure facility for the purpose of conducting surveillance of, gathering evidence or collecting information about, or photographically or electronically recording, critical infrastructure data;

(B) As used in this subdivision (a)(6), “critical infrastructure facility” means:

(i) An electrical power generation system; electrical transmission system, either as a whole system or any individual component of the transmission system; or electrical distribution substation;

(ii) A petroleum refinery;

(iii) A manufacturing facility that utilizes any hazardous substance, as defined in §68-131-102, either in storage or in the process of manufacturing;

(iv) A chemical or rubber manufacturing facility;

(v) A petroleum or chemical storage facility;

(vi) A water or wastewater treatment facility;

(vii) Any facility, equipment, or pipeline infrastructure utilized in the storage, transmission, or distribution of natural gas or propane;

(viii) Railroad yards and facilities not open to the general public; and

(ix) A communication service facility;

(C) This subdivision (a)(6) shall not prohibit an unmanned aircraft system from operating for commercial purposes in compliance with authorization granted by the FAA.

(b)(1) An offense under subdivisions (a)(1)-(5) is a Class C misdemeanor.

(2) An offense under subdivision (a)(6) is a Class E felony.

(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.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-904

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-904

Possession or distribution and use of unlawfully captured images — Misdemeanor offenses — Separate images constitute separate offenses — Defenses.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) Captures an image in violation of § 39-13-903; and

(2)(A) Possesses that image; or

(B) Discloses, displays, distributes, or otherwise uses that image.

(b)(1) An offense under subdivision (a)(2)(A) is a Class C misdemeanor.

(2) An offense under subdivision (a)(2)(B) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(c) Each image a person possesses, discloses, displays, distributes, or otherwise uses in violation of this section is a separate offense.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section for the possession of an image that the person destroyed the image as soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in violation of §39-13-903.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section for the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image that the person stopped disclosing, displaying, distributing, or otherwise using the image as soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in violation of §39-13-903.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-905

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-905

Use of unlawfully captured images as evidence — Disclosure of images limited.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by subsection (b), an image captured in violation of § 39-13-903, or an image captured by an UA that was incidental to the lawful capturing of an image:

(1) May not be used as evidence in any criminal or juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding;

(2) Is not subject to disclosure, inspection, or copying under title 10, chapter 7; and

(3) Is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for its release.

(b) An image described by subsection (a) may be disclosed and used as evidence to prove a violation of this part and is subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for that purpose.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-906

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-906

Applicability of part.

This part shall not apply to the manufacture, assembly, distribution, or sale of an UA.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-907

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-907

Construction of part.

Nothing in this part shall be construed as permitting any act prohibited by other law.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-405

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-405

Criminal trespass.

(a) A person commits criminal trespass if the person enters or remains on property, or any portion of property, without the consent of the owner. Consent may be inferred in the case of property that is used for commercial activity available to the general public or in the case of other property when the owner has communicated the owner’s intent that the property be open to the general public.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) A person entered or remained on property that the person reasonably believed to be property for which the owner’s consent to enter had been granted;

(2) The person’s conduct did not substantially interfere with the owner’s use of the property; and

(3) The person immediately left the property upon request.

(c) The defenses to prosecution set out in subsection (b) shall not be applicable to a person violating this section if the property owner:

(1) Posts the property with signs that are visible at all major points of ingress to the property being posted and the signs are reasonably likely to come to the attention of a person entering the property; or

(2) Places identifying purple paint marks on trees or posts on the property; provided, that at least one (1) sign is posted at a major point of ingress to the property in a manner that is reasonably likely to come to the attention of a person entering the property and that the sign includes language describing that the use of purple paint signifies “no trespassing.” If purple paint is used, then purple paint must be vertical lines of not less than eight inches (8″) in length and not less than one inch (1″) in width; placed so that the bottom of the mark is not less than three feet (3′) or more than five feet (5′) from the ground; and placed at locations that are reasonably likely to come to the attention of a person entering the property.

(d) For purposes of this section, “enter” means intrusion of the entire body or when a person causes an unmanned aircraft to enter that portion of the airspace above the owner’s land not regulated as navigable airspace by the federal aviation administration.

(e) Entering or remaining on railroad or utility right-of-way property by an adjoining landowner for usual and customary activities of the type defined in §§ 1-3-105(a)(2)(A)(i) and (ii), (B) and (C) and 43-1-113(a), (b)(1)(A) and (B), (b)(2) and (b)(3) shall not be considered trespass under this section. This subsection (e) shall not apply if the railroad or utility right-of-way owner, by a personal communication or posting at the site by someone with either actual authority or apparent authority to act for the railroad or utility right-of-way owner, has communicated to the adjoining landowner that the activity is not permitted.

(f)(1) The secretary of state shall establish a no trespass public notice list identifying employers in this state who have requested established private property rights to be recognized and recorded against a trespasser under subsection (a).

(2) To be included on the list, an employer shall provide to the secretary of state copies of appropriate documents that establish the employer’s private property rights, including the address and legal description of the property to which it has legal control. An employer that records its private property rights shall pay a recording fee as determined by the secretary of state.

(3) Beginning January 15, 2015, and every January 15 and July 15 thereafter, the secretary of state shall:

(A) Make the list available to the public in the office of the secretary of state and publish the list on the website maintained by the secretary of state; and

(B) Distribute the no trespass public notice list to every law enforcement agency in this state.

(4) Publication of the no trespass public notice list as prescribed in subdivision (f)(3) establishes a presumption that members of the general public have notice of the establishment of private property rights of all employers and properties listed.

(5) Each law enforcement agency in this state shall maintain the most recent no trespass public notice list received from the secretary of state for its use in responding to complaints of criminal trespass under subsection (a). If a property is identified on the list, the responding law enforcement officer:

(A) Is not required to further establish an employer’s property rights before taking action against a person committing criminal trespass; and

(B) May take appropriate and lawful action against a person committing criminal trespass to have such person leave the property or cease blocking ingress to or egress from the property.

(6) If the employer’s property is listed on the no trespass public notice list, an owner may seek an expedited injunction to restrain repeated or continuing trespass.

(7) This subsection (f) shall not affect or limit any existing rights of an owner whose property is not included on the no trespass public notice list.

(g) Criminal trespass is a Class C misdemeanor.

(h) For purposes of this section, there shall be no inference of the owner’s consent nor shall the defense in subsection (b) be available to a person entering and remaining on the grounds, or in the common areas, such as lobbies, hallways, courtyards, and parking lots, of a housing or apartment complex having signs posted in compliance with subsection (c) unless the person:

(1) Has the actual consent of the owner;

(2) May lawfully enter the property by virtue of the person’s occupational duties; or

(3) Has a contractual right to enter the property or is an invitee of someone with a contractual right to make invitations to enter the property.

City of Nashville Code

City of Nashville

Metro Parks is not able to permit the use of drones in parks outside of designated flying areas for any purpose, including photography or filming. Metro Ordinances require that no person shall voluntarily bring, land or cause to descent or alight within or upon any park, any airplane, flying machine, balloon, parachute, or other apparatus for aviation (which includes drones). “Voluntarily”, in this connection shall mean anything other than a forced landing.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Rules

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

0400-02-02-.02 AIRCRAFT.

(1) The operation or use of aircraft on lands or waters other than at the landing areas designated in special regulations is prohibited. Where a water surface is designated as a landing area, the operation or use of aircraft on the water within 500 feet of bathing beaches, boat docks, floats, piers, ramps, or within one mile of water controlled structures, except as otherwise provided by special regulations, is prohibited.

(2) Except in extreme emergencies involving the safety of human life or threat of serious property loss, the air delivery of any person or thing by parachute, helicopter, or other means without prior written permission of the Park Manager is prohibited.

(3) The provisions of this rule shall not be applicable to aircraft engaged on official business of the Federal Government or State Government, or used in emergency rescue in accordance with the directions of the Park Manager, or forced to land due to circumstances beyond the control of the operator.

(4) The operation of aircraft shall be in accordance with current applicable regulations of the Federal Aviation Agency, State Aviation Commission and posted regulations of the individual Recreation Airports within the park areas.

 

Tennessee State Parks Rules

Tennessee State Parks Rules

Drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Tennessee State Parks are subject to the same rules governing the use of aircraft and require written park manager approval before flight is allowed. Information about the operation of aircraft in Tennessee State Parks. Pilots should adhere to all applicable FAA requirements and regulations. Those wishing to film for commercial purposes will need permission from the Film Commission in addition to other applicable requirements. Visit TN Entertainment’s website for more information.

University Drone Policies

University of Tennessee

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

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

2023 – Tennessee State contributes USD1.2m to support Whisper Aero’s new flight test centre

 

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 using your drone to search for missing hikers in the vicinity of Fall Creek Falls, 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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