Mt. Vernon Register-News


April 1, 2013

Sheriff's department has drone


Unmanned aerial vehicles have the capability to watch individuals, groups and populations on a 24-hour basis, following and recording their movements for days and weeks in an unprecedented way, as well as the capability to monitor cell phone and text messaging of individuals, groups and populations, information states.

According to the FAA web site, one of the goals of the agency is to “develop air traffic rules, assign the use of airspace, and control air traffic. The safe and efficient use of navigable airspace is one of our primary objectives.”

Leland Widick, certified flight instructor at Mt. Vernon Airport commented, “Airspace as far as the FAA is concerned is nebulous. Air space is classified as far as conditions on how you can operate. The classification up to 1,200 feet is Class G space, which is uncontrolled airspace. It’s different visual minimums. It doesn’t address unmanned aircraft.”

He added, “My personal opinion is we don’t need them (drones) unless they are sanctioned by court order. It’s new technology that the FAA hasn’t caught up with yet.”

“How else can you make a statement? Williams posed. “Maybe if enough counties pass this ordinance, the feds will think about it. I don’t think anything needs to be done right away. The feds are going to do what they want to anyway.”

The ordinance was tabled by the County Board, and is expected to be discussed during its April meeting.

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