Federal judge overturns Massachusetts city law regulating drones

In the first federal court ruling (PDF) concerning attempts by city and state jurisdictions to regulate the use of drones, a judge denied a requirement by a city near Boston regarding local registration and significant bans on where and how low they can fly.

The law giving the Federal Aviation Administration responsibility for regulating the use of drones, while allowing some non-federal say over their use, preempts the city of Newton from requiring registration beyond the agency’s own such requirement; from banning flights below 400 feet; and from requiring an owners’ permission before flying over public or private property. Newton’s requirement that drones can’t fly below 400 feet clashes with FAA rules which say drones must be operated below an altitude of 400 feet from the ground or a structure.

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