Wildwood Introduces Drone Rules

Wildwood, a popular beach resort town in Cape May County, New Jersey, has introduced new regulations for drones in response to a rise in their usage.

According to the Cape May Herald, Ordinance 1252-23, titled “Drones and Unmanned Aircraft Regulations,” was introduced on the first reading of  Feb. 8, to regulate the use of privately owned drones in the city. 

The new drone rule would work like this:

To fly or land on any government or public buildings, property or parks within the city, one must obtain written permission from the chief of police. Flying a drone below 400 feet above any government or public buildings, property or parks is prohibited without written permission from the chief of police. Additionally, between the Friday immediately before May 1 through Oct. 31, flying below 400 feet over a beach is not allowed, unless the chief of police has given written permission for a special or city-sponsored event.

Wildwood Introduces Bogus Drone Rules

Wildwood Introduces Bogus Drone Rules

There are exceptions to these regulations. Authorized use by law enforcement agencies or other emergency services, as well as municipal, county, state or federal agencies, are exempt from these rules. It is important to note that drones or unmanned aircraft must be used in a lawful manner and for lawful purposes.

Breaking these regulations will result in a fine of up to $2,000 or up to 90 hours of community service, or both, at the discretion of the judge.

However, these new rules are completely bogus.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has already issued guidelines for drone usage to ensure that they are flown safely and do not cause any harm to people or property.

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In the United States, you can either fly your drone as a recreational drone pilot commercially under Part 107.

The General FAA Regulations are, Stay Away from Manned Aircraft, Fly Below 400 Feet, Keep Your Drone in Line of Sight, Do Not Fly Over People, no flying after twilight.

There are exceptions to these rules if you are a Part 107 pilot and or you obtain an FAA waiver.

Looking at the rules introduced by the city, they don’t want you to fly your drone “any government or public buildings, property or parks within the city and it would need to be over 400 feet.

That would ultimately mean that you could not fly your drone at all since the FAA says drones need to be flown under 400 feet.

According to this new rule, the only place you could fly your drone is over your own property.

This means that if you are here on vacation, you cannot fly a drone at all over the city of Wildwood, unless you ask, in advance, the chief of police. 

If passed, this will make Wildwood one of the only cities in New Jersey that has a such rule.

In addition to this, in 2018, the FAA stated: “Cities and municipalities are not permitted to have their own rules or regulations governing the operation of aircraft.”

It continues by saying “they (cities) may generally determine the location of aircraft landing sites through their land use powers.” Meaning, you can’t take off or land within an area. 

Overall though, as someone who promotes the Wildwoods via drone, these rules should NOT be voted for.

Creators, such as ourselves, use drones to promote the Wildwoods in beautiful images and videos. To discontinue that would stop all the free PR work that the city gets to promote the Wildwoods.

And yes, all you technically would need is permission from the chief of police, but that’s not how it works in the drone world. If the sun is setting and you had no intention of flying but the sky looks beautiful, you can’t fly unless you have the number of the chief of police ready to go.

If the city wanted to do this correctly, they should have consulted Part 107 drone pilots because there needs to be a better system in place and not a rushed policy that makes no sense.

How the rules SHOULD BE

Everything the FAA general rules says is the standard on every pilot. That is staying under 400 feet, not flying over people, staying away from airports…etc.

For cities such as Wildwood, this is what a better approach should be.

1. No flying over government buildings without permission (Kind of a given because who would need to fly over city hall).

2. No flying over private events without permission (such as Barefoot Country Music Fest) 

3. No flying at night (a standard with the FAA and you should be fined)

4. No flying within 200 feet of the boardwalk between May 15th-Sept 15th (unless your a FAA Part 107 Pilot).

The ordinance is set to undergo a second reading and public hearing on February 22 at 5 p.m. at 4400 New Jersey Ave, Wildwood, NJ 08260.

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