Local News

Taking flight: Drones could soar in Raleigh parks under new ordinance

Posted July 13

— The City of Raleigh is seeking public feedback on how to regulate the use of drones in public parks.

A proposed ordinance would allow drones to fly in sections of seven parks, including Dorothea Dix Park.

Leaders say they looked at several issues when considering which parks to pick. They wanted to select one in each quadrant of the city, each had to be at least 5 miles from an airport and also a far enough distance from homes and animals.

The list of proposed park sites include the following:

  • Baileywick Park
  • Eastgate Park
  • Spring Forest Park
  • Marsh Creek Park
  • Dorothea Dix Park
  • Eliza Pool Park
  • Southgate Park

Thursday's public meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Raleigh Municipal Building, at 222 W. Hargett St.

While they aren't heavily regulated, there are guidelines for how to stay safe while using recreational drones:

  • Register your drone with the FAA online - devices between .55 pounds and 55 pounds must be registered
  • Fly the drone below 400 feet, because manned aircrafts can fly as low as 500 feet
  • Keep the drone in your line of sight
  • Don't fly within 5 miles of an airport or a hospital with a helicopter landing pad
  • Don't fly for commercial use, as that requires additional permitting


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  • James Marley Jul 13, 4:07 p.m.
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    No worries, my pleasure.

    Not surprisingly, WRAL has not updated their "story" with the correct information.

  • Sam Dutes Jul 13, 3:24 p.m.
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    Wow, thanks for the info James, was going to register mine, but won't now, at least until big brother figures another way to regulate me....;)

  • Andrew Stephenson Jul 13, 10:40 a.m.
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    Oh snap, you're right. I just looked up that court ruling. I guess I don't need to put my registration number on my lovely F4F Wildcat after all. I registered with the FAA years ago, but haven't flown in just as long.

  • James Marley Jul 13, 8:37 a.m.
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    Like many WRAL articles, I am not sure how much research was done for this story.

    You do NOT have to register your drone with the FAA. On May 19th 2017, DC Federal Court ruled that the FAA drone registration rule violates the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. As a result, recreational drones no longer need to be registered. As it stands now only 15% of all drones are registered. So what WRAL is reporting is inaccurate.

    To be perfectly honest, I do not believe it matters much what the City of Raleigh chooses to do because drones are already being flown at these parks. To that point, this past weekend I participated in an FPV race at one of these parks and it didnt bother a single person. If fact, many people came over to watch.

    I don't think we need government regulating every aspect of our lives.