Publish date: 20151124
Author: Rich Calder and Philip Messing
Instead of offering up solutions for the escalating drone problem in the Big Apple, some city agencies on Monday told council members to back off trying to regulate the unmanned aircraft.
Representatives from the FDNY and city Office of Emergency Management told the City Council’s Public Safety and Transportation Committee that it should wait until the Federal Aviation Administration comes out with its own tightened rules.
The departments said they want to start using drones to inspect bridges, coastal storm damage, building facades, trees and more.
“After a large-scale event such as a coastal storm, [drones] programmed to fly over an area of damage like the Rockaways could be up in the air as soon as the skies clear,” said Henry Jackson, deputy commissioner of Emergency Management.
Drones could also assess fires, said Timothy Herlocker, director of the FDNY Emergency Operations Center.
But some council members indicated that waiting for the FAA is potentially dangerous.
“We have the right and responsibility as a city to regulate drones in our skies,” said Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Queens).
“We cannot keep sitting idly by and waiting for the FAA to act.”