Like most of the park districts in the state of Illinois, Urbana Park District code prohibits use of remote controlled flying crafts such as planes in parks, and at this time that extends to drones, according to Executive Director Tim Bartlett.
Most park districts ban the use of drones in parks and open spaces because of strict FAA regulations that dictate the use and control of these small air craft. FAA regulations control every aspect of piloting drones including the liability associated with drone users.
“We always have to balance existing public uses of park space with any new uses that come along. Even in the case of park amenities or recreational programs added by the park district, we look at them in light of what else happens in that park space”, Bartlett added.
“Recently, the park district has received a number of complaints about the illegal use of drones in our parks. Residents report that the noise associated with drone use is disturbing their use of the parks, adding noise around their homes and neighborhoods and causing concern about impact on birds and other park wildlife,” he said.
The Urbana Park District recommends that drone operators seek out appropriate and legal places to fly their drones and avoid using them in any Urbana park or natural area. Park visitors who spot drone use in any Urbana park should call the park district and/or Urbana police.
The park district has been told that the Champaign County RC Club is welcoming drone owners as new members. Once drone owners complete the necessary membership requirements, they will be able to use the club’s designated site to fly drones.
The park district is working on getting new information about other sites that may be appropriately suited for drone use and is considering a future drone event—indoors or outdoors—to help promote appropriate registration and use of drones within the legal requirements.
Important links for RC and drone owners:
Any owner of a drone should become very familiar with all applicable FAA laws and requirements prior to any drone use.