Story Summary

Drone Ban

The use of drones has grown quickly in recent years because unlike manned aircraft they can stay aloft for many hours.  They are much cheaper than military aircraft and they are flown remotely so there is no danger to the flight crew.

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A unique camera is taking to the skies to benefit farmers and their fields.

Farmer, Jeffrey Graybill, is an educator with the Penn State Cooperative Extension.  He says the extension’s Lancaster County office bought a $300 drone to identify potential problems.

“Once the corn gets to be 8,9,10 feet high, it’s hard to find anything, you get lost.  But with a tool like this, hopefully we can spot it from a distance and go out and investigate,” says Graybill.

The 3-pound drone is battery powered and it can fly up to 400 feet.

Graybill says, “It has sensors here that it knows exactly high off the ground it is, how far it’s going, starting to tilt or go hay wire.”

From the ground, Jeff operates with two virtual joy sticks from an app on his I-Pad.

The drone is also financially friendly.

“If you can go up and identify problem areas in your fields and correct them before the season is advanced, that’s going to save you some money,” says Graybill.

The Federal Aviation Administration says a drone used as a hobby is allowed.  If it’s for business, you’ll need FAA approval.

For more information, you’re invited to attend a farming seminar on June 27th.  Penn State Extension is hosting the event.

National & World News

Drones may soon be coming to your city

Drones — those pesky small, unmanned aircrafts who’s primary job is to gather intelligence, may soon be flying over a city near you.

Local News

Conoy Township passes law restricting drone use

Conoy Township, Lancaster County is the first municipality to pass a law restricting the use of drones.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the township’s board of supervisors voted to enact a law that states operators of remote-controlled aircraft must get permission if they will be flying them over others’ property.

“We’re not restricting the people from doing it, we’re telling them if you do it, we want to know about it and we want to make sure you have permission,” said supervisor Stephen Mohr.

Mohr suggested the board act after coming across a drone in his neighborhood. He was alarmed by the possibilities.

“I can see them being used to fly over school areas, if nothing else to startle the kids,” he said.

Craig Peck joined other members of the Lancaster County Radio Control Club to see what the township was going to do.

“We’re not renegades that violate people’s rights,” Peck said.

For Peck, it’s more than a hobby. He uses remote-controlled helicopters in his business, Flying Media.

He said he’s fine with the new law, which is much less restrictive than he thought it would be.

“There’s nothing unreasonable with what they asked, I guess it would be another story,” Peck said. “But as you heard the solicitor, he said no foul, photography, we’re not talking about it, we’re just talking about basic privacy rights.”

Mohr said hobbyist weren’t the only ones watching the vote closely.

“There’s actually one board of county commissioners in Central Pennsylvania that is interested to see how this goes tonight because they’re thinking of enacting one countywide,” Mohr said.

Violators could face a fine of up to $300.

The new restriction on drones was a part of a larger law prohibiting public nuisances.

Drone ban set for a vote in Conoy Township, Lancaster County