Aldermen Propose Ban on Drones Near Airports, Schools

The legislation would ban drones from flying within five miles of an airport

Two Chicago aldermen introduced an ordinance Wednesday to City Council to ban drones from flying near airports and schools, among other designated places.

The legislation was introduced by Ald. Ed Burke and Ald. Scott Waguespack. It would ban drones from flying within five miles of an airport. The ordinance would also prohibit them from flying at an altitude of more than 400 feet.

The proposal also calls to ban drones flying within a quarter of a mile of schools, hospitals and places of worship and would make their flying illegal from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The new proposal would also give the Chicago Park district authority to designate certain areas, such as parks, where recreational use of drones would be allowed.

In addition, residents with drones would be required to register them for a cost of $50 each year and to take out an insurance policy to cover personal injury and property damage. 

The proposal was introduced in response to a series of incidents in which drones caused security breaches or dangerous situations, such as when a drone crashed into a tree on a White House lawn in January. On July 21, a "toy drone" also crashed at Midway International Airport while the U.S. National Guard was conducting a Blackhawk helicopter training mission.

"With the widespread use of drones quickly proliferating across America, Chicago must act to protect airline passengers and ensure that drone use does not interfere with critical airspace," Ald. Burke said.

Violators of the ordinance would face fines ranging from $500 to $5,000 per incident and could face up to 180 days in jail.

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