Menlo Park looking to impose a ban on drones at Bedwell Bayfront Park

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23 May 2015 11:05 #1452 by rsowder
rsowder created the topic: Menlo Park looking to impose a ban on drones at Bedwell Bayfront Park
I'm not sure if all those that enjoy flying at this park are aware of a meeting next Wednesday May 27th at 6:30pm. At this meeting it will be proposed to ban all drone flying at Bayfront Park. It would be good for as many to attend as possible as it seems the park staff is really pushing for this ban. Please see that two attached PDF files, the first of which shows the agenda of the meeting and the second describes the ban and the reasons for it.

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23 May 2015 21:17 #1454 by john ward
john ward replied the topic: Menlo Park looking to impose a ban on drones at Bedwell Bayfront Park
First off, I've flown off an on at Bayfront since 1998. I've flown RC since the early 1960s.I was one of the original members of the Marsh Road Dumpsters, a yahoo e group that flew slope gliders at Bayfront. I've flown electric planes, prop, edfs out there too. I ride my bike out at Bayfront often and have seen the progression from homebuilt planes to ARFs to Chinese ARFS and helicopters and lately the FPVs. I worked for a drone company a while back as some of you know-a company that wants to put people into Drones, the less said about that the better. I even interviewed with a drone company a few weeks ago. FYI the drone manufacturers don't like the term drone-it has a lot of negative connotations like you know Hellfires flying up your you know what in various strange places. They like to refer to their products as UAVs. Problem as I see it is that the DRONE flyers don't think that there should be any restrictions on what they want to do. Anywhere they want to do it. I was kind of amazed while out on my bike when a little drone flew out from between the trees at Bayfront and went by overhead, I couldn't see the operator. If that operator had, you know, a psychotic side, he could have flown that little Chinese toy right up my you know what. That would have been annoying. In fact the drones are kind of annoying in general. They make a lot of noise and the operator is somewhere else. Not just hobby drone guys at Bayfront, the manufacturers are doing their test flying out there too and that is totally inappropriate for a park where people go to recreate, and walk, and jog, and take their KIDS, and walk their dogs etc.. Park management, as invisible as it is at Bayfront, has finally taken notice and listened to the concerns. Maybe the drone people ought to take their toys somewhere else. Or learn to behave themselves.

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24 May 2015 20:53 #1461 by mitchb
mitchb replied the topic: Menlo Park looking to impose a ban on drones at Bedwell Bayfront Park
Below is a quote from the memo drafted by the Public Works department.

"In order to address this pressing safety issue, staff recommends the proactive ban of drones
at Bedwell-Bayfront Park. The ban will not impact flying kites at the Park. The ban will
apply to unpiloted, remote controlled, aerial vehicles."

So they propose banning all RC aircraft. They make no distinction between FPV and conventional RC. I'm planning to attend the meeting on Wednesday.

Mitch

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25 May 2015 22:30 #1472 by lefty
lefty replied the topic: Menlo Park looking to impose a ban on drones at Bedwell Bayfront Parkult
Thanks for this information. I fly my park flyers out at Bayfront. I love the place, but I have seen some very inconsiderate multi rotor pilots. I will indeed be there.

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01 Jun 2015 14:19 #1490 by HelisRock
HelisRock replied the topic: Menlo Park looking to impose a ban on drones at Bedwell Bayfront Park
I just found out about this yesterday (thanks Mitch!). I'd hate to lose Bedwell to all RC, we're running out of places to fly!

The City of MP website lists the Public Works Dept Writeup, but nothing about how the meeting went, and followup plans. Has anyone heard the latest, and follow up plans/actions?

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02 Jun 2015 19:44 - 02 Jun 2015 19:45 #1494 by mitchb
mitchb replied the topic: Menlo Park looking to impose a ban on drones at Bedwell Bayfront Park
There were a bunch of RC pilots (maybe 15-20) at the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting last week. About a half dozen of us spoke against the proposed ban. Two “Bayfront Grandmothers” (my term) spoke in favor of a ban, although I heard that one of them said after the meeting that airplanes are OK, but quadcopters should be banned. I brought in two of my hand-launch gliders and passed them around, explaining how they work. Another pilot brought in his lightweight foamy biplane.

Although the original basis for the proposal to ban RC aircraft came from concerns reportedly expressed by San Carlos airport officials, the comments from the commissioners suggest they are primarily concerned with the safety and comfort of park visitors, not what’s going on in the air above the park. Some of them favor a ban, one even suggesting an immediate moratorium on RC flying until a final decision is made. A couple of them suggested finding a “middle ground” that would accommodate the interests and concerns of multiple parties. This might require them to conduct a survey of park visitors. At one point they said they didn't think gliders were/should be included in the proposed ban. The Commission’s job is to make a recommendation to the City Council. I’m not sure anyone knows when that is likely to happen.

Later I called the San Carlos Airport to ask about a “near miss” incident with a drone in 2015 that is referred to in the documents available at the Commission website and posted in this thread. The person who answered the phone said she was not aware of any drone incidents in 2015. The guy at the air traffic control tower said the same thing. They did say that they want RC pilots who fly at Bayfront (or anywhere within 3 miles) to give them a call before flying: (650) 573-3700. I’ll be doing that in the future as a courtesy to the Airport. They have no say in whether you fly. They just want to be alerted to what’s up with RC aircraft in the area.

I also contacted the San Carlos Airport Association to find out about drone related incidents. They have a draft memo about this which says there was a near mid-air in 2014 with a quadcopter over Bayfront Park at 2600 feet, and that a couple of full-scale pilots visited the park in February this year and saw things they didn’t like. You should be able to get a copy of the draft memo by e-mailing here:
webmaster@ sancarlosairport.org
Since it is a DRAFT, I’m not willing to post it here without permission. We're supposed to fly below 400-ft because of our proximity to the airport. I just installed an altimeter in my big glider to help me stay in compliance with the 400-ft limit.

I also heard this past weekend that there was a shouting match between a regular park visitor and a group of quadcopter pilots who’d been flying low in between trees, bushes, etc at the west end of the big meadow. Definitely not good for our cause.

Mitch
Last Edit: 02 Jun 2015 19:45 by mitchb.
The following user(s) said Thank You: MaydayJoey, waterjerome

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