View Full Version : New Jersey Assembly Bill No. 3157

18th March 2013, 02:38 AM
This bill is directed almost entirely at law enforcement, but one section is very problematic for hobbyists:
"In addition, any person who purchases, owns, or possesses an unmanned aerial system is guilty of a disorderly persons offense under the bill. The penalty for a disorderly persons offense is a fine of up to $10,000, up to 18 months imprisonment, or both. This penalty does not apply to law enforcement officers or to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or member of the National Guard while on duty."
"Unmanned aerial system" is defined as"
"an aerial vehicle that uses aerodynamic forces to propel the vehicle and does not carry a human operator, and which is capable of flying autonomously or being piloted remotely and is capable of conducting surveillance"

and “Surveillance” means:
the act of monitoring, observing, photographing, listening to, or making a recording of a person or group of persons or their movements, activities and communications."


The bill dates to June 2012 and seems to be in the hands of the NJ Homeland Security/Preparedness Committee. I can't tell whether this criminalization of possession was in the original draft or is a recent amendment that was added to match the recent trend. The version linked to says the text is "as introduced" which suggests it was always like this, and we all missed spotting it last year!


Vitamin J
18th March 2013, 12:53 PM
Wow that's a pretty terrible definition. "Uses aerodynamic forces to propel the vehicle." Sounds like rocket and turbine planes are a-ok.

18th March 2013, 12:54 PM
Looks like Ian will sell alot of Hello Kittys

18th March 2013, 03:40 PM
If this bill passes, it's not end of FPV in NJ, it is an end of this hobby in NJ.

This bill says you are in wrong, if you purchase, own, or possess an unmanned aerial system, regardless of the fact is it capable of surveillance or not.

Look at the last paragraph, it doesn't say anything about the surveillance there, just about unmanned aerial system, which is any type of rc device (heli, planes, multis).

We will go back to stone age and fly kites (but no cameras attached).


18th March 2013, 04:24 PM
Look at the last paragraph, it doesn't say anything about the surveillance there, just about unmanned aerial system, which is any type of rc device (heli, planes, multis).

I think you are misreading the text. It's not an "unmanned aerial system" unless it's capable of "surveillance." Regular RC planes are not affected, only planes and copters with a camera on board. It's true that there's no distinction for FPV; this applies to anyone who sticks a little camera on an airplane to see what the view looks like.

18th March 2013, 04:57 PM
I apologize about jumping the gun too prematurely, but, nevertheless it is very concerning, because it means that if police finds a camera on my plane I can be facing a fine of 10K and jail time of 18 months, or both.
Also, an unmanned aerial system capable of "surveillance" is very loosely defined. Any rc planes is capable of that, it doesn't say that it has to be mounted. So that still can be interpret differently depends on who is handling the case against you.
By that logic, can you argue that if you have a camera and you are not using it it's off, you are good to go? It doesn't say that, too.

Also, I think you are wrong about the FPV, since you are observing through your camera, and that is mentioned under the "surveillance" definitions. Also, almost all the FPV-er are recording their flights, for different reasons, and that is not acceptable. So FPV is banned to, not a small or big cameras.

I can't say for sure, but this is setting us at a close spot with possessing an unlicensed weapon. Fines are very similar as possessing a rc plane with a keychain camera ($15000 vs $10000).

18th March 2013, 05:03 PM
It doesn't matter if you are using the camera to enable you to fly (FPV) or just to take pictures while it's up there. This definition covers both.

It is definitely way too broad and very concerning. I agree. But let's be sure to read it accurately before we send in letters to representatives, etc.

18th March 2013, 05:54 PM
I wrote out some of my thoughts on the proposed NJ UAVS legislation and then spent an hour or so repetitively cutting and pasting it into emails to the bills sponsors and every other legislator in the state.

I've gotten a bunch of emails back that are auto replies--but I've also gotten some that are more specific:

On Mar 18, 2013, at 11:54 AM, "Hughes, Mike" <MHughes@njleg.org> wrote:

> Mr. W,
> The Assemblyman actually has flown several and enjoys the hobby. In
> addition, we have looked to amend the bill to provide carve-outs for
> some of the reasons that you explain.
> Rest assured that while the Assemblyman isn't against the use of some
> drones, he is all in favor of the hobby! I will keep you apprised of our
> efforts. This particualr piece of legislation has not moved yet.
> Mike Hughes
> Legislative Director
> Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon
> 32 Monmouth St, 3rd Floor
> Red Bank, NJ 07701
> 732-933-1591

Also a note that implies how slowly the clock may be ticking:

Dear Mr. W,

Thank you for your thoughtful input on the police drone legislation.
Assemblyman Bramnick is not a sponsor of the bill, but would be happy to
share your views with the bill's sponsors. At this point the bill has
not been posted for a hearing or a vote, but your expertise at this
early stage will be beneficial to the sponsors. We appreciate you taking
the time to contact our office on A-3157.

Thank you very much,
-Ben DeMarzo

Ben DeMarzo
Chief of Staff
Assemblyman Jon M. Bramnick
251 North Ave W., 2nd Floor
Westfield, NJ 07090
(908) 232-2073

Check out the AMA map to see what may be up in your area:

My original note--probably needs some editing . . .

> -----Original Message---
Sent: Sunday, March 17, 2013 12:53 PM
> To: O'Scanlon, Asm. D.O.
> Subject: NJ A 3157 UAV bill
> NJ A3157 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Legislation
>Dear representative,

> While I may be reading the bill incorrectly, I feel, as one of many in
> the RC (Radio Control) community in New Jersey, that the bill does not
> recognize the existing breath and diversity of "unmanned aerial
> vehicles" and the corresponding potential threat that vastly different
> craft realistically present to privacy.
> In my reading, the bill would seem (through what I believe to be a lack
> of proper definition) to not distinguish the huge difference between
> using a larger UAV with military grade components and capabilities used
> with invasive intent from the mere possession of anything from toy micro
> helicopters with cameras (available for about $50), a plethora of small
> flying toys that have been on the market for years and the fast growing
> group of RC hobbyists that have, for several years, been flying small
> bird-sized foam airplanes with cameras for years.
> These hobbyist aircraft have, for a few years, been a fast growing facet
> of the RC modeling community that shares the dream of flight. Their
> craft are various in design; some take simple POV (Point of View) video
> of their flights by attaching small cameras around their local AMA
> (Academy of Model Aeronautics-the national organization of RC pilots)
> fields and schoolyards. Others, including myself, also fly what is
> called FPV (First Person View-transmitting a low-def, live video view to
> pilot the toy plane as if one is in its cockpit) by attaching
> inexpensive equipment to bird sized foam airplanes. By simply viewing a
> video or two (you could try one of my YouTube videos posted under
> AeroHeadTW) you would immediately see that flights by hobbyists are not
> only a lot of fun, but also do not (and have not for the years that they
> have been occurring) pose a threat to public privacy-the capability is
> much less than what people imagine from their limited knowledge of
> multi-million dollar drones. Our current world of millions of
> ubiquitous cell phone video cameras in everyone's pockets, Google Street
> View, etc has not led to the outright banning of entire types of
> devices; these devices have also not caused large societal issues that
> have not been able to be mitigated through judicious use of existing and
> new, light footprint legislation. I see a pending inadvertent banning
> of a the smallest of a whole spectrum of aerial devices being an
> unintentional consequence springing form a lack of proper categorization
> as well as any recognition of intent (just as cars, rifles, kitchen
> knives, baseballs, stones, etc could be used for malicious intent none
> are banned outright-and the threat posed by the large chunk of the
> hundreds of thousands of existing toys and models potentially captured
> in the pending legislation certainly pose a threat well below the
> aforementioned everyday objects (many UAVs are capable only of producing
> blurry cell phone photos, tangled hair and minor scratches from their
> small propellers!).
> The FAA is currently in the process of developing laws integrating
> commercial and large scale UAVs into the national airspace. These UAVS
> (the S represents the System of ground control; remote pilot, ground
> station, etc.) will serve, and indeed have been serving for years, in a
> large number of uses beyond widely known the military and police roles
> (search and rescue, filming car ads and resort destination videos, land
> use monitoring and resource monitoring, pesticide application,
> environmental sampling, etc). The FAA has been in dialog with the AMA
> for the last few years regarding hobbyist level UAVs (the decades of
> other similar levels of guidelines that the AMA has developed as RC has
> changed over the years to include lager scale model aircraft, turbine
> licensed models and now FPV aircraft has led to a sterling safety record
> for its tens of thousand of members and RC hobbyist community in
> general. For this reason, and because they consider the threat to be
> of small sca
> le, to date the FAA has left, and will likely leave, the potential
> threats posed by small scale hobbyist UAVs as guidelines under the
> national advocacy group of the AMA while it continues developing laws
> the necessary laws for larger UAV craft.
> In fact, the AMA guidelines (that all AMA Members are bound to follow)
> are based on these discussions with the FAA. These guidelines have
> recently be revised and clarified given the few years of experience with
> the previous guidelines (in fact an area or two relating to the
> secondary radio transmitters has been dropped due to the proven safety
> single systems). The guidelines include (and may in fact be a mirror of
> pending FAA directions) quite logical limitations on model, weight
> (which equals both capability and potential for unintentional physical
> damage), speed (under 60 mph), range (line of sight only), having a
> spotter on the ground looking for obstacles and able to take over direct
> (regular RC control) if necessary as well as a stricture on taking
> intrusive video that invades privacy.
> My apologies for my long letter that barely touches on the complexity a
> hobby that not only allows many to fulfill their dreams of flight but
> also has an important role in inspiring a new generation of engineers
> through radio, robotics, optics, programming, safety and navigation
> software, etc. But I thought it was worth pointing out the wide
> spectrum of extent, safe devices (down to toys-even perhaps kites?) that
> seem to be criminalized by the current wording of this bill.
> I know you must have a busy schedule, but if you have a chance it would
> fun, and educational, to view a video or two or even take an FPV ride
> some day with me or some of the other NJ hobbyists some day.
> I appreciate your good faith efforts in protecting public privacy-and
> the current bill is certainly more informed that what I consider
> reactionary, ignorant and infringing bills pending in some other
> states-but I do believe there is work to be done in recognizing existing
> conditions and setting clarifying restrictions based on logical
> distinctions rather than a single umbrella term. A model for this
> already exists and is evolving between the FAA and the AMA. Perhaps NJ
> can set a standard for thoughtful progress in this area as well (or
> perhaps it may be time for a moratorium; some other jurisdictions are
> moving this direction as they've found the subject is not as stark-or
> immediately threatening-as sensationalist media reports have proclaimed
> as it literally depicts images children's toys such as the Parrot AR
> Drone as a clear a present threat to security-the pubic can't tell
> because the is no one in the picture for scale reference, but this drone
> weighs less that a pack o f cards and is a bit bigger than a tea
> saucer! But if flies and has a small video camera on board-check it out
> at your local Toys R Us).
> In the end, there is no doubt that the future of aviation increasingly
> depends on UAVs; we cannot afford to undercut the our competitive
> advantage in innovation and education or terminate an area of expansive
> growth in both hobbyist and professional grade equipment by
> inadvertently rushing ahead without getting input from the large
> community of people who have been using the devices safely for years. I
> hope my letter has been informative and I thank you for taking the time
> to consider the RC hobby perspective on the matter of A3157.
> Most sincerely,
> T. . .
> NJ Resident as well as RCer, FPVer, HAM License holder and AMA Member

18th March 2013, 08:56 PM
Actually, knowing how cops think any fuzzy language is always against us. I am very concerned and Pavle is right this becomes very close to NJ gun laws which are full of loopholes so if you get pulled over its up to the cop interpretation of the law.
The only way to survive in FPV is to pay some farmer with huge farm and fly there with his permission but again if just possession of any flying device with camera is prohibited we are totally finished.

18th March 2013, 09:10 PM
I just try to avoid flying around too many people. I avoid bringing attention to myself and I haven't had a police officer stop, ever. It is concerning however, how much of a blanket definition that is. Why don't they just come out and say "if you fly FPV you are now a criminal."

On the other hand, I don't know a single cop around here who would say anything besides "thats awesome!" if they came upon somebody flying FPV. I know a lot of cops, they run in my family lol

18th March 2013, 09:39 PM
You know very well there are cops and cops. Had always positive reaction from any observers.
My concern is that if one " ambitious" spots the plane cruising close by and follows it to landing that's what worries me.
Lots of people bring the beer to the beach ( its highly prohibited) and most of the time nothing happens if they are careful but at least once a day someone gets busted. Now if you are simply prohibited to own any flying device with camera you are double guilty for owning it and flying.
On the other note these lawyers or whoever comes up with these idiotic rules have no idea that our hobby is no real danger to anyone.
It's troubling that all the states jumped on the same wagon pretty much at the same time, which leads me to think about orders from main office setting up the stage for more sinister moves.

R Rated
18th March 2013, 10:25 PM
Well I will not be putting my contact info on any of my planes ( not that i did before ) . Most of my flights I am planing to do this year are mostly over the water and long range , will have to get a good ground station set up ! They do need some rules to keep everyone aware of others safety . But I'm curious if they will go to the full enforcement if there is no harm done if they caught me doing a flight ? Will have to land plane in different location ? Time will tell

19th March 2013, 10:13 AM
You are very right, there are cops, then there are cops. As for following the plane back to landing, what I usually do (even now) is make some random vectors when I'm going to land so that people will have a hard time following me. I also drop to the deck, usually about 1km or more out so they can't see the plane or where its heading. Police cars follow roads, my plane doesn't. I don't fly IFR (I Follow Roads) ;) I fly where I want!

19th March 2013, 04:21 PM
For those of you trying to keep a low profile, what are you doing about your FCC callsign, which we are supposed to broadcast every 10 minutes? My guess is many of you just aren't bothering.

19th March 2013, 04:47 PM
For those of you trying to keep a low profile, what are you doing about your FCC callsign, which we are supposed to broadcast every 10 minutes? My guess is many of you just aren't bothering.

Two ways to legally deal with that. One, put it on a small slip of paper mounted within view of your FPV camera. Two, integrate it into your HUD system if you have one and it is capable of that.

Or you can be like me and not have your HAM yet. (I know, I know. I need to get it.)

19th March 2013, 05:39 PM
I thought if you are under 1 watt you are able use the feq for rc equipment. (as a tech license holder)

19th March 2013, 05:47 PM
I thought if you are under 1 watt you are able use the feq for rc equipment. (as a tech license holder)

If you use it for RC control you just need your callsign labeled on your control transmitter (which no one can see unless they physically approach you). For video transmissions on amateur bands I believe you need the callsign visible in the video broadcast once every 10 minutes. These questions were on the FCC exam. Many OSD systems (such as EagleTree) will display the callsign for you every X minutes, but not everyone is using an OSD.

19th March 2013, 07:28 PM
I have mine displayed on my DOSD once ever 10 minutes. I don't have my name, callsign, etc on my RC Tx though. I just think thats ridiculous. If they want to know the callsign, they can ask the guy holding it. If FPV goes illegal, I'll just display my callsign as UPYUR5 or something like that

19th March 2013, 09:25 PM
I'll just display my callsign as UPYUR5 or something like that
Fantastic!!!!!!!!!!! LOL
I'll program it on my DOSD.

20th March 2013, 11:40 AM
Great letter, AeroHeadTW.
Unfortunately, some "proactive" politicians are trying to be ahead of the Legislature. The Bergen County Parks' Commissioner apparently told the President of my club, Bergen County Silent Fliers, that no FPV can be used on the park's precises (Dunkerhook Park, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410). So, the majority of the club members (who have nothing to do with FPV), are afraid that he may pull out our flying privileges there, so they are OK with the ban, and want to go step forward by putting a "No FPV/GPS" on the membership cards.

Ridiculous, but true.

20th March 2013, 01:03 PM
I wish I had never anchor my life in this slavery state.:-(

20th March 2013, 01:29 PM
Thats why I don't fly at AMA fields. Too much drama with all this stuff. Just find a nice parking lot or grassy field and your all set! You can just sit by yourself and enjoy the scenery

4th April 2013, 08:58 AM
Look who is sponsoring this legislative. If this is true, it's shame how much he cares about the people's privacy, but not for their money he was using for his lavish life.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.<wbr>ssf/2013/03/assemblyman_<wbr>robert_schroeder_p.html (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2013/03/assemblyman_robert_schroeder_p.html)

28th April 2013, 02:19 PM
So Amy news on this front, weather is getting nicer but with all this crap I am getting afraid to fly anywhere:((
I wonder now is this a privacy issue as we have damn cameras everywhere. And if you flying in the boonies all you can violate is few deer making out in the bushes if you lucky to see them

28th April 2013, 08:56 PM
Jack, if you have a place that we can go to do some FPV, please, have me on call. I am flying only planes now, since they had forbid the FPV at our park. The Park Commissioner likes to be the parks sheriff, apparently.

I want to fly my quads, I have no FPV plane yet