Last week I was contacted by Mr. Cowhig, Director of Planning and Construction for the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. The old airfield, our flying site, comes under his prevue and responsibility. He has been our liaison person for many years and always been considerate of our club.
It seems that the Stone Mountain Park has had several problems with people flying model aircraft in the park. They have experienced several incidents and many complaints from other patrons of the park. I was told the police have had heated exchanges with offending “drone” pilots. I have not been given any other details of the provocations (injuries, lawsuits, or other problems?).
SMMA has responded to the problem, by issuing an ordinance prohibiting the flying of model aircraft on SMMA property.
Fortunately, the CEO of SMMA, Mr. Bill Stephens, can, when justified, issue waivers to the ordinance, which he has done for our club. They are willing to allow us to continue to fly “airplanes”, but not “drones”, at the airfield site. I tried discussing how and what our club does with Mr. Cowhig, but he said the CEO is very firm on his stance.
This is a ‘hot button’ issue at SMMA right now. I believe it would be counter-productive to try to “educate” or pursue our case further at the moment.
Although the ordinance is already in effect, I have been given several days to get the word out to the club. Pass the word around to each other and visitors. We need to stop our multi-rotor flying ASAP. I would expect a few visits from the park police to check on us, so please comply with the new ordinance.
Mr. Cowhig said he will be calling me soon. I will pass along any pertinent, new information.
President -Stone Mountain Radio Control Flyers
In our conversations, the term “drones” seems to be used in the context of multi-rotor UAV’s. The term “helicopter” has never been used. This is a grey area to my mind. Never-the less, it is probably in our best interest to stick with flying only airplanes for the time being.