State security officers recently had to step in twice in one day and ask visitors to stop sending drones whizzing around the iconic Gold Dome. The problem is, they soon realized, they had no authority to do so.
It turns out there were no state regulations blocking drone operators from flying their remote-controlled aircraft at the statehouse or the Governor's Mansion. And a proposal that would restrict the use of the machines didn't get off the ground this legislation session.
The Georgia Building Authority took a step Monday toward changing that. The authority's board, chaired by Gov. Nathan Deal, unanimously passed a resolution banning the use of drones in or around the statehouse building and within five miles of the Capitol Hill heliport, which sits across the street from the statehouse.
It also forbids the use of the machines in or around the Governor's Mansion in Buckhead.
State officials said helicopter pilots shouldn't have to compete for airspace with tiny, whirring drones. The resolution notes that the Federal Aviation Administration, which is set to soon develop more formal guidelines, recommends that drones be banned from operating within five miles of any heliport.
"Sometimes, technology gets ahead of us," said Steve Stancil, the agency's head. "And you have to step in."
It's unclear how the state would enforce the ban, but it wouldn't be the first area that's off-limits to drones.
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