Friday, December 07, 2012

Small, radio-controlled aircraft OK'd in Sioux Falls parks: No permit needed for hobby planes

Two Sioux Falls fifth-graders are partly responsible for an amendment to a city ordinance that ensures kids can fly small remote-controlled aircraft in parks without a permit.

The City Council on Tuesday approved an amended version of an ordinance to add a permitting process for flying remote-control aircraft in city parks. The amendment states that certain remote-controlled aircraft greater than two pounds are prohibited. The original ordinance called for prohibiting all remote-controlled aircraft.

Councilor Kermit Staggers proposed what he deemed the “Mason/Vincent amendment,” named after two Cub Scouts who publicly urged councilors to vote against the ordinance.

“It’s common sense,” said Vincent Bormann, a Cub Scout and fifth-grader at Harvey Dunn Elementary School. “Besides, I don’t know anyone hit or injured by a toy airplane. If you vote yes, people are less likely to spend time in parks because they have no way to get a permit.”

Fellow Cub Scout and classmate Mason Helm spoke at a meeting last month.

Parks and Recreation officials added the free permitting process to ensure users are flying planes at appropriate times and locations so as not to interfere with events such as soccer, softball or baseball, said Kelby Mieras, parks operation manager. It’s part of an ordinance revision that removed stiffer penalties for violations at Fawick Park and also changed year-round hours for Falls Park and a portion of the Downtown River Greenway to 5 a.m. to midnight.


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