Extraordinary Video: A Beautiful Hawk Rests on the Goddess of Liberty Star on the Texas Capitol Building

Recently I was given special permission to fly on the Texas Capitol Grounds. We had been shooting for a bit and had the drone in its case, waiting for the sunset, when we noticed one of the local hawks resting on the Star on the Goddess of Liberty Statue on the top of the Capitol Dome. We chatted for a bit but kept an eye on him.

He didn’t seem like he was going to go anywhere so I decided to see if I could get a picture of him. Surely he would fly away by the time I got the flying camera in position, I thought. He did not. You will notice that I pause a number of times and hover. That is because I did not want to spook him. However, he stayed for the entire video. Clearly he felt he owned the place and I didn’t get close enough to invade his personal space. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you don’t want to view the entire video, the close up can be found starting at 2:30 mark. As always, click HD if available.

Later this week, a number of my photos will be available for sale at the Bob Bullock Museum Store and the Texas State Capitol gift shop (in the Capitol building) and the Texas Capitol Visitors Center gift shop (located southeast portion of the Capitol grounds).

Proposed New Rules Governing use of Unmanned Aircraft over the Capitol Grounds and Complex

This post is for other drone pilots in the Austin area.

Proposed new rules governing use of Unmanned Aircraft (drones) over the Capitol Grounds and Complex were issued on September 18, 2015 in the Texas Register: 37 TAC ยง8.21 and ยง8.22. The direct link to these new proposed rules in the Texas Register can be found here but I’ve pasted them in below in blue as well. A weekly publication, the Texas Register serves as the journal of state agency rulemaking for Texas. The comment period, which has expired, was up to 30 days after publication. As of this writing, I’ve reviewed all subsequent issues of the Texas Register and I have not yet seen that these rules have been “Adopted”. Once I know that the rules have been adopted I will update my Drone Rules page here.

Note that there are two areas referenced, Capitol Grounds and Capitol Complex (here is a map of the Capitol Complex for those unfamiliar with it).

In summary:

An unmanned aerial vehicle may be operated in or over the capitol grounds if advance limited use authorization has been obtained from the State Preservation Board. An unmanned aerial vehicle may be operated in or over the Capitol Complex area if advance limited use authorization has been obtained from the Texas Facilities Commission

Additional details, including “other authorizations” are below:

The following in blue was excerpted from here.

SUBCHAPTER B. UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES

37 TAC ยง8.21, ยง8.22

The Texas Department of Public Safety (the department) proposes new ยง8.21 and ยง8.22, concerning Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. This proposal is intended to implement the requirements of House Bill 3628, enacted by the 84th Texas Legislature, which details the limited use of authorized unmanned aircraft in the Capitol Complex.

Suzy Whittenton, Chief Financial Officer, has determined that for each year of the first five-year period this rule is in effect there will be no fiscal implications for state or local government, or local economies.

Ms. Whittenton has also determined that there will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses or micro-businesses required to comply with the rule as proposed. There is no anticipated economic cost to individuals who are required to comply with the rule as proposed. There is no anticipated negative impact on local employment.

In addition, Ms. Whittenton has also determined that for each year of the first five-year period the rule is in effect, the public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rule will be the publication of the rules governing the use of unmanned aircraft in the Capitol Complex.

The department has determined that this proposal is not a “major environmental rule” as defined by Texas Government Code, ยง2001.0225. “Major environmental rule” is defined to mean a rule that the specific intent of which is to protect the environment or reduce risk to human health from environmental exposure and that may adversely affect, in a material way, the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment or the public health and safety of a state or a sector of the state. This proposal is not specifically intended to protect the environment or reduce risks to human health from environmental exposure.

The department has determined that Chapter 2007 of the Texas Government Code does not apply to this proposal. Accordingly, the department is not required to complete a takings impact assessment regarding this proposal.

Comments on this proposal may be submitted to Commander Jose Ortiz, Texas Department of Public Safety, P.O. Box 13126, Austin, Texas 78711. Comments must be received no later than thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this proposal.

This proposal is made pursuant to Texas Government Code, ยง411.004(3), which authorizes the Public Safety Commission to adopt rules considered necessary for carrying out the department’s work and ยง411.062(d-1), which authorizes the director to adopt rules governing the use of unmanned aircraft in the Capitol Complex.

Texas Government Code, ยง411.004(3) and ยง411.062 are affected by this proposal.

ยง8.21.Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Prohibited.

An unmanned aerial vehicle may not be operated in or over state property including land and buildings in the Capitol Complex as defined by Government Code, ยง411.061 unless authorized as provided under ยง8.22 of this title (relating to Limited Use Authorization to Operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).

ยง8.22.Limited Use Authorization to Operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

(a) Capitol grounds. An unmanned aerial vehicle may be operated in or over the capitol grounds if advance limited use authorization has been obtained from the State Preservation Board. The operator shall comply with all terms of the limited use authorization in operating the vehicle. Authorization from the State Preservation Board extends only to the capitol grounds area and does not extend to the Capitol Complex.

(b) Capitol Complex area. An unmanned aerial vehicle may be operated in or over the Capitol Complex area if advance limited use authorization has been obtained from the Texas Facilities Commission. The operator shall comply with all terms of the limited use authorization in operating the vehicle. Authorization from the Texas Facilities Commission extends only to the Capitol Complex area and does not extend to the capitol grounds.

(c) Other authorizations. An unmanned aerial vehicle may be operated within the Capitol Complex by:

(1) a law enforcement agency or person operating under contract with a law enforcement agency; or

(2) any state, federal, or local government agency or contractor for that agency that is using the unmanned aerial vehicle to perform a governmental function.

(d) Flight operations. Prior to operating an unmanned aerial vehicle, as authorized under a limited use authorization or other authorization, the operator shall contact the department Capitol Complex headquarters to schedule the flight operation. During operations the pilot of the unmanned aerial vehicle shall possess and present the authorization upon request to any personnel of the department, Texas Facilities Commission, or State Preservation Board.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the proposal and found it to be within the state agency’s legal authority to adopt.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on September 2, 2015.

TRD-201503540

D. Phillip Adkins

General Counsel

Texas Department of Public Safety

Earliest possible date of adoption: October 18, 2015

For further information, please call: (512) 424-5848