So, there was a RC "drone" hovering above my house yesterday...I was kinda pissed.



  • Yeah...wasn't too happy about that.

    My family and I were spending some nice quiet time in our yard, and all of the sudden, we hear a faint buzzing/whirring noise coming from above. We look up, and there was a 3' drone hovering between ours and our neighbor's house at about 200' up or so.

    It hovered there for about 5 minutes then drifted down the street at the same height for another 5 minutes. I waited for the unit to head home (the battery has a limited life) and went over to the guy's house who was flying it.

    Turns out, he flies them commercially and was honestly confused as to why I would have a problem with it flying over my house.

    I told him I didn't like it because:

    • I have no idea who is controlling the drone, therefore...
    • ...I don't know if there is a camera (usually there are)...if there is...
    • ...I don't know if the camera is recording...even if it isn't recording...
    • ...I have two small children, I don't like the idea of someone watching them or my wife
    • Noise - Hearing a buzz overhead for minutes at a time is not conducive to a relaxing evening in the yard after work
    • Safety concern - If the battery dies or there is a mechanical issue, the thing could come crashing down into my yard. If so, is it mine if I decide to be an a-hole?

    He was cool with not flying it over my house after I asked him not to - but still...what do you guys think of this? To me, there's a psychological aspect to this that separates a drone from an RC airplane...the fact that it hovers.

    Have you had any experiences like this?



  • legally as long as you can still see it while you're flying the person flying is okay, 400ft altitude is the highest allowed. You don't own the airspace over your house just as if a airplan, helicopter or anything else flies over. Nothing you can do about it.

    RC Helicopters have been able to hover for many many years, not just drones. It just takes a lot more skill to fly the helicopters than the drones which about anyone can fly (and crash as well), drones tend to be more dangerous just because there is less learning curve so the people flying them don't really know what they are doing most of them time or understand how they work (and how wind and weather effects them).



  • Yeah, I know about the height restriction. TBH, I would be just as annoyed had it been an RC helicopter, but there aren't any of those in the neighborhood - it's been pretty quiet for the last 12 years we've lived here and I'm not keen on having these things buzzing over my head when I'm looking to relax with a beer.

    Honest question here: Legally, what's stopping me from shooting it out of the sky with a high-powered pellet gun (aside from me being a generally nice guy on any given day)?



  • ...I'm not entirely convinced he had line of sight on it the entire time he was flying it.



  • @Rob-Dunn said:

    Honest question here: Legally, what's stopping me from shooting it out of the sky with a high-powered pellet gun (aside from me being a generally nice guy on any given day)?

    If it is on your property, nothing.



  • @Rob-Dunn said:

    To me, there's a psychological aspect to this that separates a drone from an RC airplane...the fact that it hovers.

    I think this derails the conversation. Would you be okay with a slow flying, camera wielding, battery powered, might crash into you, video recording RC plane flying around your property? That it is hovering or moving in a line really isn't important. What is is whether or not you have the right to keep people "off of your property". Having a drone up in the air on your own property is one thing. But on someone else's is quite different.

    Plus, if it is on your property and you tell it to leave and it doesn't, it's trespassing, right? He's been informed that he has to leave. That he isn't listening isn't your problem.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    legally as long as you can still see it while you're flying the person flying is okay, 400ft altitude is the highest allowed. You don't own the airspace over your house just as if a airplan, helicopter or anything else flies over. Nothing you can do about it.

    But airspace has a minimum, right? You can't be an inch over the ground. Otherwise a hovercraft would have the right to anywhere, anytime. They could run a red light and tell the cops "tough, I'm an aircraft."



  • I thought that to qualify for "right of airspace" that you had to be high enough to qualify as "flying".



  • Looks like I was right. The drone was likely trespassing. It was within the airspace that you clearly own above your property.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/07/photographer_george_steinmetz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html



  • @Rob-Dunn said:

    Turns out, he flies them commercially and was honestly confused as to why I would have a problem with it flying over my house.

    There is no reasonable possibility that he was confused about why you have a problem with this. If he has so much as heard of a drone he has to have heard about the massive about of legal and ethical controversy around them and how upset people are about them and how there are all kinds of laws and rules both existing and being considered. That he claims to do this commercially leaves exactly zero possibility that he really was surprised here.

    He was bluffing hoping that you didn't call the cops.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    it's trespassing, right? He's been informed that he has to leave.

    That's not trespassing in anyway. It's completely legal to do so.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    it's trespassing, right? He's been informed that he has to leave.

    That's not trespassing in anyway.

    It is according to an aviation lawyer: "If you were to take your Parrot drone over my house, I suppose at one level, it is a trespass," he said. "You were not invited there and could potentially have disrupted my quiet enjoyment of my home. I suppose I could sue."

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/if-i-fly-a-uav-over-my-neighbors-house-is-it-trespassing/263431/

    What makes you feel that it is not trespassing? It meets all the qualifications of which I am aware.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    It's completely legal to do so.

    According to whom? This isn't supported in anything I am finding. Since we've determined, according to the references at least, that you do indeed own the usable airspace around your house and that being in that airspace uninvited is trespassing and drones fall into that category.... where was an exception made for drones?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Looks like I was right. The drone was likely trespassing. It was within the airspace that you clearly own above your property.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/07/photographer_george_steinmetz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html

    No, you did not read the article fully if that's what you got out of it. 200ft would be out of the airspace you own. Also in the case of the article he was also trespassing for taking off from the land. This article was also written before the FAA re-wrote it's rules.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    it's trespassing, right? He's been informed that he has to leave.

    That's not trespassing in anyway.

    It is according to an aviation lawyer: "If you were to take your Parrot drone over my house, I suppose at one level, it is a trespass," he said. "You were not invited there and could potentially have disrupted my quiet enjoyment of my home. I suppose I could sue."

    Sure you can sue for anything.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Looks like I was right. The drone was likely trespassing. It was within the airspace that you clearly own above your property.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/07/photographer_george_steinmetz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html

    No, you did not read the article fully if that's what you got out of it. 200ft would be out of the airspace you own. Also in the case of the article he was also trespassing for taking off from the land. This article was also written before the FAA re-wrote it's rules.

    In the article it said that under 500ft was normally considered YOUR airspace, and the drone was well within that space.



  • Here is another article listing both trespass and nuisance laws and being potentially applicable when within your airspace.

    http://www.agweb.com/article/legal_ease_drones_and_the_law_NAA_John_Dillard-john-dillard/



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Looks like I was right. The drone was likely trespassing. It was within the airspace that you clearly own above your property.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/07/photographer_george_steinmetz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html

    No, you did not read the article fully if that's what you got out of it. 200ft would be out of the airspace you own. Also in the case of the article he was also trespassing for taking off from the land. This article was also written before the FAA re-wrote it's rules.

    In the article it said that under 500ft was normally considered YOUR airspace, and the drone was well within that space.

    Re-read it. It did not say that. It said it considered changing to that. It said it was somewhere between 80-500ft depending on the height of the buildings.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Looks like I was right. The drone was likely trespassing. It was within the airspace that you clearly own above your property.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/07/photographer_george_steinmetz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html

    No, you did not read the article fully if that's what you got out of it. 200ft would be out of the airspace you own. Also in the case of the article he was also trespassing for taking off from the land. This article was also written before the FAA re-wrote it's rules.

    In the article it said that under 500ft was normally considered YOUR airspace, and the drone was well within that space.

    Re-read it. It did not say that. It said it considered changing to that. It said it was somewhere between 80-500ft depending on the height of the buildings.

    Yes, but 500ft was the more commonly accepted.

    Regardless, it is within the airspace that mostly is considered yours. Sure, any judge might hate you and rule something ridiculous, but the law seems pretty clear that the use of drones in ways that are generally a nuisance is likely trespassing.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Here is another article listing both trespass and nuisance laws and being potentially applicable when within your airspace.

    http://www.agweb.com/article/legal_ease_drones_and_the_law_NAA_John_Dillard-john-dillard/

    He also says that the law isn't clear about it being trespassing.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Looks like I was right. The drone was likely trespassing. It was within the airspace that you clearly own above your property.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2013/07/photographer_george_steinmetz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html

    No, you did not read the article fully if that's what you got out of it. 200ft would be out of the airspace you own. Also in the case of the article he was also trespassing for taking off from the land. This article was also written before the FAA re-wrote it's rules.

    In the article it said that under 500ft was normally considered YOUR airspace, and the drone was well within that space.

    Re-read it. It did not say that. It said it considered changing to that. It said it was somewhere between 80-500ft depending on the height of the buildings.

    Yes, but 500ft was the more commonly accepted.

    Regardless, it is within the airspace that mostly is considered yours. Sure, any judge might hate you and rule something ridiculous, but the law seems pretty clear that the use of drones in ways that are generally a nuisance is likely trespassing.

    No, it wasn't. You are seeing things the way you want to not, what they ACTUALLY say.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    He also says that the law isn't clear about it being trespassing.

    He did, it is not completely clear. But the consensus seems to be that it is much more likely to be trespassing that to not be. But you said it wasn't and that it was completely legal. What makes it not trespassing and completely legal when the law leans the other way, apparently?



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    No, it wasn't. You are seeing things the way you want to not, what they ACTUALLY say.

    I provided the quote.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    No, it wasn't. You are seeing things the way you want to not, what they ACTUALLY say.

    I provided the quote.

    Cool Story.



  • One of the lawyers: There are two common law legal protections that are available to prevent harassment from drones: trespass and nuisance. The law is not abundantly clear on where a landowner’s exclusive control of airspace ends and the public airspace begins. Modern interpretations of property law hold that property owners’ airspace rights extend to as much of the space above the ground that is occupied or used in connection with the land.

    Nuisance claims can also be filed against drone operators if their activity leads to a "substantial and unreasonable interference" with the use of your property. Drones can be noisy, frighten livestock and annoy landowners, thereby creating a nuisance and reducing property value.

    If it is interfering with your family, that would seem to apply. If you have to listen to it, watch it, worry about it crashing, etc. you are being nuisanced by it.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    No, it wasn't. You are seeing things the way you want to not, what they ACTUALLY say.

    I provided the quote.

    Cool Story.

    I'm providing references and quotes from attorneys. You are free to disagree, but you are just stating over and over that I am wrong and that they are wrong. Or claiming that the quotes aren't quotes. I'm not sure why you feel that this information is wrong or why the law would not likely support homeowners. Do you have legal references that provide clarity on why you feel that you don't have any airspace and drones have full legal rights that homeowners do not?



  • No idea as to the expertise of these guys, but they have the same trespass information discussed when looking at liabilities for Amazon delivery:

    http://wfpl.org/want-amazon-prime-air-package-kentucky-itll-take-while/

    Unless the drones could drop straight down from federal airspace to your house, they will likely have to cross someone else’s property. Without a revision to regulations, that could qualify as trespassing or nuisance.

    Notice that the changes in the law are needed to make it not trespass. The current law, they suggest, likely means that it is.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    One of the lawyers: There are two common law legal protections that are available to prevent harassment from drones: trespass and nuisance. The law is not abundantly clear on where a landowner’s exclusive control of airspace ends and the public airspace begins. Modern interpretations of property law hold that property owners’ airspace rights extend to as much of the space above the ground that is occupied or used in connection with the land.

    Nuisance claims can also be filed against drone operators if their activity leads to a "substantial and unreasonable interference" with the use of your property. Drones can be noisy, frighten livestock and annoy landowners, thereby creating a nuisance and reducing property value.

    If it is interfering with your family, that would seem to apply. If you have to listen to it, watch it, worry about it crashing, etc. you are being nuisanced by it.

    Still that would mean it's nusiance or invasion of privacy, pepeing tom etc. Not trespassing.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    @thecreativeone91 said:

    No, it wasn't. You are seeing things the way you want to not, what they ACTUALLY say.

    I provided the quote.

    Cool Story.

    I'm providing references and quotes from attorneys.

    Yes, and the links you provide did NOT agree that it was trespassing. You are skewing them.



  • @thecreativeone91 said:

    Still that would mean it's nusiance or invasion of privacy, pepeing tom etc. Not trespassing.

    Each of the attorneys and the television station (maybe an attorney, who knows) mentions trespass specifically and nuisance as an additional course of potential legal action.

    You keep saying definitively that it is not trespassing, but the attorneys seem to feel that it likely is. What's the basis for your belief that it definitely is not?


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