Shoot Movies, Not Drones - drone-slayerI will shoot down any drone that flies over my private property.” Actually, shooting at a drone is considered a felony offense in the United States and could land you in jail. Also note, the drone probably transmitted the footage of you committing the crime to a recorder in the pilot’s flight controller on the ground, just before you pulled the trigger. In fact just interfering with the safe operation of any aircraft, unmanned or not, while in flight is considered a misdemeanor.  


Contrarily to what you’ve heard, you do not own the airspace above your residential or commercial property. Ultimately, the Federal Aviation Administration has responsibility “for all civil airspace, including that above cities and towns.” Under FAA jurisdiction, unless you live 5 miles from an airport, in a National Park or are incardinated in a correctional facility, the sky over you is regulated as Class G airspace and drones are legal to fly and operate from 1-400 feet.


Shoot Movies, Not Drones - Image1However, there are laws that protect your “reasonable expectation to privacy”. These privacy laws that apply to cameras on the ground are exactly the same for cameras in the air. Privacy laws are very complicated and are usually dealt with on a case by case basis in court. A drone hovering 10ft in your backyard or right outside your window would probably be considered a violation of privacy where as a drone hovering at 75ft in the air would not. If you feel a drone is invading your privacy you should contact your local authority instead of interfering with the drone.


FAA guidelines state all drone operators must keep their drone with in line of sight during flight. If you can see the drone, chances are the operator is nearby. Most drone operators are happy to talk to the public and answer any questions about their mission.  Most of the time you’ll find out the drone was simply hovering over your property to get a shot of another property for hire close by.


Drone operators are required to take off and land on public property or private property with permission. Drone operators are also required to fly in a safe, non-reckless manner that is not a nuisance to the community. If you feel a drone is violating any of the rules you should contact your local authority.


Did you know 98% of drone fly a ways are pilot error? Learn about why and how to prevent a fly away at our MPI Drone Class.


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