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Woman finds a man flying a drone outside her home. Is it legal?

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posted on May, 30 2013 @ 12:15 PM

Originally posted by Chrisfishenstein

How high in the air? Can I sue an airliner for flying over my property? (air space).....

Or a helicopter for that matter?

Helicopters too, but I'm not sure of the distance. As I recall it has more to do with infringement on your right to privacy as well as to enjoy your property. I posted some links in a thread concerning this a while back with court cases won against the FAA. I'll see if I can find it.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 12:25 PM

Originally posted by DaTroof
"In other news, a local man was found dead with a remote control in his mouth and a small airplane up his rectum."

That's how I'd handle that situation.

Yeah yeah yeah... big man. You keyboard warriors will "kill" anyone for anything. Get a grip.

Concerning the OP, I'm pretty sure this could be illegal. In a public area where there is no expectation of privacy you don't have to worry about it, but I think recording someone in their own home without their consent is most likely illegal. Don't quote me on this though and it could be different in certain states.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 12:35 PM
it is a very interesting question.

these "drones" are available everywhere, some are even controlled by i pads, nooks, etc. it is the new "cool toy". most of these are equipped with cameras. currently this is a "grey area in the law", yet it is really not a new thing, since RC helicopters equipped with cameras have been around for years. the difference is that they are now much more common as they are much cheaper. they are also much easier to fly compared to a lot of "good" 6 channel control helicopters. they are also available in smaller sizes then they used to be and just a bit more "indestructible"as well, and a crash won't likely cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. thus they are becoming more popular every day.

what constitutes a "DRONE? all a "drone" really is, is a fancy name given to a remote controlled aircraft. these craft can range from a $30 kids toy bought in any wal-mart, that is rather small and can easily (if you can control it
)in you home, right up to HUGE airplanes with a wing span of 22 meters. and those are "civilian" craft. heck there is even a "full sized" real helicopter that is remote controlled
true most are not equipped with cameras but tiny, transmitting cameras are easily available and easily to install on most of these craft.

how could you really control where many of these are flown? should we penalize little johnny and tell him he can not play with his toy because SOME person might misuse it? i know i own a rather small 4 channel helicopter that is under 9 inches long. i love to fly it either in the main room of the house or outside. it handles rather well compared to a lot of the "toys". should i not be allowed to fly it? i could mount a camera on it if i felt like it.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 12:52 PM
Its called 12 gauge with buck shot. it'll bring her down.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 12:58 PM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

If he uses the footage for any commercial reason, or he's too close to a structure, they simply need to turn him in to the FAA:

Do I need to get approval from the FAA to fly a model aircraft for recreation?
No. FAA guidance does not address size of the model aircraft. FAA guidance says that model aircraft flights should be kept below 400 feet above ground level (AGL), should be flown a sufficient distance from populated areas and full scale aircraft, and are not for business purposes. 1, 2

He must obtain a COA to operate it for commercial reasons as a UAV.

Others have been given “cease and desist” orders and been shut down for operating without the correct licenses from the FAA:

Legal Issues For Aerial Photography

In point of fact, two well known RC-aerial operators (names withheld) have been given "cease and desist" orders from the FAA and been threatened with a $10k per-day fine for non-compliance. Both of these operators are now shut-down and their websites pulled.

If he is not close to a structure, and he's not doing it for commercial purposes, then it gets a bit more “hazy”...

Originally posted by littled16
Not legal. If you own property you own the air space as well. The man did not have the right to fly his little spy drone in air space within anyone's privately owned property boundaries.

I'm not sure where you got this from, but its false.
You do not own the airspace above your house, and you do not own the ground under it. You can buy the mineral rights to the “underground” part of your property, but any air above your house is considered “uncontrolled airspace”. That is why the police, or emergency helicopters can pretty much hover feet above your roof “at will”.

Air Rights: US
In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the sole authority to control all airspace, exclusively determining the rules and requirements for its use. Typically, in the "Uncontrolled" category of airspace, any pilot can fly any aircraft as low as he or she wants, subject to the requirement of maintaining a 500-foot (150 m) distance from people and man-made structures except for purposes of takeoff and landing, and not causing any hazard. Therefore, it appears to trump any individually claimed air rights, near airports especially.

·91.119 Minimum safe altitudes; general
Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the
following altitudes;
(a) ·Anywhere. ·An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue
hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b) ·Over congested areas. ·Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any
open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a
horizontal radius of 2.000 feet of the aircraft.
(c) ·Over other than congested areas.
An altitude of 500 feet above the surface except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In
that case, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or
(d) ·Helicopters. ·Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph
(b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the
surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes
specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator.
·Helicopter operations may be conducted below the minimum altitudes set for fixed-wing aircraft.
The reason? The helicopter's unique operating characteristics, the most important of which is its
ability to execute pinpoint emergency landings during power failure. Further, the helicopter's
increased use by law enforcement and emergency medical service agencies requires added
flexibility in the application of many FAA provisions

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 01:08 PM
reply to post by VoidHawk

You said yourself that it was in your own back yard. The story states that it was right outside this woman's window, said nothing about the man controlling the drone being on his own property so your argument is for the most part invalid.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 01:19 PM
Why do American's always lean toward reacting violently to anything they are confused by/ fearful of/ do not understand ?.

If there was a drone flying outside my second or third story window, I would simply pull the damned drapes shut, and go ask the person flying it why they were flying near my window, ask them to quit it.

Nobody really has any real right to privacy anyway, you wouldn't have to pay property taxes if you actually owned the house or car or whatever, you live in your house, drive your car, do whatever, because the people who run the world allow you to because they want you to think you are free, so you are more productive.

This country is one giant never-ending episode of Jerry Springer.

Oh, the drama!.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 01:19 PM
reply to post by mikemck1976


I know many RC-copter enthusiasts. These are pretty cool gadgets and aerophotography is becoming quite popular.

It is very hard to regulate such area. Peeping through windows is wrong, although flying over house should not be.
Especially tough would be running such copter from big appartment building. Whether one wants it or not, it will fly past windows, that is where the problems would come, when regulating too much.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 01:23 PM
reply to post by defcon5
The same ruling that decided what you have quoted also decided this:

The court's decision, authored by Justice William O. Douglas, could have resolved the case on a narrow ground by simply holding that there was a taking of land because the government's flights affected the land. Justice Douglas did reach that conclusion, but then he went much further and opined on what airspace landowners do and do not own. He wrote that "if the landowner is to have full enjoyment of the land, he must have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere. Otherwise buildings could not be erected, trees could not be planted, and even fences could not be run" . . . Thus, a landowner "owns at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land," and invasions of that airspace "are in the same category as invasions of the surface."

Under such circumstances flying a drone right outside of a ladies window would be considered an invasion of her airspace and would be in the same category as invasions of the surface. There have been other rulings against the FAA for disrupting the "peaceful enjoyment of one's privately owned property" that I linked in another thread but cannot find now unfortunately. Flying a drone about one's own property or above public property is one thing, flying it right outside of someone's window over their privately owned property is something else entirely.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 01:47 PM
reply to post by littled16

You are misunderstanding that ruling.
What it's saying is that you cannot be limited on how high of a structure that you can build on your land (which we also know is not completely true due to zoning ordinances). So for example you cannot build a highrise on a piece of land that is not zoned for it, but you can for example build a HAM radio tower. The government can stop you from building a “highrise” via zoning laws, but they cannot stop you from building a radio antenna on your existing zoned personal land.

That law has nothing to do with how low that aircraft can fly over your land.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 01:49 PM
reply to post by Dominar

I think it would definitely count as recording someone without their consent on their private property which is illegal.

I don't even think the word "drone" would need to come up in any charges....

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 02:07 PM

Originally posted by Pervius

The LAW is a matter of how much money you have to spend for a lawyer.

Truer words were never spoken. The free defense lawyer provided by the courts does not work for you. He is partners with the prosecuting attorney. Good cop/bad cop sort of thing.

I agree with the posters who say that what you can see from public property without going to extraordinary measures is not illegal.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 05:43 PM
She should just get a drone herself - knock it out of the air using the perv's silly logic. Cost is high - have no idea how much one would cost that could take out the other guys 'drone' - not to mention the replacement parts you would need for yours. The your cost vs his cost could almost be the same.

Then again - a damaging laser can be bought for cheap. She could just burn up the optics on the 'drone' again, using the perv's logic against him. Cost is fairly cheap and when it comes to your cost vs his new camera is in your favor the first time you burn his optics out. The more he sends the drone in, the most his cost increases with almost very minimal cost on your end.

A super soaker (filled with 25% solution of sta-flow starch) if she is really cheap. As long as she only lets the water fall onto her property, she can use the perv's logic against him. Her cost, about 25 bucks. His cost will continue to rise as you gum up his equipment.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 06:06 PM
Do like Iran and take control of it crash it hard into the window then sue him in court for damages. The closer radio signal will out power the other letting you have better control me thinks.
Of course you need a outsider to say wow cool dude and find out what frequency he is on.

But then being I like my sling shot that sounds like a great way to target practice actually.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 06:57 PM
reply to post by ChuckNasty

If you cannot legally prove that they are doing anything wrong, to intentionally damage their property is criminal mischief. Its best to allow the police to handle such things, and make record of it. The police have ways to make the law work in their favor in places where the actual law is a gray area (fishing laws). For example, if he shows a repeating pattern, and she can show that pattern through a record of police calls, he might get charged with stalking. Even though stalking is completely unrelated to what the issue here is, if the police can make the charge stick, then the problem resolves itself.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 07:55 PM
What happened to neighbors not talking with each other?

"Hey Darla, I got a camera on my drone for when you're in an uncomfortable predicament. I'll upload it onto utube and it'll go viral, you'll be the next sensation!"

"Do it and die Robert."

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 08:52 PM
I highly doubt it was anywhere near her actual window, but simply visible from it. Fly close to any structure and there is a huge risk of wrecking your drone.

No one here would ever get away with shooting another persons drone down as you can't discharge a firearm within most city limits(depending on state etc...). Enjoy that felony charge and a loss of your 2nd amendment rights.

On a more down to earth note....cameras!? you guys are afraid of a camera? lol. I play around with drone swarming tech/programming and the cameras on most drones are for flying the drone in a first person perspective or so they can identify other objects to not hit them using machine vision.. No where near the quality one would want for actual spying. However all my drones do look for open networks and and locked networks, and has code cracking capabilities all while up in the air. They can hack phones nearby as's the new wardriving. Nobody needs a 300$ drone to look at some old lady’s crusty body when internet porn is free.
edit on 5/30/2013 by Metatronin because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 09:02 PM
When did we start calling "hobbie" radio controlled "toy model planes-for-fun"...DRONES? Seriously?

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 10:13 PM
reply to post by mysterioustranger

A drone is usually flown90-100% by the on-board micro controllers using various sensors(gyroscope,gps,etc.). An RC plane or helicopter is not a drone if it's 100% flown by a human pilot. Infact if should require no input once turned on, as the onboard chips do everything with a pre-prepared task/set of actions. Of course you can take manual control but will never outpace a well done program.

posted on May, 30 2013 @ 10:25 PM
Hi mikemck,

Since ATS is an international web site, the relevance of this message depends upon the country. Accordingly, this message is "nice to know," but not useful to US readers.

Use of Jammers (aka RF Blockers) as a Countermeasure against Recreational (Hobby-grade) Drones

Search engine searches reveal over 600,000 websites addressing the use of RF jammers against drones. According to these websites, most, if not all, recreational drones use the 2.4 GHZ RF spectrum. The use of cell phone jammers, to jam the recreational operator's RF link with his drone, is believed to work. Cellular jammers are somewhat legal in Great Britain and Canada, highly illegal in the US, and the legality probably varies with other countries.

One webmaster advocates easy-to-build spark gap transmitters to jam recreational drones. This will work, but the user will foul a hell of a lot of unrelated RF for a significant radius around his transmission point, and will probably end up with him being led away handcuffed.

In the US, interference with spectrum regulated by the FCC, falls under jurisdiction of the FCC Enforcement Division. Regulations are readily available on the FCC website.

Any recommendation on whether or not to jam the frequency link between a recreational operator and his drone will have to depend on the country.

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