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Thread: kentucky man arrested for shooting drone

  1. #11
    Sky Pirate & FPV Outlaw SecretSpy711's Avatar
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    Wayne, I know you like to stir the pot on these kinds of issues, and you have not failed to do so again with your loose interpretation of the law by saying that someone's property can suddenly and conveniently become an established gun range.

    But your interpretation of how much airspace you own is not quite accurate. As per US v Causby, you actually own "at least as much of the airspace above your property that you can reasonably use in connection with the land." That does not mean you own everything up to a "navigable level." So, while there is no well-defined upper limit, you cannot erect "spite poles" to keep someone from flying over, and I'd bet that that includes claiming that your property is a vertical gun range for a day. The article also said he was arrested not for actually damaging the drone, but for firing his gun within city limits. Maybe you don't live within city limits but I digress. It also said that the reason he shot it was for perceived "invasion of privacy", not because he thought it was a threat. If a landowner wants privacy from above, then the onus falls on him to construct sufficient structures to ensure that privacy. But back to your threat claim, I'd think it would be pretty difficult to prove that your "perception of imminent threat" was legitimate from a drone innocently hovering 400 feet above, unless you can clearly see some kind of weapon on board, or unless it is clearly trying to fly at you. That's like saying you shot some kid's helium balloon down, because you thought it might kill you.

    My point was that people seem to be so self absorbed and naive to think that a drone flying overhead has anything to do with them, and need to get over themselves. 99.99% if the time, the pilot of said drone is using it for a legitimate purpose, and has no interest in spying on anyone. Most people do not use their properties as gun ranges, so flying over the majority of suburban houses (where I live), it would be hard to argue that a landowner owns more than a hundred feet or so, or the height of his tallest tree.

    In fact, I fly over people's houses all the time, on my way to another target. I've had a guy throw rocks at my plane, but I wasn't even over his property. If someone were to actually shoot my plane down, you can bet your ass I'd be seeking some kind of action against him. People tend to shoot first without using that noggin of theirs.
    Last edited by SecretSpy711; 29th July 2015 at 06:31 PM.
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  2. #12
    Instructor Pilot Channel 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecretSpy711 View Post
    As per US v Causby, you actually own "at least as much of the airspace above your property that you can reasonably use in connection with the land." That does not mean you own everything up to a "navigable level." So, while there is no well-defined upper limit, you cannot erect "spite poles" to keep someone from flying over, and I'd bet that that includes claiming that your property is a vertical gun range for a day.
    Good luck with that interpretation, and probably a lost bet too.

    As for ranges mine is always open 24/7.

    Did into the Florida air rights laws and try again.

    Truthfully though, given the political mood over drones, combined with media misinformation out there, I doubt you could ever find a jury or a judge, down here, who would convict me or anyone else for taking a drone out of the sky.

    Wayne
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  3. #13
    Instructor Pilot Channel 1's Avatar
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    Oh then again there are many ways to bring one down without firing a shot, good luck bringing a successful prosecution under that plan.

    Wayne
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  4. #14
    Sky Pirate & FPV Outlaw SecretSpy711's Avatar
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    that's not an interpretation, that's what the case actually says.
    https://supreme.justia.com/cases/fed.../256/case.html

    I did look at florida air rights and I see what you are referring to, but doesn't the very fact that a drone is flying there make it navigable, and thus you do not own the airspace it is flying in? Even so, I still maintain that you do not have the right to destroy others' property simply because it wandered into your airspace, and then make a claim attempting to say that you perceived it as a threat. And even if you don't shoot it to bring it down (used a net for example), then that still constitutes theft. If some kid left his bicycle in your front lawn, you wouldn't take it and sell it on ebay. So why would you shoot a drone that has nothing to do with you? Because it's "inhuman"? Because it "might be" filming you incidentally to filming it's actual target, even though your face is probably not recognizable? There could just as easily be a recording device on the kid's bicycle, but that never crossed your mind, did it?

    And if your property actually is a gun range, then that is an entirely different scenario from the one I was talking about, and from most of the land an FPVer is likely to fly over.
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  5. #15
    Sky Pirate & FPV Outlaw SecretSpy711's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Channel 1 View Post
    I doubt you could ever find a jury or a judge, down here, who would convict me or anyone else for taking a drone out of the sky.
    I doubt your doubt. I think you probably could find one, in the scenario in the article I posted, even if it happened in FL. Now, if the operator was intentionally trying to film the shooter or his sunbathing daughter without their consent, that's different. The facts would have to be presented in court. But the operator said he was filming his friend's house.
    Last edited by SecretSpy711; 29th July 2015 at 07:03 PM.
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  6. #16
    Instructor Pilot Channel 1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecretSpy711 View Post
    I did look at florida air rights and I see what you are referring to, but doesn't the very fact that a drone is flying there make it navigable, and thus you do not own the airspace it is flying in
    Sorry, try again, navigable applies to real aircraft only for now.


    Wayne
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  7. #17
    Sky Pirate & FPV Outlaw SecretSpy711's Avatar
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    tell that to the FAA.
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  8. #18
    Crashing Vitamin J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecretSpy711 View Post
    I doubt your doubt. I think you probably could find one, in the scenario in the article I posted, even if it happened in FL. Now, if the operator was intentionally trying to film the shooter or his sunbathing daughter without their consent, that's different. The facts would have to be presented in court. But the operator said he was filming his friend's house.
    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that taking a photograph from the sky is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Photographing sunbathing 16 year olds in their backyard from the air is 100% protected.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecretSpy711 View Post
    tell that to the FAA.
    So true...didn't they allege that Trappy's flight around the university constituted activities in navigable airspace. If flying under an overpass is an operation in navigable airspace then so is hovering over your neighbor's back yard ;-)

  10. #20
    Sky Pirate & FPV Outlaw SecretSpy711's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vitamin J View Post
    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that taking a photograph from the sky is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Photographing sunbathing 16 year olds in their backyard from the air is 100% protected.
    Even if the photo is taken from within the landowner's airspace?
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