Help! I'm being shot at!

I'm being shot at by a crazy local guy!

I'm flying my small fast 250 size quad over the field at the back of my (UK) house, between 10-30ft in the air, just back and forth in a line.

I think it has happened three times, the first two times I did not fully recognise it was happening - I thought the swoosh sound (of the bb/pellet/bullet), was just my imagination. But today I heard it again really close to me (within 2 metres of me) and hit the bushes next to me.

I saw the guy carrying a really big professional rifle with big scope and it looked like a silencer on the end. To me (with no gun experience) it looked like one of those big long sniper rifles. He was hiding behind some trees.

What do I do? I've never been shot at before? 

I'm not flying over houses or within 50 metres of anybody, I'm not flying fast as i'm still learning the racing drone skills, so i'm going slow 3-10m/s. 

Before I call the police, I need to know am I in the wrong? am I doing anything illegal? Do I need to speak to the C.A.A (Civil Aviation Authority)?

According to a neighbour, the guy is a recluse who built a house without land permissions (that kind of crazy, you get me?) who keeps pigs, chickens, and threatens neighbours, cuts their fences, things like that. My neighbours seem afraid of him, think he's dangerous.

I have no video of him shooting at both me or my drone (yet). I'm thinking about repeating the flying, and setting up a camera to try and get some footage, as we all know it's one word against the other. 
Is this a good idea to do this? Or dangerous? I don't want to feel intimidated, or threatened on my freedoms, particularly when I'm being shot at.

Any help and advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks

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  • Hi Ben,

    I notice you mention silencer and whoosh among other things.

    So no big bang.

    My guess is this idiot is shooting at you with a Gamo Airgun or something like it, that is exactly what they look like.

    And given the seriously tough gun restriction laws in the UK the odds are very much against dumbell shooting at you with a real sniper rifle.

    If he was actually doing that with a real silenced sniper rifle there and the police found the gun you wouldn't need to worry about seeing him again for a seriously long time.

    Nonetheless, a decent high power air rifle like the Gamo is nothing I would want to get shot with and it would certainly put out an eye in an instant aside from likely knocking your quad out of the air with a lucky shot (or unlucky) depending on how you look at it.

    Also, you described a "whoosh", A rifle bullet, even a 22 rimfire makes a much higher pitched zinging or cracking sound when it passes near you airgun or BB pellets at seriously lower velocities make a whooshing noise.

    I have been in the immediate vicinity of bullets fired including high power rifle bullets and they definitely make a very sharp zinging noise when they go by as well as a very distinctive crack if they are still supersonic.

    Further even if it was a silenced high power rifle you would have almost certainly heard the muzzle report, silencers don't work nearly as well in real life as they do on TV.

    My guess is this crackpot is going to make claims of being spied on by drone flying terrorists (you) and the police will probably haul him away tinfoil hat and all.

    After that idiot woman in the US attacked a teenager on the beach flying his quadcopter over an empty field, the spill way has opened for all of the people for whom thinking is an excessive effort.

    The camera is probably a good idea, but at this point in the proceedings, probably not a possibility, however I would keep one handy in case the opportunity arises.

    Sounds like the #### will hit the fan tomorrow in any case when the SWAT team comes knocking at your neighbors house, I would very much avoid using my copter to try and film this, go sit in your living room and watch TV.

    I will be interested to hear your updates on this as this story continues to unfold.

    It's serious now, but so far you have done exactly the right thing.

    Best Regards,


  • Leave it to the Police, going to the Internet for advice is probably not a good idea.

  • Wouldn't worry about your drone usage, that's an insignificant matter compared to someone shooting at you with a large gun.  I would take care about posting this info in public while this is active - your crazy neighbour could be reading this and be preparing himself for an armed raid which could put everyone in more danger.  Sensible advice about trying to gather evidence with a gun pointed at you, for the love of god stay indoors and close the curtains!! 

    WRT drone usage I don't think you've done anything necessarily wrong (IANAL etc etc), I think in UK land rights don't extend to the air above the land so you're flying fairly responsibly over open ground.  The only thing you might technically possibly be doing wrong is taking off/landing near other people in adjacent gardens/houses, but there are a thousand people doing a lot worse on youtube..

  • Just met the police officer dealing with the matter and the officer seems highly concerned about the shooter, and the shooter's behaviour. The officer is going to run a background check and contact me, then they are going to visit the guy (with lots of caution, kevlar, and backup). So, that's where we're at as of right now. I'll keep updating, as i'm particularly interested in how a drone/quad will be treated (as a shooter's motive or cause or privacy, landownership/rights). The officer seems comfortable with camera drones explaining to me that they now use them for evidence gathering and fire damage assessment situations. The officer also advised against me repeat-flying to gather video evidence for the time being due to a firearm being used.

  • I made a layout of the incident:

  • I think you did absolutely the right thing going to the police. However I would suspect little will be done unless he can be caught in the act and it can be proven he has committed an offence. Is he on his private land? I would suggest you contact the land owner.


  • Good for you!

    I just saw this and I noted you mentioned CAA.

    Here in the states, our "CAA" (FAA) wants to be able to control drone pilots.

    Therefore, small Unmanned Areial Vehicles (sUAV) are classified as aircraft.

    It is illegal to shoot at/ shoot down

    Keep us posted.

  • I've just got back from a visit to the local police station. They seem concerned about the use of firearm, also firing at/in the direction of a civilian/property, logged it (therefore it is now registered as a crime). A police officer will be visiting me tomorrow lunchtime.

    I'll provide an update after the progress tomorrow. I'm interested to see first hand how it will be treated, whether or not they identify the shooter as a criminal (or not), or even me as a criminal (somehow), or if they just tell the boys to put away the toys...

  • I'm a mixture of angry and confrontational right now. Probably not a good combination of feelings to ride. I should perhaps consider visiting the local police station for advice or calling 101, maybe my feelings about the 'his word versus mine' is inaccurate and they will manage it better than I think they will :/

  • I would speak with the police first and see how they want to handle it. I would highly recommend against putting yourself in the situation again where someone is shooting at you without having the police ready to stop the guy before he pulls the trigger.

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