Activists’ drone shot out of the sky for fourth time


By Matthew Schroyer sUAS News

“As soon as I hit the go home mode, because the GPS and compasses were damaged, it went crazy,” Hindi said. “I flipped off the ‘come home’ mode and went into manual control. It wasn’t working right, but we were able to bring it in for a crash landing anyway.”

“I had more control than I anticipated,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it didn’t just drop out of the sky.”

Read More

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • @Scott,

    I am just using the scenarios which have played out in real life before in regards to trespassers on private property where the owner shoots first and asks questions second. Many of those cases have fallen to the property owners favor based on trespassing laws. I.E. Burglars who have been shot as intruders when burglarizing some ones private property. The same view can be seen in this case with the hunters shooting @ the drone. They simply are defending their property and privacy is how they will see it, and I would not bet against that view in most rural counties in america. This county where the incident occurred clearly does not have issue with them doing so since it is the 4th time he has been shot down from his own admission. So if the cops thought the owners were doing something ILLEGAL then something against the owners would most certainly have occurred. Also as another extension, if the dronejournalist had his rig shot @ 4 times causing damage then where are the multiple legal cases he supposedly have a right to file. Bottom line is he is more likely at fault much more then the property owners in the eye of the law or they would have done something already. Would be surprised if some LEOs actually are members @ said club...which will not help his situation...

  • I did a little research and PA has pretty strong anti-surveillance and privacy laws. In this case, it sounds like, if it went to court, the question would come down whether there was an expectation of privacy. The fact that it was a noisy, advertised event - whether on private land or not - might make a case one way. The fact that it was on provate land and an event fo rmembers might go another. But note that the issue is not flying over - it is taking video. There is some argument that if the video was not for commercial or prurient use, then it is not in itself an invasion of privacy - particularly outside of a building. But this only goes to the video taking. The presence of the multi-rotor over the property is very probably not in itself an invasion of privacy or trespass of any kind.

    You do not, under the law, have the right to shoot down or in other ways attempt to destroy someone's property just because it is in the air over your land. If you shot down a press helicopter covering an event such as this, you would be completely liable for the damage to the vehicle irrespective of what criminal charges might follow. The argument of "gee, bullets were flying and who knows how it go thit" would be fun to try in court, but good luck with it.

    Under no interpretation could I find anything that would define passing above someone's property as tresspassing. And even if it were, you have no right to use deadly force in absence of a threat to your person.

    Airspace is generally governed by federal law, and there is no federal right to privacy that would apply here. There might be local laws about it, or about flying a multi-rotor over an area with people, safety laws, etc... but privacy and tresspass don't enter into it.

    @Peter - to extend your argument, if I were to walk onto the property without an invitation, they would have the right to shoot me and claim it was accidental? Hard to see that working out too well for anyone.

    And from another point of view. If the shooters didn't want to be shown as gun-nuts as opposed to responsible people who own guns, shooting at a drone with a camera is probably not helping their cause and jsut hands press advantage to the activists.

  • Mathew,

    The property owner has a right to privacy, and the property owner can legal discharge the weapon on the property. Secondly, the property is a known hunting/shooting club with all licenses to shoot weapons in the controlled space of the property. Look into the site the activist was targeting, it is a recognized gun/hunting club. They have all the rights in the world to discharge the weapon the grounds, and could easily say The drone was on their property and while we were shooting at the pigeons it got in the way of our legal hunting rights....etc...etc..etc...not that they will need to spill this BS to get away with it. So yes Mathew they have the right to shoot at the drone until at which time privacy laws are changed, which I for one hope never happen. That is why it is called PRIVATE PROPERTY Mathew! Any attempt at new laws vs. Private Property will not sit well in the USA with most citizens Just an FYI!

  • The best case that the "activists" have is a civil suit for property damage. The shooters are definitely not in danger of any criminal charges. The shooters were on private property where they are allowed to discharge firearms. 

    However, I don't think the activists should have been flying the craft over the property in the first place. Their sole intent was the surveillance of private property. Flying that mission was violating the privacy of the land owners. 

  • the problem here petter meister is you make it sound like the gun club had the right to shoot down the drones which they don't no matter how much they didn't like what the drones were doing.


    this is a gary zone where the law isn't taking sides right now, but will likely need new laws at some point.   

  • All good questions Scott. I hope some day we get GOOD Answers :) On the dronejournalism side - Well like others have said, the FAA not unlike the FCC make a choice on WHO they target. Clearly after 4 flights over private property and being shot down or shot at 4 times and including 4 Police Incidence Reports they (FAA & Local SLG/LE) must seem like DRONEJOURNALISM is best left un-touched right now. I am sure the media have a lot to do with why they (FAA) are taking a BLIND eye towards this.

  • Peter, That is exactly what I am curious about. Why hasnt the FAA stepped in and slapped the operator of the drone with a fine yet?

    Other questions I have: Why does the FAA have to control drones in uncontrolled airspace. 500' and below should not have any air traffic (unless you are by an airport), so why does the FAA even need to be involved here. How would they even regulate something so small anyway? What is the REAL difference between a hobbiest flying a drone and someone who is flying it for commercial purposes? Are we going to have to put transponders on our equipment now so the FAA can see us in the air?





  • Clearly that video shows him over the property recording the people on the property. Hard not to see why the property owners shot at it. I mean what do you expect when you fly a drone over a shooting range/gun club. I am sure he expected it, having had it happen 3 other times.

  • Moderator

    The video of the problem flight is out

  • I think the property owner/pigeon shooters would say the activist made flight over their property against their wishes. Clearly that is how they viewed it, or why else did they shoot it down. 2nd, I think the activist if using said drone to record video of the shooters on their property for their activist purposes, IMHO constitutes commercial use as the activist if properly operating under a not-for-profit business then used the drone for the not-for-profit business purpose of activism. Just my non-lawyer view....of the situation....otherwise then the activist must say I was working on my own under no activist company umbrella, which then constitutes trespassing as a citizen and then we get into the rights of the property owner yet again to defend their property and expect privacy on their property.

This reply was deleted.