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

Join diydrones


  • And unfortunately, everyone loves to follow California's strict regulations, just like the CARB rules. We can't touch our hi-performance cars, even if we modify them and get them to run more efficient and within the emission levels or better than factory engine tunes, it is still illegal. 

    I wouldn't be surprised if other States start enacting similar regulations as California. 

  • I fly and practice in my backyard at only about 10ft and i can hear the neighbors salivating and praying for me to ctoss over to their space. F em. At this point i fly safely everywhere, INCLUDING MY YARD.

  • FYI, for anyone interested. I just stumbled on this 2015 white paper that discusses the 4th amendment issues and also touches on the 1st amendment. It was written by Taly Matiteyahu, J.D. candidate at Columbia Law School.

    This link leads to the PDF file.

  • @BacklashRC - You make an interesting point about aerial photography and the constitution. I'm not at all qualified to address the legal aspects but suspect that freedom of speech rights may not extend to unauthorized photography of people on private property. Also, there will likely be 4th amendment concerns. As you say, a legal decision may ultimately have to come from the courts.

    It would be very interesting to hear someone with a law background address this. 

  • Also @ philip, when reading internet comments, you're correct, everyone is anti-drone. 
    But somehow when I talk to people in person about it, everyone thinks they are great, the future, and see all the benefits of them, along with thinking they're 'cool', mostly in their ability to view things from a unique perspective.  (people love an aerial view).

    I'm very mixed in my drone concerns... If I base my concerns on internet media, the future for the US looks bleak.  But in the real world, people are reasonable. 

    (Also, maybe related, I recently watched a BBC documentary about Russian and US based 'corporations' which do nothing but post comments after news articles, favoring whoever is paying them. (That's only who they investigated, but I'm sure the 'industry' is global).  It might be so prevalent that at some popular news outlets, at least 1/2 of the comments are planted.  It's politicians who use these services, so if a politician has something to gain by demonizing drones.. .expect some drone demonetization in the comments!)

  • Philip,

    If the courts can be convinced that First Amendment protections apply to images captured with a drone, the opinion of 330 million Americans can be overruled. Many things have broad public condemnation but enjoy legal protections.

  • Jimmy,

    If you are flying for Skycatch, then your FAA exemption allows you to fly from an altitude of 400 feet (AGL) down to ground level. It then seems that the arguments of the petition (about not making a living) are moot. 

    In general, whenever I see a news article about drones, I make a point to count the blogger comments. By my count, the general public is against drones by a margin of about 8:1. While our community rightfully sees the many advantages of drones, a minority of pilots disobeying the rules, causing air safety issues, and invading privacy are ruining public perception. Growing media reports about incidents certainly don't help. 

    But we need to remember that there are 330 million Americans and a much, much smaller number of drone owners. From a practical perspective, the future of drone regulations will be decided by the majority's opinion. Petitions against drone regulations are unlikely to have the desired impact. A lot fewer rogue drone pilots is our real hope.

    With over 1 million consumer drones sold, it only takes a small percentage of bad actors to create a significant problem. Regulators will address the problems unless they start declining instead of increasing. 

  • BacklashRC makes some good points, particularly how these new regulations conflict with existing law.  But those laws and court decisions were made before personal drones became an issue.  I think there are two main issues here that the FAA needs to address:

    First is the matter of accountability.  There needs to be some way of associating a drone with its operator, be it tail numbers or something else, so if a drone violates the law its operator can be held accountable.

    And second, there needs to be clear and reasonable drone flight regulations which protects a person's right to privacy in this rapidly changing world.

    Until then, I'm afraid we will continue to see people, communities and states, taking measures to control it themselves.

  • Requiring permission from a property owner to fly lower than 350' AGL over said property gives ownership rights where ownership typically does not exist.  Though the United States Supreme Court has been somewhat ambiguous about how much airspace a property owner actually owns, the court says that a landowner only owns "as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land" (in this particular case (US v. Causby) it turned out to be 83 feet)

    Also, 350' is an arbitrary number.  It will not be long before you will be able to count the blackheads on someone's nose from 350' using a hobby grade UAV.  The law should not rely on meaningless altitude limits.  It should instead focus on intent.  It should be illegal to invade someone's "reasonable expectation of privacy" from any altitude, from any angle.  Come to think of it, it already is.

    Does a state have the right to regulate the National Airspace?  The  FAA has already stated that it considers "navigable airspace' to extend to the ground when considering UAV's.  The FAA has "Exclusive Sovereignty" over navigable airspace.

    Jackson, the legislator that wrote the bill, has stated that we all deserve privacy in our backyards. This is explicitly not the case. In Florida v. Riley the Supreme Court ruled that if something is plainly visible from the airspace above private property, there is no "reasonable expectation of privacy', even in a backyard.

  • I am flying for the company Skycatch at the moment until my exemption goes through. Jobs flown for the larger companies are flown gratis. 

This reply was deleted.