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When a homeowner complains that my drone is trespassing into his private property. . .

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I'm confused, I was taught in my drone flight school that airspace above private property is not part of the private property, that it's public space governed by the FAA.

After a little digging, however, I think I might be wrong. I'm reading some documents that say that a persons private property extends as much as 350 to 500 ft. above their land.

Please check this article and let's clear this up. I'm a real estate photographer and fly over peoples property all the time! I need to know the law. Thanks.

"Real Estate has Height"
 

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I'm confused, I was taught in my drone flight school that airspace above private property is not part of the private property, that it's public space governed by the FAA.

After a little digging, however, I think I might be wrong. I'm reading some documents that say that a persons private property extends as much as 350 to 500 ft. above their land.

Please check this article and let's clear this up. I'm a real estate photographer and fly over peoples property all the time! I need to know the law. Thanks.

"Real Estate has Height"
What country?
 
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I'm confused, I was taught in my drone flight school that airspace above private property is not part of the private property, that it's public space governed by the FAA.

After a little digging, however, I think I might be wrong. I'm reading some documents that say that a persons private property extends as much as 350 to 500 ft. above their land.

Please check this article and let's clear this up. I'm a real estate photographer and fly over peoples property all the time! I need to know the law. Thanks.

"Real Estate has Height"
You and we all paid for our license and they own their property but they don't own the air space and they can't do anything about it. I could see if you were using your drone and trying to look in their windows but these are a bunch of cry babies and they have no life and just are not happy with their lives and have nothing to do but complain about everything you do. I deal with these types of people and no matter what you say or do they are going to complain .you can't be nice to them and you have to put them in their place and they will most likely leave you alone.
 
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Thanks, but still uncertain. I'll continue to follow the Florida State law that allows me to fly over neighborhoods for business purposes.
 
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Thanks, but still uncertain. I'll continue to follow the Florida State law that allows me to fly over neighborhoods for business purposes.
Like I said he doesn't complain when an air plane flys over his house or maybe he does and they are spying on him to. He can complain about it all he wants and their is nothing he can about it. These are the type of people that will complain about everything like I said before you can't make these type of people happy and if you don't stand up for yourself it's going to get worse. Being nice is not an option tell him where to go and he will leave you alone. Every time he Here's a drone he's going blam it on you. Stating this guy out and you should not have any problems any more. I have been flying my drone in the same parking lot for 3 years and nobody has ever said anything to me except one guy I put the drone away and I confronted him and I told him don't ever threaten me again. I told him that I would knock him out and take his money until he pays it off 30 people and one guy had to run his mouth I never seen him again
 
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Like I said he doesn't complain when an air plane flys over his house or maybe he does and they are spying on him to. He can complain about it all he wants and their is nothing he can about it. These are the type of people that will complain about everything like I said before you can't make these type of people happy and if you don't stand up for yourself it's going to get worse. Being nice is not an option tell him where to go and he will leave you alone. Every time he Here's a drone he's going blam it on you. Stating this guy out and you should not have any problems any more. I have been flying my drone in the same parking lot for 3 years and nobody has ever said anything to me except one guy I put the drone away and I confronted him and I told him don't ever threaten me again. I told him that I would knock him out and take his money until he pays it off 30 people and one guy had to run his mouth I never seen him again
Just a thought here. Let's assume that you are within your rights to fly your drone in the parking lot that you mentioned according to your state's ordinances. When you threaten to "knock him out" you bring
a whole new dimension to this discussion. Even if it is legally ok for you to fly your drone at that location it is not ok for you to threaten that individual with physical violence. By doing so your position changes from being the victim (him harassing you when you're exercising your right to legally fly you drone) to being the perpetrator (you threatening him with physical violence). You never want to give up the moral and legal high ground. I live in coastal Alabama and there are a few people who wear their ignorance like a badge of honor. They don't bother to do their homework and research an issue before
forming an opinion or taking a position. They go strictly on "gut feeling", in some cases that can be dangerous. There's an internet publication called Nextdoor where locals can post their thoughts on neighbor hood issues, and drone flying has come up on a couple of occasions. I live on one of the bays in south Alabama and I try to fly my drone just offshore along the shoreline as much as possible to be a good
neighbor. Some of these "clowns" have threatened to shoot my drone down even thought it's flying offshore over public use waters. You can't fix stupid!
 
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I'm confused, I was taught in my drone flight school that airspace above private property is not part of the private property, that it's public space governed by the FAA.

After a little digging, however, I think I might be wrong. I'm reading some documents that say that a persons private property extends as much as 350 to 500 ft. above their land.

Please check this article and let's clear this up. I'm a real estate photographer and fly over peoples property all the time! I need to know the law. Thanks.

"Real Estate has Height"
This theme has been beaten to death since drones became commercially available. You are not wrong because there is no "right" or "wrong" (yet) answer and local governments are going to keep making bad decisions until the Supreme Court decides the issue. That will not happen until someone( with lots of money) manages to build a case on constitutional grounds through all appeals and up to the SC.
In the mean time, I avoid complaints as much as possible.
 
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I’m a real estate photographer also! And when someone freaks out, I ask them if they called the FAA? The answer is always no! I then ask (reasonably), if you were upset with an airplane flying too close to your house would you call the FAA??? They always say YES!!! I say, ok great, let me give you my FAA Licenses Number (that is what I call it for their sake), so that when you call the FAA, you can report to them about my commercial activity. But I can tell you what they will tell you! Would you like to know? They always say yes! I say, they are going to tell you the same thing if you called and reported that a Delta Jet flew over your home, that Airspace is controlled by the FAA and that commercial activity in this space is legal!!!
 
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It's definitely not in my nature (nor do I consider it professional) to react aggressively to people who complain about my flying.

The worst incident I endured taught me a good lesson. I was flying in a neighborhood capturing photos and video of a small house. Near the end of the flight, I was in the owner's backyard. I was about to land when I heard a man's voice shouting at me from across the back fence - a few yards away. He was in a rage, shouting obscenities, telling me he was going beat the sh*t out of me and that he was going to shoot down my drone.

I yelled back that I'm landing it now, that we could talk, and I could explain what I was doing. He yelled back that it was too late, and he continued with the obscenities. By this time my hands were shaking from the adrenaline, and I was having a really hard time landing the drone. Finally, I did and went over to the man (who had cooled off a bit).

I explained that I was a real estate photographer and needed to fly around the neighborhood to get the shots I needed, and that I'm allowed by law to do that. He was still angry and explained to me that he was a Vietnam vet with PTSD and my drone was freaking him out. I apologized and told him that if I had known, then I wouldn't have flown over his house. I walked away feeling like sh*t.

The lesson I learned was that I need to be very sensitive to the possible negative experiences that drones can create. When a drone flies over someone's house, the person may be curious, suspicious, nervous, anxious, or angry. They probably do not understand the law, and may believe their privacy is invaded, their property is trespassed, and their family is at risk. It would be extremely callous of me to dismiss the reality of these reactions.

So, my approach is to minimize flying over peoples houses, to fly as high as possible, and to avoid hovering over the houses. I also do a number of other things to help communicate the law, to conduct myself in a professional and respectful way, and to ask the homeowners to point out any neighbors that might have a problem with the drone.
 
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In a nutshell, a property owner has rights to the airspace above their property to the extent that they are able to use it. This means if they build a 10-story building that's their rights to the airspace. They have no right to keep anyone out of that airspace
 
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I walked away feeling like sh*t.
I took and passed my Part 107 test within 2 weeks of the start of the program, recertified early last September, and have worked closely with legislators in my state to advise them on drone laws vs property rights issues vs the legitimate needs of commercial drone operators. So I am pretty confident that I know my legal rights as a pilot. However I sympathize with sparrott7, as I still don't feel good about upsetting people, even though I'm operating legally. So, I always assess the situation in which I'll be flying, to try to identify adjacent properties where people might be impacted. If at all possible/practical, I knock on their doors to let them know what I'm doing ahead of time. I introduce myself, not as drone operator, but as a professional photographer/videographer and FAA certified drone operator who has been hired to <do whatever I'm doing> using a drone. I tell them that I like to let neighbors know what I'm doing, to assure them that I am licensed, and insured, that what I am doing is legal, and that I won't be spying on them. This almost always works, especially in rural and suburban settings, where people seem to be more sensitive to drones. In more urban settings people seem to care less, which is good because it is usually not practical to talk to everyone who might be upset. The key thing is to courteously and professionally connect before hand...it is much easier to establish trust/tolerance that way than to try to talk down an irate neighbor after you've upset him or her.
 
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It's definitely not in my nature (nor do I consider it professional) to react aggressively to people who complain about my flying.

The worst incident I endured taught me a good lesson. I was flying in a neighborhood capturing photos and video of a small house. Near the end of the flight, I was in the owner's backyard. I was about to land when I heard a man's voice shouting at me from across the back fence - a few yards away. He was in a rage, shouting obscenities, telling me he was going beat the sh*t out of me and that he was going to shoot down my drone.

I yelled back that I'm landing it now, that we could talk, and I could explain what I was doing. He yelled back that it was too late, and he continued with the obscenities. By this time my hands were shaking from the adrenaline, and I was having a really hard time landing the drone. Finally, I did and went over to the man (who had cooled off a bit).

I explained that I was a real estate photographer and needed to fly around the neighborhood to get the shots I needed, and that I'm allowed by law to do that. He was still angry and explained to me that he was a Vietnam vet with PTSD and my drone was freaking him out. I apologized and told him that if I had known, then I wouldn't have flown over his house. I walked away feeling like sh*t.

The lesson I learned was that I need to be very sensitive to the possible negative experiences that drones can create. When a drone flies over someone's house, the person may be curious, suspicious, nervous, anxious, or angry. They probably do not understand the law, and may believe their privacy is invaded, their property is trespassed, and their family is at risk. It would be extremely callous of me to dismiss the reality of these reactions.

So, my approach is to minimize flying over peoples houses, to fly as high as possible, and to avoid hovering over the houses. I also do a number of other things to help communicate the law, to conduct myself in a professional and respectful way, and to ask the homeowners to point out any neighbors that might have a problem with the drone.
Very well said!
I too am a Vietnam veteran and I have PTSD so I can sympathize with your neighbor but I am also a drone pilot. I understand how he could be upset about you flying over his property BUT I also know the FAA regulations that clearly state our rights as sUAV pilots to the airspace.
That being said I applaud you for being sensitive to the situation and how you handled it.
I always try to be cognizant of where I am flying and do my best to not disturb anyone.
Our responsibility as ambassadors for drones is something we must take seriously or our rights will be taken away. Yes, there’s a lot of people that are creating problems for us but it’s up to us to see that the future of drones is a positive one.
 
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This is a topic that does badly need to be defined empirically --- "At what height may I fly over private property".
For the sake of argument there needs to be a set height... ie. 100 ft above a private structure... as a good neighbor (and a pt 107 commercial pilot) I wouldn't like to see a drone hovering 10 ft over my pool... but 80-100 _passing_ by... no problem... even hovering over my property at 80-100 if I was assured that it was being used to take aerials of my adjacent neighbors house for sale.

The article referenced in the OP... reeked to me of "Sovereign Citizen" arguments and just one citation I knew to be false soiled the entire diatribe for me... this was the quote " Cannot fly over National Parks..". this is directly from the NPS:
"
Closure Language:

Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of [insert name of park] is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent."

Not fly over, launching and landing...

In our business we have to fly over others property every day...

But I set up a landing pad, cones, an A frame with "Unmanned Drone in Flight...", I wear a yellow vest with "FAA Certified Drone Pilot...", and a hard hat (required on most of my commercial construction jobs...) but find that wearing all this garb reduces the amount of negative confrontations I have had... most now are just curious... and I answer with, "I would be happy to answer any questions you have after I have landed, but my insurance policy doesn't allow me to talk to anyone not involved with the flight while the aircraft is up in the air"...

As a member of CERT it has been pointed out to us time and time again during training drills and scenarios that if you present yourself in somewhat of a uniform you (we wear yellow safety vests and green helmets etc) command a certain amount of respect from the public.
 
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I took and passed my Part 107 test within 2 weeks of the start of the program, recertified early last September, and have worked closely with legislators in my state to advise them on drone laws vs property rights issues vs the legitimate needs of commercial drone operators. So I am pretty confident that I know my legal rights as a pilot. However I sympathize with sparrott7, as I still don't feel good about upsetting people, even though I'm operating legally. So, I always assess the situation in which I'll be flying, to try to identify adjacent properties where people might be impacted. If at all possible/practical, I knock on their doors to let them know what I'm doing ahead of time. I introduce myself, not as drone operator, but as a professional photographer/videographer and FAA certified drone operator who has been hired to <do whatever I'm doing> using a drone. I tell them that I like to let neighbors know what I'm doing, to assure them that I am licensed, and insured, that what I am doing is legal, and that I won't be spying on them. This almost always works, especially in rural and suburban settings, where people seem to be more sensitive to drones. In more urban settings people seem to care less, which is good because it is usually not practical to talk to everyone who might be upset. The key thing is to courteously and professionally connect before hand...it is much easier to establish trust/tolerance that way than to try to talk down an irate neighbor after you've upset him or her.
Absolutely... taking this tack I have never been confronted... good advice brah.
 
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I see a few have mentioned threats of "shoot it down"...
In talking to my local FAA bod in Honolulu I happened to mention the same thing...

At a local neighborhood town hall meeting where I was asked to come in to answer questions re drones... a number of folks had the same reaction... even after explanations... (and indeed I have even had a guy take pot shots at it... but with a 3030 from 300-500 feet away...)

He said he and the FBI are investigating an issue where a neighbor is threatening to shoot down the drone of a fellow neighbor... he said "This is terroristic threatening as drones (in our class) are considered aircraft and afforded similar rights and protections"

I am not advocating getting the FBI involved but this is the legal outlook.
I am sure the threatening neighbor was really surprised when the FBI showed up at his door.
 
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Good replies, thanks. I also wear a safety vest and helmet when needed.
 
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This is a topic that does badly need to be defined empirically --- "At what height may I fly over private property".
For the sake of argument there needs to be a set height... ie. 100 ft above a private structure... as a good neighbor (and a pt 107 commercial pilot) I wouldn't like to see a drone hovering 10 ft over my pool... but 80-100 _passing_ by... no problem... even hovering over my property at 80-100 if I was assured that it was being used to take aerials of my adjacent neighbors house for sale.

The article referenced in the OP... reeked to me of "Sovereign Citizen" arguments and just one citation I knew to be false soiled the entire diatribe for me... this was the quote " Cannot fly over National Parks..". this is directly from the NPS:
"
Closure Language:

Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of [insert name of park] is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent."

Not fly over, launching and landing...

In our business we have to fly over others property every day...

But I set up a landing pad, cones, an A frame with "Unmanned Drone in Flight...", I wear a yellow vest with "FAA Certified Drone Pilot...", and a hard hat (required on most of my commercial construction jobs...) but find that wearing all this garb reduces the amount of negative confrontations I have had... most now are just curious... and I answer with, "I would be happy to answer any questions you have after I have landed, but my insurance policy doesn't allow me to talk to anyone not involved with the flight while the aircraft is up in the air"...

As a member of CERT it has been pointed out to us time and time again during training drills and scenarios that if you present yourself in somewhat of a uniform you (we wear yellow safety vests and green helmets etc) command a certain amount of respect from the public.
I agree totally with you but what about if you’re a hobbyist?

And at this point I am not yet Part 107 certified. Next month I’ll be taking my exam and become a certified sUAV pilot.

As a hobbyist I always use a brightly colored landing pad and I have a T-shirt that expressly says I am a drone pilot and if you have any questions please wait until after I have landed.
In most cases they are courteous enough to adhere to my wishes but I have had some people who are dead set against drones and want to push the issue. In those instances I do my best to be courteous and not instigate any further problems.
I have found that if I treat them courteously then I get the same in return. It’s all about being a good ambassador for the future of drones.
 

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