All of us are seeing this – the swarm of residential drones that are flooding our community skyways.
Some of us are peachy keen with this little invasion, and others – not so much.
Every neighborhood has a few drone pilots, while many of the remaining neighbors fear that their privacy will be violated in some way. Quite honestly, there’s some pretty hostile talk going out there as to what some folks are threatening to do to any drones that happen to wander into their ‘air space.’
In a proactive attempt to ward off any regrettable incidents, it’s probably time to take a closer look.
Cold hard facts about drone flying laws
We humans tend to get ourselves worked up sometimes before we even know the real deal. So let us examine a few common questions that many people have about neighbors flying drones around them.
Can my neighbor fly his drone over my home?
Yes, technically, they can. The fact is that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules the airway that exists over our homes. And our property lines don’t extend into the sky above us.
The FAA views the airspace over our property as a public causeway – no different than the street that runs in front of our house. Anyone has the right to use it, and we cannot legally prevent them from doing so.
Can I shoot someone’s drone out of the sky?
As tempting as it may be, you are forbidden to shoot drones out of the sky. Drones have been officially classified as aircraft by the National Transportation Safety Board and are legally protected.
Believe it or not, drones are protected by the same law that prevents anyone from shooting down a jetliner or any other commercial aircraft. Whenever someone takes down a drone, they are violating federal law.
Can a drone record me or my family members in our own backyard?
Yes, it can. The law states that property owners have no expectation of privacy when they move around in the open on their property – which includes their own backyards.
If the drone has harmed you in some way by recording you, then you’ll have to pursue that individually in the courts. But existing laws do not prevent drones from recording your activities in your yard.
What could happen if I were to shoot down a drone?
You could face a stiff fine or even some jail time. In addition to this, there are some issues about safety that must be considered when shooting down a drone.
Drones get their power from lithium polymer batteries, also known as Lipo batteries. These batteries are extremely flammable. If one of these batteries gets busted when a drone is shot down, and if it were to land on someone’s house – it would burn the house down.
The potential for big losses is unlimited – not to mention lawsuits. Just remember that shooting down a drone is not a good idea for any reason.
Can I shine a laser pointer on the drone?
Unfortunately, this is also forbidden.
As we stated earlier, since drones are legally treated as aircraft, you can’t shine laser pointers or any other light on them because you can’t do that to any other airplane.
So what can I do about my neighbor’s drone?
We recommend that you calmly approach your neighbor and reach some compromise. Most people will understand when given a chance.
Even if you are not sure who owns a particular drone, they must live close by because of its limitations. Not only this, all drone operators are pretty much taught to maintain a line of vision with their drone at all times during its flight.
Understand that drones are how they relax in their spare time – and they want to enjoy their drone in peace too.
NOTE: Always perform proper due diligence when seeking legal guidance about your drone activities and rights. We are not legal authorities and laws are always subject to sudden change.