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An evening around Stonehenge, within the CAA rules

Ian in London

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Much like the US National Parks, English Heritage wrongly state you cannot fly over their properties. But not wanting to annoy visitors or fall foul of the Crowded Area rule, I waited until closing time and got some nice shots circling the Stones.

There is a Restricted Air Space zone immediately to the north of the Stones, Larkhill, where Air Traffic Control advise only flying your drone with extreme caution. As it is, I didn't venture into that airspace.
But the idea of groundless prohibition of flying is annoying; landowners don't control airspace! I see this flight compeltely within CAA rules and I took off from common ground outside the National Trusts & English Heritage's boundaries. I didn't fly close to people, stayed above 50 metres and below 400', staying in VLOS, so with that, I think this flight was completely legitimate.
Always good to hear others' opionons though.


And for UK flyers, this really is the app to have, straight from National Air Traffic Control:

Safety Apps | Dronesafe

Cheers,
Ian
 
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4wd

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You seem to have an organised following of dislikers, only one so far broke cover to make false illegal flight comments.
I have a similar problem with trail bike videos as some militant ramblers discovered them and think off-road bikes shouldn't be allowed on legal green lanes in case they want to walk there once a year.
 

Ian in London

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You seem to have an organised following of dislikers, only one so far broke cover to make false illegal flight comments.
I have a similar problem with trail bike videos as some militant ramblers discovered them and think off-road bikes shouldn't be allowed on legal green lanes in case they want to walk there once a year.
lol... yes, I am a little surprised by the number of dislikes. They came early on when it wasn't clear I hadn't actually broken any rules. At least my responses to the Drone Journey guy actually made it clear I was sticking to the rules.... Cheers, Ian
 
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mavic53

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Much like the US National Parks, English Heritage wrongly state you cannot fly over their properties. But not wanting to annoy visitors or fall foul of the Crowded Area rule, I waited until closing time and got some nice shots circling the Stones.

There is a Restricted Air Space zone immediately to the north of the Stones, Larkhill, where Air Traffic Control advise only flying your drone with extreme caution. As it is, I didn't venture into that airspace.
But the idea of groundless prohibition of flying is annoying; landowners don't control airspace! I see this flight compeltely within CAA rules and I took off from common ground outside the National Trusts & English Heritage's boundaries. I didn't fly close to people, stayed above 50 metres and below 400', staying in VLOS, so with that, I think this flight was completely legitimate.
Always good to hear others' opionons though.


And for UK flyers, this really is the app to have, straight from National Air Traffic Control:

Safety Apps | Dronesafe

Cheers,
Ian
Very sound thinking by you and nice shots which inconvenienced nobody. I believe it is a privacy thing in the UK and as we do not have one it is a very tricky thing to legislate.
 
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dannybgoode

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Nice video. I have a few landmarks I want to image.

I am interested in your interpretation of the regs though. Having read your post initially I agreed and was about to let loose in the Peak Districts.

But, having done some research (including the reading the relevant sections of the Civil Aviation Act 1982) it would seem that private land owners do ‘own’ the airspace up to somewhere between 500-1000’ and can certainly prohibit people using it.

It falls under trespass and nuisance though so is strictly tort law and a civil offence so no powers of arrest etc but they could sue you through the civil courts.

To investigate further I asked my friend who works for the Peak National Park who also prohibit drones over their land and again he suggested they do have rights up to a certain height and again this height, whilst fluid, is greater than the 400’ we are now allowed.

Again though it is very much a civil matter but that said with the greater powers the police will have under the new regs there is a greater risk of arrest perhaps.

Note also that the National Trust and English Heritage have both successfully sued people who have sold images of their properties for commercial gain without permission.

It is somewhat a grey area but I do not agree that control of airspace is solely a CAA matter. Landowners do absolutely have legal rights and it the enforcement of these rights where there is room for interpretation.

That said my take is fly sensibly, be polite and generally ask forgiveness rather than permission but always be prepared to apologise, pack up and move on if asked.
 
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dannybgoode

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To sum up the above you have indeed correctly interpreted CAA rules but not tort law which does allow a landowner to prohibit flying over their land below a certain altitude (somewhere between 500-1000’ circumstances dependent but even 500’ is higher than we are now permitted to fly).
 

Ian in London

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Nice video. I have a few landmarks I want to image.

I am interested in your interpretation of the regs though. Having read your post initially I agreed and was about to let loose in the Peak Districts.

But, having done some research (including the reading the relevant sections of the Civil Aviation Act 1982) it would seem that private land owners do ‘own’ the airspace up to somewhere between 500-1000’ and can certainly prohibit people using it.

It falls under trespass and nuisance though so is strictly tort law and a civil offence so no powers of arrest etc but they could sue you through the civil courts.

To investigate further I asked my friend who works for the Peak National Park who also prohibit drones over their land and again he suggested they do have rights up to a certain height and again this height, whilst fluid, is greater than the 400’ we are now allowed.

Again though it is very much a civil matter but that said with the greater powers the police will have under the new regs there is a greater risk of arrest perhaps.

Note also that the National Trust and English Heritage have both successfully sued people who have sold images of their properties for commercial gain without permission.

It is somewhat a grey area but I do not agree that control of airspace is solely a CAA matter. Landowners do absolutely have legal rights and it the enforcement of these rights where there is room for interpretation.

That said my take is fly sensibly, be polite and generally ask forgiveness rather than permission but always be prepared to apologise, pack up and move on if asked.
Thanks Danny.
Really appreciate the detailed and considered view here. As I said on here, and the video, I'm really interested in all points of view here as I am increasingly annoyed by the groundless prohibition of flying by landowners and managers, whilst at the same time, fully understand the need to not annoy or harras people.

Given the grey area of the law, I think people on either side of this will find information backing up their point of view. However, I did read this highly relevant article from the CLA (the Country Land and Business Association) which actually has a dedicated and highly detailed document on the rights of land owners versus the rights of people to fly over it.
In that, they quote various legal cases but summarise with the basis that whilst there is a general acceptance of the requirement of being at least 50 metres above private property, this could possibly be challenged. Quoting a previous judgement: "But if the circumstances were such that a plaintiff was subjected to the harassment of constant surveillance of his house from the air, accompanied by the photographing of his every activity, I am far from saying that the court would not regard such a monstrous invasion of his privacy as an actionable nuisance for which they would give relief."

A grey area indeed.

I would argue I am not constantly surveying the area. I flew high enough to ensure no privacy concerns. I waited until around closing time to ensure visitors weren't in any way annoyed by the flight (leaving aside the main road some 50 metres away with trucks and cars roaring past all day) and, or course, I complied with all relevant CAA and Air Traffic Control instructions.

So perhaps a test case is needed. I'm defo not volunteering to be that test case :) and thankfully I'm far from the first person to post a YouTube video circling the stones. That said, if English Heritage, the National Trust or the CAA come knocking, I would hope the points and regulations I've abided by would put an end to the matter.

On a final note, I am intrigued by the idea of prosecution of an image. When I think of all the landmarks around the country, often managed (as oposed to owned) by English Heritage or the National Trust, being photographed by thousands of visitors each month, I wonder how that would actually stand up in court? Every situation is different and I guess it boils down to whether you're taking images for commercial gain or private use. That said, the CAA view YouTube as non commercial, even when the channel is monetised and shows adverts. Either way, for now, I'll put my future best selling book "Stonehenge from the air" on hold for a bit :)

Thanks agaan for the input. At this point in time, I'm still happy with my video and its legitimacy... Hoping that doesn't change....

CLA Link:
https://www.cla.org.uk/sites/default/files/GN10-17 Drones and Private Property 2017.pdf

Ian
 
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dannybgoode

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Re: the images. They own the property and therefore the copyright to any photos containing their property. This does have some precedent in the courts so is already tested.

The rest of it - rights of flying etc - is definitely a minefield. The main reason for my input is I’d be loathe to say someone is definitely within the law when that may not be so. Like you I don’t want to be the test case. Civil disputes are excruciatingly expensive, particularly if you lose and have to pay all costs.

As per my last paragraph though I think so long as you are polite and cooperative if challenged the worst they’d do is ask you to move on.

Also my decisions whether to fly is based on reasonableness. You quite rightly minimised the annoyance factor by waiting until the crowds have gone and you were stood on common land and imo you a) complied with the most relevant legislation (ie the CAA) and b) looked to avoid creating a nuisance so I’m with you on this.

In the Peaks they ask you not to fly between March and October in particular because there are many rare and protected species breeding and they don’t want them disturbed. That to me is a genuine reason and should be respected.

For background whilst I do not have legal training as such I work in a very letigious area of insurance where a strong knowledge of civil law in particular is required so reading and interpreting legislation is part of what I do.

Normal disclaimer applies though. If I’m doubt ask a proper lawyer!
 

Ping^Spike

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Great video @Wellsi

Just to remind all the UK Mavic owners that your drone weighs (a lot) less than 7KG so the 400' height limit does not apply to you.

Common sense should still apply though Thumbswayup

Re: the images. They own the property and therefore the copyright to any photos containing their property.

Mate, I don't even know where to begin with that one :rolleyes:
 

dannybgoode

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Great video @Wellsi

Just to remind all the UK Mavic owners that your drone weighs (a lot) less than 7KG so the 400' height limit does not apply to you.

Common sense should still apply though Thumbswayup



Mate, I don't even know where to begin with that one :rolleyes:

The 400’ limit will apply to all drones over 250g wef 30 June (or whenever the new new regs kick in).

Re the images of English Heritage /National Trust land - this has already been through the courts. Note this is only applicable when actually selling the images and not tourist shots.
 

mavic53

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That said my take is fly sensibly said:
This is all that is needed, when faced with an irate man when I was on a public footpath I just said sorry I did not know packed up and left. It was after all only a picture not life and death.
 

Ian in London

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Great video @Wellsi

Just to remind all the UK Mavic owners that your drone weighs (a lot) less than 7KG so the 400' height limit does not apply to you.

Common sense should still apply though Thumbswayup



Mate, I don't even know where to begin with that one :rolleyes:
Thanks Spike...
I'm quite relaxed about this flight! And wonder how many pictures of Stonehenge (or Big Ben for that matter) have been sold as commercial pucturs and placed in books... so much that I have no plans to try and make my millions from slling this video :cool:

New rules from 30th July only allow for FPV exemption flights above 400'... but there we are! Better than some other countires!
Cheers
Ian
 

Paulos

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cracking video mate, I haven't bought a mavic pro yet, still saving :) but I like your video and I have download the nat app :)
 

gnirtS

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National Trust Scotland have a fairly pragmatic approach and ban commercial photography only of their managed buildings and gardens whilst allowing the coastline and natural features which to me is fair.
National Trust England and Wales are far far more draconian banning it anywhere on their land, even million year old unmanaged rock features commercial photos are banned.
They spent a while a few years ago trying to get non commercial flickr users to remove pictures of Whitby Abby in the background of coastal shots as its "theirs" so they're unhinged at best.

This is just for land based photography so drone takes them to a new level of hate. Obviously commercial with a drone is simple - you need a PfCO. I would say if you take a drone video and its on youtube on a channel that makes money from advertising review or any youtube programmes then it IS commercial and that video would need a PfCO to be legal. So even vlogs that get advertising revenue would require it so thats a possible avenue for someone to persue a user.

NT bylaws are freely available online and (i) do not ban overflight and (ii) cant legally do it even if they wanted to. Its amusing to email them politely and ask them for the specific bylaws they say does not "allow" it. They cant supply them as they dont have them. They rely on the vaguely worded 1965 laws that ban commercial photography without a permit and thats it. They then try to hide behind the CAA rules of 50m building 150m congested area. Realistically that covers very very very few national trust areas and property. Ultimately, if you're flying non commercially and abiding by the CAA/ANO rules, they cant stop you overflying.

That said, the official fine for using their land is a maximum of £20 and £2 a day thereafter. Thats cheap enough to be worth doing to make a point!
 
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Thwyllo

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Re: the images. They own the property and therefore the copyright to any photos containing their property. This does have some precedent in the courts so is already tested.

With respect I'm pretty sure that's tosh. Nobody owns the copyright to a photograph except the photographer. Perhaps you have some case law links??
 

gnirtS

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Correct, they dont own the copyright unless a contract has been signed (a for work) setting and its explicitly in the terms of that contract to agree ownership.
Otherwise copyright is automatically assigned to the photographer - commercial or recreational doesn't come into it.
 
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Thwyllo

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Correct, they dont own the copyright unless a contract has been signed (a for work) setting and its explicitly in the terms of that contract to agree ownership.
Otherwise copyright is automatically assigned to the photographer - commercial or recreational doesn't come into it.

The most obvious example of course is Google Streetview.
 
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