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CAA confirmation that land owners cannot prevent you flying over their land

Ian in London

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So my evening flight over Stonehenge raised a few eyebrows and called into the question the legitmicay of land owners being able to prevent you from flying over their land.
To be clear, I'm talking about taking off from adjacent or common land, but flying over private land, adhering to the usual rules. This was questioned because English Heritage and the National Trust both prohibit flights unless you pay them a permit fee and have a PFCO.

The CAA made it very clear that landowners cannot prohibit your right to fly over. And here's the email in full:

>>

UAVEnquiries <[email protected]>
11:53 (4 hours ago)

Dear Sir

Thank you for your email

They do not own the airspace and if you abide by the ANO and other airspace restrictions in that area e.g. NOTAMs then you may operate.

Thank you,

Thomas Guest
UAV Services
Civil Aviation Authority
Tel: 0330 022 1908
Follow us on Twitter: @UK_CAA

From: Ian [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 13 June 2018 16:48
To: InfoServices <[email protected]>
Subject: Question on the prohibition of consumer drones over private land
Hello

I am after advice concerning private hobbyist flying of a consumer drone (Mavic Pro) which is around 750 grams and does have a camera.

As I understand the Air Navigation Order 2016, specifically ‘Article 95 – Small unmanned surveillance aircraft’, the main rules can be simply summarised as:

1. Stay at least 150 metres horizontally away from any congested built up area, or crowded area with more than 1,000 persons (implying I cannot fly over such an area).

2. Stay at least a 50 metre bubble away from any structure or person not under my control (implying I can fly over such land at an altitude of 50 metres or more).

3. Stay under 400 feet in altitude from take-off point.

4. Stay in Visual Line of Sight

5. Observe any permanent or temporary restrictions from NATS, which I do via their Drone Assist app.

It is the second point I wanted clarified.

My question is:
Can a landowner prohibit aerial flights over their property?
I understand they can prohibit ground-based activity, (ie take-off / landing / flight control) from their land, but can they prohibit me from simply flying over?

The CAA has implemented a 50 metre bubble rule to avoid privacy and harassment issues, so my understanding is that the CAA controls airspace, not the landowner, as long as I maintain an altitude of at least 50 metres.

Can you confirm?
Many thanks

Ian

So quite a simple and clear repsonse.
As ever though, rules aren't the whole picture. Considerate flying is a big part too, hence waiting until around closing time and staying high...This was the video that brought this into question:
 

InvisibleName

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Nice one!! Thanks for getting that cleared up. This is a thread that I will be saving!
 
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Thwyllo

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Yes I think your two threads have cleared a few things up for UK drone users so well done. So hopefully everyone is clear now that we CAN overfly and nobody but US owns copyright of the photos we are clearly allowed to take.
 
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Dizzy1971

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Wonderful video! I’m a bit confuzzled,did someone attempt to prevent you from these flights? Or are you mainly just sharing your experience and further clarification that you received from authorities with respect to the general perception folks have that you are prohibited from flying in these historical areas?
Hope I’ve made sense. I love this footage and hope to soon visit with my own MP in hand
 

ac0j

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Remember, just because you have the legal right to fly over property, Does not mean you will do so without at some point being confronted by a mad land owner. You wont get fined by the government, but you might get verbally or physically assaulted by a land owner who doesnt know better! Stay on your toes!
 

Ian in London

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Wonderful video! I’m a bit confuzzled,did someone attempt to prevent you from these flights? Or are you mainly just sharing your experience and further clarification that you received from authorities with respect to the general perception folks have that you are prohibited from flying in these historical areas?
Hope I’ve made sense. I love this footage and hope to soon visit with my own MP in hand

I had some questions about my late evening flight around Stonehenge the other week; many people (the PFCO - trained drone pilots mostly, which is a little ironic), stated that it was an illegal flight as English Heritage do not allow any drones over their land unless you pay them a permit fee and abide by their rules. I wanted to point out that they cannot control airspace for drones any more than they do for planes or paragliders....
Cheers
Ian
 

Thwyllo

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Wonderful video! I’m a bit confuzzled,did someone attempt to prevent you from these flights? Or are you mainly just sharing your experience and further clarification that you received from authorities with respect to the general perception folks have that you are prohibited from flying in these historical areas?
Hope I’ve made sense. I love this footage and hope to soon visit with my own MP in hand

I think the OP was raising his concerns about the ill-informed attitude and policies of some of these bodies, but there was also a lot of nonsense posted on his original thread by people who think, for example, that it's possible to own the copyright of a building, thus preventing anyone from photographing it and owning their images.....
 
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Ian in London

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Remember, just because you have the legal right to fly over property, Does not mean you will do so without at some point being confronted by a mad land owner. You wont get fined by the government, but you might get verbally or physically assaulted by a land owner who doesnt know better! Stay on your toes!
This is very true; a little consideration and understanding on all sides is good.....
 

Ian in London

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Wonderful video! I’m a bit confuzzled,did someone attempt to prevent you from these flights? Or are you mainly just sharing your experience and further clarification that you received from authorities with respect to the general perception folks have that you are prohibited from flying in these historical areas?
Hope I’ve made sense. I love this footage and hope to soon visit with my own MP in hand

I just realised this was an ollder thread. Thought you were referring to this video I put up yesterday in reponse to the questions on the Stonehenge flight.... :)
Ian

 
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alanw1980

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I think the OP was raising his concerns about the ill-informed attitude and policies of some of these bodies, but there was also a lot of nonsense posted on his original thread by people who think, for example, that it's possible to own the copyright of a building, thus preventing anyone from photographing it and owning their images.....

I'm not sure about the last bit here about building copyright. I *think* you can copyright a building because in my line of work we have had to gain clearances for re-creating buildings/statues etc for film work. Edge of Tomorrow is one example. We created the Louvre scene at the end where Tom Cruise pilots down part of Paris and into the Louvre. We only had permission to recreate certain statues/bridges/buildings. They are owned.

just my 2p worth. And this email is brilliant because it really clears up something I have been wondering too.

It would be great if the CAA could mention the issue in their drone safety and legalities literature. Something to produce if an angry landowner turns up!
 

Thwyllo

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I'm not sure about the last bit here about building copyright. I *think* you can copyright a building because in my line of work we have had to gain clearances for re-creating buildings/statues etc for film work. Edge of Tomorrow is one example. We created the Louvre scene at the end where Tom Cruise pilots down part of Paris and into the Louvre. We only had permission to recreate certain statues/bridges/buildings. They are owned.

just my 2p worth. And this email is brilliant because it really clears up something I have been wondering too.

It would be great if the CAA could mention the issue in their drone safety and legalities literature. Something to produce if an angry landowner turns up!

The rules are a bit different in France but in both countries, works of art are a different kettle of fish. Buildings, no.
 
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