DJI Mavic, Air and Mini Drones
Friendly, Helpful & Knowledgeable Community
Join Us Now

CanyonRunVideos

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2017
Messages
221
Reactions
199
Location
Chino Hills, California
Hello brother's and sister's Remote Pilots, It seems that there are more and more State, County and City laws, ordinances and codes that are trying to control the airspace of The United States of America!

As sUAS pilots we need to know the truth about these state, county and city regulations are even legal. I have been confronted by the Police and or security officer's have informed me that flying drones are NOT ALLOWED here!!! The truth is that ONLY the F.A.A. controls the airspace above the United States. NO OTHER legal organizations, state's, counties or local cities can regulate the U.S. airspace.

When confronted, I am polite and respectful and I ask them to please wait for a moment to land my sUAS and then we can discuss this situation. At that point please ask the Police Officer or Deputy Sheriff to show the regulation they are referring to when they told you that drone flying is restricted. If the regulation does not have any part of a certain F.A.A. regulation(s) then my best argument is that what the officer is telling you is NOT even legal because only the F.A.A. controls the airspace over the U.S.

As sUas pilot's, we need to know for SURE that we are NOT flying in a NO FLY ZONE. Most all of the latest DJI drones have the industry-leading Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) software will help pilots avoid flying drones near airports and other sensitive locations, and automatically updates with temporary flight restrictions around wildfires to help protect authorized firefighting aircraft and help ensure fire crews can operate without disruption.

GEO improves upon DJI’s earlier No-Fly Zone technology by including permanent restrictions around prisons, nuclear power plants and other sensitive locations, as well as temporary restrictions for large stadium gatherings and national security events. It also introduces flexibility for drone pilots by giving them the ability to unlock some restricted areas where they have permission to operate.

The GEO system prevents flights from entering or launching in some zones, such as airports, unless a pilot with a verified DJI account temporarily unlocks it for a permissible use. This system prevents inadvertent flights in some areas while allowing them for beneficial uses such as sanctioned inspections, model aircraft activities, and indoor flight. Certain areas that raise national security concerns, such as Washington, D.C., cannot be unlocked.

The GEO system is available for iOS systems and Android in the latest update of the DJI GO app, and operates on all Inspire models as well as the Phantom 4, Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3, Mavic Pro and Platinum models, Spark and even the Mavic Air has it too.

I also use the AIRMAP app for iPhone and Android devices. The AIRMAP app is an extremely reliable app that will give the sUAS pilot full assurance showing the best up to date information about what the F.A.A. says about the area you are flying in right NOW!

So stand up and confidently hold up your social rights by knowing the TRUTH. The only regulation these municipalities can legally control is where we can take-off and / or landing locations on the ground. This issue is also an easy fix. Just use hand take-off and landings. (C’mon guys, it’s a joke!!!!) LOL.

Please respond to this post with your thoughts about our legal rights to fly and that the F.A.A. is actually our best friend when it comes our beloved airspace above the United States of America.

Thank you for reading this post and I look forward to hearing from you about these legal situations.

UPDATE 3/22/18 Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft

February 26–There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about unmanned aircraft system (UAS) regulations. Here are some common myths and the corresponding facts.

Myth #1: The FAA doesn't control airspace below 400 feet

Fact—The FAA is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up. This misperception may originate with the idea that manned aircraft generally must stay at least 500 feet above the ground
 
Last edited:
Experienced drone pilots. What is your take on this? If I am flying a drone with a N number and I have an airman certificate, so I just carry around a print out of 107 FARS and hand it to anybody who questions me? If it is someone who has some sort of other authority demanding they have authority, do you just land go home and file a complaint with their department and maybe even a complaint to the faa? I can visualize a police officer telling me all sorts of made up crap demanding they have the authority and arguing with them would most definitely cause issues for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CanyonRunVideos
The only regulation these municipalities can legally control is where we can take-off and / or landing locations on the ground.

That's the trick, isn't it? If you're standing on property covered by the local law or whatever they can restrict taking off and landing from that property. They can't stop you from flying over property if you take off or land from private property nearby, however.

This issue is also an easy fix. Just use hand take-off and landings.

If you think taking off or landing from your hand is a loophole around these restrictions you don't know much about the law.
 
If it is someone who has some sort of other authority demanding they have authority, do you just land go home and file a complaint with their department and maybe even a complaint to the faa?

The FAA would not be the appropriate place to lodge a complaint. They are not responsible for ensuring you can fly at a particular location.

Your best bet would be to contact whatever agency the LEO represents.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CanyonRunVideos
The truth is that ONLY the F.A.A. controls the airspace above the United States. NO OTHER legal organizations, state's, counties or local cities can regulate the U.S. airspace....Please respond to this post with your thoughts about our legal rights to fly and that the F.A.A. is actually our best friend when it comes our beloved airspace above the United States of America...

Okay, I will play. To say that the FAA controls the "airspace" begs the question how do you define "airspace?" If navigable airspace only begins at 500 feet, then why would the FAA have sole legal authority to regulate below that?

The states have the right to enforce all of their laws governing trespass, nuisance, invasion of privacy, harassment, stalking and reckless endangerment. The average hobby drone flyer is far more likely to be prosecuted for violating such laws in state court than by the FAA in federal court. In fact, the FAA strongly encourages state and local authorities to aggressively investigate and charge drone flyers with violation of state laws. The FAA has offices around the country to assist and support state and local authorities do this.

You are besties with the FAA? Watch out they may slip you a roofie. I do not doubt that DC will protect the big commercial drone interests but I am afraid that all of us hobbyists may be expendable.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: CanyonRunVideos
Have a similar situation in Australia. Many local authorities have baned drones from parks and many states ban therm in national parks. My local city however was going to institute such a ban but had legal advice it could not as power is invested in CASA.

Guess we will need a court case to settle the law.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CanyonRunVideos
Okay, I will play. To say that the FAA controls the "airspace" begs the question how do you define "airspace?" If navigable airspace only begins at 500 feet, then why would the FAA have sole legal authority to regulate below that?

See where the land ends and that invisible gas starts? That is where the airspace starts. Follow that upward. They have the ability to regulate _all_ airspace above the US per US Code.
 
As sUAS pilots we need to know the truth about these state, county and city regulations are even legal. I have been confronted by the Police and or security officer's have informed me thayflying drones are NOT ALLOWED here!!! The truth is that ONLY the F.A.A. controls the airspace above the United States. NO OTHER legal organizations, state's, counties or local cities can regulate the U.S. airspace.
The biggest problem with Section 336 is that nasty "CBO" part. Is the local state, city, township, HOA, etc a CBO? If so, Section 336 states that you need to follow their rules in order to fly in public airspace.
 
The biggest problem with Section 336 is that nasty "CBO" part. Is the local state, city, township, HOA, etc a CBO? If so, Section 336 states that you need to follow their rules in order to fly in public airspace.

That could be a big problem! But, 336 does say national organization which seems like good argument against it. I have no major criticism of the AMA hobby guidelines. If you follow them, they can be an effective "safe harbor" which can be recognized under state law.

That 2016 Louisiana trespass law discussed on other thread is good example. The LA law preserves state right to regulate privacy to some extent while still deferring to FAA Regs/Guidelines to provide compliant flyers with a safe harbor.
 
Last edited:
See where the land ends and that invisible gas starts? That is where the airspace starts. Follow that upward. They have the ability to regulate _all_ airspace above the US per US Code.

My point is that this FAA regulatory authority is not total and exclusive. The states probably have some right to protect some airspace rights by enacting trespass, privacy or other laws covering drones (or other aircraft) that do not actually conflict with federal law. One of my prior examples was the city ordinance in Hawaii that prohibited airplanes from towing advertising banners because they were said to distract drivers. A federal court upheld the ordinance because it was within the city's police power to protect residents on the ground and it did not directly conflict with any federal rule or regulation.
 
A banner like this:

10376906_356357524527397_5028454693754894539_n.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: CanyonRunVideos
Okay, I will play. To say that the FAA controls the "airspace" begs the question how do you define "airspace?" If navigable airspace only begins at 500 feet, then why would the FAA have sole legal authority to regulate below that?

The states have the right to enforce all of their laws governing trespass, nuisance, invasion of privacy, harassment, stalking and reckless endangerment. The average hobby drone flyer is far more likely to be prosecuted for violating such laws in state court than by the FAA in federal court. In fact, the FAA strongly encourages state and local authorities to aggressively investigate and charge drone flyers with violation of state laws. The FAA has offices around the country to assist and support state and local authorities do this.

You are besties with the FAA? Watch out they may slip you a roofie. I do not doubt that DC will protect the big commercial drone interests but I am afraid that all of us hobbyists may be expendable.

Hi Chip,

This is what the FAA has to say about "airspace" in the USA. Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft

February 26
–There are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation about unmanned aircraft system (UAS) regulations. Here are some common myths and the corresponding facts.

Myth #1: The FAA doesn't control airspace below 400 feet

FactThe FAA is responsible for the safety of U.S. airspace from the ground up. This misperception may originate with the idea that manned aircraft generally must stay at least 500 feet above the ground.

This is what the U.S. Supreme Court has to say to all U.S. States. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2674191/001-Complaint-for-Declaratory-Judgment-and.pdf

The U.S. Supreme Court has determined, as a general rule, that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the area surrounding a home in plain view from above.
California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207, 106 S.Ct. 1809, 90 L.Ed.2d 210 (1986);

Florida v.Riley, 488 U.S. 445, 109 S.Ct. 693, 102 L.Ed.2d 835 (1989) (plurality opinion).
 
  • Like
Reactions: @Rip and FLYBOYJ
This is what the U.S. Supreme Court has to say to all U.S. States. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2674191/001-Complaint-for-Declaratory-Judgment-and.pdf

The U.S. Supreme Court has determined, as a general rule, that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the area surrounding a home in plain view from above.
California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207, 106 S.Ct. 1809, 90 L.Ed.2d 210 (1986);

Florida v.Riley, 488 U.S. 445, 109 S.Ct. 693, 102 L.Ed.2d 835 (1989) (plurality opinion).

The document you linked to is just a complaint (not a court order or a decision) filed in federal court in Kentucky by a guy who had a neighbor shoot down his drone. We discussed this case here a few months ago. Like I said before, the federal judge ruled that a drone getting shot down flying over private property does not necessarily raise a federal airspace question. He dismissed the case for lack of federal jurisdiction. This fits my theory that FAA does not have sole or exclusive control of all airspace everywhere.

The other cases you mention involve 4th Amendment search and seizure issues. Like whether a police chopper hovering 400 feet over suspect's house to check for pot growing on roof violates a reasonable expectation of privacy. Remember though that the rules for government surveillance operations may differ from the rules for hobby drone flying. Ok what else you got for me? This is fun!
 
  • Like
Reactions: JSKCKNIT
...The U.S. Supreme Court has determined, as a general rule, that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in the area surrounding a home in plain view from above. California v. Ciraolo, 476 U.S. 207, 106 S.Ct. 1809, 90 L.Ed.2d 210 (1986)...

The Santa Clara police department received an anonymous tip that Ciraolo was growing pot behind a fence in his backyard. The police flew over his house in a plane at 1,000 feet and said they saw pot plants with their naked eye. They then used their observation to establish probable cause for a warrant to search the property.

The Supreme Court ruled that the warrantless search from the air did not violate the US Constitution (4th Amendment) because the flight was non-intrusive, took place in navigable airspace, and the police officers saw what was to be seen with their naked eye.

The Ciraolo case is relevant to use of drones to conduct surveillance by governmental actors. Its less relevant to whether states can enact trespass, privacy or other laws which may impact commercial or recreational drone flyers. The US Constitution sets a minimum floor of privacy protection from governmental intrusion under the 4th Amendment. The states each have their own constitutions which can confer greater privacy protection than their federal counterpart. Such is the case in WA, for example.

If you ever fly a drone in Santa Clara, CA and a law enforcement officer approaches you and asks whether you are flying VLOS then you can say that yes I can see my drone with my naked eye as well as you can see a pot plant with your naked eye at 1,000 feet while flying overhead in a plane at 120 mph.

On second thought, maybe you should think but not say it out loud to avoid trouble.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CanyonRunVideos
...Florida v.Riley, 488 U.S. 445, 109 S.Ct. 693, 102 L.Ed.2d 835 (1989)

A Florida sheriff received an anonymous tip that Riley was growing pot on his property. An anonymous tip does not create sufficient probable cause to get a search warrant so sheriff went to look at Riley's property to see what he could see from a public vantage point.

Sheriff saw a greenhouse on the property but could not see inside. So he took a police chopper up and circled directly over Riley's house at 400 feet. Supposedly, he could then see pot plants through holes in the roof with his naked eye. This was enough to get a warrant to search the greenhouse which led to pot bust and criminal trial.

The defense moved to suppress all evidence on grounds this was an illegal search which violated the 4th Amendment. The Florida supreme court agreed and the case went to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS).

Just like in Ciraolo, SCOTUS ruled that the warrantless aerial search did not violate a reasonable expectation of privacy or the 4th Amendment. But wait, how can that be? In Ciraolo, the court emphasized the surveillance aircraft was at 1,000 feet, flying in navigable airspace where it had a right to be. In Riley, the chopper was flying at 400 feet, which is 100 feet below the bottom of navigable airspace.

The SCOTUS said that a helicopter, unlike fixed wing aircraft, had the right to fly below navigable airspace under FAA regulations and its pilot and passengers may see what there is to be seen with the naked eye without violating any reasonable expectation of privacy so long as flight does not interfere with ground activities or cause undue noise, wind, dust, or threat of injury.

Again, my point is that whether aerial surveillance by governmental actors requires a search warrant under state or federal constitutions is not necessarily relevant to a state's right to enact or enforce certain laws like trespass, invasion of privacy, or reckless endangerment which can directly or indirectly impact drone flights.

More importantly, Ciraolo and Riley were decided in the 1980s and today's drone technology makes their naked eye analysis outdated. The law cannot always keep pace with rapidly advancing technology.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CanyonRunVideos
That's the trick, isn't it? If you're standing on property covered by the local law or whatever they can restrict taking off and landing from that property. They can't stop you from flying over property if you take off or land from private property nearby, however.



If you think taking off or landing from your hand is a loophole around these restrictions you don't know much about the law.

LOL, it was only a little joke my friend!!!)
 
Hello brother's and sister's Remote Pilots, It seems that there are more and more State, County and City laws, ordinances and codes that are trying to control the airspace of The United States of America!

As sUAS pilots we need to know the truth about these state, county and city regulations are even legal. I have been confronted by the Police and or security officer's have informed me that flying drones are NOT ALLOWED here!!! The truth is that ONLY the F.A.A. controls the airspace above the United States. NO OTHER legal organizations, state's, counties or local cities can regulate the U.S. airspace.
I was just about to start a new thread on this very topic! Here are my thoughts and opinions on the matter.
  1. States, Counties, Cities etc. should not be allowed to pass legislation restricting or regulating the airspace or sUAS usage. The FAA should set the guidelines and laws. This would eliminate confusion and in my opinion, reduce calls to law enforcement because someone is legally flying a drone.
  2. Article 6 of the US Constitution essentially says federal laws are the supreme law of the land.
  3. Nothing will change or stop States, Counties, Cities etc. from passing laws and ordinances unless the laws are challenged in federal court and a judge rules the local laws conflict with federal law. Unfortunately that means "we" would have to pay an attorney and go to court which could be very expensive. See Singer v. City of Newton and also Taylor v FAA (before Congress passed legislation).
  4. I would like to see National and state parks open for sUAS use from Sunrise to maybe10am. As a taxpayer, I should have equal access to the parks to enjoy my hobby. I see my drones as tools used to capture video and photo from a different perspective. It annoys me to see and/or read about pilots being 'harassed' while flying in an empty park or lot.
  5. There needs to be immediate and severe consequences for those that intentionally violate sUAS rules and guidelines. By intentional, I'm mainly talking about the idiots that fly near manned aircraft filming them then uploading it to social media. I realize that rules and guidelines aren't laws, but they should be.
  6. There should also be severe consequences for people caught intentionally using a sUAS for invasion of privacy. i.e. add them to sex offender registry.
  7. I know this is going to not please some people, but I think everyone flying should be required to be licensed. No more hobby/commercial difference.
  8. Not only licensed, but insured. Only exception being you're flying on your own property. I know people won't agree with this, but the reason I mention it is because the primary reason I'm told I can't fly some where is because of liability reasons.
Again, these are just my thoughts and wishes and I know people won't agree with all I've said. I live just south of DC and it's a pain trying to find someplace that's not restricted, not private property, not a state or national park to fly. An empty baseball field is fine to practice flying in, but there's not much to film there!
 
I would like to see National and state parks open for sUAS use from Sunrise to maybe10am. As a taxpayer, I should have equal access to the parks to enjoy my hobby. I see my drones as tools used to capture video and photo from a different perspective. It annoys me to see and/or read about pilots being 'harassed' while flying in an empty park or lot.
Many problems with this. State and National Parks are not there to support your hobby of UAV flight. State and National parks are formed to maintain those areas so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of the area. This includes the sound of nature. You may think your one drone does not bother people but it would be 10 or 20 drones. Sunrise to 10am are the most peaceful times in parks. Why would it be the time when 10 buzzing drones should be allowed (not that they should be allowed at all). Lastly, once a park allows drone, they open up the door for a lot of mistakes. People will then hear that drones are allowed and not bother to see what restrictions are in place. People will know that they are allowed but want to fly at 10:15, 10:30, 11:00, etc. After all, it's close to 10am. If drones are allowed until 10am people will then complain that they can't fly them outside of that time.
 
Lycus Tech Mavic Air 3 Case

DJI Drone Deals

Forum statistics

Threads
129,984
Messages
1,548,087
Members
159,042
Latest member
dubbaker