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Jurisdictional disputes over drones

I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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735
I was perusing the MavicPilots forums and ran across an interesting thread talking about the ongoing disputes between the FAA and state/local entities over regulations. The first post in the thread titled FAA efforts aim to reduce juridictional disputes has a link to an interesting article. I hope I'm not in violation of a SparkPilots policy to link to a sister site. This month is supposed to be when the FAA will open a NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making) during which time public stakeholders can share their ideas and concerns. We owe it to ourselves to participate with thoughtful, constructive responses.
 

DavidBlezard

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Jan 26, 2019
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Thank you for the post. My opinion, a very acceptable post. All drone pilots should learn as much as possible about their areas in which they fly. BTW: I’m really a hobbyist, but, I took the time and expense to get my 107 certification. If you want to learn and not incur the $150 test fee. You can buy for less than $20, study books and online practice tests.
This is what I used (2019v): Remote Pilot Test Prep 2020: Study & Prepare: Pass your test and know what is essential to safely operate an unmanned aircraft from the most trusted source in aviation training (Test Prep Series): ASA Test Prep Board: 9781619547964: Amazon.com: Books

This article FAA Efforts Aim to Reduce Drone Jurisdictional Disputes It is a good read and the laws can pertain to all drones flown by hobbyists and 107 pilots.
Example: You are a hobbyist flying a smal UAS less than .55 lbs / 250 grams. A police officer or state park ranger approaches you and asks/tells you to land the drone. You might be flying legally and the officer may be wrong. You can still have a heap of inconvenience and possible legal cost to prove you are flying legally.

A good part of the article talks about flying over private property and is it legal? FAA does not have rules that directly address this topic. It designates air space based on other criteria versus private or not private land. This maybe a factor, I have not seen it in the regs. Local states and municipalities have established ordinances and laws against flying over private property.

My approach to flying, I should not be a nuisance to people; not fly multiple times over the property; fly high enough for less noice and disturbance and never linger or hover. Basically, I fly straight across to get to my destination.

Enjoy and be safe flying.
 

I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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Your reply is exactly what I meant by thoughtful, constructive response. 👍

Since the early days of flight, the question of who owns the airspace has been the subject of much controversy as airspace use expanded. Eventually a case made its way to the Supreme Court based on a property owner's claim that low flying aircraft on approach to a nearby airfield interfered with the productive use of his chicken farm. In United States v Causby (1946) SCOTUS ruled that the government's claim to "possess the space to ground level" was "a direct invasion of the landowner's domain". To do otherwise could prevent the planting of trees, fences or building structures above ground level without the government's permission. However they also recognized that "a claim of property ownership indefinitely upward "has no place in the modern world."

One interesting idea in the MavicPilots discussion suggesting setting the property airspace height based on the tallest object. This could be a tree or structure. Someone posited that the property owner might want to erect a tall tower (i.e. ham radio, etc.) or structure to extend their claimed "airspace". Presently, notification must be submitted to the FAA administrator if the structure exceeds 200 feet AGL and/or within certain specified distance to public use or military airports 45 days prior to construction.

Eventually a decision will be made and will probably not be to the liking of all parties. What is needed is a clear designation of the ultimate authority that establishes limits of lower level governments to prevent a patchwork quilt of confusing ordinances that are all but impossible to navigate.
 
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DavidBlezard

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Jan 26, 2019
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Regarding the 400 foot ceiling, Part 107 reg allows a UAS within 400 ‘ radius of a structure, a tower in this example, the UAS can fly 400’ higher than the height of the structure provided the UAS does not violate FAA air class restrictions.
 

Florida Drone Supply

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Jul 3, 2017
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My approach to flying, I should not be a nuisance to people; not fly multiple times over the property; fly high enough for less noice and disturbance and never linger or hover. Basically, I fly straight across to get to my destination.
Our thoughts exactly! Be neighborly and basically don't give people an opportunity to be paranoid or just annoyed with your flying.
 

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