Illegal to Fly Over My Neighbor's Back Yard?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pdmike, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Dugdog47

    Dugdog47 Well-Known Member

    This wouldn't have been an issue when Arnie the governator was running Cali.:cool:
     
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  2. GJH105775

    GJH105775 Avid Linux User, and U.S. Air Force 1C6 Moderator

    What I meant was that California has no control over the airspace. As that is the case they cannot stop some pilot (or remote pilot) from flying over a house. They can, however, stop a quadcopter pilot from flying over a house. This is because that pilot is physically in their state.

    So for example, if I get an op number and fly from Vandenberg AFB in California (federal ground that is not subject to the state) over some property while obeying all rules and regulations imposed by the FAA (even in our airspace where there are fewer restrictions to what we may do with it) then I can ignore all of the state laws I want as they don't have control over the airspace and I am not physically in the state. I just have to be careful not to anger the FAA or do anything that could be against regulations (like swoop people as it could be considered reckless).
     
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  3. mozquito1

    mozquito1 Well-Known Member

    It's not me (smashing phones & hard drives) o_O
     
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  4. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    I don't understand this at all. You say that California has no control over airspace. So far, so good - I agree. You then go on to make a distinction between a "pilot or remote pilot" and a "quadcopter pilot" and state that "they" (I assume California) cannot stop a "pilot or remote pilot" from flying over a house, but can stop a "quadcopter pilot" from flying over a house. First off, what is the difference between a "remote pilot" and a "quadcopter pilot"?

    Secondly, what is the basis for your contention that California can stop a quadcopter pilot from flying over a house? California has enacted a Civil Code section (mentioned in the OP to this thread) that imposes potential civil liability on a quad pilot who "invades the privacy" of a homeowner by flying over his house/back yard. So, in the civil sense, California DOES have control over airspace over a house. In the one that really counts however, - the criminal sense - California has no control over airspace, because there is no California statute that imposes criminal sanctions on a quadcopter pilot who flies his quad over a house.

    You go on to say that California can stop a quad pilot from flying over a house because that pilot is physically in their state. What is your authority for that assumption? California Civil Code 1708.8? That code section does not give the State any power to stop anything. It only gives a homeowner the right to sue a quad pilot civilly for monetary damages, if the homeowner feels that his privacy has been invaded. A quad pilot who gets sued under CC 1708.8 would have to have been a pretty stupid quad pilot to create a situation resulting in such a lawsuit.

    So the bottom line as I see it is that, in California, it is OK to fly a quad over a house. Your only potential trouble would be getting civilly sued by the homeowner for invasion of privacy and if you are dumb enough to expose yourself to that type of a lawsuit, you deserve to get sued.

    If it is your position that a quad pilot can have criminal punishment handed out to him for flying his quad over a house, I would be interested to see the authority for that.
     
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  5. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    I don't think that's what the video says. As I view it, the FAA is saying that as long as your quad does not take off from, or land on, the private property in question, then you are OK and may fly over the subject property. I don't see the FAA saying you must take off from and/or land on public property. Of course, if you are taking off from or landing on private property other than your own, you would have to have permission from the landowner to be on his land in the first place, but that says nothing about being able to fly over some other house out there somewhere.

    Suppose you trespassed onto Farmer Zeke's land. Without his permission, you took off from his land and flew your quad over Farmer John's pig farm next door. You then returned your quad and landed on your home point on Farmer Zeke's property. Both of the farmers complained to the FAA. I submit you would be in potential trouble for trespassing on Farmer Zeke's property without his permission, but would not be any potential trouble for flying over Farmer John's pig farm, since your quad did not take off from, or land on, Farmer John's property.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
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  6. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    I don't know about you, but I think Ken Heron ought to stick to drone advice and abandon his attempts to be a comedian.
     
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  7. Spork

    Spork There is no spoon

    We're in complete agreement, here. I was just trying to simplify the situation to indicate that you couldn't take off or land on the private property in question. Your version is more accurate and well said then mine.
     
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  8. Spork

    Spork There is no spoon

    Totally agree, he is very corny, but he does shoot some beautiful drone videos. He is oddly fascinated with radio towers, but since I believe he is a radio DJ for his day job, I get it.
     
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  9. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    I will be anxious to see what the Mod has to say on this. (#24, above)
     
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  10. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    Or, possibly, Dr. Freud might have something on men who are fascinated with radio towers ..... :cool:
     
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  11. Spork

    Spork There is no spoon

    LOL - also a possibility.
     
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  12. mozquito1

    mozquito1 Well-Known Member

    Common decency would say within reason you can fly over my house with a camera pointing horizontal flying forward. But once it stops & that camera points down I'm going vinny jones on your ass then take any parts i may want.
     
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  13. mozquito1

    mozquito1 Well-Known Member

    Phallic,:confused: he can't help it.
     
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  14. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    Going Vinny Jones? :confused:
     
  15. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    Problem with that is, as we all know, many homeowners don't see it that way. They don't know up from down when it comes to drones, and they don't care - they just don't want the damn thing anywhere NEAR their house.
     
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  16. mozquito1

    mozquito1 Well-Known Member

    You not seen the film
    Lock stock & two smoking barrels.
    Head in the car door scene.
     
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  17. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member

    As a retired police officer (in Pennsylvania), I'm going to weigh in on this. Although the federal government has general jurisdiction, states do have a Constitutional authority to inact statutes that must comply at least with minimal statutory requirements under federal law. An example being that a federal statute may specify a minimal size in height and width for a stop sign. States may specify that stop signs in their jurisdiction have to be a minimum size that is larger, but they cannot specify one that is smaller. The easiest way for states to comply (as Pennsylvania does) is to simply adopt the federal statute specifications as their own. An example of states inacting stiffer specs are California's vehicle emissions regulations, which are more stringent than not only the federal requirements, but of any other state in the country (Ever notice in ads for certain vehicle parts or gasoline or diesel-powered devices such as chainsaws or generators, the manufacturer lists both "49-state" and "CARB-compliant" versions or if it is "not CARB-compliant"?). So in theory, California can inact and enforce this statute, as long as it comply with the minimal federal statutory requirements, or is more strict. Plus, police officers are "creative" in the use of currently-existing state statutes that may also apply. Such as in Pennsylvania which has a criminal statute, Title 18, Section 5503, Disorderly conduct, which has applications for both summary and misdemeanor violations. And basically covers annoyances that serve no legitimate purpose of the actor. It means that if your neighbor put up an eight-foot privacy fence so that she (or his girlfriend or wife) can sunbath in her bikini in private, and you fly your camera-equiped quad up high enough to defeat that purpose specifically on days that she is doing it and low enough for a reasonable person to expect you to get a clear focus, the judge is not going to buy your argument that you weren't in an FAA-designated "No-Fly Zone". In Pennsylvania for just the summary violation, you're looking at a maximum of $300.00 fine plus court costs, AND thirty days in the county jail. For the misdemeanor, that goes up to 23 months in the slammer. Each violation is considered a seperate offense under state law. Presumably, California has a similar criminal statute for Disorderly conduct, that police can apply if need be. Even if a judge were to find you not guilty, you're fighting a losing "war of attrition". How many times can you afford to take off from work to go to court? How much can you afford in attorneys fees to defend yourself, at approximately $400.00 per hour? It won't cost the victim(s) more than a phone call to contact the police. And your tax dollars will be paying for your own prosecution.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
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  18. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    California did enact this statute (Civil Code 1708.8), but the point you are overlooking is that this is not a criminal statutue. All it does is create an avenue for someone to sue a drone operator civilly for damages if the plaintiff feels that his/her privacy was invaded.

    Oh, I am well aware of "creative" police work. As a public defender, I have to deal with it literally every day. But that aside, any quad operator who noses his quad over his neighbor's yard and lets it hover there, gawking at a sunbathing female, deserves everything a creative police officer can throw at him and more.

    Sure, California has criminal statutes covering disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, trespass, etc. But if the quad pilot is not snooping, I cannot imagine any police officer citing the pilot for flying a drone over a house in airspace that California has no jurisdiction to control. If it was a straight flyover, the officer would walk away. If it was a legitimate snoop, with a sunbathing wife screaming bloody murder, the officer might dream up some citation but, more likely, would simply refer the offended homeowner to Civil Code 1708.8, advise him to consider a civil suit for invasion of privacy, and walk away.

    Once again - the wise quad pilot would try to stay away from houses as much as possible and, if actually flying over one, keep the camera straight ahead and the quad moving forward at a pretty good clip.
     
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  19. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    Just FYI AS REGARDS PROPERTY RIGHTS.

    "While the Supreme Court hasn't explicitly accepted that as the upper limit of property ownership, it's a useful guideline in trespass cases. Therefore, unless you own some very tall buildings, your private airspace probably ends somewhere between 80 and 500 feet above the ground.Jul 11, 2013"

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_...metz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html
     
  20. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    And then.........

    "An entry into another’s airspace is a trespass even if the trespasser doesn’t touch the surface of the earth. Airplanes may trespass by flying low over a person’s property, for example. An airplane trespasses by flying low enough over the surface to interfere with the owner’s reasonable use and enjoyment of her surface.

    Of course, if the airplane doesn’t fly over a person’s surface, just nearby, the airplane’s interference with the surface because of noise and light wouldn’t be a trespass — but it could be a nuisance. And if the government’s flying the plane, the landowner could only seek just compensation for the government taking an easement through her airspace."

    http://www.dummies.com/education/law/the-property-rights-of-airspace/
     

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