Drone Rules, Expectation of Privacy in Public, and FAA Controls the Air Space


The FAA rules the airspace everywhere, and the air over a property is treated as an easement where aircraft, including drones, can fly.

It is not legal to peep into private spaces or fly too close and annoy people with a drone. It’s certainly annoying and not legal to fly in somebody’s curtilage without their invitation, and most reasonable drone pilots avoid flying under somebody’s tree line or closer to a house than it is tall. But if a drone is flying at a couple hundred feet over your house it’s legal.

Oregon is one of those states that has extra laws about annoying people with drones to facilitate local law enforcement when dealing with idiots who annoy people with drones:

Prohibits the use of UAS over private property in a manner that intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly harasses or annoys the owner or occupant of the property.

A few years back, most states passed laws adopting the FAA regulations for drones and prohibiting localities from making more restrictive regulations. Oregon is one of those states that has drone laws on their books so their LEO can cite them, but AKAIK from the other side of the US, Oregon’s laws are no more restrictive than the FAA’s rules.

The drone regulations in some countries specify some minimum distance from property, may restrict flight over built up areas. But, in the US they’re more like “don’t fly too close”.

It is not legal to fly any drone without having and carrying a TRUST-The Recreational UAS Safety Test certificate. For any business use a commercial remote pilot certificate is required, aka the Part 107 certificate. Both these certificates cover the basic safety regulations and laws, including ‘no annoying’ and ‘no peeping’.  http://trust.modelaircraft.org/

Drones weighing more than 250 grams are required to be registered. http://faadronezone.faa.gov/

If you’re being pestered by some idiot with a drone you have a legitimate beef, and if that the pilot isn’t carrying a TRUST cert or registration the penalties can be steep, like $1500++, depending on the violation and belligerence of the pilot. Drones represent a serious liability to public safety and if some idiot comes to the attention of the authorities, they’ll want to make him, and/or his parents, pay.


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