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How much of the airspace above your home do you own?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ksandersfl, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. Ksandersfl

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    Watching the evening news they spoke about drones and model aircraft will get you a trespassing ticket or arrested. I was like..yeah right!! Yeah is right. Then interviewed a lawyer...stating that people flying these over private property are "trespassing" and if caught can be subjected to local laws related to trespassing. I was like the FAA again.....then I found this recent article, its not the FAA debacle. It is a Supreme court ruling from 1946 that just got National Geographic photographer George Steinmetz arrested for trespassing on June 28th. Even if the FAA can be sorted out.......how do you sort out trespassing??

    The Supreme court ruling in 1946 still on the books.

    "Before the advent of air travel, landowners owned an infinitely tall column of air rising above their plot. (The Latin doctrine was Cujus est solum ejus usque ad coelum, or “whose is the soil, his it is up to the sky.”) In 1946 the Supreme Court acknowledged that the air had become a “public highway,” but a landowner still had dominion over “at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_...metz_arrest_how_much_airspace_do_you_own.html
     
  2. lsteigerwalt

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    If my memory serves correct you own the space you are using and nothing more. If your house is 30 ft then it stops there etc etc
     
  3. kymedic121

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    Thanks for sharing that, it is very interesting indeed. Like a lot of laws from the early 1900's and prior are still on the books and some are quite comical and seldom if ever enforced. As it takes considerable legislation to remove a law from the books so they just chose to not enforce them. I think where most would prevail on a case such as this would be the interpretation of the law and the definition and use of the language especially where it reads, "A landowner still had dominion over “at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land.” Where I could understand losing a case if you were literally buzzing the neighbors property at an altitude of 20' feet or so as the landowner could cite "Disturbing the peace" but I do not think any judge would prosecute such a case if the phantom pilot was cruising at altitudes of 100' or above as the landowner would not be able to reasonably occupy airspace at that altitude or beyond unless he/she had a Ham Radio Tower or something of that nature. I don't think any landowner would even know if you were flying over their house at a 100' or beyond unless they were outside and actually looking for the quad. I do know that the judges in my area would be rather infuriated for any prosecutor bringing such a case before the court unless the pilot was truly endangering the safety of the residents or infringing upon someones privacy such as the case last week where a guy was peering inside the windows of exam rooms at a local Drs office (Which is wrong on all levels). This is the problem, no matter how many ethical and moral quad pilots we have (99% are) it only takes that 1% of morally bankrupt individuals to give us all a bad name. Once again, great post and this is something to watch as I am sure someone or the FAA will pull this out as ammunition in the future.
     
  4. EMCSQUAR

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    In the state of Minnesota (and I'm told it applies to many others) - Airspace over private property is equal to 1x the space occupied. So if your house is 30 ft tall add 30 ft to that and that extends to boarders/property lines.
     
  5. Werz

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    The case law on this subject is very squishy. The mass production of UAVs like the Phantom is bound to create case law which is very specific, and probably within the next few years.

    I wonder if there will be a sudden popularity of barrage balloons amongst those who are protective of their privacy.
     
  6. Ksandersfl

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    Its very clear that RCM or Drones controversy is only in the early stages of being challenged at the drop of a dime. It is very unfortunate that we have both sides of the fence adding fuel to the fire. The use of Drones for inappropriate behavior which we all know is wrong without a court of law, as noted the exam rooms being spied on. To congressman buying them, flying and video taping the morning session convening to only pull the video off the drone and testifying why he wants them banned by showing his constituents walking in just minutes earlier. Really?? Both side going over the top causing more problems.

    I would hope that the industry would get together, if they have not and realize the future of there business is in deep trouble. Start educating, advertising the value of the product and that it is safe. Popular Science just release 25 reason to own a drone. If Martha Stewart can over see her garden with one, look at all the good they already do. It is on our nature to be more inclined to show you the bad things than the good.

    Back on topic......but based on this quote, the Feds recognize a limit that may or may not be in stone. Depending on the judge.....they will either take on the case or ask why your wasting the court's time with this nonsense. In any event, someone can make your life hell and dealing with local authorities regardless if it is nonsense or going to get thrown out of court. It will be interesting to see where this goes.......I would like to think away!!

    "Today, the federal government considers the area above 500 feet to be navigable airspace in uncongested areas. While the Supreme Court hasn’t explicitly accepted that as the upper limit of property ownership, it’s a useful guideline in trespass cases."
     
  7. witold

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    Unless you have a fat wallet to pay for lawyers, the answer is to fly away from anything that is questionable, and to not annoy anyone even if you think you're "right."

    This is the strategy taken by others in the air, like paramotor. And paramotor is still designated as experimental aircraft and FAA lets you do whatever you want with it. No license, no training, feel free to go up to 10,000 feet and fly as long as you want.