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P3P flight, a crazy neighbor gonna shoot it down & the sheriff

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dan MacNeil, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. Dan MacNeil

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    About 2 months ago I had a bad drone flying experience. I flew my P3P in my neighborhood at 120' to 150' for about 15-20 minutes. A middle aged guy comes running up to my house (I was in the driveway) acting crazy. His eyes are kind of bugging out, his arms are waving in the air and he’s yelling at me. He’s yelling that I don’t have the right to video his house. Says if I ever do it again that he’ll shoot it down. I’m holding up my hand and trying to get calm down but he’s just getting worse. Yells that I did the same thing a few weeks ago. and he gets crazier acting. Yells that I’m a pervert and that he’ll call the police. So at one point he pushes me and tries to take the controller from me. It's becoming obvious to me that this guy is a little unstable so I call 911. I tell them what is happening and this guy keeps trying to interrupt so I hand him the phone. OK so now he kind of calms down and tells the 911 girl that I just flew my drone above his house. And that I’ve done that before in the past. He’s being much calmer now and tells the 911 girl his address etc. and then gives the phone back to me and walks off. The 911 girl tells me the cops will be by soon and about 90 minutes later the sheriff arrives. The sheriff tells me he'd gone to the other guy’s house first. He tells me neighbor had said that my Phantom flew 7 feet above the ground in his back yard just a few feet away from his 2 daughters' bedroom window and that his daughters had just got out of the bath and that they were both nude." THE NEIGHBOR WAS FLAT OUT LYING! At no point had my drone flown below 100' (other than taking off and landing) on this flight. His (the neighbor) account of the drone's events were 100% TOTALLY FALSE! I'm guessing the officer told him that I could be filing assault charges so maybe he was just trying to cover his behind.

    OK, so after the officer tells me what the neighbor had said I get my drone, remove the microchip, put it in my laptop and I ask the officer to view the actual flight footage. But the officer didn't want to see it! I told him the entire video was only about 15 minutes long and etc. etc. but the cop says "Sorry, but that's not gonna help because video can be edited". OK, so I try to explain how drone videos work and that they show the altitude and the time of day and EVERYTHING else and etc. etc. and if I’d removed any part of the video that it would show missing time in the footage. But NO, the officer knows how video can be edited so he would have nothing to do with it. I had also wanted the officer to see what drone videos actually see (tiny houses a great distance away). But no. Nada. The sheriff was not going to view any video.

    OK, so my wife and I were both calm and nice and respective to the officer. He seemed to be a nice young man and he was polite and acting in a very professional manner. But we were quickly becoming aware that the officer perceived us as the "bad guys" here. And it became even more apparent when he said "If you folks don't have children (we're in our 60's) you may not understand how he feels". Now we have raised children but this comment was so far on the wrong side of my wife that she felt compelled to inform the officer that one would not have to raise children to know that it was improper to hover a drone front of a house and video nude young girls.

    OK, so anyway, I try a few more times to get the officer to view the footage. I'm thinking that it might be helpful for him to know EXACTLY what the drones are capable of seeing. No, he didn't need to see any drone footage. So I explain that I don't want to have any future problems with this neighbor. That I don't to worry that he'll drive by some night and throw rocks at my vehicle or worry about any other possible future altercations. So, I offer to go with him (the sheriff) to the neighbor's house. I offer to apologize for flying my drone above his house. I also offer never to fly in view of his house again. And I offer to let him see the actual footage that my drone had taken. Well, the officer actually thinks this is a pretty good idea and he calls the neighbor with my offer. But the neighbor will have nothing to do with this. He doesn't want me in his house. He doesn't want me to know where he lives. So now I don't even know where NOT to fly my drone. At this point it's like they say in all the Mafia movies: "Hey, whadda ya gonna do?"

    BOTTOM LINE: What have I learned from the above?

    Firstly, there is an old saying: "THERE IS NO TRUTH. THERE IS ONLY PERCEPTION."

    - If the local law enforcement knows nothing about drones, then it doesn't matter how high you fly or what you are able to document. If the police are not willing to view your evidence/proof ..... nothing else is going to matter.

    - Think about where you fly your drone. Even though you are law abiding and legally flying your drone, a paranoid neighbor and a police officer who is ignorant about drones and their limitations & abilities may be a combination that can cause you a great deal of trouble and frustrations.

    - At the end of the day, it just doesn't matter who is right. You might still end up having to go to court to try and prove some things. Or some idiot might shoot your drone down (in this case, my neighbor actually threatened to take such an action).

    - When deciding where to fly your drone (in heavily populated neighborhoods, beaches, etc.) consider the possible consequences and that many people still don't know what your drone is seeing or NOT capable of seeing.

    OK, that's all. I'm just saying all this because the events above really bothered me. They occurred about 2 months ago and since then I've only flown the drone twice. I didn't enjoy either flight much because all the while that I'm flying it I'm wondering that someone might be getting all paranoid and crazy again. It's funny because when I fly the drone that passers by almost ALWAYS stop to look at what I'm doing and to view my tablet (I view live flights with a 10" tablet) and they smile and converse and ask all kinds of questions. These drones bring a great deal of happiness to hobbyists and onlookers all across the country. But a few ignorant or maybe even jealous jerks can ruin that for everyone. I'm hoping that in the future I can forget my bad run-in with the neighbor and find a place to fly my drone that will bring the passion and good times that I experienced before.
     
    Mark The Droner and Reed L like this.
  2. flpholt

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    I would buzz that area every night it is in your rights to fly
     
    Got Aerial, mmtphoto and Willk like this.
  3. DirtyHarry

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    While I have no idea where you live, I can understand your frustration, but in no way would I let the situation stop me from enjoying my Drone. You probably paid a lot of money for it and you should get to enjoy it. Why not simply find a safe place to fly away from populated area's, perhaps a not so populated park, an ocean front, or maybe you have some farm land around.

    Either way, good luck and get out there and have some fun :)
     
  4. Fourman

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    Log Files? You could have offered to show him that. After that if he did not give you the right to defend you he knew he had nothing really he could do. I would just make sure to always video and log all flights near there just because I would bet your neighbor will be calling the cops again.....

    I had somewhat the same thing (a stretch) with my personal gun range (I live out in the country with tons of land)...I have a neighbor up-range of me saying I was shooting at her and her kids in a creek bed that is downrange and...wait for it....on my property.

    So I always took pictures and recorded all events...so when the police showed up I had everything ready.....she tried everything: Health department, ATF, Police, Lawyer....yeah went for years...

    Now I don't hear from her much.......and I now fly my P3P over her land all the time hahaha
     
  5. Hickeroar

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    Well, if push came to shove, the flight logs and video would definitely hold up in court. As long as you're obeying FAA rules and state/local ordinances, you're in the clear.

    Besides, the burden of proof for their idiotic accusations rests squarely on their shoulders.

    I would personally avoid flying directly over their property, just because who wants to deal with idiots like that, but other than that I wouldn't change a thing.
     
  6. Dan MacNeil

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    Thanks for that. The problem though is that I don't know where he lives. Sheriff wouldn't tell me."
     
  7. Hickeroar

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    Haha in that case, you're probably free and clear. Sounds like the Sheriff maybe wanted to intimidate you a little bit, but didn't really have any sort of plan other than that. I'm a full supporter of law enforcement officers, but if what you've said is true....that officer sounded a bit dim.

    He didn't even tell you what you did wrong or what you should avoid doing in the future. Sounds like he just imparted what the neighbor said, argued with you about the validity of your footage, and left.

    Even if that neighbor does something insane like shoots your drone down, he's the one who could end up in jail for shooting his gun in a residential area without cause (would depend on state/local laws of course), and he'd also have to pay to replace/repair your drone if he did hit it.
     
  8. Dan MacNeil

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    Thanks for that. I appreciate you taking the time to help here. The problem is that sometimes I don't do a good job of explaining myself. My real issues with this entire event were that the sheriff did NOT want to see my proof. He didn't want to see the actual video and by everything he conveyed, he wouldn't be willing to look at the logs. I'm sure he believes that they could be edited too. I guess what I was trying to explain in my post is that there is just no way to communicate with people who demand the right to be ignorant. It's not who is right or wrong. It's what the "PERCEPTION" of the other party is. Long before arriving at my house the sheriff had decided I was the bad guy. So everyone should be aware that there are people in power out there that won't listen and that won't understand. Remember that "You can lead a horse to water ...... but you can't get an ignorant sheriff to look at the video or flight logs!"
     
  9. flpholt

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    just invite other drone owners over and have a good time
     
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  10. Willk

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    Lol just surround his house with phantoms I can imagine the noise in my head lol


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
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  11. flpholt

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    2016-04-02 10.08.40.jpg look out neighbor
     
    Willk likes this.
  12. Reed L

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    Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda... filed the assault charges, met the neighbor and then showed him the footage and let him off easy. The media has everyone scared of UAV's with their lies but when people see the truth, things change. I'm sure that it was filed as a simple incident report if at all and it's nothing to worry about on your side. I would fly whenever in the same place and down the same path because when push comes to shove, he broke the law - not you. If there's a next time, offer him something to drink and hand him a print out of the neighborhood from 200' up and tell him this is what you see. Then he will look at your screen, see the truth and you guys can move on. If you really want to stop flying because of this, I'm sure one of us would kindly take your uav off your hands :)
     
    flpholt likes this.