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University Campus Flying

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by andersonpaac, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. andersonpaac

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    Hi All ,

    I'm a University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) student and there's so much clear space here to fly around. I was hoping if anyone could shed some light on how I can approach flying this guy on campus. Do you think I should contact the police before hand and take their permission ? How does it work for other people out there in the same shoes?

    Thanks
    Anderson
     
  2. Catalina36

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    Ask the guy at UT that was arrested and had his Phantom confiscated. The school said the property was private and that the pilot broke Texas law when he took photos. He was flying over the crowds in the stadium during a football game. At a minimum I would ask for permission before taking off.
     
  3. Suwaneeguy

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    You can talk to the campus police and ask them.
    After they tell you no, and they threaten with arrest and confiscation, tell them this.
    It is not illegal to:
    take photos, regardless of how it's done;
    the campus police has no jurisdiction because airspace is controlled and regulated by the FAA;
    the FAA has no authority because federal law prohibits them from regulating private use of hobby model aircraft.
    And point them to the two cases in which the FAA lost their bid for control.

    As for the UT dude, if his flight was so illegal, why were 10,l000 cameras allowed to take photos during the same game from the seats?
     
  4. ProfessorStein

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    Easy Suwaneeguy.

    A college campus is still considered private property. And private property owners have the right of ownership to “at least as much of the space above the ground as he can occupy or use in connection with the land” (which, while not strictly defined, legal precedents suggest is between 80 and 500 feet up).

    So, in fact, the school actually, arguably, does have the right to dictate whether you can fly your drone around their property.
     
  5. Mike

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    Absolutely correct!
     
  6. N017RW

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    Even if you like to argue about the rights to airspace, etc., operating from the school grounds is your [real] challenge.
     
  7. andersonpaac

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    Thanks for your inputs guys , really helpful! I'm gonna stay clear of populated places and hope there are no problems with it
     
  8. SilentAV8R

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    You may not know it, but the two largest US hobby companies/distributors are located in Champaign. Horizon Hobbies and Hobbico are both headquartered in Champaign.
     
  9. andersonpaac

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    Haha, I'm aware. There's a flying field a few miles off. But I dont intend to fly into nowhere and I don't have a cat to get me there. Champaign is a beautiful city. Gonna talk to the cops and see how it pans out
     
  10. Suwaneeguy

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    In my opinion, a state owned and operated school is still public property.
    While the school has the legal right to enforce its own "law" within its property, campus police have no authority elsewhere.
    So if I'm standing on property beside the stadium which is not owned by the school, I have the legal right to fly over their property without their permission.
    Airspace is controlled and regulated by the FAA. Not the state.
     
  11. andersonpaac

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    It's definitely debatable, but Texas just passed a law where they take control of the airspace. I know this is not constitutional but it does exist
     
  12. ProfessorStein

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    Then you would be in the minority, as far as the law is concerned. School campuses, even state owned and operated schools, are still considered private property. In fact, in most cases, there are large placards at every entrance that states exactly that.
    They have the legal right to prohibit any individual from using school property, for any reason.

    And, according to most legal precedence, that "property" includes a certain amount of airspace above the ground.

    Only partially correct. As I stated above, and in a previous post, for the sake of enforcement, the private property owner "owns"

    (* keep in mind that this description is intentionally kept loosely defined. Some courts have deemed that it extends to somewhere around 80', others have deemed it goes to 500'... and also keep in mind that up until as recently as 1946 you owned all the airspace above your property)

    While that airspace is technically controlled and regulated by the FAA (they are the ones who came up with the italicized description, after all), they will typically allow the "owner" to govern it's use.

    So, even if you are standing on public property, you do not have the right to fly over private property, at least at the altitude that is deemed "usable" to the owner. And, in most cases, any higher and you would be entering the airspace governed by the FAA and wouldn't be able to fly there, either.

    But, beyond that, the owner of private property also has the right to conduct business and or activities (ie - a football game) on it's property unfettered by interruptions and/or distractions from other parties.

    And, if that weren't enough... you know that legalese we always hear at the beginning/end of an NFL game that goes "Any other use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited"? Well... guess what... the NCAA and colleges have that same clause.
    So you wouldn't legally be allowed to fly over the stadium/game anyway... particularly with a camera.

    You can read this article, which captures much of this quite well. Notice, in particular, the section where it talks about "while the Supreme Court hasn’t explicitly accepted [500 feet] as the upper limit of property ownership, it’s a useful guideline in trespass cases"... meaning, in the Supreme Courts eyes (in the United States, mind you... other countries definitely have their own rules), if you are flying over my property at anything lower than 500 feet, you are trespassing.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... u_own.html

    (now, also take note of the statement that "the upward boundaries of private property may be changing." Things are in flux. But as it stands right now, you can not fly over private land (at least, not without expressed permission).