Someone threatened me to call the cops on me today while flying my drone

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So, i just got a brand new PH4. Today was my 2nd. flight with it. I owned a PH1 and PH2V2 before. I'm an experience pilot and one of the first pilots since 2013.
I never encounter such hateful reaction before from people, being a drone operator.
Today, I drove up a nice rich community, up into the mountains in La Canada flintridge CA. There was a very amazing and beautiful sunset and a lonely road with just a flew townhouses, right next to the La Canada flintridge country club.
I was on my 2nd. battery. On the monitor i saw that my SD card was full. I brought my drone down and switch cards. The drone was on the floor when all of the sudden an older couple started yelling at me from their balcony. The conversation went like this.

HATERS: Hey you! You there, stop flying your drone! This is a private road, you are not allow to fly here.

I look to see from where the voices came and saw them an older male and female on the edge of the balcony.
I thought the best wasn't to respond and to ignore them. So i choose not to engage and continue with what i was doing.

HATERS: Are you not talking to us? Ok, fine, we will call the cops now.

They went on the phone, angrily. I was considering what to do. The sun will set in 10mins and I was waiting all day for this shot, if i leave now, i will miss it. So, I decided to start up the drone and fly again.

HATERS(Continues): Stop flying your stupid drone. The cops are on the way to arrest you.

By now I have already gained altitude. I didn't want any trouble with these people. They seam very mean.
So, I got into my car and flew my drone to 400ft. high, almost out of their sight. I pull my car away from their balcony and from their sight, around the corner, then from the new spot, i flew my drone over to where i was and got the beautiful sunset shot that i wanted.
During the whole time i was shaking, but I needed this shot. Once the sun was down, i brought it back down and took off.
I'm just really buff to encounter such hateful people against Drone operators. I wasn't interested in them, their house or anything. They seam like very boring people. I just wanted the sunset. I have never experience this kind of reaction before. Usually when i fly, people are curious and nice and want to talk and see my footage. The drone was always a ice-breaker and i could make new friends while flying.

Has anyone encounter something like this?
What are the rules for flying in CA, Los Angeles?
When I got my first drone back in 2013 flying was legal and there weren't any regulations.
Do, i need to get a license now?
Let's say, I would had an encounter with cops today, what were my rights?
What type of papers do I need to have? Any advice?
Was it really illegal to fly there?
Thanks a bunch
 
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It's one thing to be respectful to others while flying but nobody owns the air!!!!!
 
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I was at a campsite with my brother in law and after about the 2nd day the management came over and asked me not to fly and that someone complained. Most everyone talked and asked questions but all it takes is one. Generally and not to be rude but it seems like older people like grandma and grandpa that do not like them... Oh well just kill them with kindness


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Private roads trump everything but...Don't you hate it when you are just being creative--and feel like a criminal? I take great pains to never fly around people and it's sad. But Nevada is drone heaven with 85% public lands, and no public. I unknowingly flew over campers--they thought it a swarm
Of bees and came running out of the woods. When they saw the p4 they were all smiles. Reviewing the vid I did fly right over them as they tipped over folding chairs and ran away. Oops.
 
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[...]

Has anyone encounter something like this?
What are the rules for flying in CA, Los Angeles?
When I got my first drone back in 2013 flying was legal and there weren't any regulations.
Do, i need to get a license now?
Let's say, I would had an encounter with cops today, what were my rights?
What type of papers do I need to have? Any advice?
Was it really illegal to fly there?
Thanks a bunch



Sorry about the experience you had but it is not surprising.

In their eyes, they don't know who you are (are you a threat?), you don't belong there and you are a nuisance. You also completely ignored them.

1) Not personally but it's just a matter of time. And plenty on these forums already have, some many times.

2) That's a question with no clear cut answer.
For recreational (non-commercial/ monetary) purposes, you can fly your drone anywhere... except where it is prohibited by local municipalities and Federal and State Agencies.
The DJI Go will also alert you to prohibited fly zones (airports, stadiums, ongoing fire scenes etc).

3) Not for recreational use.
And you should already be registered with the FAA which is a requisite for a drone the size and weight of the P4.

4) "Sir, this drone is legally registered with the FAA, I was flying it legally for recreational and personal use and under 400 feet in an area where no city ordinance prohibits such use on public street where I was standing."

Something like that.

5) Your FAA registration. A print out of the current existing rules and guidelines to show the officers in case they don't know themselves.

5) We would have to check with that particular town, not sure what their restrictions, if any, are.


Why didn't you invite them down for a chat explaining you can't quite hear them from so far?
You could have potentially diffused the whole situation, maybe made a couple of friends.




And are you not going to share that risky sunset shot with us? :)
 

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So, i just got a brand new PH4. Today was my 2nd. flight with it. I owned a PH1 and PH2V2 before. I'm an experience pilot and one of the first pilots since 2013.

First off I'm a bit surprised that since you're such an experienced drone operator you asked some of the questions you did. This type of "problem" is fairly common in this day and age of "Drone Paranoia" perpetuated by the MEDIA. Also keep in mind that some of the older people in the crowds (myself included) grew up watching SciFi movies and even cartoons about "flying robots that could watch your every move and fly autonomously while sending video back to home base". Guess what... Science Fiction is once again REALITY. So this "Drone Paranoia" plant was "seeded" many years ago and people are just reacting to it the only way they know how.

It would serve you well to visit this site and put a lot of it to memory: Give special attention to registration and potential "Private Property". If that road was genuinely private property you were trespassing and in the wrong.
Recreational Users | Know Before You Fly
Has anyone encounter something like this?
Daily across the country. Most end with no real "incident" but a couple will actually call Law Enforcement and if they are called they most likely will show up.
What are the rules for flying in CA, Los Angeles?
You'll have to research your local state, county and city ordinances.
Do, i need to get a license now?
You need FAA Registration and if you use your aircraft in any way that is not hobby you'll need Commercial Operators Certificate (part 107 which goes live August 29th)
Let's say, I would had an encounter with cops today, what were my rights?
Depends on how some of the above questions are answered. Most likely you can fly so long as you obey "Community Based guidelines and with common sense and respect for others in terms of their homes etc.
What type of papers do I need to have? Any advice?
Registration ASAP.
Was it really illegal to fly there?
Research will answer this but it's a big MAYBE Maybe Not.

Lastly sometimes the old saying of, "Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do it." could serve all of us very well.
 
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This happens in Australia, too...

My son and I were flying our new P4 earlier this year for the first or second time on a sporting reserve. There were no games going on, but a lot of people walking dogs. He had the P4 hovering about 300 metres away, and was fiddling around trying to get the orientation and gimbal adjusted. A short while later a woman walked up and abused us for spying on her family.

We had no interest in this woman or her family. We were pretty focused on the iPad screen and the orientation of the P4. She wasn't particularly unhinged, but in this situation you can react in a variety of ways. We didn't engage with her directly, but tried to make it clear that our complete focus was on controlling an RPA. I've also had a man race down a hill towards me in his car to abuse me for dumping rubbish [it is a major industrial site]. I just started packing up. Another time I was scouting a disused industrial site [I like industrial archaeology] and a security guard appeared to have materialised from nowhere. And even when someone is really, really insisting on engaging me in a heated conversation, I have a 3 kg aircraft flying around nearby that I have to control and keep an eye on.

In the end it's just a camera, but now I look for a spot to fly from where I'm not going to be visible to random passing punters. Not everyone is a ****, but it certainly detracts from the flying experience.
 
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I would have invited them to call the cops so you could explain to the authorities what you were doing if it made them so uncomfortable. They don't own the air and the laws are still largely unwritten in this case. They can't claim invasion of privacy because a)you weren't filming them and b) they are outside their home and can claim no expectation of privacy. Where they might have you is if the road is in fact private.

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I would have invited them to call the cops so you could explain to the authorities what you were doing if it made them so uncomfortable. They don't own the air and the laws are still largely unwritten in this case. They can't claim invasion of privacy because a)you weren't filming them and b) they are outside their home and can claim no expectation of privacy. Where they might have you is if the road is in fact private.

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That bravado does not pay either.

What if you get a LEO whom does not know anything about drones? Are you willing to go through the major hassle of getting arrested and then fighting to prove you were right?

This is more likely to happen than many realize.

The issue is that no one wants to address the root of the problem.

You can't show up somewhere and taunt the locals, being in the right doesn't matter.
It's just asking for a confrontation and who needs the negativity?
 
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Its nor bravado. I get the cops called on me on occasion as a photographer for property shark. I'd you are in your rights and not harassing anyone, they have no right to harass you either. Of course use the good neighbor policy. That is always the best advice. But don't allow yourself to be bullied if you aren't doing anything wrong.

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And how many times did you run into a misinformed LEO telling you you can't be taking pictures here? now the 3 minutes conversation turns into a 1 hour. You are detained, you need a supervisor, if you make a mistake or judgement call and become angry, you up your risk of being taken away/ shot... Who knows?

Why even invite the confrontation to show the people yelling at you in the first place they were "wrong". For what, to aggravate them?

I say this is aggravation all around. And a waste of your time you will never get back.
 
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What is a LEO? I'm guessing a home owner? But anyway, yes there is aggravation to avoid but I do get stopped frequently being asked to not photograph a home (even though I am well within my rights to do so if I am standing on public property). A comply, always. But if someone told me not to photograph a tree outside their home, they would have to threaten me with violence to get me to stop. We have rights too.

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law enforcement officer.
 
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Here is another example:

This Vloger on YouTube has this one episode where it drives to a location to capture the sunset by a light house. He shows up with a filming crew, two vehicles.

When they arrive, there are people sitting on rocks and already watching the sun come down peacefully. They are enjoying being alive and the scenery.

Now these people newly arrived are moving around, walking all over the place, including in front of those people at times.

After a while they are annoyed enough to say something.

This YouTube Vloger then gets it on video and states "Can you believe those people just asked me to stop walking back and forth because we are distribute them. They want to watch the sunset in peace. The sunset isn't going anywhere. What's their problem? And this other guy said we are too loud. I am launching the drone!"


That's another example of a very selfish and immature way of exercising his freedoms relative to theirs. And I see this all the time.

Why didn't he pause for a second to realize if he were them he'd be pissed too?
Or worse: maybe he did think of it but didn't care!
What if those people were looking forward to that moment of their day or week and perhaps drove X miles to get there, just to have it ruined by these clowns?

Why do people do this?
 
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Courtesy goes a long way but I still find it pretty self entitled to think you can tell other people why to do in a public (of course there is a limit to this)

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If it affects you/ me, of course you/ I can. But in my experience, it doesn't work.

What do you do when that guy keeps giggling and moving around (hitting your seat in the process) in the row behind you at the movie theatre? And by the way the theatre is empty and he could have sat two or three rows away from your wife and you but there he is.

Or a guy standing behind you in line decides to sigh and blows on you and then his friend chimes in even before he does and says no he didn't? This happened to me once!

I am not saying I have the secret formula but I think not being exposed in the first place is the closest you can get to a life solution.
 
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There are a lot of a-holes out there! That means both drone operators and non flyers as well. It makes sense to be nice and respectful, but occasionally, you have to stand your ground.

It really doesn't matter what you are doing, you are going to run into hostile people. Like some said, you can run into this with your camera. If a LEO shows up, be respectful. Sorry, but you may also have to be firm.

It is a fact of life.

Having said that, I have never had an issue with my drone....

I mostly fly over an empty field behind my house, or at my RC club which has a field that sits in the middle of about 400 acres of woods.

If it was actually a private road, meaning it was not built or maintained by the state, county or township then you were trespassing. If it was laid down by any of the previous organizations that it was not a private road...
 
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Well said.

The issue with flying these drones, and many have stated the following on these forums, is that people get "bored" flying places they are familiar with.
Others have no such safe places. In a densely populated area you get people flying in NYC, London etc. above people etc. some get arrested, others post the footage on YouTube, social media = views = exposure = followers = monetization. uhmmm... :)

This Vloger flies his drone in LA above freeways, buidlings etc. and frequently comes closes to losing radio command and/ or running out of battery.
In all fairness, he gets amazing footage of the city and he knows what he is doing whenit comes to editing.
 
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