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Drone Regulation
updated: May 19, 2014, 1:25 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I would like to know if Santa Barbara has any regulations on drones/ use of drones? I was out on a boat with some friends and we had a drone circle our boat for about 20 minutes, it appeared to be taking pictures.

It was extremely uncomfortable and very concerning. I thought it may be the coast guard.. but we were not in distress or making a raucous. So I see no reason for them to be snooping.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 520238 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:27 PM

Not sure about regulations, but I think the chances of getting anything enforced out on the water would be slim to none unfortunately.

 

 COMMENT 520245 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:41 PM

Oh this is getting good. Just wait until they cannot only see everything, but hear every thing...we will all need to opaque cone of silence go have any privacy. I really doubt it was the Coast Guard. Probably paparazzi thinking you were someone special. But everyone is special right? I say if they are in water cannon distance put out that fire hazard. This brings up another point: I wonder what sort of precatious are taken when these are used up in fire hazard areas? And why doesn't the Coast guard have some to be used against panga's? Happy Monday!

 

 COMMENT 520246 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:42 PM

If some drone wants to take pictures of me....have at it. I could not care less. I doubt "boring working person" has any resonating meaning for whomever reviews the footage. People here have waaaaay too much time on their hands....the govermnment may be watching you....but they don't care....you're not the point.....surprise. Next..

 

 COMMENT 520247 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:44 PM

There are general regulations regarding the air space above your home. You do not own an infinitely high column of air above your property or your position. You own the airspace that you reasonably use. Extending damage to anything beyond that height make you a law violator. Most drones available to the public will only fly for about 10 minutes, less if carrying the load of a camera. A claim of 20 minute surveillance is a stretch.

 

 COMMENT 520250 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:50 PM

Only one. And you're not allowed to drone on about it.

 

 COMMENT 520251 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:51 PM

The FAA has regulations and will fine you $10,000, for flying a drone to take pictures. Best check with them if you're planning on flying one or have a question about someone who is using one. Just because they sell them doesn't make it legal to use it.

 

 COMMENT 520252 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:55 PM

Oops! I was overhead casting and "caught" your drone!

 

 JBYRD agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 01:59 PM

0251 has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. You CAN fly a drone and take pictures. You can NOT fly commercially to take pictures without permits or you chance getting fined. http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?
newsId=15334

 

 COMMENT 520258 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 02:28 PM

were you out at the ranch?

If it were me I wouldn't wait for regulations, I'd just bring the stupid thing down.

 

 COMMENT 520260 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 02:35 PM

all gun haters aside. Would it be illegal if I was on a boat at that time and had a legal firearm with all the legal permits and what not and shot the drone? If so, what would be illegal about it?

 

 COMMENT 520270 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 02:59 PM

520260 it would be illegal since you would be discharging your weapon to damage or destroy property not yours, odds are since your question is if on a boat boat you could get reamed by the collective - feds, state and possibly local.

 

 COMMENT 520271 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:02 PM

260, that's called destruction of property. And probably illegal discharge of a firearm depending on where on the water you are.

You guys should be glad that multirotors (they're not drones!) are still large enough that you can see and hear them. In 20 years, they'll be the size of a fly and about as loud.

 

 COMMENT 520272 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:07 PM

As a "gun hater" I have to say that using a drone for skeet practice in open water is not beyond the realm of the absurd.

If the drone flier is making a nuisance of himself getting his expensive toy shot out of the sky is a price to pay for being obnoxious.

But you'd best smile at the camera when you do 'coz a wifi connection will get your mug sent to law enforcement pretty dang quick.

 

 COMMENT 520280 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:23 PM

I wonder if this drone will try to go out and get any footage of the aircraft carrier when it is here? :)

 

 COMMENT 520294 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:54 PM

Last thing they'll see is buckshot coming their way.

 

 COMMENT 520324 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 05:23 PM

Do you shoot at the Google car when it comes by? If not, what's the difference?

 

 COMMENT 520345 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 07:04 PM

JBYRD is correct - the FAA originally issued a $10,000 fine to a man using a drone for business (taking pictures) however the court reversed that decision.

I was at Burning Man and there were at least two drones hovering. Was weird, but then you look around at all the people with cameras and you pretty much forget about it.

Back when I lived in downtown high-rises in Chicago, it was always interesting seeing how many people owned telescopes, and they're not for looking at stars.

 

 FREEMAN agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 09:02 PM

Technology can used for good or other purposes, but does anyone really like the idea of drones everywhere? Sounds kind of anti-human.

 

 COMMENT 520412P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:44 AM

I am sorry, but your claim of a 20 minute surveillance is such a stretch that you obviously fabricated this timetable to gain sympathy for your concern... and stretched stories like this will continue to happen until people realize that drones are happening and will continue to happen.

If this individual was using a store bought drone ( like from samy's ), it certainly was not hovering around for 20 minutes. Not even 15 minutes. The model currently at samy's is the Horizon Hobby Blade 350 QX RTF Quadcopter. Flight time : roughly 5-15 minutes. Obviously does not include flight time to and from your boat. If they were using a scratch built ( home built ) quad, then flight times are still around the same depending on setup. Now you seem like the type of guy who motor right over to someone standing on the bow of their boat holding a remote control and take the same 20 minutes to explain why they bothered you. But you clearly did not, which means the pilot was not local, which means they were 99.9% flying FPV, or first person view. On board the quad will be a small camera that then transmits live back to a receiver and then viewed through a screen for video goggles. Running a system like this goes through batteries ever faster.

As far as photography is concerned, he can take all the pictures he likes, and as already mentioned, as long as it is not for commercial purposes the the FAA won't be stopping by.

To keep this simple, drones are governed for the time being by the same regulations as model aircraft : under 400 feet and withing visual contact.

So what did we learn today? ST not lie and exaggerate to make your point look better because someone else will come along and make you look foolish.

 

 COMMENT 520460 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 09:46 AM

I so hate that google car taking ugly pictures of our home up our front porch and posts it online and we have no discourse, it's not right and I want my car and house taken off google! As for the drone above the boat, I'd start skeet shooting, ah, there got it ! What has happened to privacy in this world, no consideration for others anymore.

 

 COMMENT 520520 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 11:55 AM

do you mean drones as in bees?

 

 COMMENT 520530 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 12:12 PM

If the google car was circling my house while I'm sitting oustide, then yes, I'd shoot at it.

 

 COMMENT 520589 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 02:27 PM

Two words for you- wristrocket slingshot. Just don't fling the rocks towards your neighbors' cars.

Once the first plane is brought down by a drone/copter toy- then they will start passing some serious regulations. It has almost happened already.

 

 COMMENT 520732 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 09:23 AM

I have a drone that I fly weekly. I stay very versed on the laws regarding them. Here's some specs for you. I happen to have a DJI Phantom 2, that carries a HD go pro 3. It has a range with the radio transmitter of 3,000 ft in any direction. It can and will fly for 20 minutes with the camera attached and that is on a per battery charge. If an extra module is added to the drone, it can fly via gps waypoints beyond radio control up to a round trip of 9 miles within the 20 minute battery charge. It has a top speed of 35 mph. At this time there are no FAA regulations at all regarding RC planes/drones. The FAA has a recommended rule that is not law, that suggests no drones be flown within 3 miles of an airport and no higher at anytime then 400ft. In addition if a drone was shot down you would be held liable for property damage and held liable to pay to have it replaced. You'd be looking at a replacement cost of about $500 to $3k. That's an expensive skeet shot.

 

 COMMENT 520739 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 09:30 AM

I bet I could take a drone down with my pellet rifle. Good luck finding me!

 

 COMMENT 520838 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 12:21 PM

To: 520412P I believe you missed the point I was trying to make. The drone came in and out of sight for ABOUT 20 minutes and it circled over us for a while long enough to make everyone on the boat uncomfortable. We were all doing our best to ignore it and have a good time, I didn't hold a stop watch and counted minute by minute that 20 minutes time is an estimation. What does it matter if it was 10 or 15 minutes? Whats at stake here is privacy and safety.

 

 COMMENT 520873 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-21 01:47 PM

Thank you everyone for all the feed back. It is sad to hear that the regulations in place are very lax. My life is simple, I enjoy nature and the company of good friends and family. If a stranger just walked up and started snapping pictures or filming us at our gatherings, we would not welcome that and would ask that stranger to leave or call the police on the basis of harassment. I don't mind being in a random picture or in a video at music festival as I walk past the camera. Having a drone seems to me is another ball game; It gives "that" behind "it" a level of anonymity that is concerning. Are we waiting for these anonymous objects/people to cause major harm before passing regulation? I don't think we should. I am not against drones as they can be used for a great deal of good. However there must be more strict regulations put in place to protect public safety and privacy.

 

 COMMENT 521019 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-22 09:30 AM

I have a drone with a go pro. I took videos of my neighborhood, the beaches, the lakes and the park. When I got the vids on to my computer, the images of people were so tiny that I could not identify the person or see details. I experimented with it and flew as close to people within the safest possible distance and still couldn't get details enough to identify features.

I think the noise of a drone copter bothers people most because it sounds like bees and you become aware of it at the moment.

With all of the concern about drones from citizens, you would think a government agency would put a kebosh on it. Google gets by with worse privacy invasion. If you are so worried about privacy, stop using your computer.

 

11% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.

 

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