The Countdown to Maker Faire Bay Area is On!


California Moves to Prohibit Recreational Drone Use Over Private Property

Drones Drones & Vehicles Maker News
California Moves to Prohibit Recreational Drone Use Over Private Property
California bill SB-142 has already been Assembly approved but still needs Senate approval, which will limit drones like this Parrot AR Drone 2.0 from entering private property airspace.
California bill SB-142 has already been Assembly approved but still needs Senate approval, which will limit drones like this Parrot AR Drone 2.0 from entering private property airspace.

While police in North Dakota can now arm their drones with tasers, tear gas, and rubber bullets thanks to the recently passed HB 1328, hobbyists in California will have increased restrictions for their drones if SB-142 passes the State Senate. The bill recently passed the State Assembly and is headed to the Senate floor where it’s expected to pass and become law.

The bill would effectively limit where hobbyists are able to fly their drones — a block of airspace of 350 to 400 feet above private property, with anything below that considered restricted. That is, without the consent of the owner. In contrast, the FAA guidelines of where civilian drones can fly are similar: below 400 feet and at least 5 miles from an airport over any public or privately owned area.

There are certainly valid reasons to restrict where civilian drones can be operated, especially in California as some interfered with firefighters and almost collided with one helicopter as it was landing to drop off workers to battle the myriad of blazes currently affecting the state. Others simply value their privacy, which is certainly understandable as well, just look at the video from Tice Ledbetter below.

YouTube player

Some hobbyists however, feel the measure is designed restrict all drone activity, including racing in areas where boundaries are often difficult to define. What happens if one of those drones suddenly goes off the racing course because of a malfunction and travels into private property, would that be considered an arrestable offense?

Then again, the Supreme Court ruled back in 1946 (United States V. Causby) that property owners’ rights do not extend indefinitely in the air over their properties, however where that limit is, is a matter of debate.

Whether it passes or not, civilians are taking it a step further with “anti-drone shotgun shells.” Stopping drone surveillance will happen one way or the other. We spoke with the creators of these anti-drone shells recently about the legality of selling ammunition that is intended for shooting down drones, you can read about that here.

10 thoughts on “California Moves to Prohibit Recreational Drone Use Over Private Property

  1. Jarm says:

    You already don’t have the right to post someone’s picture publicly without their permission, why would it be any different with drones?

    As for the operator getting mad about the guy fishing not wanting to be filmed and damaging the drone, that’s a risk you should be willing to take. How is it different from just snapping pictures of people on the pier and not expecting someone to confront you asking to have their picture deleted?

    In my opinion, the problem is that a few jerks ruin the fun for everyone. Most drone operators are blameless in this matter. It is the pervs, the operators who fly in unsafe conditions, and the operators that fly and film in public places where people’s faces are being recorded that ruin it for everyone.

    1. Jim Myers says:

      Because you have the LEGAL RIGHT to photograph people in public, the idiot that damaged the drone should be identified and forced to pay damages. If HE does not want to be filmed in public, then he needs to stay home.

      1. Jarm says:

        If droneman is making money on his YouTube videos, he doesn’t have the right to post without consent if faces are discernable. That was the point I was trying to make, but failed to do so.

        You guys are right that private citizens can take pictures and video and put it online all they want due to it being a public place.

  2. emccarron says:

    “You already don’t have the right to post someone’s picture publicly without their permission”

    Sure you do. Were they in a public space with no reasonable expectation of privacy? Post away. It’s well within your rights. Is it ethical, well, that’s another thing.

    But yes. A few morons will ruin it for everyone. Not just the folks flying the aircraft — the redneck yahoos that think taking potshots at them will be more than half of the reason.

    1. jane_collier2 says:

      ì want to guíde you to amazíng online work opportunity.. 3-5 h of work a day.. payment at the end of each week.. performance dependíng bonuses…earnings of six to nine thousand dollars /month – merely few hours of your free time, a computer, most elementary familiarìty wìth www and trusted web-connection is what is needed…learn more by headìng to my page

  3. Fogwoman Gray says:

    Here is an easily imaginable scenario in California based on things in the news right now. The air over Laurel Canyon full of drones being run by paprazzi during one of the frequent wildfires there. Aircraft unable to fight those fires because of the presences of drones in the airspace.
    Trying to get lifeflight into an area where air ambulance is needed when the airspace is full of drones being run by news agencies and hobbyist looky-loos.
    Police helicopters unable to reach someplace for the same reason.
    It goes well beyond a desire for privacy, which is also a very legitimate concern.

  4. Jim Myers says:

    So, you use a perfectly legal drone video, taken in a public place, as your example of invading privacy? This video would be legal even under the proposed CA legislation.

    It’s clear that Make feels that drones are bad. I say we pass another law in CA making it illegal for fake web-based journalists to post anything in public view.

  5. Jim Myers says:

    And why are you STILL promoting the fake drone munition product? It’s nothing but a standard hunting load with a bunch of BS words thrown in like “ferromagnetic” – gee whiz, means it’s… METAL.

    I find it hard to believe your own product marketing now that you are giving repeated coverage to a product that it ADMITTEDLY designed to deceive the buyer.

  6. Eric H. says:

    I have been saying this for a while – We used to only fly R/C on approved Flying fields, now everyone thinks their front yard is an approved flying site. Living in CA. there is almost NO free space around – everything is considered “PRIVATE PROPERTY”, so therefore this is a back handed way to stop all R/C Flying. They say Drones, but does it mean planes and helicopters???

  7. Eric H. says:

    I watched a Youtube Video about a dude flying his drone at a park…A guy challenged him. He at first said he was worried for his daughters safety. When he found out it had a camera, he now was concerned some perv was filming his daughter. He was in a public park, so I don’t know how he expected any privacy. The Quad Pilot kept saying that he had the “RIGHT” to fly there. Technically he could have just taken it somewhere else, or at least turned off the Camera!!! We must be ambassadors for the Hobby, or they will regulate us out of existance!!!

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

The one-man ace engineering wrecking crew - If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find me, maybe you can hire... the Cabe-team

View more articles by Cabe Atwell
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 30% off early bird ticket sales ends August 31st, 2023!

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Prices Increase in....