What to do if you see a drone flying over your property?
The vast majority drone operators are good people who use this amazing technology to create fascinating footage, to inspect buildings in construction or to do a variety of legitimate commercial operations. Many, like myself, went to rigorous training to become FAA certified remote pilots. Like most people, drobe pilots are not concerned about spying on other people.
Every field of human activity, every new technological device can be used for good and evil. For example, camera phones are everywhere and they can, and they are, abused to film situations that should be private. That doesn’t mean that we need to ban camera phones from public places. We know how to deal with indiscreet people using phones, and in the same vein, we have ways of dealing with the few, twisted individuals who use a drone to do what they should not do.
Does it really happen?
The chance of having a drone spying on you is incredibly small and not worth worrying about. But here is a simple strategy that doesn’t require doing anything reckless like firing a gun in the sky, an action that will likely result in the arrest of the person firing.
Drones are battery operated, and those batteries don’t last long, generally twenty minutes or less. Let’s remember that a drone will have to fly a certain distance to get to the right point and then come back. When the drone battery goes down to 30% of charge the aircraft controller starts alerting the pilot to land as soon as possible. That means that you will not have to wait much.
So, let’s assume that you see a drone in your backyard. Take your camera phone, switch it to video and start recording. Follow the drone. The pilot will see you and decide to fly away. The range for these drones can be fairly long, a couple of miles, depending on the model, but it’s likely that the pilot is not far away. Keep following the drone while recording. At some point it will need to land to recharge or change the battery. That’s when you will see the owner. Keep recording with your phone and approach the pilot. Make sure that this is a safe thing to do. If you are angry, don’t do it. Keep a level head.
Ask the pilot why the drone was in your backyard. Often people make mistakes, especially new pilots. It’s easy to become disoriented while looking at the video feed of the drone and the event might be just a honest mistake. But if that was a real invasion of privacy then go to the nearest police station and press charges while presenting your legally obtained evidence.
Nobody will get hurt and the pros of law enforcement will do their job, which is to protect honest people.
Hope this helps.