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A Drone as Extension of Its Operator

Should homeowners be allowed to exclude drones from airspace above their property? Does it matter if the drone is flying ten feet above the ground or 100 feet above the ground? Clearly, homeowners can not prohibit airplanes from flying overhead—federal law authorizes flight within “navigable airspace,” usually defined as above 400 feet. Just as clearly, property owners can prohibit trespassing on the surface of their land. But there is presently no legal clarity as to property rights in the airspace in which a commercial drone traditionally operates. SB 142 (Jackson), introduced on January 26, 2015, prohibits the unauthorized use of unmanned aerial vehicles in airspace directly over private property but below the 400 foot altitude clearly regulated by the FAA. “If a drone invades your private property, it is an extension of the person sending the drone,” said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.