Alex in North Texas


Recommended Posts

  Hi guys,

 

I came here for, I assume, the same reason as a lot of folks: bought a drone and want tips/suggestions along with help/information on the legality side.  I see so many different rules and regulations, that it can kinda be overwhelming.  I live north of Dallas, Tx in a small town called Little Elm.  I understand there are different rules and laws depending on location.  
   To specify, I’m using a mavic mini 2 so it’s under 250g and it’s used solely for recreation. 
 

  Maybe I can ask my questions here, while I’m at it.  There may be a better place to ask these questions, I’ll look afterward.  
   For example, I’ve heard about rules like.. you can’t fly over people. Is there a certain radius?  Like if you fly over a lake and there are people in the shot, fishing, is that flying  “over” them?  Or if you’re shooting a flyover of an outdoor path and there’s people underneath the drone as you fly by.  
   Additionally, I understand you can’t film people without their consent (right?), does that many any drone shots with people in them are a violation of this?  It would make sense, but then it would mean footage of cities or any populated area with people walking around would be a violation of this.  Maybe I’m getting that mixed up with just flying over someone’s private property. 
   I feel like these are stupid questions, but I’ve seen so many people post about FAA fines and/or citations, I figure it can’t hurt to ask.  Thanks! 

Edited by Alex Pope
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I live in Carrollton, not far from Little Elm.  Welcome aboard!

I don't want to be in the business of dispensing legal advice, but make your life easy.  Don't fly over or even near to being over people.

Relevant Texas laws: https://guides.sll.texas.gov/recording-laws/drones .  Texas is, in fact, very strict in drone photography of people/property and there is a very nebulous definition of what constitutes 'surveillance.'  Makes no difference whether you're flying recreational or under 107.

Have fun and good luck!!

- jim

L-5 Imaging::l5imaging.com

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/18/2021 at 1:44 PM, Alex Pope said:

 I understand there are different rules and laws depending on location.  

Depends on what you mean by location.  There are different requirements depending on the type of airspace your located in, for example, the requirements to fly in Class D are the same in Texas as they are in California or anywhere else in the US. The only agency that can regulate airspace is the FAA. So you need to learn the NAS if you want to fly commercially.  

https://uavcoach.com

1 hour ago, L-5 Imaging said:

Relevant Texas laws: https://guides.sll.texas.gov/recording-laws/drones .  Texas is, in fact, very strict in drone photography of people/property and there is a very nebulous definition of what constitutes 'surveillance.'  Makes no difference whether you're flying recreational or under 107.

In the first “recommendation” they correctly point to the FAA.  States don’t have the authority to regulate airspace.  

  • FAA - Unmanned Aircraft Systems
    Information on drones from the Federal Aviation Administration. Here, you can register your drone, petition for an exemption and find federal rules and regulations. 
     
  • Texas Drone Regulations
    Created by the Texas Film Commission, a listing of both state and federal regulations to consider when flying a drone for film and TV productions

In the second recommendation they tell you that the Texas Drone Regulations are created by “The Texas Film Commission.”  The California Film Commission tried the same thing in CA.  Didn’t work because it’s against the law for the FAA to regulate commerce which is what the film commission is trying to do.  

The NAS is paid for by our tax dollars, so we own it which is why the government can’t charge or restrict you from using it.  They can only determine the requirements for using it.  If you meet the requirements, you have a Part107 for sample and follow the FAAs rules then you can tell any state that messing with your civil liberties to pound sand. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Av8Chuck said:

Depends on what you mean by location.  There are different requirements depending on the type of airspace your located in, for example, the requirements to fly in Class D are the same in Texas as they are in California or anywhere else in the US. The only agency that can regulate airspace is the FAA. So you need to learn the NAS if you want to fly commercially.  

https://uavcoach.com

In the first “recommendation” they correctly point to the FAA.  States don’t have the authority to regulate airspace.  

  • FAA - Unmanned Aircraft Systems
    Information on drones from the Federal Aviation Administration. Here, you can register your drone, petition for an exemption and find federal rules and regulations. 
     
  • Texas Drone Regulations
    Created by the Texas Film Commission, a listing of both state and federal regulations to consider when flying a drone for film and TV productions

In the second recommendation they tell you that the Texas Drone Regulations are created by “The Texas Film Commission.”  The California Film Commission tried the same thing in CA.  Didn’t work because it’s against the law for the FAA to regulate commerce which is what the film commission is trying to do.  

The NAS is paid for by our tax dollars, so we own it which is why the government can’t charge or restrict you from using it.  They can only determine the requirements for using it.  If you meet the requirements, you have a Part107 for sample and follow the FAAs rules then you can tell any state that messing with your civil liberties to pound sand. 

I think that’s where it gets murky, for me anyway.  And forgive me if I’m not getting it.  In Texas, they say it’s illegal to capture an image of someone’s private property.  If I take my drone 70 meters in the air and take a photo, the odds of there being a house visible in the photo would be high. Unless I’m pretty far from society.

   It’s possible may have flown my drone over areas where people are walking, and I’d say it’s probably safe to say I can’t post those online or include them in any footage.  But many shots I’ve taken might have cars or houses visible in the shot.  

   I feel like these are stupid questions, but I’d feel more stupid if I didn’t bother asking, posted the image to Instagram or Twitter and wound up with some huge fine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Alex Pope said:

And forgive me if I’m not getting it.  In Texas, they say it’s illegal to capture an image of someone’s private property.

If your standing in the road and take pictures of someone sitting on there porch that is not illegal.  If the person is recognizable in the shot then you'd have to get a release to use the shot commercially but its not illegal to take the picture.   Again this is a federal issue that States often try to regulate.  The supreme court ruled that there is no expectation of privacy from someone walking down the sidewalk taking a picture of a house. 

So the same rules apply for a drone.  It has been argued that drones can have access to places that are not in public view, however, the SC also ruled that aerial photography from helicopters is in the public airspace therefore no illegal.  Again because, in part, only the FAA can regulate the public airspace.  Its not illegal to take an aerial picture from an airplane of a neighborhood, doesn't mean you have the right to publish the photo commercially.

Do you see shots of crowds of people on your local news?  Why is it legal for them and not for you?  Its not.

Most of your concerns aren't really drone related, these are issues that effect cameras' no matter where they are.  I have done shoots in malls and a lot of shop owners have approached me to tell me that's illegal.  I tell them to call the cops and when the cops show up they tell them its not illegal.  Interestingly, you need a permit if you want a tripod to touch the floor.  But that has more to do with insurance.

There are people who believe in the "intent' of law and there are others who believe in the "letter" of the law.  If your an "intent" type of person it makes flying a drone more enjoyable.  If you believe you have to follow the "letter" of the law then flying drones might not be that interesting depending on your risk aversion.    

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share