Flying Drones Over Railroads – A Sheriff's Deputy Encounter

Flying Drones Over Railroads – A Sheriff's Deputy Encounter

What do you do when law enforcement approaches you as you fly a drone? Here is an example for you to follow. It was bound to happen sometime! Do you think I educated him at all?

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50 Comments

  1. zLqght on July 1, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks. I had a guy accusing me of being illegal for flying nere a railway lol

  2. SinsiAlpha on July 1, 2022 at 7:21 pm

    Don’t be afraid to challenge authority when you know the law!

  3. vmaxfodder on July 1, 2022 at 7:23 pm

    officer Barney Fife

  4. Howard Day on July 1, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    Trains are ugly and a eyesore. No one wants to fly over a train.

  5. John Vest on July 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    As I understand this, the Supreme Court ruled your privacy ends at 300 feet. Retired law enforcement officer. Preformed drug eratication from helicopters.

  6. Cole Duncan on July 1, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Great video, very informative! I am about to take my 107 exam but I have a quick question, if the airspace is unrestricted and you are flying over private property, are you allowed to fly at any altitude? lets say you were on land owned by someone like a railroad or even private property, if you’re obviously not indruding on anyone and its just open space with no obstructions, can you fly close to the ground or would you have to maintain a minimum altitude? obviously in any case everyone should exercise common sense but i havent been able to find any clear rules regarding this. to be clear this is in class G airspace.

  7. John Clark on July 1, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Very timely Russ. There is a section of tracks I have been wanting to film. I will do so with care!

  8. Stu Pendous on July 1, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Ok I’m new at this. But How can you fly over private property when there may be a person underneath. Another rule do not fly over people.

  9. Son of Neptune Sailing on July 1, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for the video. You answered some questions I has on the subject. My Dad recently bought property on a canal with an unused grain silo on it. We plan to use this property as a marina. The property is next to a railroad switching yard and surrounded by railroad property. We have an easement to get to the property. There is an issue with vandalism, so we put up a fence that is on rail road property. So far we have a good relationship with the rail road police.
    I recently flew my drone over my Dad’s property. I assumed I shouldn’t fly over the railroad switching yard or the trains. I actually waited for the rail road people to leave before I started my flight. I would have liked to fly over the switching yard to the other canal. I am glad I trusted my instinct and did not!. I plan more flights over my Dad’s property. I will make sure I keep my flight logs to show that I am only flying over my Dad’s property and not over the switching yard! Part of the property is with in a FAA restricted air space. I had LAANC authorization to fly to 400ft. DJI does not show this switching yard as having any additional restrictions! Thank you for the information. I want to make sure I am obeying all laws and stay in good standing with the rail yard and rail road police!
    Thank you for the information!

  10. 51 Drones on July 1, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Many commenters are citing the Causby Case from the 1940’s. Here is what I found on the Causby Case. Nothing was actually determined when it comes to the "set height" of how much vertical space belongs to the property owner. He claimed 83 feet, but the final court ruling did not define it. They merely awarded him damages. So that case doesn’t help our hurt either side today when it comes to drones.

    "A New York Times headline crowed, “Chickens Upheld in Plane Decision.” The Causbys ultimately were awarded $1,060 for the decline in the value of their land, plus $375 for the dead poultry. Douglas’ opinion didn’t set any boundaries for how high a landowner’s airspace extended. “We need not determine at this time what those precise limits are,” he wrote.

    Eventually, a consensus was reached in disputes between property owners and airports: Each case would be decided on the basis of what circumstances applied where the issue arose. But the exact parameters of Douglas’ “precise limits” were never established. That could be a problem for drone operators in the future. And it’s going to force them to grapple with constitutional law fashioned before the dawn of unmanned flight."

  11. Nyms MacGregor on July 1, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    Railroads are touchy about everything. They believe ‘their’ property is tracks and up. Sideways, they’ll claim streets for hundreds of feet, if you are photographing….. They seem to not want anyone seeing their mistakes, rusty ‘infrastructure’, etc……

  12. Steve Haber on July 1, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Great discussion. I often fly near. CSX Tracks & trains. Generally not hovering. I do wave & smile to RR police.

  13. Diving Falcon FPV on July 1, 2022 at 7:37 pm

    helicopter went over my house im calling the cops and putting a stop to that

  14. GazzaB on July 1, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Well handled 👍

  15. Beyond The Lens Photography on July 1, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    And just 2 months after this aired the Police Officer would not have shaken your hand 😉

  16. Howard Day on July 1, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Also, if you can not fly over a train, well there is a lot of air craft that fly other than drones. Lets just ground all commercial flights.

  17. Steve The Pirate on July 1, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    Also, as I’ve read, we’re allowed to fly in ports but the harbormaster is required to report us to the FAA if they deem us suspect.

    My only run in with the railyard cops was the time they gave me a ride to the bus stop.

  18. MrJoegzz on July 1, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    What about if one dog 🐕 poop on those 🚆 tracks?, that dog is in trouble with the government and the critical structures? Or if one bird 🐦 is flying on those critical structures 😁?.
    Thanks for share your videos with us Russ 👍

  19. Brandon Wilde on July 1, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    in Utah we still can’t dance on Sunday lol

  20. Snooby66 on July 1, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    Not quite right, you own the airspace above your property up to the boundary of controlled airspace (usually around 2,500ft) if there is no air traffic in the area. Also, if you do fly over private property, you can not use the camera.

  21. Joe Smith on July 1, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    1 year later this is a great video. Thank you for your knowledge.

  22. Dave the magnificent on July 1, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    Did he really say "if you own a house, you own the space above it!?". Lmao. Next time that life flight choppa goes over my house imma have a big sign saying "that’s private property, go around." 😂

  23. J Chronicle on July 1, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    That was disappointing that you did standup for your rights.

  24. Richie Rich on July 1, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    That’s how cable got started – back in the early eighties – if you had a satellite dish – we lived in the boondocks – I even worked for a while installing them with a company. – the microwave was free that hit your property from outer space – no – it’s on your property was the argument. I remember getting over 450 channels and an actual Satellite TV guide that was huge. The cable companies won – and why I pay $180 a month to have my airspace invaded.

    Education and the response – as we all are in this new realm of drones – someday we may be flying on them – like Star Wars? In essence educated – your words are GREAT WISDOM, and knowing the LAW! Side note: Taking a railroad spike – for a collectors item – I found out is illegal – federal law! No kidding.

  25. Todd Volpe on July 1, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    You should have given that cop a business card of your YouTube channel.

    You could write down a catalog number of what videos he should watch.

  26. Barry Merrill on July 1, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    I live in NH and found that the Appalachian Trail is restricted …

  27. jrb737 on July 1, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    Hello, would you be able to reference where to find what you are stating? It would be easy to present some written evidence to law enforcement or whom ever stating that the FAA owns the airspace above houses and that we can fly over railroad tracks, but not trains themselves.

  28. dclamby on July 1, 2022 at 7:50 pm

    I live in an area where we have old abandoned train yards that have been revitalized for the purpose of restoring history. Meaning, they took these old train stations and revitalized them into a tourist attraction and give train rides. Just 8 miles south of where I live, there’s a yard where volunteers restore these old cars, to bring them back to life for peole to enjoy. Some of these engines and cars are really, old. I wonder what the rules on videoing those would be.

  29. Thomas French on July 1, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    Where you went wrong here was that you weren’t down there to tag a bunch of freight cars with graffiti and your vehicle didn’t have a dozen boxes of spray paint in the back. Anybody that has had to wait for train to pass can clearly see that physically going down onto the property and damaging the freight cars with paint, the railroads couldn’t care less about that. Taking photos on the other hand, that is just plain EVIL. So next time, take some cans of spray paint…. 🙂

  30. Brailey Sponsler on July 1, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    I fly at that train bridge all the time! I’m glad my understanding was on par with yours.

  31. Sergeant Bilko on July 1, 2022 at 7:57 pm

    What a great lesson for everyone who flies drones…Politeness goes a long way!
    It could have turned out completely different if either one of you had an attitude as far as knowing all the rules.
    Great video!!

  32. Jim Law on July 1, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    1,169 Comments and not one person has mentioned VLOS. Has everyone forgotten the rules your learned when you first bought and flew your drone. Always maintain the VLOS rules. I’m sure you can’t see your drone while controlling it inside your vehicle. If you don’t know what VLOS is, then your guilty as the guy who created this post.

  33. 70's Rock Photos on July 1, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    I am from Canada and have the Advanced License. Do you know if I can fly in the United States?

  34. VANgazmic Voyage on July 1, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    So if you’re standing on a bridge over railroad tracks you can legally photograph the trains as they pass underneath but if you hover your drone next to you and shoot the same photo with your drone then you’ve committed a crime.

  35. Ronald GUNDRUM on July 1, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    I’m sure law’s will be put in places where people can fly drones in the future it should be no different then a airline plane, helicopter ect. Law’s of air spaces.

  36. Hans Enklaar on July 1, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks for the great clips. Do you know anything about the australian drone that you advertised here?

  37. Al K on July 1, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    You need to be familiar enough with FAA regs to educate law inforcement officers or ‘Karens’ that don’t know the laws. That officer owned you and now thinks he is right. He was blowing smoke up your @#$. I carry all that with me on my phone so I can show them on the FAA site what it says in black and white. you don’t have to get confrontational with them, just educational. Don’t let them shut you down when your right.

  38. Dana Crosby on July 1, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Awesome 👌

  39. Todd Volpe on July 1, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Print the law that relates to your situation and keep copies with you. Back out graciously but hand the person a copy of the law.

  40. BigBadRoaddog on July 1, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    Don’t walk on eggshells with the police. You know your rights, exercise them! If the cop wants to take a hard line, let him. Let him arrest you and then sue for false charges and the cop overstepping his authority. Be polite let the officer know you know the law and stand your ground. The police have a hard job and they need to be respected but they use bullying tactics and lies all the time as a part of doing business. You know your rights stick with it and disagree. (politely)

  41. Sam Davidson on July 1, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    I respect the hell out if you for how you handled the encounter. Respect goes a long way with LEO’S

  42. Mark Avery on July 1, 2022 at 8:08 pm

    Define "over"

  43. W.E.S. Wesley entertainment studios on July 1, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Tell him to shutup and go back to school

  44. AFK on July 1, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    So its now June 2022…what is the rule laid out by the FAA that we follow here? I feel like everything can be called "critical infrastructure." Crossing train yards and tracks still off limits? Going by the FAA definition, I am in the national airspace system…given that I am above the grass. If you cant cross a train track, not sure how UPS, Amazon, etc are going to do drone delivery.

  45. Chris Burnett skip on July 1, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    Great 👍 thank you

  46. The Detour Duo on July 1, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Bit late, so hopefully you’re still answering questions on this, but what if you are approached by say Amtrak and they want you to fly your drone around the train. Could you legally fly over it then if unrestricted, or is it still a no since it’s homeland security property?

  47. Todd M. Taylor on July 1, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    The FRA has an interactive "Safety Map" that displays STRACNET info on a layer of the map. (STRACNET = Strategic Rail Corridor Network) I’m assuming that the rail lines highlighted on this map would be the ones that one would want to be extra careful to avoid with a drone.

  48. Mr_E on July 1, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    I work for a land surveying firm, and i can reiterate, you don’t want to mess with the Railroads. They have basically more power over land than anyone else. They have more money than God, you will lose.

  49. Jiwuwawanco on July 1, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    Do you know the difference between a drone flying over your house taking pictures and a satellite taking pictures of your house? Altitude.

  50. W.E.S. Wesley entertainment studios on July 1, 2022 at 8:20 pm

    We didn’t win over this land being polite u fight for ur rights. Being polite doesn’t get u anywhere it’s facts

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