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?

The best way to support this channel, and my efforts to keep you all informed, at no extra cost to you? Click right here next time you need to purchase anything – from drone stuff to shampoo: https://amzn.to/2OWcSaJ

*As an Amazon Affiliate, this channel does benefit from qualifying purchases.

All the gear I use to manage 51 Drones: https://kit.co/the51drones/51-drones-youtube-kit

Subscribe to the channel: https://tinyurl.com/yxepcwca

FREE 30-day trial of Epidemic Sound (Amazing Royalty Free Music!): http://share.epidemicsound.com/BLNwJ

50 Comments

  1. Burnt Rice on September 7, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Civil issue. Not the deputy’s business unless he’s making contact on request if land owner to check out suspicious behavior to settle the issue, but not take sides, except the side of the law.

  2. james R. on September 7, 2020 at 10:47 am

    It might also be handy and educative to have a printout (with you) of official regs and rules pertaining to the area/s where you will be flying. Reading this may defuse a potentially bad situation and help someone else as well.

  3. Geoff Mork on September 7, 2020 at 10:49 am

    I just went through the canadian regs and can’t find anything on flying over railroads.?

  4. HILO on September 7, 2020 at 10:50 am

    I think both you and the officer interacted very well….yes, you probably know the law on this subject but like the officer advised, you don’t wanna piss people off. Plus, the officer is just trying to “keep the peace”:)

  5. Geoscience Imaging on September 7, 2020 at 10:50 am

    When you think about it, it’s kind of incredible that law enforcement doesn’t know the laws, but I guess the times they are a changin’. They should at least know that the FAA is the only regulatory body governing U.S. airspace, not some private company. Your personal property absolutely does NOT extend up into the air.

  6. Jether Calope on September 7, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Hi new sub here. Supporing your channel from the Philippines. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thomas Tourville on September 7, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Thanks educational keep up the great work!

  8. Doug Humble on September 7, 2020 at 10:58 am

    That’s great info. I had no idea you couldn’t fly over trains – but now I know. 🙂

  9. Jez Marshall on September 7, 2020 at 11:00 am

    Despite dealing calmly with the officer,I think you are not setting such a good example for drones here. If you are sat in your car, you can’t be properly observing the airspace you are flying in and are very close to the highway behind you. Not getting permission may not be a legal issue, but is a good way of alienating the landowner.

  10. Am just that Guy on September 7, 2020 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for being so professional and educating the officer at the same time.

  11. Ronnie Eubanks on September 7, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Thanks, good information to know 👍. I still newbie here with a toy drone but if I ever get a real one I got you for my go to guy with the knowledge I will need.

  12. MrWheatle on September 7, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Part of the value of your encounter will be the Officer’s experience. He now leaves the situation with an appreciation for the drone hobbyist as knowledgeable and courteous. Thanks for being an ambassador

  13. gunny grunt on September 7, 2020 at 11:05 am
  14. Cigar Nation Warriors on September 7, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Regarding RR Police. I respectfully will remind them I’m like a rabid wolf when IT COMES TO MY FREEDOM🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  15. RV Villa on September 7, 2020 at 11:06 am

    You did a great job even shaking be educated and take a safe exit

  16. HKGuns on September 7, 2020 at 11:07 am

    You handled that encounter very well.

    What State are you in?

  17. WhirlyBird Aerial Services on September 7, 2020 at 11:08 am

    One of the best things that could happen for this issue is if the FAA would say (and the SCOTUS would confirm) that they control all airspace from the ground up to the heavens.
    They also need to make it very clear that because of this ownership/control of the airspace, the states/counties/cities/neighborhoods/homeowners associations, etc. do NOT have any control or authority to regulate the airspace. PERIOD!

  18. Tim Ahern on September 7, 2020 at 11:08 am

    He knows anything above 83′ to 400′ is fine to fly over someones property

  19. Dave Nyemaster on September 7, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Keep up the great videos. I am a actual pilot who got his Part 107 early on. Always good to learn new stuff. Thanks

  20. I S8 on September 7, 2020 at 11:12 am

    What it is to be white.

  21. Cigar Outlaw on September 7, 2020 at 11:12 am

    I think you failed to educate… No one controls FAA airspace but the FAA

  22. wayneyd2 on September 7, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Flying over train? It’s depend on what you’re flying in. Military aircraft get a lots of lead way.

  23. Pete Does Things on September 7, 2020 at 11:18 am

    You were a good example for all these 1 st amendment auditors out there who just want to bait cops into a confrontation and basically just make it a bad day for everyone involved. Proof cooperation is the best policy.

  24. Angel Muniz on September 7, 2020 at 11:18 am

    Once again, thanks for the awesome videos. This was definitely an educational one for me

  25. Tailored Reaction on September 7, 2020 at 11:19 am

    That cop was dead wrong about the air above a property. In fact, my family and I own all the air over the continental United States.

    Go ahead, treat yourself to a lung full. Its on me!

    For now.

  26. Shot In The Dark on September 7, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Great video. Shows that cops are humans too.
    The critical infrastructure are usually around military bases where ammunition nuclear material is transported. Or nuclear power stations.

  27. Chris Parayno on September 7, 2020 at 11:24 am

    I’m going to play devil’s advocate. Isn’t the rail roads technically equivalent to private property? So no matter what the airspace, isn’t there a ruling the airapace above private property 500ft still considered trespassing. That’s why the RR police came down.

  28. PedHead on September 7, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Railroad Employees fly over Trains and Railroad for rules testing purposes.

  29. Kentucky Ranger on September 7, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Don’t fly over trains, check.
    Don’t argue with the police, check.
    If you see the railroad police, *RUN!!!* 😉😂🤣

  30. Charles Henderson on September 7, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Well done.

  31. USA KickUrAss on September 7, 2020 at 11:29 am

    I’m Black. The cops would never treat me with respect like that. Sadly I’d have to be worried about being shot because my remote is dark and would’ve been in my hands when he approached me.

  32. Dbell12221 on September 7, 2020 at 11:29 am

    Every little bit helps, so thanks for some more education about what you can and can’t do out there. It is definitely a little confusing at times‼️

  33. Bob Wagnon on September 7, 2020 at 11:31 am

    I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy dude but what in the world does Homeland security have to do with the trains?!

  34. Elijah Vee on September 7, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Doesn’t the DJI Fly app tell you where and where not you can fly ? I work at an airport and I tried to start my drone in parking lot and it didn’t let me fly.

  35. SC515 on September 7, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Hi Russ, is there a good starter book for me to purchase to study for the Part 107 test that you would recommend? Thanks for what you do. I’ve already been asked a dozen time for footage from realtors. I don’t have a license to do that. So I would like to start studying. 😊

  36. Ken Snyder on September 7, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Here is some guidance put out by the FAA for law enforcement that may be of help:

    https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/policy_library/media/FAA_UAS-PO_LEA_Guidance.pdf

  37. Sky Film & Photo on September 7, 2020 at 11:35 am

    I’ve been a part of conversations in various Facebook groups about Visual Operator. Some people or fellow drone pilots were reeeealy pissed at me for siding with the idea that flying from inside a car was okay to do. As I understand it, as a hobbyist, I can’t be inside of a car while piloting a drone. What is your understanding and does that change for commercial pilots? Thanks

  38. T.S. Thomas on September 7, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Thanks for the video. I was just talking to my son about this great idea I had about getting aerial shots of trains in our area. I’ve done still shots from a tripod but I’d rather just forget about it. That whole infrastructure thing, some photos aren’t worth the hassle.

  39. Jeff Embury on September 7, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I’m sending this to my buddy (The county sheriff) – Of course he’s also a championship skeet shooter!

  40. TampaAerialMedia on September 7, 2020 at 11:38 am

    You handled that well. Good things happen when respectful to officers even when we are completely legal.

  41. stevo2011sb on September 7, 2020 at 11:39 am

    im confused on whats so secretive about filming in certain rail yards or trains kinda weird IMO i guess if its military related i get it but its not llike drones can see through the train carts gonna have to google this lol

  42. R.C. CRAY-Z on September 7, 2020 at 11:39 am

    were do you find the written law that you cant fly above a moving train or non moving train or trainyard?

  43. wayneyd2 on September 7, 2020 at 11:40 am

    Property height limits is 30fts.

  44. Jill Simmons on September 7, 2020 at 11:40 am

    I keep reading that the FAA is the only entity that can regulate airspace itself. States, counties, and cities continue to try to regulate where you can fly. Yes, they may be able to say you cannot launch or recover a drone in a particular area, but if you have a legal right to be somewhere, it seems that they do not have the right to tell you that you cannot actually fly and try to control the airspace. Not certain about this, but that is what I understand from what I have read. You are definitely correct about critical infrastructure. They give out billions of federal dollars every year to harden those targets. So avoid them at all costs. It is a shame that there is no single repository for what is and is not critical infrastructure. You shouldn’t have to go out, travel to a site, and then find out when your DJI drone won’t launch that there is something nearby that is critical (or God forbid, you launch another brand that doesn’t pay attention to that info and doesn’t geofence and you get arrested). Just sayin’…….

  45. J R on September 7, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Can you fly over 100ft on private property like a house?

  46. GrassHopper on September 7, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Police never know laws. No matter what the situation is. All they know is their union contracts.

  47. Asgard Studios on September 7, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Great job. You were polite, the officer was professional, perfect encounter.

  48. 51 Drones on September 7, 2020 at 11:44 am

    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."

  49. Drone Cowboy Mr.A.Douglas Shaw on September 7, 2020 at 11:46 am

    You are right all the way thanks for sharing your info with us a Canadian and let’s keep on Droning 🚁🇨🇦👍🇨🇦👍. Keep up your good work thanks 😎🇨🇦🚁👍. Fly Free 🚁. Flying Safe but Keep on Droning 🇨🇦🇨🇦🚁🚁🚁✈️✈️✈️. Cheers 🥂

  50. jl sc on September 7, 2020 at 11:46 am

    I have the same problem as a photographer. I’ve had people tell me I couldn’t take pictures of their buildings, but as long as I"m on public property, I can take any pictures I want as long as it’s not a government property. Same with people, technically if they’re in a public area, I can take their pictures. But like you, I don’t push people, unless they push me first. I’ve had them bring out 10 or 12 guards at one building to try and intimidate me, I just told them to call the police if they feel they are in the right. But, this cop was very polite, and you handled it with respect so everything worked out. Just getting in to drones, so I have to dig for all the rules. Basically, the FAA says they own all the air, so their rules apply to all property and as long as you keep the proper distance over people and buildings, you’re clean.

Leave a Comment