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legality of shooting a drone out of the sky

  • 17-10-2019 10:55am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 324 ✭✭ reniwren
    Registered User


    Hi all,

    So the other day my father told me a van parked in a field across the road, and launched a drone, which proceeded to travel across my uncle's property, my father's and then my sister's property before returning to the field, then the van drive up to the farmers house,

    The farmer has a field to the side of these houses but my uncle owns the land behind the houses.

    I asked him why didn't he shoot it, and he said he didn't want to get in trouble,

    What are the consequences if any? Or does anybody know, As I don't think there would be any.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭ Kepler 186f
    Registered User


    IMO while your father owns the land, not the sky above it, had he shot it down and there was proof he had, he could face a charge of criminal damage


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks
    Moderator


    1. You'll miss. Drones are small, moving targets.
    2. The round will keep going after you miss if it's a rifle.
    3. What goes up will come down.
    4. Bullets are still lethal when they come down several miles away.
    5. Ireland has approximately seventy people per square kilometer (obviously that varies with location but houses cluster normally so it'll be higher within a few miles of your house).

    Reckless discharge of a firearm would be the charge if you didn't hit someone and got reported; it would be that plus some more significant charges if you did hit someone.
    If you used a shotgun, you'd reduce the risk to other people but not eliminate it so the charge would be the same.

    And if by some random stroke of luck you *did* hit it, the charge would be reckless discharge of a firearm *and* destruction of someone else's property.

    Also, this is not the first time it's come up and the Gardai have already stated they consider it illegal to shoot at drones.

    Bad idea from a safety standpoint and from a legal one.

    On the other hand, it's also illegal to overfly someone's land with a drone; you can at least lodge formal written complaints (I know, I know, it won't be as immediately satisfying as shooting at it, but videoing someone doing it and being sure to note licence plate numbers and getting faces on the video is a better idea overall).


  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭ Kepler 186f
    Registered User


    Very informative post Sparks, however I don’t agree that it’s illegal to fly over someone’s land, well as far as the Irish Aviation Authorities guidelines/ regulations are concerned. It might be a data protection issue but not illegal IMO


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,120 ✭✭✭ Fian
    Registered User


    2.—(1) A person who without lawful excuse damages any property belonging to another intending to damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be damaged shall be guilty of an offence.

    (2) A person who without lawful excuse damages any property, whether belonging to himself or another—

    (a) intending to damage any property or being reckless as to whether any property would be damaged, and

    (b) intending by the damage to endanger the life of another or being reckless as to whether the life of another would be thereby endangered,

    shall be guilty of an offence.

    (3) A person who damages any property, whether belonging to himself or another, with intent to defraud shall be guilty of an offence.

    (4) An offence committed under this section by damaging property by fire shall be charged as arson.

    (5) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

    (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £1,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both, and

    (b) on conviction on indictment—

    (i) in case the person is guilty of arson under subsection (1) or (3) or of an offence under subsection (2) (whether arson or not), to a fine or imprisonment for life or both, and

    (ii) in case the person is guilty of any other offence under this section, to a fine not exceeding £10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.

    (6) For the purposes of this section a person is reckless if he has foreseen that the particular kind of damage that in fact was done might be done and yet has gone on to take the risk of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 466 ✭✭ guyfo
    Registered User


    Sparks wrote: »
    1. You'll miss. Drones are small, moving targets.
    2. The round will keep going after you miss if it's a rifle.
    3. What goes up will come down.
    4. Bullets are still lethal when they come down several miles away.
    5. Ireland has approximately seventy people per square kilometer

    A fair few flaws in that logic, very odd comments for a mod of a shooting forum...

    1: a bird or rabbit or clay is also a small moving target
    2: why would you use a rifle FFS
    3: yes that is physics, what is your point?
    4: if that is really your point then all forms of shooting should be banned and if using the right type of gun for the job there is no issue, buckshot doesn't travel that far....
    5: again, shooting a phesant would result in exactly the same scenario when shooting up into the air

    In short, what you are saying is guns are dangerous, and should only be used pointing at the ground..... What a load of BS.


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  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators, Regional North Mods, Regional West Moderators Posts: 81,234 Mod ✭✭✭✭ biko
    Arbiter


    Probably easier and better to challenge and video the van people.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 14,311 ✭✭✭✭ weldoninhio


    There are a number of limitations for the operation of drones under the 2015 Order which include never operating a drone under the following circumstances:

    If it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight.
    Over an assembly of people (12 persons or more).
    Farther than 300m from the person operating the drone.
    Within 30m of any person, vessel or structure not under the control of the person operating the drone.
    Closer than 5km from an aerodrome.
    In a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others.
    Over 400ft (120m) above ground level.
    Over urban areas.
    In civil or military controlled airspace.
    In restricted areas (for example, military installations, prisons, etc).
    Unless the person operating the drone has permission from the landowner for take-off and landing.

    Doesn't seem like there is any rule against it.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks
    Moderator


    Data protection *is* a legal issue Kepler and it's one that has some significant teeth. If the drone has a camera it's covered by at least two data protection acts in Ireland and you can demand the footage from the operator under the GDPR if you're on it.

    Also, the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order 2015 (https://www.iaa.ie/docs/default-source/publications/legislation/statutory-instruments-(orders)/small-unmanned-aircraft-(drones)-and-rockets-order-s-i-563-of-2015.pdf) says any sub-1kg drone can't go above 15m and can't go more than 300m from the operator (anything over 1kg has to be registered with the IAA and has a lot more rules applied to it).

    I'd still video the operator and their licence plate number mind you...


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks
    Moderator


    guyfo wrote: »
    A fair few flaws in that logic, very odd comments for a mod of a shooting forum...
    1: a bird or rabbit or clay is also a small moving target
    /sigh
    Yes. And we miss those all the time. People miss clays in the Olympic Games after decades of training.
    2: why would you use a rifle FFS
    People have. Hence the mention. See also the note on shotguns later on.
    3: yes that is physics, what is your point?
    That people seem to forget that at the worst possible moment and continually omit it from this specific subject. See all the comments by the public at the time of the drones disrupting Gatwick airport for example.
    4: if that is really your point then all forms of shooting should be banned and if using the right type of gun for the job there is no issue, buckshot doesn't travel that far....
    You haven't read the regulations governing the building of target shooting ranges, have you?
    5: again, shooting a phesant would result in exactly the same scenario when shooting up into the air
    And has.
    In short, what you are saying is guns are dangerous, and should only be used pointing at the ground..... What a load of BS.
    First of all, please ask every poster on this forum if they think guns are not dangerous. I'll wait. I'll have to, you won't find any who don't think guns are potentially dangerous because that's the first lesson you're taught when you get taught how to shoot.

    Secondly, we all spend a lot of time and effort to not fire rifles into the air willy-nilly ever, and the kind of shot you fire from shotguns like that is designed to not go far and even then you're responsible for your background with every shot.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks
    Moderator


    There are a number of limitations for the operation of drones under the 2015 Order which include never operating a drone under the following circumstances:

    If it will be a hazard to another aircraft in flight.
    Over an assembly of people (12 persons or more).
    Farther than 300m from the person operating the drone.
    Within 30m of any person, vessel or structure not under the control of the person operating the drone.
    Closer than 5km from an aerodrome.
    In a negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger life or property of others.
    Over 400ft (120m) above ground level.
    Over urban areas.
    In civil or military controlled airspace.
    In restricted areas (for example, military installations, prisons, etc).
    Unless the person operating the drone has permission from the landowner for take-off and landing.

    Doesn't seem like there is any rule against it.

    Those are for drones over 1 kg in weight which also have to be registered with the IAA.

    Drones under 1kg have more general rules - never over 15m in altitude, never in a manner that presents a hazard. The nature of "hazard" is left vague by the Order (a phrase which basically means "you're going to court").


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  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭ Kepler 186f
    Registered User


    view?usp=drivesdkYes Sparks like I said there are probably data protection issues, but it’s not illegal. Making a formal complaint to who exactly?
    And the IAA regulations actually state not to fly above 400ft or 120m, not sure where you got 15m from?


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 40,053 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sparks
    Moderator


    For GDPR complaints you go to the DPC; for others you'd sue directly as it's civil rather than criminal, at least as I understand it.

    Also, that infographic is for drones that weigh more than 1kg (see the PDF of the 2015 Order above, the section that applies to drones under 1kg is 6(2)(c) - if you go outside of those conditions you have to have registered with the IAA and have complied with all of the other restrictions which are the ones in that infographic).


  • Registered Users Posts: 97 ✭✭ Kepler 186f
    Registered User


    That makes sense, it seemed like you were implying the person should make a formal complaint to the Gardaí who don’t enforce GDPR issues.

    I am not trying to argue so maybe we’ll have to agree to disagree, as I believe that infographic is for drones up to and over 1kg, with the only mention of 1kg reminding the user it has to be registered with the IAA. Of course I might be wrong but that’s my understanding of it


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,805 ✭✭✭ juice1304
    Registered User


    Surely its only a data protection issue if he actually records the footage and not just simply streaming information. I also dont see how google earth would be legal if looking at other people's property from the air was a problem.
    You can take off in a helicopter from your back garden if you wanted to, perfectly legal to do so. So why would a drone be any different?
    I also dont see why shooting a drone would be difficult? Anyone who can hit a clay or running boar target etc or a moving animal is going to be able to shoot a drone.
    here is an example from ireland and the owner intends on sueing the farmer
    https://www.reddit.com/r/ireland/comments/a88iv7/suing_farmer_that_shot_and_damaged_my_drone/
    If someone shot a drone i owned i would certainly have them done for criminal damage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 324 ✭✭ reniwren
    Registered User


    Hi all, just to clarify

    1. You'll miss. Drones are small, moving targets.
    Drone was moving slowly and hovered over the gardens, no houses behind for about 10-15 miles or so

    2. The round will keep going after you miss if it's a rifle.
    Shotgun, rifle would be madness

    3. What goes up will come down.
    Large gardens lots of space

    4. Bullets are still lethal when they come down several miles away.
    Drone was only 25-30ft high/away or so

    5. Ireland has approximately seventy people per square kilometer (obviously that varies with location but houses cluster normally so it'll be higher within a few miles of your house).

    Don't really understand what this has got to do with it, I only asked in terms of shooting in a safe direction with the appropriate firearm and it seemed it was scoping out the place to rob would you get rid of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 511 ✭✭✭ solarwinds
    Registered User


    juice1304 wrote: »
    Surely its only a data protection issue if he actually records the footage and not just simply streaming information. I also dont see how google earth would be legal if looking at other people's property from the air was a problem.
    You can take off in a helicopter from your back garden if you wanted to, perfectly legal to do so. So why would a drone be any different?
    I also dont see why shooting a drone would be difficult? Anyone who can hit a clay or running boar target etc or a moving animal is going to be able to shoot a drone.
    here is an example from ireland and the owner intends on sueing the farmer
    https://www.reddit.com/r/ireland/comments/a88iv7/suing_farmer_that_shot_and_damaged_my_drone/
    If someone shot a drone i owned i would certainly have them done for criminal damage.

    Yep that is a fair point and you would be right to seek compensation, but I would imagine you were not flying it for the purposes of possibly committing a future criminal act.


  • Registered Users Posts: 324 ✭✭ reniwren
    Registered User


    "Probably easier and better to challenge and video the van people."

    Last year someone was trying to rob my sister's house and I just happened by and I got hit by their van for my trouble, not always easier.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,193 ✭✭✭ greasepalm
    Registered User


    I bite back


  • Registered Users Posts: 307 ✭✭ gavindublin
    Registered User


    Currently a drone is legally classed asn unmanned aircraft. No differential between that and an Airbus.
    So the only people who can take the shot are the army.

    Hence why we are so vulnerable to drone attacks


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,608 ✭✭✭ gctest50
    Registered User


    The law needs to be updated then




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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,342 ✭✭✭✭ Grizzly 45
    Registered User


    About the same as shooting at any other aircraft under the legislation of the IAA or Firearms act.They are classified as "aircraft" under the law.
    That said you do have a right to privacy and the DPA does also rightly apply too,and as this is a new phenemonen in law it is quite open to interpretation on both cases.
    To go by the OP post this drone "flew" across his collective famlies property ?Did it stop ,hover, do anything that looked like it was filming their property?Or was it just passing thru to do whatever in their neighbours fields?
    If that was the case then it wasn't intruding per se,just as much as an aircraft flying over isnt.

    Now ,if it was lurking over the property,hovering over buildings,or attempting to look in windows or whatever,then it could be classified as a invasion of privacy, and a nusiance,just as much if it was filming your teenage daughter sunbathing,or whatever.You THEN might be justified in acting like a FLAK battery.
    However ,this is a new phenomen for law as said.Your privacyVS personal airspace VS the right of aircraft to traverse it safely.So be careful out there and dont become a test case.

    Confucius say."He who says one man cannot change World. Never has eaten bat soup in Wuhan!"



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,104 ✭✭✭✭ Nekarsulm
    Registered User


    juice1304 wrote: »
    You can take off in a helicopter from your back garden if you wanted to, perfectly legal to do so. So why would a drone be any different?

    Quite.
    But you own your back garden.
    Taking off and landing from someone else's private property is a different matter. ( In my mind anyway).
    Its situations like this that the lack of the offence of trespass leaves the property owner rather helpless.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,935 ✭✭✭ SmartinMartin
    Registered User


    Shoot the van.


  • Registered Users Posts: 507 ✭✭✭ Stormington


    Drone was only 25-30ft high/away or so
    From the person, property or van?
    view?usp=drivesdkYes Sparks like I said there are probably data protection issues, but it’s not illegal. Making a formal complaint to who exactly?
    And the IAA regulations actually state not to fly above 400ft or 120m, not sure where you got 15m from?

    Flying a drone across a property at low altitude is trespass.

    While the extent of airspace superadjacent a property has not been defined (ad coelum doctrine no longer exists) the occupier controls as much as needed for use and enjoyment of the land (Bernstein). If you fly a drone such that you are interfering with this you leave yourself open to an action. This extent will depend upon the facts of the case (the US is hearing cases arguing tree-top/120 feet zones) or if the fly through was of a transient nature.

    Filming someone in a public place, even their back garden (Victoria Racing), is not an issue under common law. It is more problematic under GDPR.

    Fwiw the IAA cannot take any charges against you - the regulations are toothless. Following the regulations will look good in court if it gets that far.
    aking off and landing from someone else's private property is a different matter
    Correct.

    There is a zone of tolerance allowing a flight path to ascend and descend. If this is on your property you are golden (mostly). It may be permitted to pass through another property's airspace if that is a safer route and causes minimal interference with other's property rights.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,104 ✭✭✭✭ Nekarsulm
    Registered User


    No such thing as Trespass on farmland in Ireland.
    Any bunch of scobies can descend on your field and the law can't do a thing about it, unless (a) you can prove they are about to commit a crime, or (b) they enter the curtilage of the farmyard.


  • Registered Users Posts: 324 ✭✭ reniwren
    Registered User


    bit more context,

    Closest he would have been when over the first house would be 100 yards, furthest being 150 yards from the van.


  • Registered Users Posts: 324 ✭✭ reniwren
    Registered User


    From the person, property or van?

    Off the ground at the back of the houses


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,167 ✭✭✭ Still waters
    Registered User


    Is this a new way of lads using drones to see if theres anything worth going in for in someone's yard, using a drone with video capabilities ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 148 ✭✭ dubbrin
    Registered User


    We live 550m down an un-tarmaced lane off of a local (L) road. 4 houses in a cluster, not side by side. One evening I'm in the garden and there's a sizable drone up and down, across over the whole lot, stopping, then off again then back again. I say sizable, but that's just my opinion. I'd say more the kind a pro photographer would have as opposed to something I'd buy in argos. I made my way out onto the lane and up towards the road where there were a trio of people who looked like they were operating it on a property up at the L road. I got close enough to make it obvious that I was watching and was looking for the operator. Once it was coming from a neighbor's property I wasn't as anxious. Turns out they were selling up and the agent was taking aerials. None of mine or the close neighbours houses were featured, he/she was probably looking for a good angle and it makes sense now. This may be the case for the OP however the van sounds suss, but then again it driving to the farmers house might offer explanation.

    All in all, scrotes are using technology and I don't want any drones flying over my house or garage. They can unlock a new BMW with a key emulator, they can scam you at the door, in a car park. A €500 drone is no bother to some to be able to case properties.

    If it's not legit then it's intimidation and unnecessary. I'd be reaching into the hot press for Barry Beretta next time


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,688 ✭✭✭ Bogwoppit
    Registered User


    A good few years ago I was working on a shoot and someone was flying an rc plane over a pen of young pheasants causing them to spook which resulted in a good few dead.
    Plane was duly despatched when the owner refused to move elsewhere.


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