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Dealing with Confrontations

cyeung

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I was doing a shoot for a real estate agent this morning when I got yelled at from a distance. They were accusing me of flying illegally, flying over the tennis courts, and telling me to land it NOW before they called the police. I yelled back, "Yes, ma'am," complied with her demands (we were about finished anyway), and (leisurely) debriefed the client with no further issues. We even went through my flight log to see whether I did fly over the tennis courts (I did not).

What are some of your "best practices" for de-escalating confrontations? I think I handled this one well, but I could use practice (role play) in dealing with people such as these, or even law enforcement.
 
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Florida Drone Supply

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Cyeung,
As a commercial use drone services provider, we fly alot over public domain...it sounds like you handled it well... We have had pilots whose aircraft was shot at and hit with no warning...different story.
We recommend landing, if deemed necessary, and then having a conversation. There is no reason to be confrontational; if they call the police, provide them with a clear description of services and show them your part 107 cert and any other relevant documentation... we require all of our pilots to wear vests and hard hats (primarily for telecom infrastructure inspection), which helps not only for safety, but also professionalism, thus adding credibility to you as viewed by others (i.e. public and first responders).
Remember, what you described is public domain, not private/restricted airspace, and the general public does not know nor understand airspace or drone regulations...your drone has date/time/Long-Lat metadata which can be shown to confirm airspace and altitude information...
Finally, if an angry citizen accosts you, you might want to press record on your phone to document the conversation.

They are just a few items to think about.

Stephen M.
 

TreeLineView

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FDS is right. You did the right thing. Confrontations are counterproductive and get you nowhere. Since I started using high visibility vest about a year ago, along with creating a clearly marked flight deck, I almost never get approached anymore. When I do, I take the opportunity to be as nice and try to educate folks. Look the part. Be a professional. It's like arguing with your mother-in-law. It aint ever gonna end will.
 

cyeung

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Thanks, y'all, for the affirmation. As crazy as it sounds, though, I would like opportunities to practice handling confrontations, where someone dishes them out, I react, and then we debrief with a critique on how I can improve. I want to get to a point where dealing with these is as second nature as handling loss of VLOS or video link.
 

Florida Drone Supply

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utilize the same techniques as in debate, do not get emotional...sometimes easier said than done...just remember if you are "correct, right, and legal" there is no reason to get excited; however, keep in mind in our confrontational society today people get personal, loud, and sometimes in your space...be careful what you wish for.

Determine if you want to "be right", or be able to "calm" angry/irrational people...two different goals require two different skill-sets.

Good luck with your de-escalation skills project. :cool:
 
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PatR

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A large part if controlling a confrontation will come from your voice and vocabulary used. Calm tones, placating terminology, pandering to some level to sooth the antagonist, and reasonable explanation. Tailor the explanation to reach a 6 year old mentality.

When your voice elevates a confrontation escalates. Easier said than done...
 

R.P..R

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A large part if controlling a confrontation will come from your voice and vocabulary used. Calm tones, placating terminology, pandering to some level to sooth the antagonist, and reasonable explanation. Tailor the explanation to reach a 6 year old mentality.

When your voice elevates a confrontation escalates. Easier said than done...
Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, Thank you.

Live a life of Hakuna Matata. Smile..
 

AH-1G

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Since I'm involved with aerial construction and others projects, people will see you as "ok" he's doing something related to .......
Even when I'm leisurely flying I will wear this. Nobody bothers me and if they do I just hand them one of my business cards.
If they want to call the police, I'll say no problem. ie, my son is a police officer:). for real!
 

R.P..R

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Since I'm involved with aerial construction and others projects, people will see you as "ok" he's doing something related to .......
Even when I'm leisurely flying I will wear this. Nobody bothers me and if they do I just hand them one of my business cards.
If they want to call the police, I'll say no problem. ie, my son is a police officer:). for real!
Look’n fresh 1G and all the way Pro.
 
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Geminai

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We use those high-visibility vests too, the ones that say certified drone pilots - please don't approach (we find it cuts down on people who want to walk up and start asking us questions while we're flying).

I can't imagine cyeung could have handled that any better. It's such an awkward experience. We do carry a printed rack card with us, to hand out to people who might question our being there. It gives information, but also gives our contact info AND the link for where to report people flying illegally. I've found that often takes the wind out of any angry sails.We're always calm and respectful and so far (knock wood) haven't had any bad encounters.

Drone-Rack-Card-blog.png
 
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RickMC

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In the hundreds and hundreds of times I’ve flown a drone I’ve only been angrily confronted one time. I was doing a real estate shoot and was doing an orbit at around 200 feet and a guy blew up because I flew over his property for like a second. He claimed what I was doing was illegal and was acting like I was spying on him. I had to calm him down and assure him I had no interest in his property whatsoever and I was only taking pictures of his neighbors house. He let me finish but it was really annoying to have to deal with his overreaction. You just have to be friendly and talk to them calmly.

A couple of other times people approached me but they were just intrigued by the drone and thought it was cool. The majority of the time no one ever bothers me. I guess it all depends on your location.
 
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KneeBeard

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We use those high-visibility vests too, the ones that say certified drone pilots - please don't approach (we find it cuts down on people who want to walk up and start asking us questions while we're flying).

I can't imagine cyeung could have handled that any better. It's such an awkward experience. We do carry a printed rack card with us, to hand out to people who might question our being there. It gives information, but also gives our contact info AND the link for where to report people flying illegally. I've found that often takes the wind out of any angry sails.We're always calm and respectful and so far (knock wood) haven't had any bad encounters.

View attachment 1423
This is a great summary Geminai!
 
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LUIS MARTINEZ

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Since I'm involved with aerial construction and others projects, people will see you as "ok" he's doing something related to .......
Even when I'm leisurely flying I will wear this. Nobody bothers me and if they do I just hand them one of my business cards.
If they want to call the police, I'll say no problem. ie, my son is a police officer:). for real!
I like it when they call the cops; I enjoy making new friends.;)
 
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R.Perry

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I like it when they call the cops; I enjoy making new friends.;)
I do my mapping on Sundays, normally have two or three campus cops watching, I feel well protected. LOL Funny thing is since UC Merced got their part 39 waiver now the campus cops want to get their 107 license and use drones for surveillance, and I think that is a great idea.

I know some people will cry big bother is watching, but anything that can be used to keep students safe I'm all for.
 

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