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Preparing for the eventual encounter with LEO

Tim Jones

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So far I have been spared an incident that was not navigable. In fact the closest thing I had to deal with was a security guard at my place of work. I fly out back often because there is a nice big field out there to practice, and there are enough objects around to test with.

What do you folks carry and what has been your success rate dealing with Local Law Enforcement
Assuming you were flying legally.

Steps I take now
  • As much as possible inform home owners and businesses in the area we are operating for the purpose stated.
  • Have enough people on ground to talk with curious bystanders and or officers who may approach while flying
  • Use cones to designate a ground operating area
  • Wear clothing that identify me and ground team
Have ready to present
  • My FAA Certificate Card
  • Personal ID
  • Insurance Card or Authorization
  • Flight Plan including the client approval
  • Logs with preflight checks (weather, vehicle, crew briefing)
  • Any Wavier or Authorization from FAA
  • Copies of any local ordinances that apply
  • Aviation Chart of the area

While it is not required, I would be ready myself, or have a ground crew member capable of presenting the items above to educate and co-operate with local law enforcement

Feel free to share your experiences
 

shooter

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I did everything needed under 107 to fly in downtown Santa Fe, NM. I contacted the Santa Fe airport manager even though I was outside of the 5-mile radius. I also contacted the hospital medical helicopter command center and the Governor's Mansion helipad.

While flying, I was approached by an SFPD officer. He told me there was a city ordinance against drone flying. I knew he was lying, but played dumb. I talked him up because I once was a Deputy Sheriff in Orange County, CA and my current job flying for a government agency. I also had my FAA license clipped to my shirt in a badge holder. And, I had insurance through Verifly.

After making sure I wasn't some idiot tourist, he let me continue.

There still isn't a local ordinance, but that doesn't mean one isn't in the works.
 

AH-1G

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When traveling to small towns I like to let local officials I'm here.
Example, when at Mt. Dora, Fl (small town) to do some aerials at a local park, I first went to the police department and notified my intentions just in case they get calls of a alien UFO flying around.:rolleyes: They were very courteous, from time to time a patrol car swung by to see what I was doing.
 
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shooter

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When traveling to small towns I like to let local officials I'm here.
Example, when at Mt. Dora, Fl (small town) to do some aerials at a local park, I first went to the police department and notified my intentions just in case they get calls of a alien UFO flying around.:rolleyes: They were very courteous, from time to time a patrol car swung by to see what I was doing.
My sister lives in Mt. Dora...nice little town.
 

R.Perry

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This thread is interesting. I'm a home & construction inspector and use my drone primarily for roof inspections, I have never had a local cop bother me, I have had them watch what I was doing, and one asked but that was it. Here again if I have been flying in an area they could deem unsafe it may have been a different story. I have done a few inspections within a few miles of airports and always received authorization.
 
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CenlaUAS

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I had a run in with LEO while doing some aerial photos for a newspaper. And it wasn’t the officer as so much the uneducated civilian who reported me. I’m 107 certified, had all documents and authorization. The civilian started quoting some BS make believe local laws. Here in Louisiana there are no local ordinances as state law supersedes any. The LEO listened to what I had to say and said be careful and be on my way. Being calm and prepared saves a lot of headache.
 
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AH-1G

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I had a run in with LEO while doing some aerial photos for a newspaper. And it wasn’t the officer as so much the uneducated civilian who reported me. I’m 107 certified, had all documents and authorization. The civilian started quoting some BS make believe local laws. Here in Louisiana there are no local ordinances as state law supersedes any. The LEO listened to what I had to say and said be careful and be on my way. Being calm and prepared saves a lot of headache.
Maybe next time take out your cell phone and mention you wanted to record this conversation for your records and FAA's. ;):rolleyes:
 

Mike Overstreet

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So far I have been spared an incident that was not navigable. In fact the closest thing I had to deal with was a security guard at my place of work. I fly out back often because there is a nice big field out there to practice, and there are enough objects around to test with.

What do you folks carry and what has been your success rate dealing with Local Law Enforcement
Assuming you were flying legally.

Steps I take now
  • As much as possible inform home owners and businesses in the area we are operating for the purpose stated.
  • Have enough people on ground to talk with curious bystanders and or officers who may approach while flying
  • Use cones to designate a ground operating area
  • Wear clothing that identify me and ground team
Have ready to present
  • My FAA Certificate Card
  • Personal ID
  • Insurance Card or Authorization
  • Flight Plan including the client approval
  • Logs with preflight checks (weather, vehicle, crew briefing)
  • Any Wavier or Authorization from FAA
  • Copies of any local ordinances that apply
  • Aviation Chart of the area

While it is not required, I would be ready myself, or have a ground crew member capable of presenting the items above to educate and co-operate with local law enforcement

Feel free to share your experiences
Although I've often been approached by LEO's I have never had a problem. I own a video production company and also do news work so I've learned that, rather than hiding what I'm doing with the drone, I make myself as conspicuous as possible. Both myself and my VO wear yellow, reflective safety vests, with our ID's on a lanyard around our necks, have two way radios for when we're separated, take our time and be safe and do it right, and we have very bright emergency strobes meeting state regulations on our vehicle and always have those turned on. Our vehicle always has other camera and power equipment in it and our drone case has all of our licenses, city permits, logs and any other necessary paperwork in it. Also, if flying, I ALWAYS tell the LEO to wait while I safely land the aircraft to devote my attention to him/her. Believe me....they do NOT want to be listed as a casual factor to any kind of incident due to their interfering with safe flight practices.
 

opticalflow

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So far I have been spared an incident that was not navigable. In fact the closest thing I had to deal with was a security guard at my place of work. I fly out back often because there is a nice big field out there to practice, and there are enough objects around to test with.

What do you folks carry and what has been your success rate dealing with Local Law Enforcement
Assuming you were flying legally.

Steps I take now
  • As much as possible inform home owners and businesses in the area we are operating for the purpose stated.
  • Have enough people on ground to talk with curious bystanders and or officers who may approach while flying
  • Use cones to designate a ground operating area
  • Wear clothing that identify me and ground team
Have ready to present
  • My FAA Certificate Card
  • Personal ID
  • Insurance Card or Authorization
  • Flight Plan including the client approval
  • Logs with preflight checks (weather, vehicle, crew briefing)
  • Any Wavier or Authorization from FAA
  • Copies of any local ordinances that apply
  • Aviation Chart of the area

While it is not required, I would be ready myself, or have a ground crew member capable of presenting the items above to educate and co-operate with local law enforcement

Feel free to share your experiences
That's pretty much my checklist or bring-alongs. Most are cool about it once you talk to them, show your plans, show that you're a professional who is saftey (and privacy) minded. But you do get the occasional one who just has "drone fever". You take the bird down and call it a day.
 

HawkView

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As I was finishing up filming a commercial building in an industrial type park, noticed four men walking down the sidewalk. After landing I saw they all had law enforcement badges hanging from their necks.
The "boss" said nice machine, why are you flying it here? After explaining what I was doing and showing them my ID, he said the adjacent building that they had walked over from was a sensitive facility, but he couldn't say why. It was a typical warehouse building with no signage.
After they recorded my ID info, he gave me his business card. I packed up and continued on to the office.
IMG_1262.JPG
 

Tim Jones

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When traveling to small towns I like to let local officials I'm here.
Example, when at Mt. Dora, Fl (small town) to do some aerials at a local park, I first went to the police department and notified my intentions just in case they get calls of a alien UFO flying around.:rolleyes: They were very courteous, from time to time a patrol car swung by to see what I was doing.
that is a great idea
 

Tim Jones

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That's pretty much my checklist or bring-alongs. Most are cool about it once you talk to them, show your plans, show that you're a professional who is saftey (and privacy) minded. But you do get the occasional one who just has "drone fever". You take the bird down and call it a day.
Any think I am missing? I carry that stuff now anyway
 

Tim Jones

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Frisco Texas
As I was finishing up filming a commercial building in an industrial type park, noticed four men walking down the sidewalk. After landing I saw they all had law enforcement badges hanging from their necks.
The "boss" said nice machine, why are you flying it here? After explaining what I was doing and showing them my ID, he said the adjacent building that they had walked over from was a sensitive facility, but he couldn't say why. It was a typical warehouse building with no signage.
After they recorded my ID info, he gave me his business card. I packed up and continued on to the office.
View attachment 115
that is a interesting scenario
I would think if there was too much sensitive there the government would have put restrictions about flying around it.
But in that case, I would just show them the footage and explain their building was not my subject. I would think logically they would agree their building is visible in many cameras in the area and that you were not showing anything to jeopardize their operation
 

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