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Law Enforcement’s Drone Education

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021
Categories: Multirotor AircraftRandom

I tried my 2nd Skydio 2 test flight today at a local bike park. It was quite muddy around so when I saw the park police officer there I thought I’d check in with him so make sure I was about to ride trails that were okay to ride. I had already launched my Skydio 2 and it was hovering about 30 feet front-right of me.

The cop was annoyed by the drone and asked me to move down 50 yards to talk. He didn’t realize the drone was tracking me. So after we moved I explained to him I was in control of the drone. That’s when the entertaining, but sad conversation took place.

Me: “I’m controlling that drone.”
Officer: “You can’t fly that thing under 400 feet.”
Me: “No. Drones can’t be flown OVER 400 feet.” (see pic where I’m motioning with my hand, 400 feet)
Officer: “You can’t fly that thing under 400 feet AGL.”
Me: “No. Above 400 feet. This drone won’t even fly above 400 feet. It’s programmed not to.”
Officer: “You can’t fly that thing over people.”
Me: “I’m not flying over people.”
Officer: “You can’t fly that thing over houses.”
Me: (He’s wrong, but I didn’t tell him) “I’m not flying over houses.”
Officer: “Do you have a license for that?”
Me: “Yes.”
Officer: “What’s your question?”
Me: “I just want to know what trails are okay to ride here, given the muddy conditions.”

So this officer was damn sure you can’t fly a drone under 400 feet. I didn’t ask him, but how would one launch the drone, since you know, the ground is under 400 feet AGL (above ground level). I suppose one could fly a helicopter up to 400 feet then hand launch it from there. It sounds to me like the officer had one briefing on drones and all he could remember was 400 feet.


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