‘You been told’ – Angry man confronts drone pilots on beach

Jun 18, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

‘You been told’ – Angry man confronts drone pilots on beach

Jun 18, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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Imagine this:  Two guys on a beach, sipping margaritas and baring their souls to each other.  After a while, they decide to spend some time flying their drones around, leaving smoke trails in the sky.  We aren’t certain what all these guys may have been doing prior to testing out their drones, but Kevin Henderson was kind enough to upload a video of the confrontation for the rest of us to play armchair expert.

Henderson, who was staying on Bon Secour Beach in Orange Beach, Alabama in April, met a guy from Missouri who was staying in the same building.  The two of them went out to fly their drones (the 21st-century version of taking your dog out) on what appears to be a virtually empty public beach in front of the condo.  Henderson says that he had just taken off to film the UAV of the other gentleman who was filming his wife and kid…kinda like a relaxed BTS video.

Almost immediately after takeoff, a man confronted Henderson and his friend about flying their drones, stating that FAA regulations forbid it at that location, calling it “restricted airspace.”  The man, who claimed to be an employee of the condo building (while dressed like a teenage jock heading to the mall) yet refused to identify himself, kept repeating that they had “been told,” threatening to have them kicked out and call the police.  According to the guy, the beach belonged to Summerchase Condominium and specified which poles in the sand marked the “no-fly zone.”

According to Henderson, the area is not restricted airspace, “and safe flight is NOT prohibited by the FAA.”  Despite doubting the man’s claims to working for the condo complex, Henderson admits that, if true, the guy did have a right to “restrict take off and landings from the property.”  With that in mind, Henderson moved outside of the “restricted airspace” for future flights, just to be safe.

Now, assuming the guy was full of feces, this is just another case of some random stranger freaking out at the sight of a drone.  One has to wonder if this was sort of thing happened frequently with the invention of the automobile…

[Emotionally Distressed Angry Man on Beach Confronts Drone Pilots | Kevin Henderson]

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Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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29 responses to “‘You been told’ – Angry man confronts drone pilots on beach”

  1. Sheri Belanger Avatar
    Sheri Belanger

    Wonder if the same confrontation would have occurred if they were flying simple toy airplanes?

    1. Eva Duve Creel Avatar
      Eva Duve Creel

      Or a kite.

  2. Tom Medlock Avatar
    Tom Medlock

    i do wonder if this stand offish attitude towards others is helping drone pilots causes though. No party is right in my opinion. In life i find its just easier not to be a dick about things.

  3. Chris Athan Avatar
    Chris Athan

    first of all a drone must have an “identity” connected to a person, so that if it falls on a head or a car, we can find who is responsible…. second it carries a camera so that can spy on people, flying over a beach with people and children that dont want to be filmed is a right that these people must have….. so it is not like the invention of the automobile and surely not like taking the dog out.

    1. Tim Avatar

      Except that if you’re on what’s considered public property, you have no “privacy rights” simply because reasonable privacy cannot be assumed in a completely public setting. If we were granted the privilege to order others not to take photos of us in public, we’d also have the priveledge to demand that people cannot look at us with their own eyes in public. After all, a photograph is simply capturing what our own eyes see in that moment. If you’re on public ground, anyone can take a photograph of you as long as it doesn’t violate commercial copyright consent laws or sexually based laws, such as “up-skirting”.

      1. Sean Avatar

        Actually, up-skirting, while a perverted thing, is not necessarily illegal in all states. Texas for example upheld that it’s not illegal. Some states have added new legislation that makes it so but in general, unless they woman is not wearing underwear (which makes it a sex crime usually) it may not be a crime. Not that I’m advocating it just wanted to be clear that you can’t make general assumptions like that.

        And just what is “commercial copyright consent laws” mean? I do not think you have the slightest inkling of what you are talking about.

    2. catlett Avatar

      I don’t disagree with your identity point.

      At least in the US (including Alabama) one’s right not to be filmed while in a public place is completely wrong. As a matter of fact the right to take photos is a constitutional right and has been found upheld over and over again in the courts. There is some degree of protection for not having your likeness published but that is also limited in that news agencies, etc. can and do publish / broadcast without getting one’s permission.

      No it’s not like the invention of the automobile or taking a dog out. It also isn’t like skipping rope, singing or billions of things. I have no idea what you are implying with those analogies.

      1. Joe schatt Avatar
        Joe schatt

        You are living in Disney land or just can not read. You need to read all the so called privacy policy on your smart phone. Quit just hitting agre because you do not understand all of it. Get s Webster’s dictionary or talk to a lawyer for the big words.they not only track you video and listen to you. Watch you as you type. But tell everyone where you are so they can stalk you and you are worried about toy airplains, don’t drink the coolaid. You may think I am just paronoid. But I sm not. Paranoid would not be writing this. I would be hiding looking thru the drapes. I am well educated. I have more deplomas, licenses than I can hang on my walls. Retired now but still read 3books a week with at least 2 newspappersva day. Love reading history books and engineering manuals. Also have a photographic memory and I want to get the word out about these privacy policies.

        1. catlett Avatar

          Were you meaning to reply to me because nothing you said has anything to do with my response? I didn’t say anything about privacy policies on phones or sofware or anything else. It was posted over a year ago BTW.

    3. Alex Ricketts Avatar
      Alex Ricketts

      The only thing you can identify when flying your aircraft is that they are humans. Do you have any idea how close one would have to fly to make out any identifying features? There is no zoom function and so everything looks like small ants.

    4. Sean Avatar

      That’s a total crock. While it is now required by FCC for some drones to have numbers your premise that they are “spying” on people is ludicrous. Spying inplies intent. If a helicopter hovers over a beach area from say half a mile up and uses a high powered camera to do aerial shots no one even notices. All beach shots by drones I ever see are so far up that you can’t even make out people’s faces. We are not talking about some peeping Tom shooting over a nude beach for God’s sake. I sit on beaches every summer with my D750 and 70-200mm lens taking pictures and no one bats an eye. But put a drown in the are with at best a 50mm lens and people freak out. Why is that? Oh..because they are stupid.

  4. Mike's Eye Photography Avatar
    Mike’s Eye Photography

    I’m a photgrapher. I have yet to actually get my hands on a drone, and I’m really quite sick of them already….

    1. Mike's Eye Photography Avatar
      Mike’s Eye Photography

      ….and their owners.

      1. Arcmor Avatar

        I thought this was a Photography blog, not Dronography blog. Why are there so many articles about confrontations between drone pilots (yeah right!) and the people think they are a bloody nuisance.

        1. Sean Avatar

          This is on longer a DIY Photography blog and really should consider changing its name. There are few DIY articles any more and mostly rants and raves and reviews of NON-DIY crap. To get into the whole drone issue as I think there is enough bull on both sides and while 99% of drone owners are conscientious it only takes a couple morons to give all a bad name. And on the other side, there are MORE stupid people who do not understand the law and react emotionally to drones out of some misguided “privacy” fears. Those under-educated people do not even realize that privacy is a fallacy once you step outside your front door. An average American citizen can be caught on camera more than 75 times a day according to recent statistics. Drones are probably .000001% of that. So people really need to get a grip. Drone operators are not some large group of pervert looking to peak into your windows. Actually they are HORRIBLE for that because they are so freaking noisy..lol. I think the bigger complaint would be the noise level if you get lots of them in one area more than you being filmed. You can thank the mass hysteria media machine for all fi this.

  5. Haters Avatar

    The man that confronted them was belligerent, rude and aggressive from the start of the conversation placing the drone pilot into a defensive position. Before we critize the drone pilot’s reactions we need to discuss the behavior of the other man. There were no no trespassing signs, no private property signs and obviously an expectation that people could be on the beach. Therefore it would have been more appropriate for the man to pleasantly ask that they stop flying. Instead he acted threatening and angry. I’m sorry but I am tired of hearing people question photographers and drone pilots when nine out of ten times its determined that they were being lawful. Just as much as we need to be respectful of others personal space and not engage in disruptive activities non photographers need to learn tolerance. I don’t call the cops for awful smelling cookouts, offensive clothing displays or obnoxious family members; people have become way to sensitive and selfish.

    1. patriotkat Avatar


    2. Bob Bankley Avatar
      Bob Bankley

      People who fly drones are dicks. Offensive smelling cookouts? What planet are you typing from?

      1. Steven Kirby Avatar
        Steven Kirby

        Considering that I’ve never done anything to you, nor been a dick to anyone, it sounds more likely that you’re a dick.

  6. Richard Jane Avatar
    Richard Jane

    It may be an empty beach but those things are really noisy. Go fly it in the middle of nowhere if you don’t want complaints.

    1. Eva Duve Creel Avatar
      Eva Duve Creel

      I didn’t see anyone else on that beach either and the man complaining sounded a lot louder than the drone.

    2. Richard Jane Avatar
      Richard Jane

      I bet you couldn’t hear the guy sat on your balcony whilst trying to sip a G&T and enjoy the view

    3. ext237 Avatar

      Really noisy? On a beach? You mean like the kids who scream at each other, the jet skis and 4WD buggies and Jeeps that are part of the typical environment of public beaches?

  7. Aalia Winter Avatar
    Aalia Winter

    Drones are great, but just like any other field, bad apples give the whole field a bad rep.
    We own one, we made sure we know the laws and get the needed insurance and card.
    Hubby practiced at the local model airplane field.
    They are nowhere as loud as an engine run model airplane either, ours isn’t louder then a beehive.

  8. jerry kurata Avatar
    jerry kurata

    We are have to be considerate of others. If the guys flying the drones were leaving smoke trails and making a lot of noise I can surely see how I would be offended. Many go to the beach to sit back and relax and get away from the regular hustle and bustle. That is hard to do when someone is flying a drone that is making a buzzing noises and smoke trails outside my window.

    1. Sean Avatar

      If you go to the beach to do any of those things you MUST be going to a private island somewhere. Ive never been on a beach at ANY commercial resort area that was not noisy, crowded and full of activity and screaming kids and boom boxes. LOL.

  9. Denis Mutlu Avatar
    Denis Mutlu

    In my country we beat up that kind of “self promoted” assholes and we trow them for fish food when they try to say something like this.

  10. d890 Avatar

    People are too childish and disrespectful to have drones. Far too impatient to put up with them also. Public places like the beach,city. You have no expectations of privacy. That died a long time ago. In the public scene I’m numb to them like a smartphone.

    However, these drone dicks fly around private homes,businesses 30ft off the ground casing everyone’s property, their going ons, looking through windows. Just hovering as a group of people send you hate for violating their most sacred of safe happy self places sounding like a weedeater and SNOOPING,STALKING, and making people feel anxious (you could be a perv,thief, most certainly a pain it’s taking all of our spent patience to deal with as we want to relax not deal with you after work!)

    People shouldn’t have them. FAA should say property rights go from heaven to hell and they have a global pass alone. Or ban them. If you leave human nature to work itself out in such a sensitive conflict over the much needed personal space your not going to be reading about drones being shot down rather their pilots.

    It’s a horrible idea to bring a public devil may care demeanor to the personal space of someone who didn’t invite you and is oh so eager to be rid of you,defiler of the only refuge left to him. Basic respect = a survival skill numb nuts!

  11. patriotkat Avatar

    I think someone should develop an attack drone to take the annoying drone down