The Air Force Wants Permission to Shoot Down Civilian Drones

The Air Force Wants Permission to Shoot Down Civilian Drones
The Air Force Wants Permission to Shoot Down Civilian Drones

....When they're flying over bases and nearly colliding with $250 million fighters.

You'd have to be pretty dumb to think you can fly your drone over an air-force base without getting it 1 shot-down or 2 a knock on your door.

Edit: Wowzers, I did not think my pre-coffee morning post would get this many upvotes.

Or without getting a 5 star wanted level.

EDIT: 5 stars... WASTED

Surprised this isn't already considered restricted for all forms of civilian invasive activity.

It is.

The fact that shooting them down, is the case the Air Force has to justify, seems silly. Drone pilots should be well aware of where they can and cannot fly. Feel like this is a no brainer case.

If this happens you just fly your drone to your local collision repair shop and they will spray paint it a different color for you, and then you're in the clear.

Typically enthusiasts are very aware what they can and can not do. If you post this to any of the multirotor subs they would be livid of dumb asses like this.

As with any hobby, a couple dumbasses can ruin things for everyone.

Yep! I'm all for that. Drones are a real problem for pilots. People seem to think it's acceptable to fly them in and around airports. People who fly drones should be aware of where and when they're allowed to fly them, around an airport or military bases is an obvious no-go.

Fuck it, I want permission to do that.

Once you're in the clear, let's go bowling

I'm genuinely surprised they are not allowed to do something already. If you fly a small aircraft into a military base, they can engage you, and that's a target with a human being inside, so it's odd that they wouldn't be able to do the same with a drone. What rational person would be against an airbase (or any airport for that matter) jamming or otherwise disabling drones if they're in the flight path.

I also grant them permission to shoot down people holding up iPads at concerts and weddings.

Sorry cousin, maybe another time

Well I collect very unintelligent mini horses and I agree.

Nah, that's fake news.

Also, on a completely unrelated topic, has anyone here ever shot a laser at a plane? If so, where were you/where do you live? Just curious.

There is a naval air station near my home. They fly f/a-18s seemingly endlessly for training. Every year some dumbass makes the news for deciding to shine a laser pointer at the multi-million dollar attack aircraft, and is unfortunate enough to get caught and prosecuted for it. People are stupid.

5 minutes later


This is why the 'flying cars' future never was and never will be

Relevant xkcd.

Hans! Get zhe FLAK-88!

That and that adding a third dimension to most people's lives is incredibly difficult.

In 2014 the FBI started a program offering $10K to anyone with information that leads to an arrest of an individual who aims a laser at an aircraft.

Lets go see those fine american titties!

Makes sense though. You don't want the military enforcing laws on the day to day.

But you can fly them around airports? You must contact the airport tower and advise them on your flight location, max height, duration etc but you can still fly (not all airports, there are exceptions) you cannot fly in military air space though.

You still do that? Even after the incident?

Please include your name and address in any responses.

Probably a shotgun.

For sure, you are right. But I'm mainly talking about smaller drones and those who do not obtain tower clearance. This and lasers seem to be an issue at the moment for commercial pilots.

I figured they would already have authority to do that. That would be like someone sneaking onto a base. They will be arrested and charged but it's kind of hard to arrest a machine.

The military having to call the police is a pretty amusing concept.

Did you read the article? It specifically says that they do not have the authority to shoot down drones.

"Flying drones over air bases in the United States is already illegal, but actually taking action against them, including disabling or shooting them down, is a federal matter and currently only federal civilian agencies can jam drones."


"Holmes pointed out, the Air Force had no legal authority to actually do anything about the drones, particularly to shoot them down."

Why don't you read the article and quit talking out your ass.

Sorry cousin, maybe another time

P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney Australia.

Oh they can. They have authorization to neutralize all threats.

This just would ease the paperwork

I thought the incident would've change his behavior, but you know what they say, you can lead a mini horse to water, but you can't make it drink...

Actually flying cars will all have auto pilot that network with other flying cars. 3ed auto pilot is a lot easily than land ground autopilot. The primary problem is a cheap enough power source to make flying cars cost effective.

I'm a drone operator with the proper certification also a commercial pilot and ATC...I'm all for this!

I was once flying my quadcopter (before any FAA regulations for UAVs came out) in Key West over the water, and a bunch of police cars surrounded me and told me I was in naval airspace. I had no idea. I brought it back, landed it, they took my info and let me go. An officer told me that the base said on the radio that "We were deciding if we should shoot it down." If they had wanted to shoot it down, what would they have shot it down with? AA gun? Some kind of rocket? Some kind of EMP?

The article said it's already illegal but the military doesn't have authority to do anything about it. They basically have to call the police or FAA or whomever.

I guess it's a new problem, because traditionally most people flying in restricted airspace are in planes, which are required to have radios, so you can call the operator up and tell them to GTFO or else. You can't really do that with a UAV.

Nah, now we have the Anti-Everything Gun

I own a drone and live in Boston and I can attest that there is almost NOWHERE youre legally allowed to fly a hobby drone.

"Not within 5 miles of an airport, airstrip, helipad or similar area". This accounts for nearly the entire state of MA, and includes hospitals with helipads that rarely even get used.

As a hobbyist, I can even fly my drone in the PARK near my apartment in the suburb because its too close to an airport 4.9 MILES AWAY.

Drone flyers have to basically choose which rules to ignore, and deem whats safe on their own because otherwise there would be literally nowhere to fly.

The park? sure.

near an Air force base or right next to an actual airport? NOOoooo

EDIT: This is why Im selling my drone. it was a ton of fun in theory but in practice its basically impossible without breaking the law and ignoring ignorant people thinking you're a terrorist. (not exaggerating btw, a mom at a park accused me of terrorizing her children with my "attack drone". Its a parrot bebop)

Down voting for the click bait title. If it added "When Flying Over Bases" then I wouldn't be pissed at the title.

Only sip.

Drone pilots should be well aware of where they can and cannot fly.

Most of us are. It isn't like this information is hard to find either. The Drone Community has taken a very proactive stance on trying to educate new pilots on their responsibilities. Pretty much every reputable seller will inform you of the laws. Every drone I have ever purchased comes with a one page pamphlet that lists the best resources for complying with the law.

Hell, the FAA produced an easy to use app that lets you know where you can fly. All you have to do is open it up and it uses your GPS to tell you if you are in a restricted area or not.

Had this "family friend" do this shit at my grandpa's funeral. Turned around in the pews with that big fat fucking iPad and focused in on me and my brother while we cried.

Gas is plenty cheap. Any recreational pilot will tell you it's low on their expense sheet.

Maintenance is a much larger cost since you really wouldn't want to be flying around in flying cars the equivalent condition to an average car on the road today.

Works out cause there just happens to be a bunch of pretty dumb people...

Oh don't forget people that take videos in portrait mode.

I heard that civilian quadcopters routinely cause the grounding of firefighting aircraft near wildfires. Ultimately if you are operating a vehicle or device in a way that impedes the military or emergency services then you deserve to pay the idiot tax.

Move to Kentucky.

I feel like it's just the perfect opportunity for the Air Force to have it's own squads of attack-drones patrolling the air space around bases. If you WANT to fly your private drone into such a place, go ahead, but expect it to be aced by Air Force drone pilots on duty.

Begun, the Drone Wars has.

People wouldn't just go on the internet and lie.

Also pilots have to pass a test that has a whole lot of questions on it about air space in general.... Pilots have to know what restricted airspace is. A layman can simply go buy a DJI drone and fly over an airbase without any training at all!

I have been studying for my commercial drone license (Remote Pilot - UAS.. Part 107). This is a modified version of what a pilot learns in ground school. and learning all about the airspace this week. Class A, B, C, D, E. Prohibited, Restricted, Warning, MOA, Alerts, CFAs.

I doubt military bases would have to deploy actual AA to disable drones. By shoot down I am sure they would employ electronic interference in some way. Those systems already exist they are just illegal in the US right now, even for the military.

Yes. Arizona's been burning for the last month and this a$$hat flew his drone around taking pictures. The air support had to stop flying, and without the air support the ground crews had to pull back.

When they're flying over bases and nearly colliding with $250 million fighters.

Try the whole title next time OP

When an MP shows up at your door, just say: R1, R1, CIRCLE, R2, UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN. You should be good.

You clearly have no idea how shitty Naval Security Forces are with a rifle. Source: Range Safety Officer for Navy..

Yes. I've gotten disturbingly close to several in New York airspace. The next Sully is going to be a "drone strike"

Gas is cheap for planes. To have working flying cars we need cars that can fly without wings with multiple propulsion systems in case one fails so the car can still safely land. That's not cheap.

Can we downvoted misleading headlines for leaving out important bits on why? There is something implicit in the headline as it stands that is just wrong.

The question should be, why can't the Air Force shoot down civilian drones when over restricted airspace?

Don't forget to purchase some NOS as well for the 10pm drone race for $200

I live at 123 Fake Street, Honolulu, Texas 90210

When that tank was stolen back in the '90s the military had to call the police and couldn't do anything about it. The police then almost had to call the military to destroy the tank before it got stuck on the median

Oh no, absolutely not, it's just amusing is all.

Absolutely bs story and nothing fires from a plane automatically or without authorization. Pick up a radar? Sure no problem.

An Air Force drone has to tell you it's an Air Force drone if you ask it three times.

Surface to air missile. Can never be too careful

As a taxpayer who helps buy 250 million dollar planes.... yes, shoot down the fucking civilian drones.

i agree with this in every way. i cannot wait to see an aerial battle between a squadron of f-16s and a veritable armada of quad copters sporting hand guns and cast nets. oh, and lets throw in some of those hawks that are trained to hunt drones. maybe as their own team, or some on each side.

This is incorrect. You do not own the airspace above 80ft of your property. Which is why planes can fly over your house without permission.

FAA regulations for unmanned hobbiest aircraft have existed since before you were born. You were just ignorant of them.

rc flying used to be a satisfying hobby now its not about flying but just finding a way to get a camera in the air. Dropping the cash I the biggest learning curve

Wow, what an asshole.

This is silly. Why don't we just stay pragmatic and use a force field?

/sub/savedyouaclick material right there

Fuck ya $10k here I come

I posted a question about the recent reversal of the registration and why it was a bad thing to begin with. From the responses I got back, you would have thought the registration was akin to war crimes AND a couple people said stupid people are gonna do stupid stuff regardless.

I own a couple small quadcopters and agree there needs to be some kind of measures in place to stop or prevent idiots from flying dangerously.

And people who harmonize the last note of "Happy Birthday."

Aircraft engines (or propellers) and other pieces are not tested with sucking in drones with batteries which catch fire when they break and are rigid. They are only tested against bird strikes. Manufactures would have to do more testing. And that is just the safety question, the engine is broken regardless and they aint cheap.

edited with citation:

"Birds can disintegrate relatively get something like a very viscous bulk of fluid on the other side" says Bayandor. "A drone can be like a rock going through the engine."


Luckily, engines are designed to withstand some damage from stray objects, [...] However this protection is not a given. Modern engines are not designed to gobble up drones, and models have already shown some unexpected results, such as the dramatic difference that the location and angle of impact can make.


The other big issue is a battery's annoying tendency to burst into flames when damaged.


While airliner windshields are unlikely to be broken by bird impact, there have been cases where helicopters have been lost because of a run-in with a flock of geese. Drones will only make matters worse.

Sorry Jessica. I got a little carried away.

And drones are cheap, making the barrier to entry for stupid people much lower. It's like motorcycles, in that regard, lol.

Gonna have to start reading these on the regular because that one was gold.

That system is for military personnel not civilian idiots.

We do. But jurisdiction ends for military police as soon as you get off post. Using the military to police the general public opens a lot of doors to places we don't want to go.

I was once witness to an incident where a kid in a stolen car tried to run down an MP.

MP had his gun out, had the shot lined up, decided he couldn't ensure that the area behind the target was clear... So he didn't take the shot and jumped out of the way. All while someone was trying to kill him with a car.

End result? One live cop, One live 14 year old who borrowed his mom's car, one mom livid at her alive son, and two wrecked cars.

So yes, they can police their own bases. And yes, they can be more professional than civilian cops.

I also got a ticket for going 1mph over, so they can be total dicks too.

I remember there's some urban legend in the UK of a police speed gun being tracked by a Tornado on exercise with anti-radar missiles that lock onto anyone tracking you. Sounds like bollocks to me but seems based vaguely in some truth.

The title out of context is hilarious. I picture F16's chasing down some kids drone and firing heat seeking missiles to destroy them above urban environments.

hires a team of shooters

Haha it's just another additional duty the airfield management guys are burdened with

Fine mericahn teetees!

No, you say yes and then call back to cancel and that way they don't dislike you

Yeah, I feel ya. I got tore to shreds in a racing quad discussion once for suggesting a new pilot should get some experience in LOS flying before going full FPV. Apparently I'm an idiot. FPV racers don't need to know how to actually fly. If your headset malfunctions, you just crash and rebuild/replace. What was I thinking.

Electronic interference type weapons already belong to the Army. They just can't use them within the US except for testing in certain areas. It's actually pretty amazing some of the incredible weapons we have that we can't use during even regular training exercises, let alone to enforce no-fly-zones.

Example: cyber warfare units recently came under fire (metaphorically) for taking out hundreds of very expensive electrical systems during a training exercise. They did well demonstrating their combat ability but it cost the Army millions because it legitimately damaged the electrical systems in almost a hundred vehicles.

FPV racers don't need to know how to actually fly.

The traditional way to fly an aircraft is sitting in the cockpit.

The story goes that the speed gun was tracked not that the policeman got blown up. Normally it finishes in some variation of the police getting a letter from the RAF. But yeah someone else found a snopes link so it's bollocks.

I think we just established that you shoot them down.

Probably with whatever would cause the least possible collateral damage, most likely just small arms fire (a rifle).

I'm not pro gun by any means but technically you own the airspace on your property so why wouldn't you be allowed to shoot down a drone flying over it?

Edit: It's a little more complicated then this simple explanation. Historically, you could deny planes access above your land but of course you can't do that today.

Today in the UK thanks to the Civil Aviation Act of 1982, the generally accepted amount of air above one’s roof a person is entitled to is approximately 500-1,000 feet, though again this isn’t a hard definition. Likewise, the United States has a similar estimation of about 500 feet, though this has never been officially ruled on by the Supreme Court.

Trained falcons?

The "80 foot" thing (The SCOTUS Causby ruling actually mentioned "83 feet") isn't nearly that straight forward, but basically yes. We need to keep "airspace" open for navigation. People who own beachfront property would love to say "No, you can't bring your boat within 500' of my beachfront" or similar, but if the body of water is "navigable" then... the water is open for navigation even in front of your expensive vacation house. Similarly, in order to have functional airspace, most airspace is open for aircraft to use down to some reasonable safety and irritation limits.

i own the airspace on my property?

oh boy im calling the airport. tired of these planes flying overhead constantly

I think another issue is crash ratings. A plane is very light and when it crashes it usually isnt pretty. So now you have a plane driving on roads with heavy cars and trucks. That's not going to be good for a company's average crash ratings.

I understand the airport 5 mile rule but that same radius for helipads is absolutely bullshit. You can still fly but you need to call ATC and let them know.

Also safety. When a flying car fails, it's just a brick. When a plane fails, it's a glider.