Who Owns America's Skies: Landmark Case Will Help Set Precedent

Should it be legal to shoot down a drone?

William Merideth saw the drone flying over his backyard where is daughter was playing and became annoyed. So annoyed that he pointed a shotgun into the sky and shot down the UAV sparking a national debate; is it legal to shoot down a drone "hovering" over your backyard in Federal air space?

Merideth, who dubs himself "The Drone Slayer," claims he was protecting his daughter. He says he did not know what the drone was for or what it was doing.

David Boggs, the drone owner and Merideth's neighbor, disagrees. Boggs files a claim for declaratory judgement and damages in Federal Court. After a year of counter argument, a decision on which court jurisdiction should hear the complaint is coming soon, and may very well establish new precedents for U.S. law.

While it has been clearly established that the Federal government (via the FAA) owns the air space which the majority of manned aircraft operate in, current gaps in the law fail to clearly define who owns the air space at lower altitudes directly above homesteads. As the FAA projects the number of drones in the air to be "in the millions" within the near term, this represents a real problem.

Depending on when and where the case is finally heard, it will become influential in other courts. If the verdict is appealed to a higher court, it may establish a new national precedent. In the meantime, the eyes of the UAV industry are fixated on this case. More information

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