#034 – Who Truly Owns the Airspace and Why Can’t I Shoot Down Drones? with Drone Law Today’s Steve Hogan

In Podcast by Ian Smith


Steve Hogan is an attorney in Florida whose firm specializes in drone law. He’s also the host and creator of the Drone Law Today podcast. Ian and Steve sync up over the airwaves to grapple with some hotly debated (and controversial) drone legal issues. Who owns the airspace above my house? Is shooting a drone out of the sky a federal offense? What will Trump’s administration do for—or against—commercial drones? And Do I need a Part 107 certificate to compete in drone FPV racing for money? Steve and Ian make a concentrated, joint effort to get to the bottom of these issues and settle them once and for all. Unsurprisingly, it gets pretty complicated.

Steve and I haven’t met in person but I’ve appreciated all that he does with his own podcast, Drone Law Today. I definitely recommend you check it out. While not the most glamorous of drone topics, legal issues affect us all—especially as commercial operators. I really appreciated Steve’s candor and willingness to take on (most!) of the questions during the recording of this podcast, of which are:

  • Do I own the airspace above my house and can I protect it?
  • When did these airspace ownership rules originate and why?
  • What is President Trump’s administration going to do about drones and commercial drone regulations? Are they going to be fair or tough?
  • Is it a federal offense to shoot a drone out of the sky? Why?
  • If I race FPV drones for money or prizes, am I conducting a commercial operation and do I need a Part 107 certificate?

This was an interesting episode to record because we did it over the internet rather than in person, like the vast majority of episodes. As a result of this, and as you’ll no doubt notice, I mistakenly misconfigured my microphone so my voice went straight through my Macbook’s subpar mic and not my nice Audio Technica mic. A sad day for us all who truly care about audio quality. Fortunately, Steve sounded great.

I hope you learn a lot from this episode and enjoy the new website!

You can check out the Drone Law Today podcast here. Go ahead and follow @DroneLawToday on Twitter and definitely give Steve’s offer of free, reader-friendly drone law books a shot.