ADU 01148: What Is Navigable Airspace and How It May Affect Drone U Pilots
In today's show, we attempt to decode what navigable airspace truly means. Getting to the bottom of this can help drone pilots navigate the confusing maze of drone rules and laws to clearly understand where they can and cannot fly.
Back in 1946, United States vs. Causby (1946), a Supreme Court decision abolished "ad coelum". "Ad coelum" stated that a person who owned the soil also owned all of the airspace above it. But, while, the Courts abolished ad coelum, they also rejected the government's claim to possess all the space above ground.
Which brings us to the moot question - what exactly is navigable airspace?
Going by pure logic, if space up to your treetops is "non-navigable", why can't you fly without a Part 107 in your own backyard? And, going by this same logic, if you are flying a commercial job in "non-navigable" airspace, why do you need any sort of flight approval at all?
We discuss all this and much in today's show. Enjoy!
If you enjoyed this show, you might enjoy going through Who Owns the Sky?: The Struggle to Control Airspace from the Wright Brothers
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Does the FAA have complete right over airspace? Are there any exceptions?
Can you legally fly your drone inside a roofed stadium?
As per United States vs. Causby (1946), do you own the airspace above your private property?
What is navigable airspace? Do we even have a precise, legal definition?
Can you fly your drone in your backyard even if you live in controlled airspace?
Can you fly without a license in your own backyard if you are staying beneath the treetops?
Can you legally fly your drone over tribal land?
Why we need to regulate airspace at a federal level, and what a patchwork of state laws would mean for the industry as a whole
What is the legal definition of navigable airspace?
We sum up today's show