Back to Squawk list
  • 51

Judge rules man had right to shoot down drone over his house

It was a case that gripped the nation. Or at least Kentucky. Should it have temporarily escaped your pressured memory, William Merideth in July said he saw a drone flying above his property in Hillview, Kentucky. He believed it was spying on his 16-year-old daughter who was sunbathing in the garden. So he took out his shotgun and blasted the drone out of the sky. He was arrested for wanton endangerment and criminal mischief. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Kells Moore 11
Oh god here we go...
Ron Burgundy 8
Finally, a step in the right direction. These things are dangerous. Now, if only we could get some artillery in and around Class B & Class C airspace. Maybe it will protect real airplanes.
DanWardlaw 4
Good. I hope they continue to get these things out of the city as they are an invasion of privacy. Had one flying around our place which is along the approach path to the airport. The minute I took my camera out and started taking pictures of it he dropped out of site. Haven't seen it since.
joel wiley 4
Boggs is going to appeal on the grounds that he lost.
joel wiley 2
Wonder what he'll do if another JLENS gets loose and floats over his property.
Robert Black 2
I still think a air rifle firing BB's or .177 cal pellets is best. Range is only ~600', and it doesn't make the noise of a regular gun. Of course, he'd have to be a better shot than with a shotgun loaded with birdshot, but still i'd be safer ...
Jeff Pelton 1
20 Gage shotgun with bird shot works fine if you are not Anne Oakley. Big bang, not much down range.
ADXbear 4
Get ready for alot of shootings... People are very nosy with the drones, we had one in our area less than a mile from Klas!... He crashed it... It this judge set a precedence for others to follow...
So was his daughter hot or was he just wishin she was??
iflyfsx 2
The judge didn't bother to look at the video or the flight data. So her ruling is worse than worthless. It undermines any kind of trust in the system.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Thomas Cain 0
The problem is when you shoot in the air if he missed, what goes up will come down, it could have easily hit and injured a kid playing in his yard a block or 2 away. That's the definition of reckless endangerment. Judge made a big mistake and sets a very bad and dangerous precedent. Down here in Florida, every New Year or Forth of July there's been a number of injuries, some serious caused by people firing their guns in the air in celebration. Those bullets sometimes comes down and hits someone in the head. I'm all for control over these drones, but shooting them down is not the answer, at least in populated areas. Now that the FAA is going to start making these drone owners register, hopefully these types of incidents, as well as the ones interfering with aircraft will die down.
It was shot...not some giant ass round that was going to go a mile. What happens when a hunter misses a goose?
joel wiley 1
Nothing unless it hits someone that, in turn, mentions it to an attorney.
That is when you wish you had used a bullet 😀
Thomas Cain 1
Shooting in the air in the woods or lake is one thing, and that has it's risks too. Shooting up in the air in a populated neighborhood is just plain reckless.
Correction...a Shotgun.
joel wiley 2
I think 'shot' referred to the load. Shot as opposed to slug or bullet such as the standard NATO round.
Good morning, Thomas, every time I hear words like "Registration", it just puts the burden on the 99.9% of people who never do anything wrong. The problem is that with some people, you can't fix stupid. Please don't take any offense at what I say, because every time I post something, someone gets really upset and it's not meant to do that.
Thomas Cain 1
It always only takes a few bad apples to rin it for the rest of us, but something has to be done wit these drones, that are getting in the way of GA and commercial aircraft. Especially when they are taking off or landing.
Tim Falk 1
Great comment Silverio. You are absolutely right "You can't fix STUPID"
William Heck 1
Assumes facts not in evidence
Kurt Anderson 0
This thread is a waste of our time. Once again it is leaning towards gun vs. no guns. If you would all get your heads together it might save our 2nd. Amendment rights.
Jason Edwards 0
Pretty sure the DOT in agreement with the FAA says airspace is theirs all the way to the ground in the new proposed regulations.
Wow, I guess we have to be careful not to jump too high or we will get in trouble! (Joke!)
loufrankel 1
Did anyone else notice that this is in Bullitt County, KY?
Robert Engle 1
Oops somehow I couldn't finish what I was writing. The person behind the wheel is dangerous, maybe texting, drinking etc. They are the problem not the car and not the Drown. We as a society blame cars, Drones, and everything else. Lets hold PEOPLE accountable like we should. I have always followed the law with this and always carry all proper documentation with me at all times. Ron says these are dangerous. Well how much different is it when a guy takes a shotgun in a neighborhood with is kid maybe close by and fires it. Really ??? Just as bad and maybe worse !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Robert Engle 1
To Ron,
These things are not dangerous. The people are. I have been in RC and with a Military background as well have operated all kinds of drones and with surveillance. Also have been flying full scale helicopters and airplanes since I was 16 years old. Just like everything else there are a few bad people doing it that give everyone a bad name. These are the idiots that buy a Drone in the hobby store and go outside of a major airport and fly it. These people should be held accountable not the good guys like myself that follow the law. Now I don't know the law in that particular state but in my state its 60 feet AGL. Above this outside of a NO FLY ZONE is LEGAL. No yes if this guy which I don't know, was actually spying on a girl yes NOT GOOD and I would maybe have done the same thing. AGAIN CARS ARE NOT DANGEROUS
N456TS 1
Jeff Pelton 1
Only thing that upsets me is the "Stupid" operators. I've been flying RC gliders and Backyard electric's for over 30 years, belonged to AMA, followed the rules, never had any problems. All the stupid stunts, interfering with aerial firefighting, police helicopters, AND OTHER EMERGENCY SERVICES for a 5 minute YouTube video. HAS FORCED THINGS TO A BOILING POINT. Now the FEDS are stepping in.

I'm also a Private Pilot, SEL, and aircraft owner.

Thanks, MR. STUPID
Jhon Lewis 1
As long as people can tell the difference between a drone and a rc plane, I am cool. I like rc planes, I want to get into the hobby once I get the money, just as long as it doesn't effect that fire away my redneck friends. Protect the privacy you think you have, and stop those people from hitting airplanes, which btw why is everyone so scared of drones around airplanes? Sure they could fly into the engine, but an engine out isn't a life or death scenario, unless it's a single engine plane, which it almost never is because these things are flying around JFK, where no single engine prop dare tread. So really the only real threats that drones pose is to the pocketbooks of the airline execs, and the guys flying the drones of course.
joel wiley 1
There have been a couple of posts over the years of goose BASHing where a significant portion of the bird entered thru what previously was the windshield. Cool headed airmanship led to the successful completion of the trip and subsequent videos. If the drone replaces the bird, do you feel sanguine that all airmen will take it in stride? I am not.
garritt 1
Guy Cocoa 1
From the linked article: "The FAA's recommendations include not flying above 400 feet. "Don't be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft -- you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft," the agency adds."

And with the judge wanting the drones above the tree line, that leaves a very narrow altitude range in which the drones can fly.
joel wiley 3
And the problem is...?
honza nl 1
did the NRA already called to arm drones so they can protect themselves ?
joel wiley 1
No, it was bears.
Cheap shot at the NRA which has nothing to do with this story at all! Why don't you really check into what the NRA does! It certainly would not condone this guys poor judgment.
Jeff Coghill 1
Lighten up Francis.
I'm going to assume the same rule applies to helicopters.
shoepuke 3
I guess if it is below the tree line.... yes? Do you see the black helicopters too???
linbb 1
Read what I posted above and then think about your statement if you happen to live next door and it is not a shot gun.
Alan Harper 1
Good. I a m a pilot an aircraft owner. UAV owners should be required to have training just like me. I have already missed hitting a UAV on my approach to land. Nobody was there to see the event and the FAA would have reported my crash as Pilot Error.
I hear what your sayin...I am a rc airplane flyier, we are required to have a membership with our local club, national insurance underwriter (MAAC) AMA-USA. We must fly responsably wether on the club site or on prviate property and the saftey and well being of all is paramount, you probably know this...for some reason to many UaV, drone users do not seem understand any of this and feel free to risk the lives of others as they see fit...I call it "entitlment"...have a great day.
John Leslie -1
Come on what is the surprise? Don't Americans have a constitutional right to shoot anything they want to? :-)
joel wiley -1
No. The right is a direct dispensation from G**D
At least there is one judge here in Ky with some common sense.
linbb -5
And your statement has some? It does nothing more than put people at risk shooting with whatever they own randomly as the bullets and shot gun pellets have to come down somewhere. That somewhere could be in your yard with your children playing there. Now think again about what will happen if it continues, oh but wait it isn't going to harm anything but the drone. GET REAL
Common sense should be used by the drone operator first. Then common sense should be used by the person taking the drone down. Firearms aren't the only way to knock it down. I saw one guy use his shirt like swatting a fly. In reality these things will become regulated and operators liable all because of abuse and a lack of common sense. That said, shotguns work perfectly for many of us. When you shoot near vertical with birdshot the fine pellets are harmless when they fall.
babyracer 1
A guy used a shirt to swat it like a fly eh? Have you seen other reports or photos of this particular incident? Try this.....

The guy tells the news crew that the drone was 10 feet off the ground but his own daughter took a photo that shows otherwise....a little difficult to swat when it's that high.

This whole incident clearly shows one of the things wrong with the world today particularly the US (I mean no offence to US citizens) and that is taking the law into the own hands. There are ways to deal with situations like this lawfully, safely and peacefully and this ain't it, not by a long shot (pun not intended).

The guy goes on about having his privacy impinged upon and complains there should be laws against drones and yet is more than happy to break the law by discharging a firearm within city limits (and gets let off for that) potentially endangering the lives of others directly (the shotgun) or indirectly (a crashing drone).

Should the drone pilot have flown where he did? No. Should the idiot have shot at/down the drone? HELL FRICKING NO!!!!! Shotgun guy is the criminal here not the pilot.
I've seen the reports. He didn't say it was 10 feet when he shot it. The drone didn't need to be over his property to take pics of another house. All charges were dropped. Pick your side. I'll side with the shooter. What I do know is when shotgun vs drone, shotgun wins.
babyracer 2
Did you read the article I linked? "However, Merideth told WRDB: "Well, I came out and it was down by the neighbor's house, about 10 feet off the ground,""

I already have a side - the law. Meredith broke it, plain and simple.

Also the judge is dubious - "The drone's owner, David Boggs, had produced flight data that insisted his machine had been flying higher than Merideth had claimed." and yet "The judge, however, seems not a fan of big data. She's a woman of the people. She declared that two human witnesses saw the drone below the tree line. This evidence was, to her, conclusive."
I put more faith in flight data recorders than eye witnesses. People lie and are susceptible to coercion and perception, data recorders are not.

I'd be interested to know what that guy's reaction would be if someone was to point a camera at his house from the street. Would he take a potshot at them too. He's already demonstrated that he's willing to discharge firearms at populated areas. Actually, come to think on it he already said he would shoot people in front of his house.....specifically with a Glock 40.
Apparently you didn't read it or comprehend it. He didn't shoot it when it was at 10 feet at the neighbors. He waited for it to come over his property and shot "directly into the air". Vertical! The data wasn't time stamped. Could have been from any flight. Witnesses attested to the height. So the judge ruled based on facts. As far as firing a weapon in city limits, that goes out the window when you are doing it for protection. That's why cops carry them, for their protection, not yours. Of course this all pertains to America not Austrailia so I don't see why you even care.


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.