Florida State Statute Says City Park Rangers Can’t Kick You Out For Droning!
So many of you may have already heard about the encounter the FPV Savages team had with a city park ranger that started off sour but ended up sweet as hell. The week before on Wednesday (April 18th), Sonny FPV and I were flying at a different park that was in an area that had a lot of horses. A park ranger showed up who was very polite. The ranger told us to kindly go fly at another park (in the same city) with a big field that is never used.
The same week, we decided to give that recommended location a shot and brought a good amount of gates and flags. We arrived at the spot and we began setting up some gates and flags to get some practice on the 2018 RQ track at some park that was in Davie Florida on a Sunday afternoon. It was on the 4th or 5th pack when the park ranger from hell came out of nowhere and started telling us that we needed to pack up our gates and get out! So, not only were we flying respectfully, with AMA insurance and FAA registration, we were flying at a park that a park ranger recommended to us! Check out this rude, unprofessional city park ranger in the video below.
This tyrannical park ranger came up to us and basically said there is no debating this, we need to go regardless of what any park ranger told us the week before. I tried showing him the state bill/statute that was passed and he basically ignored me and started speaking over me. At that point, I realized he was ignorant and on a power-trip so I told him I’m calling the cops on HIM for harassing us. He told me he was going to call first like a little child and that they would get here faster when he calls LMAO! I patiently waited for the cops, they show up and the park ranger ran up to them as fast as he could to get his side of the story out first. I stood by my truck patiently and waited for him to finish.
After about 20 minutes, the cops came up to me and basically started saying look guys if the park ranger asks you to leave then you have to leave. The officer stated that the issue is the gates and obstacles are not allowed here. I politely rebutted the officer’s statement and said if we were out here with soccer goal posts playing soccer would we be ok? If we’re out here just playing catch with a t-ball post is that? The officer knew where I was going with this, essentially there is no difference between a soccer goal post and our racing obstacles as far as the law is concerned. I showed the officer the state statute that basically says city officials like park rangers or other city entities don’t have the right to regulate what happens in the airspace. The FAA is the only entity that can tell you where or where you can’t fly your drone in Florida. Check this link out and print it if you live in Florida so you can show the park rangers that give you problems. Call the cops if they don’t want to educate themselves on the law. Ignorance to the law is not your problem, if park rangers don’t want to educate themselves on new laws then you should call the cops so that they can help clarify the law to the park ranger.
Unless there is a city ordinance or park rule being violated, this park ranger had no right to tell us to leave. We are tax-paying residents and are allowed to be at a city park as long as we’re not causing problems or putting anyone in danger (which we were not). Ultimately, the cops reasoned with us for a while and realized we were being respectful. We showed the officers the video of the ranger being a jerk and they called the police sargent to get advice on what to do. Ultimately, the police officers kindly told the park ranger that if there isn’t a law stating that we cannot fly drones, they legally don’t have the right to tell us to leave 🙂
This is a huge win for the drone community and I hope that you can all spread the word so pilots that get hassled by city officials know what to do. Keep calm, be polite and stand your ground! Drone for freedom, drone for America!!!