"Drones and Utility Easements: Who Has the Airspace Rights?" by Dan Wennogle

Dan Wennogle

Stinson Leonard Street attorney Dan Wennogle published a column in the recent edition of the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

The column, "Drones and utility easements: Who has the airspace rights?" explores several of the legal issues that companies must address if they want to use drone technology in private airspace.

Dan is a litigation attorney in the firm's Denver office. He focuses on construction, property rights, oil & gas pipelines and professional liability claims. Dan represents contractors, energy companies, lenders and professionals in the design and construction trades.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: To clear up potential confusion about the reference to private unregulated airspace, the author clarifies that a Section 333 exemption may not protect against landowner trespass and privacy claims in uncontrolled airspace within the immediate reaches of the ground, or from claims relating to surveillance. The FAA takes the position that it can regulate all airspace and flight activities, but there are likely unresolved issues about whether federal aviation regulations will pre-empt state laws dealing with health, safety and privacy and this could include claims for aerial trespass if the drone is low enough to interfere with the surface user's rights within the "immediate reaches" of the ground. The author will continue to provide updates on this developing area of law.

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