I anticipate quite a few questions like "Can I fly a drone above roads in Xyzia?" and "What is the legal distinction between a drone and a model aircraft in Canada?"

Should these be on-topic?

Proposal: Drones and Model Aircraft

4 Answers 4


Good question, especially in a time when new and confusing regulations are being drafted by the day.

I'm thinking yes. As long as it is prefaced by the disclaimer that this forum isn't responsible for legal trouble, I see little reason why it shouldn't be on-topic.


I’m split on this one. Although many would find Q/A on legality useful, what is legal today can easily become illegal tomorrow and vice versa. Hence many answers can become stale and incorrect over time.

My fear is that people do not come back to update answers or re-vote and it would lead to a site with miss-leading answers that could lead to fines or detention depending on your location. This would be bad for this site and stack exchange overall.

  • I see your concern, but I think it's a non-issue. Answer deprecation is a standard characteristic of SE sites. There are natural evolutions on all SE answers, whether it's an old C++ workaround for a now resolved compiler problem, or a change in legal code for plumbing installation in Arizona. It's certainly the reader's responsibility to fully read through an SE topic, as well as understand that only lawyers can give legal advice. Contributors can also edit questions and answers to point out how an old, upvoted answer is no longer valid. Feb 5, 2020 at 15:45

Yes, those questions are very on-topic. Simple clear-text distillations of complex ideas is one of the things that Stack Exchange excels at. "How should I interpret a sign which says...?" or "is X considered a drone in this country/state...? or "is there legal precedence in country X for the application of regulation Y" are all perfect versions of easy questions with either extremely nuanced or hard to find answers.

An analog is that many questions on the SE Home Improvement site, https://diy.stackexchange.com/, either have directly to do with building/plumbing/electrical code or have answers which are modified pursuant to local codes (e.g. how much vertical space do you need between a sink drain and a sewage pipe).


As regulations change quite frequently atm (at least here in Europe) I fear that answers to such questions might be out of date and give pilots confidence when they actually follow outdated rulings.

  • 1
    Can't they just check the dates of answers?
    – wizzwizz4
    Feb 1, 2020 at 21:08
  • 2
    that doesn't really tell if something new came out inbetween
    – ppetermann
    Feb 1, 2020 at 23:59

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