Many people, especially outside of the drone community, know there are plenty of legitimate uses for drones but that they can also be used for questionable or downright illegal purposes. To the average person on the street, it's hard to tell the difference. Good intentioned pedestrians may call local security, property owners, or even the police if they think you are up to no good. Dealing with pedestrians or law enforcement is time spent and money wasted. My solutions…deck out in safety gear!
1) Perception matters! I wear long pants and boots because that's likely an O.S.H.A. requirement for the mission anyway. If people see me breaking one federal rule, what other rules may I be breaking?
2) Wear a hard hat. Am I worried about my drone falling from the sky exactly when it passes over my head? Not really. What I'm after is the public seeing me wear what in their mind may be a ridiculous plastic hat just so I can increase my safety even a minuscule amount. They probably will think, "looks like he is following company policy, so he must be here on company business."
3) Wear a vest. Same idea as the hard hat, but a vest will likely have your logo prominently shown. Identifying yourself is a great way to disarm concerns. Plus, it's free advertisement!
4) There is power in the cone! Keep a minimum of 4 cones with you. Stake out the corners of your launch/landing area. The message that you're sending is "danger…stay away." The perception from pedestrians is that "this guy cares about my safety; there is no danger here." Another benefit is that the public will see you "working" and are less likely to come up to chat to satisfy their curiosity.
5) Finally, wear the gear to be SAFE!!! It may not be your primary objective but more than 9 out of 10 contractors say staying alive is better than the alternative.