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Old March 5th, 2013, 01:04 PM   #46
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

I haven't been following this discussion completely, so maybe some things are obvious to others that were not obvious to me until I read a news article today.

The FAA does not allow use of RC aircraft by ANY commercial enterprise/business/govt agency (even police, eg.) whether it has a camera or not. So they didn't just start picking on aerial photography out of the blue.
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Old March 5th, 2013, 01:18 PM   #47
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

Probably just a matter of time before they start to seriously enforce this.
FAA investigating report of drone spotted near NYC
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Old March 5th, 2013, 02:12 PM   #48
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

This could have ended badly.
FAA investigating report of drone spotted near Kennedy Airport - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Old March 6th, 2013, 12:44 PM   #49
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

That article raises a few questions for me - apparently only ONE pilot reported this, raising questions of whether this was "real", "imagined", or perhaps part of an "awareness campaign"?

One pilot claims to have seen "something", and accurately describes a small multirotor hobby helicopter... no indication that it was shootign video or had ANY video equipment on board, so does this mean ONLY video equipped helis are dangerous, since those seem to be the focus of the regulatory restrictions...?

The second question is who the heck would be STUPID enough to fly in a commercial approach/takeoff corridor????

It's not about the technology, it's about the IQ and safety conciousness of the "operators". And to think that there are moves to have multiple government agencies "flying" these sorts of UAV's for various purposes on top of it!?

Great technology, lots of implementation issues!
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Old March 6th, 2013, 06:29 PM   #50
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

RC aircraft are limited to 400 ft altitude in any case. I think this one was seen at 1500 ft.
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Old March 6th, 2013, 10:05 PM   #51
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
This could have ended badly
And now the FBI is involved:

FBI seeks public's help in finding operator of unmanned aircraft near JFK - Travel on NBCNews.com
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Old March 7th, 2013, 07:03 AM   #52
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

I think it should be making more sense why the FAA is likely to require UAV pilots for hire to have at least a private ticket. As part of your ground school you learn airport operations.

You will also have something to lose (license) if you screw up and because of that you will be more motivated to follow the rules.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 10:14 PM   #53
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

I can certainly see the potential for danger to other aircraft, to anything/body under the RC device, and maybe even to privacy. (I would imagine these RC devices with cameras would be something private investigators would find useful).
Despite that, I don't want to see this tech limited to only those who can afford a high licensing fee or high-cost training. Heck, it could even be useful (and perhaps, ultimately safer than a ladder and less expensive than a crane or bucket-truck/cherry-picker) for roofers, home inspectors, engineering inspectors, tower and high-voltage line inspections by utilities, and I suspect many others.
All that would be for "commercial" purposes, and potential beneficiaries should get on the bandwagon for sensible regulation.

I have no desire to fly a plane/jet/copter, but I can see potential in being "certified"/licensed - and effectively becoming an "expert" - in the operation of one of these devices with a camera attached.

On a slight tangent: I'm also wondering if model rockets are subject to similar restrictions? They are arguably even more dangerous, because no control can be exerted over them.

What a can of worms, huh?
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Old March 8th, 2013, 02:25 AM   #54
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

The UK seems to be well ahead in this. This is where you go for your qualification in the UK.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association Pilot Qualifications
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Old March 8th, 2013, 04:23 AM   #55
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
The UK seems to be well ahead in this. This is where you go for your qualification in the UK.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association Pilot Qualifications
There is no requirement for any qualifications as long as there is no camera on board so it could be argued that regulation is not necessary from a safety point of view. The reasons of course are historic as flying model aeroplanes has always been very lightly regulated here in the UK & provided you don't fly above 400 feet or too close to an airport you can basically do what you like as long as you do it safely. I suspect that the CAA saw the opportunity to impose regulation on aerial photography on privacy grounds while they couldn't get the same regulations imposed on all model aircraft flying.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 05:00 AM   #56
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

I suspect it's the camera that makes these UAV's more commercial (with legal implications when being used for paid work), rather than the hobbyist flying what can be very extreme model aircraft for enjoyment.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 05:48 AM   #57
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

In addition to the 400 foot rule there will be a regulation saying you can't fly over populated areas, similar to the rules for minimum altitudes for aircraft for vertical and horizontal separation. Helicopters are not as restricted as airplanes, so at 400 feet you are starting to risk mixing it up with helicopters.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 06:10 AM   #58
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
There is no requirement for any qualifications as long as there is no camera on board so it could be argued that regulation is not necessary from a safety point of view. The reasons of course are historic as flying model aeroplanes has always been very lightly regulated here in the UK .........
I'd say the big difference between hobby flying of model aircraft, and flying such with a camera on board, is that it doesn't really matter where you do the former - once you put a camera on board, it obviously has to be near whatever you want to film/photograph!

Hence, hobbyists who flew model aircraft in the past would CHOOSE to go somewhere quiet with few people around. Talk about cameras on board and it's a different matter - first choice becomes somewhere with interesting things to film! Then think about it being done commercially, and you start to get motivation for people to fly these things in locations that model aircraft enthusiasts themselves may consider madness. Likewise, if such as weather conditions were poor, a hobbyist wouldn't have too much of an issue with just saying "I'll try it tomorrow". But if you're worried about not being paid, maybe alienating a pushy client, it can lead to maybe risking making the flight in conditions that make it even less safe. That's before we even start thinking about operators concentrating on the images being recorded, to the negligence of flight safety.

There's a lot of precedence (at least in the UK) for having fairly light legislation on activities done "not for profit", compared to the same things done for "commercial" purposes, and that can happen either directly via legislation or indirectly via insurance considerations. As example, I am qualified (and consequently insured) to Scuba dive to a depth limit of 50metres, doing a dive requiring decompression stops, film or photograph to my hearts content - as long as I'm not being paid to do it. But I couldn't legally be paid to use Scuba and a camera in even a swimming pool, even in a depth I could stand up in! At first sight such as that may seem silly, but if you were in charge of making the rules, what would you do? At least with the current amateur/commercial distinction, everybody knows exactly where things stand.

I suspect the people who may be most concerned are the current "true hobbyists" who have been flying model aircraft for some time (presumably without serious incident). In the absence of any legislation at all, and unrestricted use of aerial drones for commercial photography and filming, it can only be a matter of time before a serious accident - and that is likely to lead to knee jerk (and draconian) blanket restrictions all round. Far better to get some more sensible legislation in well of advance of any accident, and a commercial/amateur distinction seems to me a pretty good idea in that respect.
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Old March 8th, 2013, 06:30 AM   #59
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

Even aside from the tighter regulations on 'aerial work' the CAA introduced extra restrictions on hobby flying with a camera on board. It's rather disproportionate that strictly under the legislation a toy like the Parrot Ar.Drone cannot be legally flown in your own back garden because it's within 50m of people & buildings over which the pilot has no control whereas a similar toy helicopter without a camera can be flown almost anywhere. Likewise for the DJI Phantom referenced earlier in this thread if it has a GoPro on board then it cannot be legally flown in your own back garden whereas without the GoPro it can.

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP658.PDF
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Old March 8th, 2013, 06:49 AM   #60
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Re: RC aerials illegal says FAA

I suspect it's privacy considerations. If you have people or buildings under your control you can, I would take that as meaning these people are aware of your operations (e.g. not taking sneaky shots of the neighbours sun bathing etc) and you can ensure they're not being endangered.
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