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Old June 9th, 2013, 10:47 AM   #1
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Aerial cam risks

I dread the day when someone is injured or even killed by an out of control flying platform at an event or wedding. It is bound to happen. Mechanical failures, blocked RC communication, unskilled operators are a few of the reasons why. The ultimate tragedy would be to kill someone with a crash of one of these flying platforms.

I hope good judgement and restraint will prevail but I fear some will become more and more daring in the way they use these devices which will lead to tragedy sooner or later.

Last edited by Jim Snow; June 9th, 2013 at 11:26 AM.
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Old June 9th, 2013, 11:04 AM   #2
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Re: Aerial cam risks

There's an FAR for that:

Code of Federal Regulations

Sec. 91.13

Part 91 GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES
Subpart A--General

Sec. 91.13

Careless or reckless operation.

(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
(b) Aircraft operations other than for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft, other than for the purpose of air navigation, on any part of the surface of an airport used by aircraft for air commerce (including areas used by those aircraft for receiving or discharging persons or cargo), in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
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Old June 9th, 2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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Re: Aerial cam risks

There are also laws against drunk driving but 30,000 people a year are killed because of a drunk driver.
The FAR are great BUT there will be people who either are not qualified to fly, don't consider that the danger might not be worth the shot or frankly are just plain stupid and someone gets hurt or worse. The FARs can not protect against stupid anymore than traffic laws can.
I wish they could but we all know better.
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Old June 9th, 2013, 10:00 PM   #4
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Re: Aerial cam risks

Some of us have have preached safety and not flying over crowds for many years now. Some won't get the message or will just ignore it and the result will be unfortunate.

However, putting things in perspective, more people are killed in auto accidents in one hour than have ever been killed in the entire history or RC aircraft. Life is intrinsically dangerous.
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Old June 9th, 2013, 10:27 PM   #5
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Re: Aerial cam risks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Michael View Post
There's an FAR for that:

Code of Federal Regulations

Sec. 91.13

Part 91 GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES
Subpart A--General

Sec. 91.13

Careless or reckless operation.

(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
(b) Aircraft operations other than for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft, other than for the purpose of air navigation, on any part of the surface of an airport used by aircraft for air commerce (including areas used by those aircraft for receiving or discharging persons or cargo), in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.
Don't these regulations apply to full size, non-RC aircraft? Shooting from full-size aircraft is entirely different from shooting with RC drones. As far as RC in the U.S. goes, NO FLIGHTS FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES are allowed at this time. This means that flying as a hobby is ok, but once you do something like shoot a wedding or any film project with RC aircraft, it's illegal. I've seen guys trying to circumvent this by claiming they're not charging for RC flying time, they're only charging for editing. I'm curious to see how this would stand up in court though...I don't think it would.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 12:17 AM   #6
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Re: Aerial cam risks

BTW since delivering pizzas with a drone is considered commercial purpose, it's also illegal in the U.S. lol
http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/04/tech...one/index.html
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Old June 10th, 2013, 05:27 AM   #7
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Re: Aerial cam risks

The most dangerous part of any helicopter are the rotor blades.

With a multi-rotor the risk is substantially reduced with a shroud. Like this:


This still hasn't reached the market.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #8
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Re: Aerial cam risks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
Don't these regulations apply to full size, non-RC aircraft? Shooting from full-size aircraft is entirely different from shooting with RC drones. As far as RC in the U.S. goes, NO FLIGHTS FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES are allowed at this time. This means that flying as a hobby is ok, but once you do something like shoot a wedding or any film project with RC aircraft, it's illegal. I've seen guys trying to circumvent this by claiming they're not charging for RC flying time, they're only charging for editing. I'm curious to see how this would stand up in court though...I don't think it would.
Claiming your just charging for other production services doesn't cut it. The LA Sheriffs Department is simply going online and contacting realtors who have property videos with aerial footage to track down the RC operators, not sure how legal that is either.

If its legal to do aerial photography as a hobby but illegal if you do it commercially obviously its not a safety concern or it would be illegal either way. The politics of this is egregious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Sensui View Post
The most dangerous part of any helicopter are the rotor blades.

With a multi-rotor the risk is substantially reduced with a shroud. Like this:

Safeflight Copters Quadcopter Summer Fun Flying - YouTube

This still hasn't reached the market.
That looked CGI and the idea of showing a child pushing on it is a BAD idea. Lawn mowers have shrouds on them too but kids shouldn't play with them either.

I'm not sure how much safer a shroud like this is for a bystander, I think a 6-10 pound object falling from 30 feet or more is going to do more damage or cause more injury than the props. It would certainly protect beginners from injuring themselves...
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Old June 10th, 2013, 05:37 PM   #9
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Re: Aerial cam risks

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Originally Posted by Chuck Spaulding View Post
That looked CGI and the idea of showing a child pushing on it is a BAD idea. Lawn mowers have shrouds on them too but kids shouldn't play with them either.

I'm not sure how much safer a shroud like this is for a bystander, I think a 6-10 pound object falling from 30 feet or more is going to do more damage or cause more injury than the props. It would certainly protect beginners from injuring themselves...
It's not CGI. It's a design that's actually been tested, but it's not yet been mass-produced. As for having a kid in close proximity, well, that wasn't me. I'm just sharing the link.

Much of the hazard of having any flying equipment near people are the rotor blades. Sure, having something fall on anyone is a bad thing. But just as bad, or worse, is having the equivalent of a flying weed whacker run into someone. And since many of the most interesting shots are with a camera in close proximity to people, this should be considered essential equipment.

I'm interested in operating a quadcopter from a small boat, as are others. And no way would I have an unshrouded quadcopter operating near me or anyone else.

So is it a good idea? Sure. Is it perfectly safe? Even a jib arm or an HMI on a stand aren't perfectly safe.

Sure beats having four sawblades slicing into your on-camera talent, isn't it?
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Old June 10th, 2013, 06:04 PM   #10
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Re: Aerial cam risks

You can't make ANYTHING 100% safe, all you can do is make it "safer". There is unfortunately NO way to make the human elelment any less random, dangerous, or in most cases of "accident"... STUPID...

While there is some danger to people on the ground depending on the design, I think the primary concern is unintended arial impacts - potentially a bit more serious if a full size aircraft/helicopter happened to ingest or impact a small UAV. In theory these small craft should not be operating in the same levels of airspace, but until they sort out how to keep 'em separated, there is the potential for trouble.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 06:26 PM   #11
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Re: Aerial cam risks

Absolutely correct Dave. One scenario would be a news event where you have news choppers at low altitude mixing it up with a swarm of UAVs all trying to scoop the same story. It's hard enough seeing stationary stuff near the ground like antennas and wires.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 06:35 PM   #12
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Re: Aerial cam risks

All RC aircraft are supposed to be 300 feet and lower. But you can find all kinds of online video examples of people busting that guideline.

Dumb.

Having been a pilot, it's sometimes hard to see other full-scale aircraft against ground clutter. UAV's would be nearly invisible.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #13
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Re: Aerial cam risks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Spaulding View Post
If its legal to do aerial photography as a hobby but illegal if you do it commercially obviously its not a safety concern or it would be illegal either way. The politics of this is egregious.
The argument is that if you're doing it for commercial gain, there are incentives to fly in circumstances that a hobby flyer just wouldn't. You may be tempted to push matters "just to gain the shot". In other words, fly closer to people or buildings than a hobby flyer ever would consider safe, or fly in marginal weather conditions.

If you're doing it for a hobby, and one day find the wind is gusting quite strongly, would you risk your expensive "toy"? But what about in a commercial scenario, with a pushy client who has made it clear that he may take his work elsewhere if you disappoint him?
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Old June 10th, 2013, 10:18 PM   #14
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Re: Aerial cam risks

That argument goes both ways, meaning that if you have invested a significant amount of time and money in order to be able to deliver broadcast quality footage using expensive cameras, the last thing on earth you would want to do is put this equipment at unnecessary risk. People who build and fly this type of aircraft clearly understand this; those that don't, speculate otherwise.

The accepted MAX flying altitude for RC aircraft is 400' AGL, not 300' per FAA AC-91-57.
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Old June 10th, 2013, 10:40 PM   #15
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Re: Aerial cam risks

Not saying that it doesn't happen but news helicopters are often in close proximity to police aircraft, buildings, over crowded freeways and sporting events and its fairly rare that there are catastrophic accidents.

The argument against how flying commercially would force people to take unnecessary risk is made by bureaucrats, non-pilots and insurance actuaries. You set your clients expectations long before you ever plan the flight and then stick to the plan, if there's an environmental condition that changes the plan, well then I guess they don't get the shot. I have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in training and equipment that I'm not going to risk to get the shot.

I'm a helicopter, fixed wing and multirotor pilot, I don't think I could have a midair with a quadcopter if I tried. I fly all over LA and there are days that I can fly from San Diego to Camarillo and see hardly any other aircraft, its not exactly like driving on the freeway.. Oddly enough the thing I see the most are helium balloons that escape from car lots.

I don't think AP poses anywhere near the level of risk that the government would have us believe.

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