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Old October 21st, 2013, 04:08 PM   #46
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

A drone carrying an Epic can injure an person or cause an accident if it hits the windscreen of a moving vehicle and it's more likely to be in such a position than a hobbyist flying their helicopter in a field or in their backyard. A skilled hobbyist who wants to operate commercially shouldn't have any problems passing a test.

This is nothing to do with politicians getting on bandwagons about sport safety, it's just about a client hiring someone they know is qualified to do a job.
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Old October 21st, 2013, 06:03 PM   #47
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

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I don't understand why everyone differentiates between hobbyists and professionals. As a pilot its my responsibility to mitigate as much risk as possible whether I'm being paid or not .......
The answer has been given by various people earlier in this thread, but it's basically that if a hobbyist, it doesn't really matter where you fly - you're most likely to find a field well away from people, vehicles, power lines, roads, buildings etc. If it's commercial work, you fly where the client pays you to. And that's likely to be because there is something to film there, and hence probably people or property that may get damaged if things go wrong!
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Everything is dangerous, so what! Here in California politicians are trying to ban football, basketball and baseball at public schools because they think its too dangerous. I don't need some government employee deciding what sports my kids can and can't play........
I have a lot of sympathy for you here - but it's not the same thing. I go back to what I said earlier about the differences between personal risk and third party risk.

Injuries due to sport are likely to affect only the participants. If somebody wants to indulge in anything where they may get injured, then that should be up to them or their parents.

If somebody wants to do an activity where *I* get injured if something goes wrong, that's a different matter.

Have you read the link to the situation in the UK that Brian posted? It's similar in many ways to what Jim talks about - 3 classes of aircraft (here sub-7kg, 7-20kg, and over 20kg) and a distinction between hobbyist and commercial use. Fly a sub-7kg unit for non-commercial use and there's not a lot of restriction.

The words "common sense" keep getting used in this discussion. I'm sure the people posting here DO have common sense, but just don't assume everybody else can be trusted to be the same. Unfortunate, but that's why legislation is necessary in many areas of life.
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 12:50 AM   #48
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

In civil aviation there are certain minimum standards for basic piloting skills and competence to ensure safe operation.

There are certain manufacturing and maintenance standards for production aircraft, and another set of standards for amateur-built aircraft. There are also operational limits for both, depending on how they're used.

Similar standards could be applied for UAV's that are used on a commercial basis.

Why? Because they're going to be operated near people and property. Hobbyists, on the other hand, could be assumed to operate in situations that will not put people or property at risk. They'll operate out of flying fields and in areas that are sparsely populated. Of course there will be those who are going to be reckless, but there's no legislating that out of existence. And they can be cited, prosecuted or sued as needed by existing laws.

Instead, it would be more constructive to create a level of credibility among those who want to maintain a level of professional respect for this growing field.

UAV operators should be able to demonstrate operational competencies to ensure they are in full control and able to deal with a variety of situations, and maneuver with precision. They should also have full knowledge of emergency procedures and risk management. Preflight checklists are part of that. Flight planning is another part. Lots of details, and it all matters.
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 08:35 AM   #49
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

So when does a model become a real aircraft? A military UAV would not be considered a "model" by most people. There are many military UAV's that are less than 5kg (not all UAV's carry weapons), these are definitely not models either costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the same time they are often not all that different to many hobby UAV's.

I think you blur the line between a model aircraft and a real aircraft when you start to add autonomous control or computerised systems that help fly the aircraft. The vast majority of multi-rotors can only fly thanks to micro processor stabilisation. Then you start adding cameras and other devices that can intrude on privacy or place the pilot virtually in the aircraft. When does toy/model end and unmanned aircraft begin? It's not just about weight although obviously a heavy craft can do a lot more damage than a light one.
It's a tough one and I'm glad I don't have to define what is a toy/model and what is an unmanned aircraft.
So if it's extremely hard to determine what's a model and what's not, then all that's left to regulate is how you fly unmanned aircraft. It's much easier to define hobby, not for profit applications and commercial for profit applications, so this is where the line has been drawn in the sand in Europe.

As a professional cameraman I have public liability insurance. Many, many of my clients or the venues I work in will not allow me to work unless I have sufficient insurance. In most cases the biggest risk is simply someone tripping over a tripod or a piece of faulty electrical equipment giving someone a shock (and all of my mains powered gear has to be safety tested annually). If I want to place a light on a lighting truss above the public or anywhere where people may be working I have to use a safety line to ensure that if the lights primary fixing fails it cannot fall on someone. Yet we now have people that think it's perfectly OK to fly a device with similar weight to a small video light above and close to people and property uninsured and a multirotor is far more likely to fall on them than a properly attached light.

Flying for a hobby you take your craft out into an open field and do what you wish away from people and property. Working commercially in most cases your going to be close to people and property, this does require regulation, even if all that is, is a proof of competency test.
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:31 AM   #50
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
So when does a model become a real aircraft? A military UAV would not be considered a "model" by most people. There are many military UAV's that are less than 5kg (not all UAV's carry weapons), these are definitely not models either costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the same time they are often not all that different to many hobby UAV's.
Here in the States I think that is why the line of demarcation has been compensation. Hobbyists and professionals in many cases own the same gear so using gear as the break is indeed blurry. It is compensation that makes for a easy measure to create the break. Under the assumption of compensation it is considered reasonable to assume that a professional is doing the job for profit where the hobbyist may not be.
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 10:23 AM   #51
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

So someone with a heli with a camera who is flying as a hobby catches some footage, with some important or interesting content... which goes viral and he is paid for its use... is he now a "pro" flying for commercial purposes??
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 10:35 AM   #52
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

I suspect they're in the same position as a non professional doing the same with their iphone by chance coming across a one off event. They're not putting themselves out for hire or employment as operator of an unmanned aerial vehicle.
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Old October 22nd, 2013, 12:17 PM   #53
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

I think if you accidentally or unintentionally shot something that went viral you would still be classed as a hobbyist. But going out and shooting a video that you intend to place on youtube and choosing to monetize that video would probably take you into the commercial category, after all there is no requirement to monetize the video to place it on youtube. So the only reason to monetize it is to make money, that makes it a commercial video, even if you do only make a few dollars. The CAA defines shooting something for a mate for a beer as OK, but a case of beer makes it a commercial venture.

In the UK flying a toy with a camera that can record results in restrictions as to where you can fly as you cannot be within 50m of any person, vehicle or structure that you do not control or have explicit permission to be near. The primary reason for this is obviously privacy.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 12:20 AM   #54
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

If we are to define commercial ops, I think it would be one where a contract for services to be performed is executed before the material is acquired per the client's specs.

Getting video by happenstance that becomes worthy of compensation is not really commercial operation. It's just your 15 minutes of fame.

Somewhere between the wild, wild west and government licensing/regulation is industry certification. Creating a training/proficiency program and subsequent certification by a recognized organization could be helpful in say, being able to obtain liability insurance for commercial UAV AP, or perhaps being hired at all. Having an industry that's willing to police itself is what I feel would be most effective.

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Old October 29th, 2013, 05:27 AM   #55
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

The UK has a trade association for operators.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Association Welcome
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Old October 30th, 2013, 12:59 PM   #56
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

However people want to couch this debate, you can already begin to see the result of the ban on commercial AP, while some might view the US as the center of all things film production, the rest of the World is leaving the US behind, far behind when it comes to AP.

That's not to say that there aren't good people doing good work in the U.S., it just means if they're charging money for it their criminals and that's no way to promote innovation. Also an interesting perspective related to this conversation is that much of the debate about regulations seems to be hobbyist vs professional, this is a video related forum so I would think the concern would be for the professional.

Anyway, here's a couple of innovative shots that show the potential of AP when the focus is lees on regulation and more on doing.



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Old October 30th, 2013, 02:11 PM   #57
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

I for one want to see this get figured out in the US so those of us that are poised to add this service to our offerings can do so legally.

If I had influence on the rules here are things I would like to see implemented:

No FPV ops allowed
Minimum training requirement
Minimum insurance requirement with levels that rise for larger and more dangerous aircraft
Registration of equipment including all major machine pieces being serialized for identification
A black box recorder on the craft
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Old October 30th, 2013, 04:44 PM   #58
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

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However people want to couch this debate, you can already begin to see the result of the ban on commercial AP, while some might view the US as the center of all things film production, the rest of the World is leaving the US behind, far behind when it comes to AP.
But don't you think it's relevant that in the rest of the world, commercial usage is subject to a set of legislation that both users and controlling bodies are broadly happy with?

Yet from reading these threads it seems that the US debate is polarised between attitudes of "ban the lot" on the one side and "no legislation at all" on the other?
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Old October 30th, 2013, 08:47 PM   #59
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

One thing that I'm sensitive to is what will it take to comply and how much will it cost? As a pilot and a plane owner I have lived through the unintended consequences of over regulation which along with the economy has turned my plane into a paper weight.

For many who argue for regulation they seem to draw the line at commercial AP, as if MR pilots will have any say where that line is drawn. A lot of people have stated that flying AP commercially is somehow more dangerous than a hobbyist, have you seen the risks people are taking to produce Youtube videos to garner more views? I guess it depends on how you define compensation.

The issue regarding regulating MR's has little to do with the small guy who wants to shoot AP from a MR for movies, real estate, commercials etc., with the exception of a few FPV pilots most are flying LOS well under 400', it has more to do with managing the airspace and dedicated victor airways for large UAV's.

I think most people would agree that the media has overstated the risks associated with AP from small MR's so it puts good law abiding MR pilots in conflict with the general public. But when does the public safety trump my civil liberties? Why is this even an issue, there aren't that many RC's being flown that would necessitate

Have you ever been to an Islands restaurant? They show some great videos of extreme skiing, surfing, and mountain biking, all of these activities can be dangerous to the film crews, participants and spectators, where's the outcry to regulate that? There are far more people participating in those activities than are flying MR's.

I do think its relevant that many countries are finding the right balance of regulation while still respecting the right of the users. The FAA had that chance and didn't do it, now its putting it to an NPRM. We'll have to wait and see if they can find the same balance.
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Old October 30th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #60
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

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They show some great videos of extreme skiing, surfing, and mountain biking, all of these activities can be dangerous to the film crews, participants and spectators, where's the outcry to regulate that? There are far more people participating in those activities than are flying MR's.
This has been said so many times now that I've lost track.

Your example above is another example of people taking risks with their OWN lives and welfare - not those of third parties. If anyone chooses to take part in such activities, it's their business. They are the ones who get hurt if their actions go wrong.
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