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Old October 12th, 2013, 03:54 PM   #1
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Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Remote aircraft pilot fights $10,000 FAA fine, could change drone rules | The Verge
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Old October 12th, 2013, 06:48 PM   #2
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

As part of that item, it's said:
Quote:
Yet hobbyists — who may well be using the same aircraft — aren't subject to the ban. Asks Pirker, "How come the flight is less dangerous if you’re not receiving any compensation for it?"
We've been here before. It's because if you're being paid, there may easily be more likelihood of the operator taking risks that they normally wouldn't if they were doing it for a hobby. It's the old "it'll probably be OK....." versus knowing that if it doesn't happen, no money. There are lots of activities that are in the same category, think of driving a car - insurance and other regulations for driving a taxi are far different than driving for your own purposes.

And secondly, if there may seem to be easy money to be made, watch the idiots flock in with more enthusiasm than common sense. Enthusiasts doing it for a hobby are likely to be more restrained, and do their flying in sensible places - if you're doing it for money, you fly where you're paid to get the video, to hell with safety.
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Old October 12th, 2013, 08:34 PM   #3
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Since it appears the FAA didn't "follow the rules" while making rules for other people to follow, I'll be rooting for him... when the rules only apply to "SOME animals", there is a serious problem!


Having just attended an airshow where the planes were kept so far out that I had to use a high zoom camera to even see much of anything... there comes a point where we become so risk averse we may as well ban getting out of bed... for there will be little left worth living for!

Just a few short years ago at the same show/venue, the crowd was blasted by the acrobatic jet team exhausts as they taxied out for takeoff, myself included... OK, maybe they WERE a bit lax at that time... but no one was hurt even though someone could have been. I think I got some dirt in my eye... oh well... I think my kids all laughed and got a big kick out of it... actually they still laugh about it!

We all accept some risks, the government would like to make life so "risk free", we won't be able to do a single thing without breaking a law - they are expelling kids with pop tarts and "bubble guns", and banning TAG for heavens sake!!! There needs to be an old fashioned thing called COMMON SENSE, not 10 bazillion more "rules and regulations"...
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Old October 13th, 2013, 12:35 AM   #4
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
As part of that item, it's said:

We've been here before. It's because if you're being paid, there may easily be more likelihood of the operator taking risks that they normally wouldn't if they were doing it for a hobby. It's the old "it'll probably be OK....." versus knowing that if it doesn't happen, no money. There are lots of activities that are in the same category, think of driving a car - insurance and other regulations for driving a taxi are far different than driving for your own purposes.

And secondly, if there may seem to be easy money to be made, watch the idiots flock in with more enthusiasm than common sense. Enthusiasts doing it for a hobby are likely to be more restrained, and do their flying in sensible places - if you're doing it for money, you fly where you're paid to get the video, to hell with safety.
That's a really narrow view.
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Old October 13th, 2013, 03:09 AM   #5
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

A commercial pilot's license is tougher to get than a PPL.The FAA seems rather behind the ball with this one, since the UK's CAA has regulations and qualifications for commercial use of drones. If someone is commercially using one of these they should be qualified to do so, that protects both the client and the public from unskilled or cowboy operators.
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Old October 13th, 2013, 07:04 AM   #6
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

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That's a really narrow view.
Why is it "narrow"?

All I'm saying is that if you're being offered money to do an activity, there's an incentive to take risks chances that you wouldn't if it was purely on a hobby basis. A feeling that if you don't, the person paying will ask somebody else next time.

It doesn't mean that all such activity should be banned, but does argue that commercial activity should be subject to different rules than non-commercial. (Control over working hours for lorry drivers and commercial pilots are obvious comparisons.) It also helps enforce a higher standard of training, and if it's uppermost in an operators mind that chancing it too much may lead to loss of licence, that may discourage risk taking.

And the danger is that if sensible rules aren't brought in and enforced, there'll be a knee jerk reaction and outright ban. I wouldn't want to see that.

As far as potential for damage, then if you read the comments at the bottom of the original link, then a lot of people are simply missing the point. There's much discussion along the lines of "so what if a small quadrocopter hit a car? The quadrocopter will come off much worse anyway, won't it?". Well, maybe initially, but if such hit your windscreen whilst doing 70mph on a busy motorway, don't you think it may at least shatter the windscreen? Isn't there a strong likelihood of at least causing the hit car to swerve, possibly in heavy traffic? The original damage may indeed not be much - the resulting accident may be very serious. I can't believe this has to be spelled out.
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Old October 13th, 2013, 04:55 PM   #7
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

If you're taking money to do something, presumably you DO IT COMPETENTLY, licensed or not!?

IOW, the exact OPPOSITE of your premise, at the point someone is being paid, the incentive to do the job competently, effectively, and SAFELY, so that there is no loss of equipment or footage rises exponentially...

The idea that because someone invests several thousand dollars (or any other currency) to put up a capable "rig" they become risk takers willing to destroy that rig to "get the shot" is a stretch...

Part of the problem is there seem to be "technical issues", and of course the opportunity for "operator error". Companies making these are working on reducing the possibility of both those risks, but you can't ELIMINATE all risk, that's just impossible.


The guy in NY who killed himself with a RC HELI (not a quad or multi-rotor) was EXPERIENCED, could no doubt have passed ANY licensing test with ease, but he was taking a crazy risk and died doing it, while not being paid anything for it.

The unique nature of aerial footage draws a lot of novices, and the lack of experience (as with ANY technical device or skill) DOES represent a danger - but stretching by saying because a novice cannot operate a "drone" safely (any more than a 10 year old who has never been trained to drive can operate a car safely), so "there oughta be a law" putting burdens on COMPETENT operators is a fallacious leap of logic. There needs to be COMMON SENSE involved.


Just out of curiosity, I pocked up some of the cheap little import gyro stabilized helis that fit in your hand... even though they are TOYS, they took a fair amount of time to develop enough skill to "pilot" safely, and I suppose they COULD injure someone - I've been hit a couple times, and it stings... once a little skill has been developed, they are generally safe. I've got a bigger one sitting here with a technical issue (meaning control is unreliable), and until it's been fixed 100%, it is SITTING, grounded... common sense... I also picked up an RC simulator for PC, and guess what... realistically, the first few flights ended up in crashes!!! Skill takes time to develop... common sense... well, you either got it or ya don't!
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Old October 13th, 2013, 05:34 PM   #8
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
If you're taking money to do something, presumably you DO IT COMPETENTLY, licensed or not!?
You may, I may..... but can you really tell me that's true of everybody? Legislation over such as driver hours isn't done for fun, or to be deliberately difficult - it's because it's been found necessary.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
IOW, the exact OPPOSITE of your premise, at the point someone is being paid, the incentive to do the job competently, effectively, and SAFELY, so that there is no loss of equipment or footage rises exponentially...
No, because of the "it'll never happen to me factor", and the fact that it's so difficult to quantify risk. If you were pretty sure an action would cause a serious accident, of course you wouldn't do it. But if you were being asked to deliver something, knew it could lead to not being hired again if you didn't deliver, and thought "oh, it'll probably work out OK....."
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Part of the problem is there seem to be "technical issues", and of course the opportunity for "operator error". Companies making these are working on reducing the possibility of both those risks, but you can't ELIMINATE all risk, that's just impossible.
No, but you can minimise risks, certainly unnecessary ones. That's partly technical, partly by regulation - not flying too close to busy roads for example.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
The guy in NY who killed himself with a RC HELI (not a quad or multi-rotor) was EXPERIENCED, could no doubt have passed ANY licensing test with ease, but he was taking a crazy risk and died doing it, while not being paid anything for it
Tragic for him and his family though that case may be, the risk was a personal one. He chose to take the risk, he was the only person likely to be harmed if things went wrong. As such it's no different from anyone who takes part in any other extreme sport, and no, I don't think that form of risk taking should be banned.

This is different. we're talking about people who seem to want to take risks for financial gain - but where the risks are with other peoples lives and safety, not their own. That's the difference.

Take one quote from that article:
Quote:
The FAA says Pirker operated the styrofoam "drone" at extremely low altitudes. He flew it through a tunnel with moving cars below. He came too close to a UVA statue, railway tracks, and civilians.
Now if that's accurate, just think about it.... "He flew it through a tunnel with moving cars below."

Dave, you say "There needs to be COMMON SENSE involved." Yes, in principle I agree - but unfortunately, don't you think the above (assuming it's true) shows that in some cases that's severely lacking?
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Old October 13th, 2013, 05:39 PM   #9
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Requiring a qualification for commercial operators isn't a burden, it's putting in place a minimum standard that they should be demanding as professionals. It would ensure that they do know Aviation Law and the factors that affect the operation of drones. For serious hobbyists wishing to become operators it ticks the boxes on what they're expected to know.
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Old October 13th, 2013, 06:53 PM   #10
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

David is correct. Commercial pilots are regularly put in a situation where they are coerced into pushing their personal limits by their employers. There is a lot of competition for pilot slots so if you don't play ball you may find yourself looking for a new gig. What do you think is going to happen when the pressure is to 'get the shot' in a breaking news situation?
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Old October 13th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #11
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

The EMPLOYER will be held liable in a large lawsuit... there is a financial dis-incentive already in place for malicious, reckless or grossly negligent behavior.

And you've added an important variable - an employer who demands an employee take an unreasonable risk - very different from an independent operator who will have to foot the bill for a crash or damage/injury. Two VERY different scenarios, IMO.

Different perspectives I suppose, but if an operator knows what he and his equipment are capable of doing safely (like stunt men do every day, sometimes they get killed anyway... like anyone who gets into a car does everyday, people still have "accidents"), more rules and regulations are not "the" answer...


I'm sure the FAA complaint filed against the guy seeking a $10K fine is as accurate and diligent as the FAA rules put into place without proper procedure... yeah, sure... the side of the story when the government wants to tell it is ALWAYS slanted in favor of the agenda - AKA keeping their "budget" money flowing.... I'll still root for the guy getting the shaft while the agency doing it is bending the rules...


There will no doubt be "public" debates, and eventually SOME form of regulation, but in a society where there is a rule or regulation for EVERYTHING, the only result is a populace of CRIMINALS, and that is not a desirable outcome. Perhaps if STUPIDITY was ALWAYS painful, the situation would be a bit easier! Far more effective than piles of bureaucratic papers!
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Old October 14th, 2013, 02:49 AM   #12
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

What the operator thinks what they and their equipment can do may differ from reality. Stunt people train, practise and build up a reputation with other stunt performers, they're extremely aware of risks and the correct procedures to perform them safely.

Having a license just proves that you''re meeting a minimum standard of skills.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 09:39 AM   #13
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

Looking at the footage in that link - he does seem to fly very 'angrily'. No smooth banks and turns, Grand Theft Auto style changes of direction. Personally, somebody who flys like that isn't really thinking. A good friend of mine runs a photography business specialising in aircraft mounted cameras. He's spent time working with the CAA to get mounts and aircraft attachments tested and approved, yet he sees people almost continually attaching GoPros to aircraft in all sorts of homebrew ways. Elastic cords, cable ties, clamps to any useful mounting point - even things like pitot heads and vertical stabiliser lighting. A few fall off, lots spin around with the vibration, and nobody seems to accept that the CAA ban this kind of jury rigged attachments. There's also the pilots license rules about getting paid for aerial work when you have a PPL, rather than a CPL. He doesn't complain, but it sure annoys him privately what these people do. With two feet on the ground they take even crazier risks it seems. It needs a few high value prosecutions to calm things down I think.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 01:49 PM   #14
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

It is completely wrong to equate the actions of this individual (assuming the reports are true) with stuntmen.

Yes, stuntmen take risks for the work they do - but as with dangerous sports it's THEIR OWN lives and well being they are putting at risk.

In this case, it's OTHER PEOPLE that have to bear the risk of the operators actions, for no benefit to themselves.

It's the difference between driving on a race track and the public road.

You may never remove third party risk altogether, but therein lies good legislation - striking an acceptable balance between risk and benefit/reward. At the moment, it's all benefit/reward to the operators, all risk to third parties. That has to change, and maybe making an example of this individual is a good start.
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Old October 14th, 2013, 03:09 PM   #15
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Re: Drone pilot being fined $10,000 by FAA

The charge in this case was the generic reckless and dangerous FAR they use when nothing else fits. So an argument could be made that existing legislation covers third party risk. However, it would appear to pose additional legal risk to a commercial operator depending on the whims of the local FSDO.
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