Drone Operation - Railroad.net Guidance

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Re: Drone Operation - Railroad.net Guidance

Postby abaduck » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:53 am

That's why I very specifically said "they can fly anywhere in accordance with the relevant FARs"

The main point is they're making drones part of the *Federal* system - with the vertical separation you pointed out; conventional aircraft generally aren't allowed below 500ft except on approach and departure (or for specific aerial work); drones generally aren't allowed above 400ft. This makes sense to me. Thus it gets around all current or future local restrictions; the FAA are very jealous (for very valid reasons) of their authority being the sole authority to regulate aviation and airspace; if we had a patchwork system of different local and state laws and restrictions in different jurisdictions aviation would be a nightmare. FAA have ended that issue for professional drone operations by Federal rule making. That's critical. Any time a local cop or official questions or tries to prevent a professional drone operation you can just show your license and refer them to the FAA; it's now out of local jurisdiction.
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Re: Drone Operation - Railroad.net Guidance

Postby justalurker66 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:05 am

abaduck wrote:That's why I very specifically said "they can fly anywhere in accordance with the relevant FARs"


The statement I took exception to was "you'll no more need someone's permission to fly over their property with a drone than you would with a manned aircraft."

You make it sound like the new regulations ALLOW free flight over other's property. But the FAA rules that allow an aircraft to fly above 500ft over rural property or above 1000ft over populated areas absolutely do not help when one wants to fly a drone that cannot exceed 400ft. You are correct in saying that the permission level is the same ... no permission would be granted for an aircraft (with few exceptions) and no permission is granted for a UAS. But the inference is that the new rules somehow free up the ability to fly ... they do not.

The FAA is relying on local law enforcement to collect information and report violations to the FAA. It does not prevent local authorities from enforcing any other laws that may be broken. For example, if you are flying your drone at 450ft or behind an obstruction (out of visual range) local police should collect information and report you to the FAA. If you are taking videos or photos over your neighbor's fence authorities are still able to enforce relevant laws (and perhaps also report you to the FAA for "flying over people"). The new rules are not a carte banche.
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Re: Drone Operation - Railroad.net Guidance

Postby Ken W2KB » Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:42 pm

The rules you cited apply to fixed wing aircraft. There is no minimum altitude for helicopters except for those following specific paths set forth in limited areas, most notably in Class B airspace (within a few miles of the very largest airports or very large cities). A drone more closely resembles a helicopter, indeed they can hover and maneuver like a helicopter, and the FAA regulation for those reads as follows: "(d) Helicopters - Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator."

I am not convinced that local police, or anyone else for that matter other than the pilot with a telemetered readout from the aircraft, will be able to determine that a drone or other aircraft is flying at 350 or 400 or 450 feet absent sophisticated measurement equipment. Gross deviations, such as 1,000 feet, or extremely close to the ground could be based on visual observation.

While the police or other local authorities can enforce local laws and ordinances with respect to drone operation, that is true to the extent that the laws are not pre-empted by the FAA regulations. For example, a local ordinance likely could legally prohibit the take off, landing or operation of drones from a public park, but not flying over the park if operated from another location such as adjoining private property with permission of the landowner.
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Re: Drone Operation - Railroad.net Guidance

Postby justalurker66 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:22 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:"(d) Helicopters - Helicopters may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed In paragraph (b) or (c) of this section if the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface. In addition, each person operating a helicopter shall comply with routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the Administrator."


That concept is written into the UAV rules. Drones cannot be operated in a manner that is hazardous to people (among the myriad of other restrictions).
If you are flying any aircraft, including a helicopter, below 500ft or within 500ft of a structure you better have a good reason.

Ken W2KB wrote:I am not convinced that local police, or anyone else for that matter other than the pilot with a telemetered readout from the aircraft, will be able to determine that a drone or other aircraft is flying at 350 or 400 or 450 feet absent sophisticated measurement equipment.


All they need to do is make the claim and provide a basis for the claim. The drone owner can deal with the FAA.

Ken W2KB wrote:For example, a local ordinance likely could legally prohibit the take off, landing or operation of drones from a public park, but not flying over the park if operated from another location such as adjoining private property with permission of the landowner.


Within the FAA restriction against "flying over people" of course. :)
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Re: Drone Operation - Railroad.net Guidance

Postby Morisot » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:27 pm

Today, July 1, 2016 news outlets are showing fire fighters who were hindered by intrusive, low-flying drones in areas where they were trying to bring wildfires under control ---- to the point that some units had to suspend fighting the fires in those areas.
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Re: Drone Operation - Railroad.net Guidance

Postby MCL1981 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:18 pm

The firefighting thing saddens me. Mainly because I believe it's mostly hyped up bull. Someone somewhere told someone they saw something somewhere that may or may not have been a drone or a bird or a plastic bag. So, lets cease all firefighting activity and call the news media. It's absurd. They are barely (if even at all) visible to other aircraft in the sky, especially in the conditions present at these scenes. And they're difficult to spot from the ground too. I do not for a second believe most of these drone sightings are true. But thanks to the media looking for a story, everyone is freaked out and losing their minds.
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