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Old May 28, 2011, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Balsabird View Post
So it's a numbers game. I was not a math major so I'll ask for assistance here.

Let's say I have a bottle of absolutely pure distilled water with a capacity of sixty billion parts. You are thirsty. I pour out a glass of that water and give it to you and say "By the way, there is one part rat poison in that sixty billion parts of otherwise distilled water. Here you are." Would you drink it? How about a hundred parts rat poison in those sixty billion? Maybe 1/100th part rat poison. Entropy aside, how much rat poison in your glass are you willing to accept so you can drink it?
That's actually a great example that supports my position.
Do you realize that *you* actually do this all the time? There exists almost every
type of toxin in various sources of water and food you regularly drink and eat every day.
It *is* measured in parts per billion or parts per million and it *is* absolutely a numbers
game. If the numbers are small enough then it's considered safe for human
consumption, otherwise not. There's no perfectly safe food or drink. Our water and
food (and air) contains small levels of toxins such as arsenic, mercury, lead, aluminum,
cadmium, thallium, nickel, chromium 6 and various radioactive substances.

From my point of view, I should be able to expect someone else to see how what his actions are could interfere with anothers' pursuit of a possibility of completing his flight without BLOS interruption, because you know better. Doesn't matter how many birds there are out there, one can do you in as easily as a dozen. I saw that happen when an Air California 737 picked up a single seagull in the right engine just after rotation.
Example of a low altitude bird strike near an airport, which has much higher odds for
the reasons I outlined earlier.

FPV-BLOS is intentional, flown by someone who knows there are more airplanes out there and goes anyway while claiming it's mostly safe because nothing has happened yet.
No, that's not why I claimed it safe. I said it's because the odds of collision are
astronomically small. Smaller than the risks from many other human caused activities you
do have control over but don't currently worry about, that all have a non-zero
chance of occurring.

Sort of like what the CAA (pre-FAA) said until the Grand Canyon collision--in the Fifties, was it?
Two planes forced by ATC and weather to fly VFR at the same altitude around
the same thunderstorm at 21,000 feet.

Oh, I get it, it's all about risk management, is it not?
Yes *everything* in your life is ultimately about risk management whether
you want to believe that or not. If you truly wanted zero risk to your person
and family from aviation accidents, you would not be a pilot. In fact you would
have to push to outlaw all aviation because a full scale aircraft could crash on top of
you while you're on the ground. You can't logically argue that one human initiated risk
with low but non-zero odds is totally acceptable while another is totally
unacceptable despite the the latter having significantly *lower* odds than the
former. That's why it's important to actually know what the odds are and
regulate accordingly. Adding more full scale aircraft to the sky (FAA forecasts there
to be 50,000 more aircraft in US skies by 2030) constrained to depart and arrive at the same destinations
as today is a significantly greater risk to you as a pilot, than adding a relatively small number of small
foam amateur piloted sUAS to lightly trafficked areas of the same sky.

Well then, we could add more risks to flying full-size until someone says OK, that's enough, let's don't push any more of that. Sort of like playing Russian roulette with a gun having room for only one round compared to one with sixty billion rounds. How many times will you try that before saying "nuts to this"?
It still ultimately depends on the numbers. If the true odds of collision in class G
airspace are say 1 in 100 billion then we're talking 1 bullet in 100 billion empty
chambers, versus the bird strike case of 60 billion rounds out of 100 billion chambers.
you and I and everyone else on this planet knowingly/purposely take risks with odds much
much much worse than that every day. The problem is we (collectively as humans)
are really bad at assessing and prioritizing which risks are the ones that are most likely
to affect or even kill us and which ones are not. Some examples. Quoted from
"So, according to the National Safety Council this means your one-year odds of dying in a car accident is about one out of 6500. Therefore your lifetime probability (6500 78 years life expectancy) of dying in a motor accident are about one in 83.

What about your chances of dying in an airplane crash? A one-year risk of one in 400,000 and one in 5,000 lifetime risk. What about walking across the street? A one-year risk of one in 48,500 and a lifetime risk of one in 625. Drowning? A one-year risk of one in 88,000 and a one in 1100 lifetime risk. In a fire? About the same risk as drowning. Murder? A one-year risk of one in 16,500 and a lifetime risk of one in 210. What about falling? Essentially the same as being murdered."

The rest of that article is well worth reading, and is about the realities of risk analysis.
Their point is, that adding an additional risk to your life of say 1 in a million,
is insignificant compared to all the others you knowingly accept. My point
is the same, but the odds are even smaller by several orders of magnitude.

I also love the reasoning of "we only do this over unpopulated areas away from towns and cities". Where do you think full size airplanes spend most of their cross-country time?
As I said before, they spend their time in relatively narrow corridors in both horizontal
and vertical air space. A VFR piloted plane can choose to fly around in what they
might consider to be random airspace, but they're still ultimately constrained by the
fact that they have to take-off and land at airports, and that statistically limits
the airspace in which they'll actually be found most of the time. And the
reality is most VFR pilots simply don't choose to fly around randomly so they're found
in the same narrow corridors. As an FPV pilot it's easy enough to simply go
somewhere else, which we do.

"But jets fly way too high for me to threaten them." Many light airplanes fly much lower than that, from a couple thousand feet on up based on what the pilot is doing. "We do this only at low altitudes." Like the low altitudes available when flying on top of a cloud deck? "Well, it's only scattered layers, no more." I'd have to disagree from the videos I've seen.
Actually, as you well know, full scale VFR flights aren't allowed to fly close to clouds
and IFR flights aren't vectored through cloud decks at altitudes low enough to reach
with FPV planes unless relatively close to airports, which is why we don't fly close airports.
When FPV pilots go cloud chasing they're usually purposely skimming the top edge of the
clouds themselves which is basically a no-man's land for full scale aircraft. There's
nothing interesting for an FPV pilot 1000 ft or more above a cloud.
And whether you believe this or not, someone flying an electric FPV plane 10-20 miles
from an airport doesn't generally choose to burn through their entire battery pack to
climb to a cloud deck at 15,000 feet AGL where there could be IFR flights transiting
those clouds. They wait until the clouds are low and relatively easy to reach
so they can spend more time playing in them.

Actually, I don't really care how you operate FPV/BLOS flight as long as you can provide the same level of separation I currently have with other airplanes. In other words, do your thing but don't add more danger to me while you do. With no on-board pilot flying the BLOS model but relying on the narrow view of the camera, compared to wider view the average human has, how do you propose to accomplish that?
I propose to do it, by launching and flying FPV aircraft far from airports and known
VFR flight corridors at non-standard altitudes, thereby lowering the odds of us being
in the same part of the sky to astronomically small levels.

BTW, it's not like see or sense-and-avoid is the end-all-be-all of collision avoidance
either. In the Grand Canyon mid-air they were both forced to fly VFR and knew it was
their responsibility to watch for other planes, but still didn't see each other in time.
A couple years ago here, a Cirrus SR22 flying in *known* heavily populated
but uncontrolled airspace over a populated area collided with a sailplane on tow.
The Cirrus pilot did not see the tow plane or the sailplane, which together
represented a pretty huge visual target in the sky. I'm not saying it's useless. Just
that it's still just a numbers game and I advocate reducing the odds in a different way
that is no less effective.

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Last edited by Daemon; May 28, 2011 at 02:50 AM.