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Old Dec 03, 2012, 05:51 PM
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nblracer880's Avatar
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Got a call from the FAA

I do aerial photography for a living with my EPP FPV plane and with my quad copter.

Today, my business phone rings and I answered it expecting a customer requesting an estimate.

Instead I am greeted by a local FAA FSDO's Operations Inspector. He goes on to inform me that it is currently illegal to operate my UAS for any commercial purposes.

I specifically asked if his phone call was an order to cease and desist and he said no, he was just giving me information.

Since he did not tell me to cease and desist I am going to continue to operate business as usual and hope everything blows over.

Does anyone know what the fine or penalty actually is for playing with my RC plane and selling a few pictures? (that sounds like an America I want to live in by the way)

He went on to tell me that I can operate my UAS as I was previously, just not commercially for money.

The funny thing is, when I am operating commercially, I am usually less that 100 feet in the air. When I am having an FPV flight for fun I go anywhere from 1000' to 3000' AGL.

This is so frustrating to me both as a hobbyist and a small business owner. It is a joke that the FAA is trying to place such limitations on a TOY AIRPLANE for god's sake.

Regardless, I am not going to let this stop me.. I will wait until I start to get letters from the FAA or prosecution notices. A big deal needs to be made about this.. if there is a court case, I will involve the media heavily and maybe it will help get more of the public involved and on our side.

I am calling my congressman tomorrow as well as a number for the office that is handling UAS integration in Washington D.C.

What do you guys think about this?
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:15 PM
FPV Desert Beta Test Center
Mesa, Arizona
Joined Nov 2006
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Where have you been for the last 4 years?
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary Evans View Post
Where have you been for the last 4 years?
Lol I've known about this for as long as its been going on, just never figured it would catch up with me where I live. My local airport has allowed me to fly FPV on their property and have never given me any problems about FPV operations less than a mile west of the airfield.

I just needed to vent my frustration some way.. hence this thread =)
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:30 PM
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Eddie James's Avatar
United States, GA, Kennesaw
Joined Sep 2009
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You can petition for an exemption to 14 CFR 21.191.

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_polic...on/#exemptions

I am in the same boat. Along with many others. Welcome to the club.
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:45 PM
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United States, GA, Kennesaw
Joined Sep 2009
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By the way, here is the standard response from the FAA:

The Federal Aviation Administration has the requirement for the regulation and safe operation of the National Airspace System which covers all navigable airspace in the US. Private land owners do not have any jurisdiction over the airspace above it. A private land owner can not prohibit or allow aviation operations over their land. Unmanned Aircraft are unable to comply with our Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and need a specific FAA authorization.

Only Public Aircraft Operators are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, it does not appear from your email that you are a government agency. We will not be able to provide you a login or password. Public aircraft are defined in 49 USC §§40102(a)(41) and 40125.

On February 6, 2007 the FAA published UAS guidance in the Federal Register, 14 CFR Part 91 / Docket No. FAA-2006-25714 / Unmanned Aircraft Operations in the National Airspace System. Toward the end of the docket it says, "The FAA recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS with the mistaken understanding that they are legally operating under the authority of AC 91-57. AC 91-57 only applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes its use by persons or companies for business purposes."

UAS airworthiness and operating requirements are defined in 14 CFR part 21 and part 91. CFR 21.191 addresses special airworthiness certificates in the experimental category. Experimental certificates are issued to UAS only for the purposes of research and development, crew training and market survey.

You may petition for an exemption to 14 CFR 21.191. You would also need to petition for an exemption to 14 CFR 91.319 because no person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate while carrying persons or property for compensation or hire. Petition for exemptions can be submitted on-line at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_polic...king/petition/. If you just want to sell your aircraft, you can do this with an experimental under market survey. In this case you wouldn't need the two exemptions.

We want to be up-front, the petition to 14 CFR 21.191 and the petition to 14 CFR 91.319 are not easily granted, you may go completely though the process and not receive the experimental certificate or the exemption. Also, please be advised that the application for an experimental certificate will require technical diagrams of your aircraft and radio control equipment. Commercial UAS operations will also need to have a current and qualified FAA licensed pilot with the appropriate ratings. The experimental certificate application process is spelled out in FAA Order 8130.34B (www.faa.gov/go/uas - go to the regulations & policies link).
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:52 PM
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Eddie James's Avatar
United States, GA, Kennesaw
Joined Sep 2009
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So, just to break it down for you.

1. The FAA regulates all airspace. The air above your house you have no ownership or control over. So if someone says you can film on their property, you are still committing a federal offense if you do it without an exception. You MUST petition for an exception.

2. Now if you are a government agency you can get that exception pretty easily. They will give you a password and you can pretty much take care of it online.

3. A lot of people believe they can fly commercial UAS using the authority of AC 91-57 (modeling). But they are mistaken big time. That only applies to folks not doing it for income.

4. The two exemptions you must try to get are to 14 CFR part 21 and part 91.
And you can do that at this URL: http://www.faa.gov/regulations_polic...king/petition/

5. Make no bones about it - your chances are slim (see last paragraph above). Also, you will need technical drawings of your aircraft and radio equipment.

To me, this is federal government over reach and it needs to be corrected. It is not serving the people and it is hindering commerce. I believe on purpose - sign of the times.

I hope this has helped you..

Eddie
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:55 PM
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14 CFR 21.191 (you need an exception to this)

§ 21.191 Experimental certificates.

Experimental certificates are issued for the following purposes:

(a) Research and development. Testing new aircraft design concepts, new aircraft equipment, new aircraft installations, new aircraft operating techniques, or new uses for aircraft.

(b) Showing compliance with regulations. Conducting flight tests and other operations to show compliance with the airworthiness regulations including flights to show compliance for issuance of type and supplemental type certificates, flights to substantiate major design changes, and flights to show compliance with the function and reliability requirements of the regulations.

(c) Crew training. Training of the applicant's flight crews.

(d) Exhibition. Exhibiting the aircraft's flight capabilities, performance, or unusual characteristics at air shows, motion picture, television, and similar productions, and the maintenance of exhibition flight proficiency, including (for persons exhibiting aircraft) flying to and from such air shows and productions.

(e) Air racing. Participating in air races, including (for such participants) practicing for such air races and flying to and from racing events.

(f) Market surveys. Use of aircraft for purposes of conducting market surveys, sales demonstrations, and customer crew training only as provided in § 21.195.

(g) Operating amateur-built aircraft. Operating an aircraft the major portion of which has been fabricated and assembled by persons who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation.

(h) Operating primary kit-built aircraft. Operating a primary category aircraft that meets the criteria of § 21.24(a)(1) that was assembled by a person from a kit manufactured by the holder of a production certificate for that kit, without the supervision and quality control of the production certificate holder under § 21.184(a).

(i) Operating light-sport aircraft. Operating a light-sport aircraft that—

(1) Has not been issued a U.S. or foreign airworthiness certificate and does not meet the provisions of § 103.1 of this chapter. An experimental certificate will not be issued under this paragraph for these aircraft after January 31, 2008;

(2) Has been assembled—

(i) From an aircraft kit for which the applicant can provide the information required by § 21.193(e); and

(ii) In accordance with manufacturer's assembly instructions that meet an applicable consensus standard; or

(3) Has been previously issued a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category under § 21.190.
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:57 PM
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14 CFR 91.319 (AND you need an exception to this)

§ 91.319 Aircraft having experimental certificates: Operating limitations.

(a) No person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate—

(1) For other than the purpose for which the certificate was issued; or

(2) Carrying persons or property for compensation or hire.

(b) No person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate outside of an area assigned by the Administrator until it is shown that—

(1) The aircraft is controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and throughout all the maneuvers to be executed; and

(2) The aircraft has no hazardous operating characteristics or design features.

(c) Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator in special operating limitations, no person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate over a densely populated area or in a congested airway. The Administrator may issue special operating limitations for particular aircraft to permit takeoffs and landings to be conducted over a densely populated area or in a congested airway, in accordance with terms and conditions specified in the authorization in the interest of safety in air commerce.

(d) Each person operating an aircraft that has an experimental certificate shall—

(1) Advise each person carried of the experimental nature of the aircraft;

(2) Operate under VFR, day only, unless otherwise specifically authorized by the Administrator; and

(3) Notify the control tower of the experimental nature of the aircraft when operating the aircraft into or out of airports with operating control towers.

(e) No person may operate an aircraft that is issued an experimental certificate under § 21.191(i) of this chapter for compensation or hire, except a person may operate an aircraft issued an experimental certificate under § 21.191(i)(1) for compensation or hire to—

(1) Tow a glider that is a light-sport aircraft or unpowered ultralight vehicle in accordance with § 91.309; or

(2) Conduct flight training in an aircraft which that person provides prior to January 31, 2010.

(f) No person may lease an aircraft that is issued an experimental certificate under § 21.191(i) of this chapter, except in accordance with paragraph (e)(1) of this section.

(g) No person may operate an aircraft issued an experimental certificate under § 21.191(i)(1) of this chapter to tow a glider that is a light-sport aircraft or unpowered ultralight vehicle for compensation or hire or to conduct flight training for compensation or hire in an aircraft which that persons provides unless within the preceding 100 hours of time in service the aircraft has—

(1) Been inspected by a certificated repairman (light-sport aircraft) with a maintenance rating, an appropriately rated mechanic, or an appropriately rated repair station in accordance with inspection procedures developed by the aircraft manufacturer or a person acceptable to the FAA; or

(2) Received an inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter.

(h) The FAA may issue deviation authority providing relief from the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section for the purpose of conducting flight training. The FAA will issue this deviation authority as a letter of deviation authority.

(1) The FAA may cancel or amend a letter of deviation authority at any time.

(2) An applicant must submit a request for deviation authority to the FAA at least 60 days before the date of intended operations. A request for deviation authority must contain a complete description of the proposed operation and justification that establishes a level of safety equivalent to that provided under the regulations for the deviation requested.

(i) The Administrator may prescribe additional limitations that the Administrator considers necessary, including limitations on the persons that may be carried in the aircraft.
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 06:58 PM
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Lakewood, Colorado
Joined Aug 2002
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In other words the waiver process is a dead end, and they're not at all shy about making that clear.

It is a bit weird that you'd get a call saying telling you it's illegal but not back it up with a cease and desist.
Sorta like the flashing speed signs on the side of the road, telling you you're going too fast.

If some folks are willing to push back on this specific issue by simply going on about their
business then I say more power to em. I know plenty who do so today.

ian
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 07:00 PM
FPV Racer - N4FPV
Eddie James's Avatar
United States, GA, Kennesaw
Joined Sep 2009
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So in a nutshell - if you go to that link and can get an exemption to these two CFRs then you can fly your foam airplane to make some money taking photos for people.

Eddie
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Old Dec 03, 2012, 07:00 PM
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United States, WI, Menomonee Falls
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What is the phone number and/or area code of the caller w/ the FAA? I want to be able to ignore that particular phone call in case it comes our way in the future. lol

Sorry you had to get that call. At least they did not tell you must stop all activity. There are so many companies and tv shows these days that hire people like us to get aerial footage. They have lot of people that need to be shut down if they are going to really ban everyone.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 05:19 AM
BEOWULF
North vancouver, B.C. Canada
Joined Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nblracer880 View Post
I do aerial photography for a living with my EPP FPV plane and with my quad copter.

Today, my business phone rings and I answered it expecting a customer requesting an estimate.

Instead I am greeted by a local FAA FSDO's Operations Inspector. He goes on to inform me that it is currently illegal to operate my UAS for any commercial purposes.

I specifically asked if his phone call was an order to cease and desist and he said no, he was just giving me information.

Since he did not tell me to cease and desist I am going to continue to operate business as usual and hope everything blows over.

Does anyone know what the fine or penalty actually is for playing with my RC plane and selling a few pictures? (that sounds like an America I want to live in by the way)

He went on to tell me that I can operate my UAS as I was previously, just not commercially for money.

The funny thing is, when I am operating commercially, I am usually less that 100 feet in the air. When I am having an FPV flight for fun I go anywhere from 1000' to 3000' AGL.

This is so frustrating to me both as a hobbyist and a small business owner. It is a joke that the FAA is trying to place such limitations on a TOY AIRPLANE for god's sake.

Regardless, I am not going to let this stop me.. I will wait until I start to get letters from the FAA or prosecution notices. A big deal needs to be made about this.. if there is a court case, I will involve the media heavily and maybe it will help get more of the public involved and on our side.

I am calling my congressman tomorrow as well as a number for the office that is handling UAS integration in Washington D.C.

What do you guys think about this?

I investigate rules recently about this stuff

For some reason they got hard on about making sure people don't do it for commercial use, I not sure why they care so much about this

As if we use transmitters illegally they tell me they just give small warning, but as long as its not fr commercial use

Why not use fpv for commercial use, I don't get it what is the problem, who are they trying to protect, why do they restrict commercial use , but not care if we fly fly illegally so much
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 07:43 AM
FPV Desert Beta Test Center
Mesa, Arizona
Joined Nov 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie James View Post
So in a nutshell - if you go to that link and can get an exemption to these two CFRs then you can fly your foam airplane to make some money taking photos for people.

Eddie
Nice job of spelling this all out for those involved in AP. As I'm sure you know there will be no exemptions granted to those CFR's. They just did their job by explaining the formal request process.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Joined Feb 2012
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I thought that the FAA only regulates airspace above 500' AGL? If not, would taping a keychain cam to a paper airplane and uploading it to youtube be illegal? Actually any aerial video that is put on youtube would be illegal if you get money from ads (even though it's only a few cents).

Talk about WAY too much government regulation.
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Old Dec 04, 2012, 08:22 AM
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United States, FL
Joined Feb 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David22 View Post
I investigate rules recently about this stuff

For some reason they got hard on about making sure people don't do it for commercial use, I not sure why they care so much about this

As if we use transmitters illegally they tell me they just give small warning, but as long as its not fr commercial use

Why not use fpv for commercial use, I don't get it what is the problem, who are they trying to protect, why do they restrict commercial use , but not care if we fly fly illegally so much
Because most of the people working there are partially brain-dead and cannot think in a logical way.

It's a different type of zombie apocalypse.
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