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Old Feb 16, 2012, 12:05 AM
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FPV UAV makes ABC national news

I was shocked to see that the lead story on ABC World News tonight was how the number of small FPV & UAV aircraft has really grown. A large portion of the story was about law enforcement using them & that they only need 2 days training to use them. Then they mentioned the hobby side of it & then went on to talk about how a realtor in Ca. uses one to film his properties that are for sale. Then they went on to talk about how their is really no regulation in the US & even interviewed someone from the FAA who said that he feels FPV & UAV pilots should go through the same training as full scale pilots. He also mentioned radar. I assume he meant that they should have transponders even though that's not how he worded it. They basically asked America how we feel about small planes flying in our back yards spying on us. Talk about a misconception. Aside from me being a FPV pilot, I am also a full scale pilot. 3 years ago I was diagnosed with lung cancer & I am unable to fly until I am given a clean bill of health. I was devistated! I love aviation to much to not fly & I
was already an RC pilot so naturally I turned to FPV. This has been an awesome thing for me as I'm still able to fly! It's not the same, but its close. My point is, I think their is a misconception about FPV. I know myself & most of us in the hobby go to great lengths to keep our aircraft safe & the latest technology on board as well. I also don't think most of us want to circle some strangers back yard to spy on them for no reason. I just don't understand the negative spin the news has to put on it! These aircraft can do so many wonderful things & for lessor amounts of money by a large amount. I just hope we don't end up with lots of useless regulation or worse! FPV & UAV hobbyist may need their own lobby group since it doesn't seem that the AMA wants to embrace us.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 12:21 AM
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All familiar topics in this forum. Yes there are many public misconceptions, and
yes the media will always find the most sensational and often negative way to present
something harmless and fun. For past and ongoing discussions of regulations,
see the FPV Safety thread.

For whatever it's worth, all the commercial and public sector uses of UAVs in the US are
pretty much not legal right now (with very few exceptions), and the FAA has gone
out of their way to made that very clear. There are no FAA regs that currently cover
amateur FPV, but there will be. Congress recently just passed a small bit of safe
harbor legislation as an amendment to the FAA re-auth bill which creates an exemption for
all amateur modelling if you meet some basic criteria, which as a side effect should protect
at least short range amateur FPV from future FAA sUAS regs indefinitely.

ian
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 04:20 AM
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Hi Daemon,

Do you have a link to the amateur exemption that you mentioned please? I'm interested because I managed to get the UK CAA to issue an exemption for FPV UK members when they meet certain criterion.

Thanks

Simon
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 04:55 AM
OSUFPV - KF7VFT
Corvallis, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPV-UK View Post
Hi Daemon,

Do you have a link to the amateur exemption that you mentioned please? I'm interested because I managed to get the UK CAA to issue an exemption for FPV UK members when they meet certain criterion.

Thanks

Simon
Here ya go.

Blues
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 05:43 AM
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Thanks Blueshy.

That document appears to leave FPV out in the cold though. It says "(2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft;" since FPV is not line of sight this exemption doesn't appear to apply to FPVers, whilst it does apply to traditional LOS flyers (or LOSers if you will :-)).

My reading of that would suggest that FPV does/ will come under the new legislation.

All the best

Simon
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 07:13 AM
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media trying to create controversie, again. its how they make their money...
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 08:11 AM
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All of my FPV is LOS - it just might take some binoculars.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Chip View Post
All of my FPV is LOS - it just might take some binoculars.
I don't know about the FAA rules but CAA rules outlaw binoculars. The wording is "(3)
The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided
visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other
aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding
collisions."

But my earlier point is that you can't be flying FPV whilst maintaining LOS (with or without binoculars), and the exemption seems to require you to maintain LOS. Therefore it appears as though the exemption doesn't apply to FPVers.

Perhaps the simple answer is that with a second person participating, who is technically in charge, you can stay within LOS and therefore you can be exempt from the new legislation. I'm not familiar with the FAA stance on buddy leads/ spotters/ competent observers for FPV though. Perhaps someone who is can enlighten me?

All the best

Simon
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 09:47 AM
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Do you genuinely believe that all those in the UK flying FPV are doing so with a flying "buddy" with them AT ALL times, EVERY time, simply there to watch the plane by sight?

Tapping them on the shoulder every time the model is beyond LOS (at which point they BETTER be turning back, or they could be ruining this for the rest of us)? ....."Ok, you are out of sight... NOW...... NOW..... NOW ...... STILL NOW...... 5 MINUTES AGO.... 10 minutes... Ok, I'm off home, I'll leave you to it !"

Bit like the law in this country preventing young people (under the age of 18) from being able to buy alcohol in pubs or shops - yet how many get away with it?

Policing the distance some random guy, at some random field, at any random time of the day (or night), is flying his foam plane is virtually impossible to physically Police! Or perhaps you have muscled in on this, as a subtle way to help promote your own (overpriced) UK FPV store?
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:16 AM
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The US fed government can't or won't enforce the laws already on the books. They don't even pay attention to their own set of rules governing their own behavior, and they are on the verge of insolvency. So they can write all the rules they want. Good luck to them.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Hi SkyEyes,

We're discussing the rules as they are written here. I realise that you don't believe that any laws exist and it is noted that you are a freeman of the land but this is a discussion about the laws which have already been or are about to be written by the legislators which some of us (not me in the USA, but perhaps someone else) might wish to challenge, and certainly understand.

Please leave those of us who wish to discuss this to it. Being a freeman is very interesting, but this particular thread isn't about that.

Thanks

Simon

PS: Regarding Policing: they don't need to go to the field - people very kindly put their videos up on YouTube for them to view at their leisure from Gatwick.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPV-UK View Post
I don't know about the FAA rules but CAA rules outlaw binoculars. The wording is "(3)
The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided
visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other
aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding
collisions."

But my earlier point is that you can't be flying FPV whilst maintaining LOS (with or without binoculars), and the exemption seems to require you to maintain LOS. Therefore it appears as though the exemption doesn't apply to FPVers.

Perhaps the simple answer is that with a second person participating, who is technically in charge, you can stay within LOS and therefore you can be exempt from the new legislation. I'm not familiar with the FAA stance on buddy leads/ spotters/ competent observers for FPV though. Perhaps someone who is can enlighten me?

All the best

Simon
The ironic thing being that is much easier to avoid a collision when flying FPV than visually because you actually see what's in your flight path, instead of trying to estimate distances or not seeing what you are flying into in five seconds time or a tree blocks your view of the model, etc, etc...
Happens to me all the time, people watch me fly my plane and they are like "Watch out for that!" or "You missed that by this much!" while in reality I could see I had plenty of clearance. No doubt the opposite happens when flying visually, misjudging a distance or direction and slamming the plane into something.

Show of hands, who finds flying visually safer than FPV?
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:30 AM
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United States, CO, Parker
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Anyone have a link to the news story in the original post? I'd like to see it if it's available.

@FPV-UK - We've already talked about this some, but at present the US safe harbor law does not seem to have any requirement that visual line of sight be unaided, nor does it say the pilot has to actually be looking at the model while flying. The phrase "within visual line of sight" indicates that VLOS is being used as a measure of distance, not a requirement that the pilot must be actively looking at the model. I personally think this gives us a considerable degree of wiggle room, but the biggest determiner will be if the FAA rules when they come out have their own definition of visual line of sight that is more limiting. If the FAA defines the term, the courts would likely defer to their definition. If they don't, we can use the ambiguity in the federal law to our advantage. We'll just have to wait and see.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AleG View Post
The ironic thing being that is much easier to avoid a collision when flying FPV than visually because you actually see what's in your flight path, instead of trying to estimate distances or not seeing what you are flying into in five seconds time or a tree blocks your view of the model, etc, etc...
Happens to me all the time, people watch me fly my plane and they are like "Watch out for that!" or "You missed that by this much!" while in reality I could see I had plenty of clearance. No doubt the opposite happens when flying visually, misjudging a distance or direction and slamming the plane into something.

Show of hands, who finds flying visually safer than FPV?
Absolutely right. I have made this point to the CAA on several occasions, only somewhat successfully. Here's my latest wording of that point to them:

2011 Changes – FPV Section:
The new FPV section of CAP658 includes a number of misconceptions, and inaccuracies.

Depth perception: the first paragraph assumes that human depth perception is based entirely on stereoscopic/ binocular vision. This is quite false.

Almost all of the 13 or so cues that the human brain uses to discern depth are monocular cues. Convergence is the binocular cue which the human brain takes from the two separate viewpoints of the eyes and this is only effective at less than 10 metres. (According to Flight Surgeon Dr Peter Saundby, for a pilot, binocular vision is only useful for ensuring that he does not knock his coffee cup over. It has no use at any greater range. And many pilots fly perfectly safely with one eye). The reference to depth perception is completely false and should be removed.

FPV offers a far superior vantage point to a conventional r/c model flyer’s, and therefore a superior ability to gauge if a model's flight path will intersect with an object or an aircraft. Imagine watching the Red Arrows Synchro pair - it is extremely difficult to tell whether or not the aircraft are going to fly straight into one another, or if one is slightly closer than the other, based on the usual vantage point from the flight line (and therein lays the thrill). However, clearly the pilots of those aircraft are able to very accurately discern their relative positions and avoid one another. FPV affords the pilot the latter viewpoint, VLOS flying gives the pilot the former, less pertinent, viewpoint.
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Old Feb 16, 2012, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by prelator View Post
Anyone have a link to the news story in the original post? I'd like to see it if it's available.

@FPV-UK - We've already talked about this some, but at present the US safe harbor law does not seem to have any requirement that visual line of sight be unaided, nor does it say the pilot has to actually be looking at the model while flying. The phrase "within visual line of sight" indicates that VLOS is being used as a measure of distance, not a requirement that the pilot must be actively looking at the model. I personally think this gives us a considerable degree of wiggle room, but the biggest determiner will be if the FAA rules when they come out have their own definition of visual line of sight that is more limiting. If the FAA defines the term, the courts would likely defer to their definition. If they don't, we can use the ambiguity in the federal law to our advantage. We'll just have to wait and see.
Yeah, I agree with you and I'd certainly take that interpretation if I was in the USA. Cool.

Simon
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