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Old Jan 12, 2012, 05:26 PM
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Hi,

As a novice FPV pilot I am, too, deeply concerned about the coming restrictions. While I can understand the reasoning behind some of them (400ft altitude limit, range limit, proximity to airports, flying over populated areas, etc..) one strikes me as particularly absurd, and that is a buddy box requirement. For starters, it is practically impossible to have a "buddy" with a compatible "box" with you all the time you go out to fly, unless you have a Siamese twin brother who shares your passion for FPV. What differentiates an FPV pilot from a regular RC pilot that might have triggered such a requirement? There are only two reasons I can think of:

1. FPV pilot has a limited field of vision, and might not be fully aware of the model's proximity to other aircraft.

This is true, but only when the the aircraft is flown in a congested airspace, such as an RC club's field on Sunday (who wants to fly FPV there anyway?). Even there, a spotter WITHOUT a buddy box would, in my opinion, do much better in preventing accidents than someone who can actually take control from you and attempt to pilot your aircraft while not being entirely familiar with it. In my experience, it is likely to cause more harm then good, especialy when that aircraft is already in some kind of trouble.

A buddy box is intended to be a teacher-student system. An experienced FVP pilot, flying his own aircraft, warned by a spotter in time, has much better chance of avoiding an air collision than someone who takes control from him at that moment.

2. Video downlink could fail, leaving the pilot blind.

Yes it could, just like any other part of the aircraft. Uninformed people think that if that happens, the model would inevitably crash. That's not true. Most FPV models are equipped with RTH systems so they will simply turn around and fly to the spot where they were launched from, at pre-programmed altitude. Even if the video link isn't restored by then, the pilot can safely assume visual control and land it as if it were a conventional RC model. Personally, I would be MUCH more concerned about a tail servo failing, than a video system failing.

I don't mind if the rulemakers make an RTH system a requirement, because it does add to safety in case the video transmission is lost. Of course, it can fail too, but if we compare it to the buddy box system in such scenario, the latter is INFINITELY less reliable.

To summarize, I think that if we allowed to fly FPV at all, the buddy box requirement makes no sense whatsoever.

Sorry for my English,

Gene
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Old Jan 12, 2012, 09:06 PM
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@Patrick- Wasn't there some congressional action last year were the congress basically told the FAA to leave the RC hobby/industry alone? I thought I read that here last year but I can't remember.
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Old Jan 12, 2012, 09:58 PM
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I don't know all of the details, but the AMA asked members to write Congress. It was somewhat successful. We need more of a concerted effort. I think they should have asked RCGroups and RCUniverse to throw up big banners alerting folks about the effort. It will probably come to that as I see this whole mess as disenfranchisement and counter to the right of association. This is what we as Americans do for fun, and who we choose to spend our free time with.

I hate to go here, but I say its snuggling Tyranny!
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Old Jan 12, 2012, 10:10 PM
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We need to get together on this. I can't beleive it's coming down to this..... unbeleivable...
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fgene View Post
...
one strikes me as particularly absurd, and that is a buddy box requirement. ...

1. FPV pilot has a limited field of vision, and might not be fully aware of the model's proximity to other aircraft.
...
Even there, a spotter WITHOUT a buddy box would, in my opinion, do much better in preventing accidents than someone who can actually take control from you and attempt to pilot your aircraft while not being entirely familiar with it. In my experience, it is likely to cause more harm then good, especialy when that aircraft is already in some kind of trouble.

A buddy box is intended to be a teacher-student system. An experienced FVP pilot, flying his own aircraft, warned by a spotter in time, has much better chance of avoiding an air collision than someone who takes control from him at that moment.

2. Video downlink could fail, leaving the pilot blind.

...
Most FPV models are equipped with RTH systems so they will simply turn around and fly to the spot where they were launched from, at pre-programmed altitude. Even if the video link isn't restored by then, the pilot can safely assume visual control and land it as if it were a conventional RC model. Personally, I would be MUCH more concerned about a tail servo failing, than a video system failing.
...
the buddy box system in such scenario, the latter is INFINITELY less reliable.
...
Hi Gene,

I don't think it will come to mandatory buddy boxes. It is more important, that the control can be handed over quickly to another pilot, who is familiar with the model and kept it in LOS (handing over the tx should do).

I doubt, that the majority of FPV models is equipped with RTH.

Buddy boxes are reliable, otherwise they would not be used as teacher-student systems.

Jürgen
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 06:01 AM
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i personally think the FAA is just going to ban FPV flying as we know it. Either make it only legal at AMA fields, or make so many loops to jump through it will be difficult to do.
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by al1242 View Post
@Patrick- Wasn't there some congressional action last year were the congress basically told the FAA to leave the RC hobby/industry alone? I thought I read that here last year but I can't remember.

See post #207. The action is currently held up in the House over funding. Its a long shot>
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gundamnitpete View Post
i personally think the FAA is just going to ban FPV flying as we know it. Either make it only legal at AMA fields, or make so many loops to jump through it will be difficult to do.
+1 Then you will see UHF systems for sale for $25 on Craig's list. RCG will make it policy not to sell FPV equipment on this site. It will all depend on what the penality is. If it is like a $500 fine for the first offense, I would probably risk it in a rural area but if it is like $10,000 and up to a year in jail, FPV will be dead, only a few will risk it. Every time I fly I risk a total loss of about $1000 so the penalty has to be steep to keep compliance and I think the FAA is aware of that.
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 08:49 AM
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They had threatened commercial folks with $10,000 a day fines.

Besides that my story is up at sUAS News

http://www.suasnews.com/2012/01/1121...on-on-uas-arc/
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 08:55 AM
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Even if they outright ban FPV I don't see why any retailer or website would not still sell them- they all would be marked "for RC car use only".

Dave
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 10:32 AM
I should be flying right now!
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Yea, I am going to have the coolest FPV boat ever!
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Old Jan 13, 2012, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by patrickegan View Post
They had threatened commercial folks with $10,000 a day fines.

Besides that my story is up at sUAS News

http://www.suasnews.com/2012/01/1121...on-on-uas-arc/
what exactly am i petitioning for? I'm not part of the RCAPA, What sort of representation are we talking about?
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Old Jan 14, 2012, 01:39 AM
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Jurgen, thanks for response,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurgen Heilig View Post
Hi Gene,

I don't think it will come to mandatory buddy boxes.
I hope you're right...

Quote:
It is more important, that the control can be handed over quickly to another pilot, who is familiar with the model and kept it in LOS (handing over the tx should do).
This is where I see the problem. I don't think another pilot, even a good one, has a better chance of getting the model out of trouble. My primary FPV model is a GoPro-equipped multicopter. Even if it's kept in LOS all the time, at distance it is very hard to tell which direction it's facing (despite LED lights and color-coded arms), because the frame is symmetrical. The other pilot, taking controls from me, will need at least several seconds to adapt, and I think that's way too long. We tested a buddy box system one day with a friend who also flies multicopters and has compatible radio, and that's exactly what happened -- despite his relative familiarity with my model, it took a lot of time for him get in control. Luckily, it was a test, the model just sat comfortably in the air on GPS hold until he managed to figure the controls. That test left no doubt in my mind, that if situation DID call for fast action, the buddy box system was surely not a good answer to such call.

On the other hand, if he had spotted something in my flight path and told me, I could have reacted to his warning almost immediately, because I precisely knew the model's orientation, speed and attitude at any given moment. In fact, I was virtually there, I FELT myself as part of the model.

"Familiarity" is a relative term. I beleive that to get familiar with a model one needs to spend at least several hours flying it, and how often a pilot gets a chance to accumulate such experience with someone else's model?..

I don't deny the buddy box' usefuleness when you need to train another pilot, or someone is training you, but if NO ONE around can fly your model better than yourself, that's a completely different situation.

Quote:
I doubt, that the majority of FPV models is equipped with RTH.
As I said in my previous post, I don't mind if it becomes mandatory. I beleive that should make everyone safer.

Quote:
Buddy boxes are reliable, otherwise they would not be used as teacher-student systems.
I am not questioning their reliability. I just think that, even assuming the FPV pilot and his "buddy" are equally familiar with the model, the latter, taking control from FPV pilot, has less chance of improving upon the situation and more chance of making it worse. My experience tells me so. Buddy box, in my view, would only make sense if the FPV pilot was a novice being trained/supervised by a more competent pilot.

In reality, the model's owner is usually the FPV pilot, and he is much more familiar with the model than his buddy on the other end of the cord. He, in my opinion, must be warned in time and left at the controls if any trouble arises. If the air is congested, he needs a spotter, not a buddy with a box.

Regards,
Gene
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Old Jan 14, 2012, 10:01 AM
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What ever you want! Cut and paste parts of the letter to suit your needs. Tell your federal reps that you want the FAA to get off your hobbies back. With a little thought someone could put together a letter that outlines more pressing issues for the FAA.
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Old Jan 14, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gundamnitpete View Post
what exactly am i petitioning for? I'm not part of the RCAPA, What sort of representation are we talking about?
Here is one example of a letter that could be sent to your congressman. I almost can't believe I posted the attached letter a year ago. Note the dates in it.
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