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Old Feb 06, 2012, 12:44 PM
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It's ashame the FAA wants to micro-regulate a low participation hobby which is far less dangerous than cars on the open road and innumerable other perfectly legal activities. It frankly makes me sick that I've spent more money and time on this hobby than almost any other joyous pursuit only to have it effectively banned when I reach the finish line. Yes I'm pissed and bitter. So much for the pursuit of happiness!
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:00 PM
FPV Desert Beta Test Center
Mesa, Arizona
Joined Nov 2006
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Originally Posted by imagebuff View Post
It's ashame the FAA wants to micro-regulate a low participation hobby which is far less dangerous than cars on the open road and innumerable other perfectly legal activities. It frankly makes me sick that I've spent more money and time on this hobby than almost any other joyous pursuit only to have it effectively banned when I reach the finish line. Yes I'm pissed and bitter. So much for the pursuit of happiness!
To be fair it is the FAA's job to regulate everything that operates in U.S. NAS. Many other agencies regulate automobiles and there are a ton of regs. Our situation with federal regulations should not have been a surprise since the first post here dated Aug 2008 was in response to FAA activities already in process.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary Evans View Post
To be fair it is the FAA's job to regulate everything that operates in U.S. NAS. Many other agencies regulate automobiles and there are a ton of regs. Our situation with federal regulations should not have been a surprise since the first post here dated Aug 2008 was in response to FAA activities already in process.
I will make sure I scour the entire internet for any hit or discussion of any proposed legislative activity before I engage in or invest in any current freedom. Aargh. So much for all of the FPV based HW / Software business that has sprung up. This will severely harm or kill a nice little cottage industry. Hey but it's all in the name of saving all those lives... wait has anyone even been hurt by FPV yet? Oh but it's comin I tell ya.. 747's raining from the sky.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:27 PM
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United States, NY, Cortland
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Originally Posted by imagebuff View Post
I will make sure I scour the entire internet for any hit or discussion of any proposed legislative activity before I engage in or invest in any current freedom. Aargh. So much for all of the FPV based HW / Software business that has sprung up. This will severely harm or kill a nice little cottage industry. Hey but it's all in the name of saving all those lives... wait has anyone even been hurt by FPV yet? Oh but it's comin I tell ya.. 747's raining from the sky.
Will you put up a $10,000,000 bond against FPV activities not causing harm?

Do you know what the current safety levels are?

Have you performed any research or analyses into adding unrestricted BLOS FPV to the NAS?

BLOS FPV is a segment of model aviation, but it is most certainly also an unmanned aircraft activity which can not be carried out following the same rules and with the same level of safety as LOS model aviation.

That's really all there is to this from the FAA side.

What size aircraft poses no threat to the smallest manned aircraft?

What size aircraft poses no threat to a person on the ground?

Can you answer?


Dave
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:40 PM
FPV Desert Beta Test Center
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Originally Posted by imagebuff View Post
I will make sure I scour the entire internet for any hit or discussion of any proposed legislative activity before I engage in or invest in any current freedom. Aargh. So much for all of the FPV based HW / Software business that has sprung up. This will severely harm or kill a nice little cottage industry. Hey but it's all in the name of saving all those lives... wait has anyone even been hurt by FPV yet? Oh but it's comin I tell ya.. 747's raining from the sky.
You would not have needed to scour the Internet. The discussion on our Safety code and the coming NPRM has been a sticky at the top of this page for over 3 years and has accumulated 35000 posts. Anyone on this message board who cares has had every opportunity to learn and understand what has been going on.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:44 PM
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@CNY Dave--The thing is, you have to keep it in perspective. The reason BLOS FPV is safe is because of the extremely low chance of a collision with a full scale plane, and also a low risk that such a collision would actually cause serious damage.

Yes there is a slightly higher risk of colliding with an airplane flying BLOS at high altitudes. This itself can be minimized by not flying near airports and keeping to areas where low flying aircraft are rare. Above cities when not near airports, most full scale planes are required to stay above 1000 feet anyway. While 400 feet is probably too low for any kind of distance flying, I can go 1-2 miles at around 800 feet and still have a clear video link. If you fly below 1000 feet in an area where low flying aircraft are unlikely, that greatly lowers the chance of a collision right there. Add to that the fact that there are only a few hundred FPVers in the United States, and at any given time the vast majority of their planes are much more likely to be on the ground then in the air, and the chances of a collision are tiny indeed.

Then consider the severity of a potential collision. FPV planes are about the size and mass of a large bird, and would not likely do any more damage to a full size plane than a bird strike would. Yes I know bird strikes do damage planes and even bring them down from time to time, but keep in mind there are millions of birds flying in US airspace at any given time, and they also fly at will near airports and through approach routes. At any given time even if FPV got a lot more popular over the next few years, there would likely be less than a dozen FPV planes in the air at any one time across the entire country, and they would be deliberately trying to stay OUT of the way of full scale planes, which birds do not do. When you consider all these factors, you're talking about an incredibly low probability of that an FPV plane would ever cause serious damage to a full scale plane. All the fear that, "OMYGODZ, if you fly FPV beyond line of sight you'll hit an airliner and cause hundreds of people to die!!!" is simply being paranoid and not taking all the odds into account.

I know it may sound crass to play the odds with this, but in truth nothing is completely safe, and we play the odds with safety all the time. If your standard is 100% safety, you could never do anything. Rational decision making has to take into account the odds that an accident will occur multiplied by the severity of a potential accident, minus any mitigation factors. When you consider all that, BLOS FPV is about as safe as any other activity we consider perfectly safe.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by prelator View Post
Patrick,

Hmm, sounds like maybe I'm just being naive thinking we can define VLOS for ourselves then. It frustrates me thinking that even with this exception in the law we are still at the FAA's mercy, but maybe that was inevitable anyway. Hopefully we can at least still push for the most liberal definition of VLOS we can get. At least make it model dependent rather than a hard and fast distance limit that everyone has to follow like 1500'. Maybe beyond VLOS flight will just have to wait until technology advances more, allowing us to carry transponders on our planes or something and have a ground display showing the locations of all other planes in the area. In the meantime, I'll just have to get in all the beyond-VLOS flights I can over the next year before it becomes illegal, and hope the new rules don't restrict me to flying around a tiny field again.

I'd still love to help with developing our own community standards though. Part of me says what's the point if we can't fly beyond VLOS, but maybe FPV still can be enjoyable at close distances. And there's still the NPRM. What would be great is if we could persuade the FAA to allow beyond-VLOS flight in certain types of airspace and locations where full size planes are very unlikely to be, like near mountains and stuff. The risk of encountering a full size plane on a Trappy style proximity flight down the side of a mountain is extremely small, even if you do fly several miles away. If the rule could be a little more adaptable to the circumstances, that would make it more livable.
Selecting specific low-risk operating areas even to the point of putting out a NOTAM for a "fun-fly" type event is an absolutely outstanding idea. Here is something to think about, might be a bit of "out of the box". I am pretty sure a spotter will be a requirement in any case, but (at least so far), what says he has to be right beside the pilot? I think that maybe there is a chance to define VLOS possibly in a different way, or at least to offer an alternative for special cases of operation. How about a ring of spotters out at 1500 or so feet (or maybe just one or two with responsibility for a "pie shape" area with the point at the pilot. I think most of the video link antennas have that kind of pattern anyway unless you have a tracker...). With a real time radio/cell phone link it could actually be SAFER than flying at 1500 feet. Totally understand the logistics impact of needing more people. Doing it for a specific event and time period would be make it quite manageable. The key is to give the FAA confidence that there is a safe way to operate the way you want to. If you can convince them to accept that interpertation of VLOS, you are off and running. So don't give up. Think it through, make it logical, show why operation the way you have proposed is safe and SELL THE CONCEPT!!!


Some other thoughts:
- A bigger model is not necessarily better in the eyes of the FAA since it carries a potentially increased hazard.
- As part of the community guidelines, some serious thought needs to be put into aircraft design, like encouraging pushers, relitively lightweightweight construction (foam, balsa, etc.) and mandating high-viz markings.
- The hazard to full scale aircraft is a very real one and is HUGE in the eyes of the FAA and the full scale owner/operators. It needs to be taken extremely seriously. Anything that even appears to reduce that hazard is a plus, whether it is really statistically significant or not.
- Developing a comprehensive set guidelines that include everything from operating procedures, to aircraft construuction, to requiring all RF links to be operated in accordance with appropriate FCC regulations and more needs to start now. The set you have is an excellent start. As with the RCAPA guidelines, they need to have a re-look based on the current level of technology and the current political environment. Remember, small things that may not really make much difference to you but give a "warm fuzzy" to the regulators may be what tips the balance in your favor.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:53 PM
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What are your mitigation factors other than just the odds of collision?
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:55 PM
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United States, CO, Parker
Joined Mar 2011
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Mel Duval - Well in terms of qualifying for the safe harbor in the bill before Congress, it says the pilot's visual line of sight, so that won't work if your goal is to be completely unregulated by the FAA. If you can convince the FAA to allow you to fly further with a spotter, that would work though.
Quote:
What are your mitigation factors other than just the odds of collision?
I mean factors that further reduce the odds of a collision. I mentioned a couple in my post--flying away from airports and approach routes and staying below 1000 feet.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:56 PM
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United States, TX, Tomball
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Originally Posted by prelator View Post
@CNY Dave--The thing is, you have to keep it in perspective. The reason BLOS FPV is safe is because of the extremely low chance of a collision with a full scale plane, and also a low risk that such a collision would actually cause serious damage.

Yes there is a slightly higher risk of colliding with an airplane flying BLOS at high altitudes. This itself can be minimized by not flying near airports and keeping to areas where low flying aircraft are rare. Above cities when not near airports, most full scale planes are required to stay above 1000 feet anyway. While 400 feet is probably too low for any kind of distance flying, I can go 1-2 miles at around 800 feet and still have a clear video link. If you fly below 1000 feet in an area where low flying aircraft are unlikely, that greatly lowers the chance of a collision right there. Add to that the fact that there are only a few hundred FPVers in the United States, and at any given time the vast majority of their planes are much more likely to be on the ground then in the air, and the chances of a collision are tiny indeed.

Then consider the severity of a potential collision. FPV planes are about the size and mass of a large bird, and would not likely do any more damage to a full size plane than a bird strike would. Yes I know bird strikes do damage planes and even bring them down from time to time, but keep in mind there are millions of birds flying in US airspace at any given time, and they also fly at will near airports and through approach routes. At any given time even if FPV got a lot more popular over the next few years, there would likely be less than a dozen FPV planes in the air at any one time across the entire country, and they would be deliberately trying to stay OUT of the way of full scale planes, which birds do not do. When you consider all these factors, you're talking about an incredibly low probability of that an FPV plane would ever cause serious damage to a full scale plane. All the fear that, "OMYGODZ, if you fly FPV beyond line of sight you'll hit an airliner and cause hundreds of people to die!!!" is simply being paranoid and not taking all the odds into account.

I know it may sound crass to play the odds with this, but in truth nothing is completely safe, and we play the odds with safety all the time. If your standard is 100% safety, you could never do anything. Rational decision making has to take into account the odds that an accident will occur multiplied by the severity of a potential accident, minus any mitigation factors. When you consider all that, BLOS FPV is about as safe as any other activity we consider perfectly safe.
Well put.. regulating FPV given the risk is a waste of taxpayer money.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 01:58 PM
DX5e fatal flaw- PM me!!!!
United States, NY, Cortland
Joined Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by prelator View Post
@CNY Dave--The thing is, you have to keep it in perspective. The reason BLOS FPV is safe is because of the extremely low chance of a collision with a full scale plane, and also a low risk that such a collision would actually cause serious damage.

Yes there is a slightly higher risk of colliding with an airplane flying BLOS at high altitudes. This itself can be minimized by not flying near airports and keeping to areas where low flying aircraft are rare. Above cities when not near airports, most full scale planes are required to stay above 1000 feet anyway. While 400 feet is probably too low for any kind of distance flying, I can go 1-2 miles at around 800 feet and still have a clear video link. If you fly below 1000 feet in an area where low flying aircraft are unlikely, that greatly lowers the chance of a collision right there. Add to that the fact that there are only a few hundred FPVers in the United States, and at any given time the vast majority of their planes are much more likely to be on the ground then in the air, and the chances of a collision are tiny indeed.

Then consider the severity of a potential collision. FPV planes are about the size and mass of a large bird, and would not likely do any more damage to a full size plane than a bird strike would. Yes I know bird strikes do damage planes and even bring them down from time to time, but keep in mind there are millions of birds flying in US airspace at any given time, and they also fly at will near airports and through approach routes. At any given time even if FPV got a lot more popular over the next few years, there would likely be less than a dozen FPV planes in the air at any one time across the entire country, and they would be deliberately trying to stay OUT of the way of full scale planes, which birds do not do. When you consider all these factors, you're talking about an incredibly low probability of that an FPV plane would ever cause serious damage to a full scale plane. All the fear that, "OMYGODZ, if you fly FPV beyond line of sight you'll hit an airliner and cause hundreds of people to die!!!" is simply being paranoid and not taking all the odds into account.

I know it may sound crass to play the odds with this, but in truth nothing is completely safe, and we play the odds with safety all the time. If your standard is 100% safety, you could never do anything. Rational decision making has to take into account the odds that an accident will occur multiplied by the severity of a potential accident, minus any mitigation factors. When you consider all that, BLOS FPV is about as safe as any other activity we consider perfectly safe.

The FAA can not make a decision without numbers.

In the NAS in the next 10 years, figuring in the growth of use of ultralights, light-sport-aircraft, BLOS FPV, GA and other NAS users, and the use of accepted unmanned aircraft under COAs or under the upcoming sUAS rules, what is the probability of a catastrophic outcome resulting from BLOS FPV?

10 to the negative 6 per flight hour? -9? -12?

Dave
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Mel Duval View Post
Here is something to think about, might be a bit of "out of the box". I am pretty sure a spotter will be a requirement in any case, but (at least so far), what says he has to be right beside the pilot? I think that maybe there is a chance to define VLOS possibly in a different way, or at least to offer an alternative for special cases of operation. How about a ring of spotters out at 1500 or so feet (or maybe just one or two with responsibility for a "pie shape" area with the point at the pilot. I think most of the video link antennas have that kind of pattern anyway unless you have a tracker...). With a real time radio/cell phone link it could actually be SAFER than flying at 1500 feet. Totally understand the logistics impact of needing more people. The key is to give the FAA confidence that there is a safe way to operate the way you want to. If you can convince them to accept that interpertation of VLOS, you are off and running. So don't give up. Think it through, make it logical, show why operation the way you have proposed is safe and SELL THE CONCEPT!!!
I agree completely.... got it... Let's really go conservative.. My plane is a new species of bird with all the inherent randomness associated with a typical bird. Hot damn.. we are done!
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 02:01 PM
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Lakewood, Colorado
Joined Aug 2002
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I've done a 6 mile flight from a fixed location flying almost all under 400ft AGL, with a spotter
with unaided vLoS to the plane the whole time.

Here's a risk analysis MIT did that's relevant to this discussion,
http://thud.us/suas/MIT-UAV-risks-study.pdf
However, most people choose to ignore the fact that the risks in rural areas in a are on
the order of 1x10-9 or less because some believe that if you can *imagine* an
event, then it must necessarily happen, even if the odds are 1 in 10 billion.
Same people don't think twice about getting behind the wheel of a car 2-3 times a day,
or stepping off the curb into a busy street.

ian
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 02:02 PM
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United States, TX, Tomball
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Originally Posted by CNY_Dave View Post
The FAA can not make a decision without numbers.

In the NAS in the next 10 years, figuring in the growth of use of ultralights, light-sport-aircraft, BLOS FPV, GA and other NAS users, and the use of accepted unmanned aircraft under COAs or under the upcoming sUAS rules, what is the probability of a catastrophic outcome resulting from BLOS FPV?

10 to the negative 6 per flight hour? -9? -12?

Dave
Don't know but it can't even compare to the stats for birds which I'm sure have already been calculated, considered, and deemed acceptable.
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Old Feb 06, 2012, 02:04 PM
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United States, CO, Parker
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There you go Dave, there are some numbers for you. I'll defer to people more mathematically inclined to give you precise calculations. I'm just going on common sense that, if you did have the ability to quantify the risk, it would be extremely low. I think someone back in like July or August posted a good risk analysis with actual numbers as well. I'll try to see if I can find that.
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