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USA 500' rule and documentation

Discussion in 'Certified UAV Pilots' started by kcobello, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. kcobello

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    Just received an option to purchase contract documentation that would allow us to work within the 500' rule when imaging. They are legal permissions that have to be signed. I do like the idea of being covered in these areas.
    Also, the next 2 limitations per our 333 exemption

    Dawn & Kevin:
    The next exemptions are regarding visual line of sight:
    5. The UA must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the PIC at all times. This requires the PIC to be able to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, as specified on the PIC’s FAA-issued airman medical certificate or U.S. driver’s license.
    6. All operations must utilize a visual observer (VO). The UA must be operated within the visual line of sight (VLOS) of the PIC and VO at all times. The VO may be used to satisfy the VLOS requirement as long as the PIC always maintains VLOS capability. The VO and PIC must be able to communicate verbally at all times; electronic messaging or texting is not permitted during flight operations. The PIC must be designated before the flight and cannot transfer his or her designation for the duration of the flight. The PIC must ensure that the VO can perform the duties required of the VO.
    Nothing must obstruct your view of your drone at any time during the flight. Contact me with any questions.
    Enrico
     
    #1 kcobello, Mar 5, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  2. SanCap

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    You don't need to purchase anything, your 333 exemption provides you a way to operate within 500 feet in Item # 27 in your exemption.

    1. All Flight operations must be conducted at least 500 feet from all nonparticipating persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures unless:
      1. Barriers or structures are present that sufficiently protect nonparticipating persons from the UA and/or debris in the event of an accident. The operator must ensure that nonparticipating persons remain under such protection. If a situation arises where nonparticipating persons leave such protection and are within 500 feet of the UA, flight operations must cease immediately in a manner ensuring the safety of nonparticipating persons; and

      2. The owner/controller of any vessels, vehicles, or structures has granted permission for operating closer to those objects and the PIC has made a safety assessment of the risk of operating closer to those objects and determined that it does not present an undue hazard.
      The PIC, VO, operator trainees or essential persons are not considered nonparticipating persons under this exemption.
     
  3. kcobello

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    Interesting.
     
    SanCap likes this.
  4. DrJoe

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    As a new 333 holder and long time private pilot, I am coming to grips with the 500 foot rule. Does,this means commercial filming of a cruise ship approaching port is illegal if closer than 500 feet? How about shooting a small town parade for local media? Or filming a wedding with caterers and waitstaff in attendance? Or filming surfers if you haven't spoken to each one? Or being within 500 ft of a road with cars passing by as you shoot real estate?

    The 500 foot distance rule seems unworkable and prohibitive. I am interested to hear what other 333 pilots do in these situations. Safety is paramount to me, but I still need to get the shot.
     
  5. kcobello

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    Its a tough one. Our attorney has paperwork that co-insides with what was posted (333-Item #27) . As far as getting into the air quick for events, it will not happen very easily. I am still bamboozled by people flying in Sate Parks around me with no credentials, after we are jumping through hoops and investing bookoo bucks. Will see how it goes and massage ourselves in somehow...Happy St. Patty's Day all!!
     
  6. licensed pilot

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    You are correct; every example you gave is a potential violation of the 333 conditions. However, keep in mind this wording
    "27. All Flight operations must be conducted at least 500 feet from all nonparticipating persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures unless:
    a. Barriers or structures are present that sufficiently protect nonparticipating persons from the UA and/or debris in the event of an accident"

    I would think people in a cruise ship are physically unable to leave the ship and get directly under the UAV, thus in theory you could fly closer. Although, I suspect the ship's captain may object and get you in trouble. I know nothing about ship maneuvering or maritime law.
    In the case of a parade, is there a barrier that blocks parade goers from getting under the UAV? I do not fly large events, too many opportunities for some idiot to complain.
    A smaller event is more manageable. If I'm ever called upon to do something like a wedding, I will get written permission from anyone I plan to fly near (the bride and groom, the wedding party, and avoid shots directly overhead (if the thing quits I want it to crash on unoccupied space)
    The surfers may have a valid complaint as the UAV may be a distraction if you are too close. The real estate scenario would hardly constitute a safety hazard unless you are crisscrossing the highway and become a distraction to motorists.

    A little common sense can keep us out of trouble and having the discipline to say to a customer," I cannot do the job legally, sorry. "
    In reality the 500 foot rule is not practical and so long as you make a good effort to remain far from people and not buzz them, who's going to complain?
    I am reasonably confident the FAA did not recently hire a 1,000 inspectors to patrol the cities looking for drone violations. But, if they receive a complaint, they will look into it. The best thing we can do is minimize complaints and fly responsible. This is all very new and there are few best practices out there.
    You are bound to get all sorts of different answers when you ask in a forum such as this one, keep in mind none of us are going to be there for you if a complaint is filed against your 333. Best advice is to follow the rules as close as you can and ensure you can justify the safety of your particular operation at the time. My 2 cents.
    I am not an aviation attorney (and most of them know squat about UAVs or 333s) so your mileage may vary.;)