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FAA Grants First Phantom 2 Vision + Exemption

Discussion in 'News' started by RJ Evans, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. RJ Evans

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    Found on Phantom Pilots...

    http://www.faa.gov/uas/legislative_prog ... -11138.pdf

    My response...

    Interesting piece of information. I wonder if this particular exemption is a harbinger of things to come for all sUAV operators who wish to conduct commercial video/photo aerial operations? If it is, then many of us are going to have to pony up some serious bucks for flight school. I'm not encouraged. There's got to be a middle ground here somewhere. The question is... Will the FAA be able to hash out a balanced and logical solution? So far, the only difference I have seen between recreational and commercial operations, in the eyes of the FAA, is a shutter click with $$$ attached.
     
  2. spasshasser

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    This is going to be one of the biggest things to overcome for UAS enthusiasts wanting to convert their passion into a job they love: coming to understand the FAA. It is not simple by any means, but there is allot there that ends up making sense. Hopefully I can shed some light here with a mix of my knowledge, and my opinion. Please take this as what it is, internet stranger words, and that it is on any person who reads it to ensure the factual basis.

    In reference to your question between recreational, private, and commercial just skip to the end, I'll answer it there.

    First off, the FAA has to maintain the integrity of the skies as they are currently. In short, they aren't about to go and drastically change regulations to suit UASs (as you know 333 makes any small R/C aircraft a UAS now more or less). So it is going to be UASs that get raked over the coals to ensure safety. Furthermore all it takes is one bad incident to destroy a ton of progress for both the FAA and UAS operators. Caution is key. I will whip my dead horse, but a UAS operator risks money, EVERYONE in the skies in manned aircraft are risking their lives. Finally, the FAA already deals with a great deal of conflict in airspace as it is, for some reasons there are different frequencies for helicopters and airplanes when they are not operating in the area of airports or talking to air traffic control, and mid air collisions happen with things the way they are... near misses are even more prevalent. (seeandavoid dot org)

    Regulations are going to be super stringent to start off with. Go with safe, make it work with safe, then figure out how to make it more practical. That is how, in my opinion, it is going to happen. I'm in favor of it. I want anyone that is going to be operating in the sky to know what it is like to be terrified by a bird, balloon, kite, and other aircraft. Then I know that they understand what it is like when I am out there flying. Don't forget we already get to deal with the geniuses and their lasers which give you the joy of literally flying blind. On the other hand I think that UASs give many a chance to explore what I feel is the greatest thing in the world: flying. I do think that the FAA will eventually establish certificate guidelines (licensing) for UASs that is not so costly, once they have a handle on things. I hope that when they do, they still require at least 1 solo flight in a fixed wing or rotor-craft. You can get more information on the different certificates out there, and how lightly restricted they are by checking reading 14 C.F.R. part 61.

    Now, as far as what the FAA is taking to be recreational in contrast to commercial, let me help you out, because I have seen a good number of UAS hobbyists misinterpreting this, and it might end up costing you big. My warning is that right now the FAA is trying to get the word out that they control the skies and therefore they oversee and regulate UASs, but once they establish regulations I think there is going to be a great deal more interest by the FAA in violations. That being said, in my experience with the FAA as a pilot, and using current regulations as a loose outline, I would say the FAA is going to view UAS flights as being under one of three types of operations.

    Recreational: Strictly for fun and leisure. You do not receive any type of compensation or benefit other than an enjoyable time with your UAS. If you post videos on the internet you do not receive any type of compensation from adds or traffic. Compensation is going to be the biggest separator here, if you receive any type of money or goods from flying a UAS or anything resulting from the flights (pictures, mapping, videos, sales, web traffic etc.) you WILL NOT be in this category. Currently no license required.

    Incidental: The flight is in furtherance of your own business but the flight itself is not for compensation or hire, and the flight does not produce a product that is for compensation or hire. If you are a hobby store and you give demonstration flights, or film the product in operation, to better inform the buyer it would be incidental. This would be similar to a private pilot who owns a company, and has a meeting in another city, flying himself and his team to the meeting. He is not being compensated for the flight, and the flight is not for hire. This is the area that would be easiest to think that you are within, but you are not. If you make films with a UAS and give them away, but charge for the editing, you WOULD NOT be in this category. Currently the FAA is requiring pilots operating in this area to have a private pilot certificate at a minimum.

    Commercial: The flight is for compensation or hire. You charge for the flight, or for a product produced by the flight, such as video, pictures, mapping, security, and so forth. Currently the FAA is requiring pilots operating in this area to have a commercial pilot certificate.

    Hope this helps. [I know; I write novels... the curse of the long winded]

    Oh, and flight school is fun.
     
  3. Quadpilot

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    Excellent summary of the situation. As a retired airline pilot and UAS enthusiast, I know where you're coming from, and while I have a healthy skepticism of the efficiency with which the FAA is implementing their UAS integration into the NAS, I know one thing from 40 years of flying: The FAA is a conservative, risk-averse organization and I guess I wouldn't have it any other way, considering the stakes in protecting lives. I too think that eventually the licensing requirement will lose up for commercial activity, or there will be established a new licensing category for UAS operators that addresses the unique skills required to pilot a small UAS which are so dissimilar from larger aircraft or helicopters.
    Educating not just the commercial operators but the thousands (millions? eventually) of recreational UAS flyers will be the dominant challenge to preserve the integrity of the NAS, and that is my biggest worry, given the speed at which this technology is evolving.

    Reading the 333 exemption gives you an idea of the paradigm shift this new technology has created. That's what has perplexed the FAA for the last few years as they attempt to find a way to safely integrate UAS into the NAS, which is in the public's interest, after all.
     
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  4. shockwave199

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    Let me ask you guys this, what category would I and the company I work for fall into in this particular scenario I'll lay out.

    I work for a well established fireworks display company and we are very interested in adding aerial video to our catalog of photo media, as well as stills. We are not however interested in flying in the dangerous manner that many have done thus far- that being flying the craft into the detonating fireworks performance, which is ludicrous and highly dangerous. Rather, we wish to do it safely on the outskirts of the performance. Our programs are highly planned at all stages and so too would be our planned flights.

    Obviously, we have a long standing working relationship with the faa. Because of that, the time window of our programs and max shell height are always a known to the faa before each and every program. And by proxy, we also have a completely clear safety zone on the ground from which to operate take off and landing. We would of course have no problem flying within the protocol of max 400' height, etc, etc. We would have a pilot, which is where I come in, a professional photographer, and a spotter as the flight team. The Inspire certainly meets the needs and requirements of the craft.

    What I'm not sure of is where we begin, or if we begin. We would certainly seek permission from all authorities having jurisdiction, as we do as part of event planning anyway. I'm sure it would be a highly planned flight path and event. But I question what to do about the faa and given permission by the authorities having jurisdiction, do we just let them know when we call in the program or do we seek an actual exemption, I wonder.

    Anyway long winded but this is where we discuss such ideas. Any thoughts?
     
  5. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    Compensation can be interpreted differently...who's to say that some manager at a regional office of the FAA might claim that getting a "like" on a recreational video posted on Youtube, IS a form of "compensation". Therefore, a fineable offense. May sound far fetched, but a regional office for Transport Canada, was reported to have said exactly that and they can use that as a reason to fine someone.
     
    #5 Khudson7, Jan 7, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2015
  6. spasshasser

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    Shockwave, you would have to request and get an exemption from the FAA. Anything that falls outside hobby/recreational use is going to require an exemption (to remain legal). What incidental vs commercial will determine is if the flight can be conducted by a private or a commercially certificated pilot. I believe that the FAA would consider the flight incidental to the business as you are not making money from the flight, or doing the flight for hire, but using the flight for a furtherance of the business itself. If you are planning on requesting an exemption for the inspire 1 let me know, I have put together FAA based manuals for the inspire that may save you time and effort, and would be willing to share them for a small fee.

    Khudson, I understand that it may seem that the FAA is trying to find every scrap of control to throw at UAS enthusiasts that they can, but this is not the case. If the youtube channel doesn't generate revenue then you wouldn't have problems. Furthermore if you did make money from your website or youtube channel, lets say reviewing photography and videography equipment, and you therefore did some videos of flights of camera equipped UASs as well as a great deal of standard camera (DSLRs) reviews then I don't think the FAA would come beating down your door.

    The FAA has two roles, which seem to be at odds with each other. Ensure safety, promote aviation. Given those two responsibilities I would say that they do a rather impressive job.

    Remember this is my opinion, I do not represent the FAA and I am not legal counsel. Just trying to give you my understanding. Trust them for what they are, a strangers words on the internet.

    Fly safe.
     
  7. shockwave199

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    Well one thing I'm not is a certified pilot, so even if it would be deemed incidental I'm not in a position to get a private pilot certificate. Oy.
     
  8. spasshasser

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    Yeah, that is the tough spot that many of the UAS enthusiasts are going to find themselves in. Getting a private pilot cert in an airplane is expensive (4k-9k) depending (you need at a minimum 40 hours flight time). Though, if you really wanted to turn it into a career, that isn't horrible. Plus you are then a certificated airplane pilot. Flying UASs is a blast, but it is nothing compared to controlling a real aircraft. Not to mention the cost of an inspire alone is close to what it may cost you for a private pilot cert (albeit on the very low side of things). Something to think about.

    I do think that the FAA will eventually implement regulations for receiving a UAS private and commercial license. Then it will most likely be less costly. I do hope that they have a minimum hour requirement for flying a manned aircraft though, despite the cost, I think the realization of what really goes on up there is paramount to piloting a UAS in NAS safely.
     
  9. AerialIris

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    I have no problem with licensing for commercial use. If a license is to be required, a UAS category and therefor specialized training should be required, not a private pilot cert. The two tasks, flying a passenger aircraft in first person and flying a UAS, are completely disparate skill sets.

    IMO, it should be akin to getting a driver's license. Take the test, pay your fee, start flying for pay. Caught breaking the rules face suspension or lose your license. License is not required for recreational flight.
     
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  10. spasshasser

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    Like I said, they are going to go with overcautious first and make sure those that are operating are familiar with the rules and regulations as well as the risks involved in flying a manned aircraft. UASs are the only time the line is crossed where operating in airspace isn't the same as risking your life by being in the craft.
    The FAA, IMO, will give you what you want in time, a path to be a UAS certified pilot. Who knows what that will look like, or the costs that will be associated with it. The only difference is that they are opening the opportunity to those that have already displayed the capability to operate in NAS early. They are doing this to not completely put a hold on the industry, and to preen absolutely crucial data on how to best incorporate UASs into the NAS.

    Getting your pilots certificate is exactly what you outlined above. Take the written knowledge test, and your interview test, and your flight test, display you meet the requirements (old enough, posses the proper documents, have enough experience), pay your fee, start flying for pay. That is exactly what is required of you to be capable, so long as you are willing to file for and maintain an exemption from the FAA.
     
  11. TMI

    TMI

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    I believe they are only referring to the "ground school" portion of the pilot's license requirements, I don't think they expect us to learn to fly a plane in order to operate our RC models!
    Regardless, if I plan to shoot some footage for a realtor friend and they reimburse me for my trouble I'm expected to go to Commercial Pilot Ground School first?
     
  12. spasshasser

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    They are expecting (currently and from what I've read in exemptions granted so far) that you have a commercial certificate, not just ground school.
     
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  13. Mattycee

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    In Australia they have relaxed the laws to allow UAVs under 2kgs to be used for commercial purposes without the need for a license. Over 2kgs is still the same but now you can use a Phantom or similar for commercial gain without fear of a fine. Unfortunately this excludes the Inspire 1 as it is 2.9kgs.
     
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  14. Upshots

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    Here in Canada I plan on using my Phantom 2+, and my Inspire 1 for commercial purposes, I can't even get Transport Canada to return my calls for questions. Needless to say it has been a "PITA". I have attached the latest update by Transport Canada.

    A cameraman from Terrebonne was slapped with a $1,000 fine last week for filming from a drone without a federal permit.
    Julien Gramigna, the co-founder of a drone-based video and photography company, said he is fighting the fine because Transport Canada’s rules on flying unmanned aerial aircraft are unclear.
    He received the fine Dec. 23 after using two different drones to shoot an aerial video last June of a luxury residence for a real-estate company.
    “I’m not a pilot, I’m a cameraman,” Gramigna said. “I never got any help from Transport Canada or an explanation of what I was and wasn’t allowed to do. When you buy a drone, it doesn’t say ‘Subject to the rules of Transport Canada’ on the box.”
    For safety reasons, it is prohibited to fly a drone within nine kilometres of an airport or in densely populated areas, among other restrictions.
    Transport Canada relaxed the rules on commercial UAVs this fall. Under the new restrictions, a pilot operating a drone that weighs more than two kilograms or that doesn’t meet other criteria for an exemption, must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate. A person who operates a commercial drone without authorization could be fined up to $5,000. For a company, the fine can reach $25,000.
     

    Attached Files:

    #14 Upshots, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  15. Jenn348

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    The only thing FAA has been able to make stick in court is punishment for reckless flying. Until they actually go through the lawful process of making regulations, they can't enforce their imaginary regs on safe users. http://dronelawjournal.com
     
  16. ISP5557

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    I disagree. What you all are failing to consider is it does not matter whether you are in the the plane or not, you are utilizing space in one of the airspaces the FAA has regulatory power over. These are not imaginary regs, they exist in the United States. You must possess a COA, have a class 2 medical certificate, have manufactures training, and have passed the Airman's Knowledge exam. Without these four things the FAA can and will ruin your day at some point. They sent a email notice to all law enforcement agencies last month wanting violations observed to be forwarded to the FAA. So you will start to see prosecutions multiply exponentially as people continue to do stupid, things with their UAV's. Don't shoot the messenger, I have three of the four, and it has only taken two long years. Hopefully in a couple more months we will have met all our requirements (Including a FAA site visit and demonstration of safety measures and risk assessment) They are not going to make it an easy process, because they do not want tens of thousands of these in the airspace.
     
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  17. snappy

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    @ISP5557 technically they have complete regulatory power only above 500feet.
    They will open up a much larger can of worms to try and get that changed.

    So whatever they end up enacting won't be all that strict and will have a 500ft limit unless they change that hight limit to give them much broader powers - witch will never pass as a bill.
     
  18. DeanH

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    In Australia, as soon as you operate as a business you require an Operators Certificate issued by CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority), no matter what size remote aircraft. This certificate then allows you to obtain insurance as a business. You must fly line of sight with your eyes not binoculars etc, not fly at night (no clear line of sight), not over crowds (beaches, sport events etc) and the list goes on. Recently the requirement to also hold a UAV Controllers Certificate (private pilot license theory component) have been relaxed for <2kg but you still need to fly under an Operators Certificate.
    BTW just flew my Inspire1 for the first time after working all night to update everything. Had a Galaxy tab S 4 and IPhone 6 + working on master and slave. IPhone showed best results with new App. Very happy so far.