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FAA has my Inspire

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dearme, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. dearme

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    Apparently, I was flying too close to the downtown area of Chicago for the police. They stopped me and asked what I was doing. Long story short, they insisted on taking the drone. They then gave it to the FAA. What can the FAA pull of the drone? They can't seem to find the SD card and I don't have it. What can they pull off of the drone itself without the SD card (unless they are being dishonest and actually have it)? I also have my phone that I use to fly it of course with the DJI software on it? It was an honest mistake as I thought I was far enough away (I was on the edge of far enough), I wasn't doing anything shady like looking in windows or anything, and no I wasn't even being paid by anyone to fly. I was honestly, just messing around and thought I was outside of the range.

    Anyone know whats next? I think the police actually violated my 4th amendment in the first place by taking the drone. I wasn't charged or ticketed for anything.

    What can they get off the drone itself if anything? If I volunteer to give them access to the CSV files on the DJI app I would basically be giving them proof I was too close. Will the drone have the same info on it? What do you all suggest?
     
  2. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    The Inspire logs every flight internally so should they have the knowledge (or been given it by DJI) then they will have a complete log of your last few flight including Latitude and Longitude positional data, speed, altitude, flight duration, motor speed, battery information, stick inputs, whether the camera was recording or taking stills and at what point and what direction (angle) the camera was pointing.........need I go on? :p
     
  3. Dave Armbrust

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    I would not sweat it too much if what you describe is true.

    I just had an interesting chat with an FAA Inspector. They were in the process of working with an drone operator that had crashed his drone on airport property. It was a towered class C airport with regular airline service. Their plan in this case was to educate rather than punish,

    My suggestion to you is to get very familiar with Part 107. Take the free FAA online course at FAASaftey.gov and bring a printed completion certificate with you to your first meeting with them.

    After studying Part 107 make a fair accessment of if you were in violation of Part 107. If you are, then be appologetic and willing to listen. If you are not show an sincere interest in following the rules and express that you believed you were following the rules.

    While Part 107 is not in effect yet, it remains our best guidance today. Prior guidance is far more restrictive then Part 107.

    Here are some things you should not do:
    1) Argue with the inspector.
    2) mention your 4th amendment rights
    3) hire a lawyer
    4) focus on getting your drone back (you will once they are satisfied)
    5) admit you actual did anything wrong (listen and nod only)
    6) get upset

    If you play it as I suggest you will leave with your drone and far more knowledge than you started with.

    Feel free to advise that after the fact you were following the advice of a CFI who is also a drone operator. My name and certificate number is David Armbrust, 3383575CFI, Exp. 08/2017. My phone number is 941-951-8934. I will be happy to talk to them if they have any questions about the regulations.

    If you do not follow my advice, please do not mention my name.

    And be more careful in the future.
     
  4. MacDyver

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    Proximity to the city doesn't sound like an issue if you are a hobbyist, violating a no take off or landing ordinance will likely just earn you a citation for first offense if that as local governments cannot make any rules concerning airspace. however height restrictions, proximity to or recording critical infrastructure, overflying non participatory people would be things the FAA would be concerned with and if I were in your position I'd be listening to the advice from Dave above.
     
  5. licensed pilot

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    As the Editor said, pretty much everything. Can you tell us what "flying too close to the downtown area" means, exactly? Is there a city ordinance/state law in place prohibiting your flight?
    The police can secure evidence in investigating a "crime' but there's the rub and the reason I asked...what crime is the city prosecutor alleging? The charge does not need to come immediately after seizure but surely soon thereafter. It saddens me to see that the Chicago cops, with all the street crime, don't have better things to do...You need to retain an attorney or at least file a citizen complaint with the police; a PD as large as Chicago must have a citizen complaint process/Review Board.

    The FAA, unless investigating a violation of FARs (in which case you will get a letter) , has no legal justification to keep the UAV. How long ago did this happen? . I would call the FAA and demand return of your UAV, unless the US Attorney is planning to file criminal charges. The FAA only deals with civil violations, i.e., a certificated pilot flying outside the limits of her/his certificate, flying too low, etc.
    Perhaps others may have better suggestions.

    ps- If you are planning a legal fight, document everything, save every email, letter, and keep a log of phone calls and names.
     
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  6. slim.slamma

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    I thought the police could only confiscate the Sd card or demand to see it?
    To verify a complaint. Understandable
    No SD probably means no justification for what they did.
    Downtown area? what was going on "NOTHING"?
    Far enough from what?
    1 more question did you live anywhere near where this transpired.
     
    #6 slim.slamma, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  7. licensed pilot

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    Do keep in mind the FAA is not one monolithic/single minded agency but a hodgepodge of people spread out among numerous Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs), each interpreting the rules as they see fit and all governed by human nature and personalities.

    My pilot certificate was saved early in my flying career (I was 17 in 1970, the ink on my PPL wasn't even dry yet, when I decided to buzz my girlfriend's house) by a kind FAA inspector who chewed my ass royally upon landing (citizens called in my tail number-that's how low I was flying) but did not file an adverse action against my certificate. Never did it again. A nice man,wish I knew his name. However, since then I've met some real jerk inspectors, just like life, we meet nice people and some not so nice. On the subject of UAVs I have received conflicting advice from my local FSDO and the UAS Integration office at FAA headquarters. It is all too new and interpretations of regulations are in flux.

    I do not recommend taking a combative position but I do recommend you do not give up your rights, especially when dealing with the police; I was a cop for 32 years and now teach criminal justice. I advise my students to always be polite and respectful with the police but to never surrender their rights. File a complaint with the police for the seizure of your UAV. Call the FAA and kindly ask for the return of your UAV (I can't discern any legal precedent for the FAA seizure, unless an FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation) was violated. If they refuse, get a lawyer experienced in dealing with the FAA, if you can afford it. Do not make the mistake others have made before you, mainly assuming that if you are a nice guy, the government agencies will treat you fairly. Not all FSDOs are created alike. And keep a paper trail.
     
    #7 licensed pilot, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
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  8. DennisR

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    Surely anywhere near the city he would be in controlled airspace? Can a person actually fly in a city the size of Chicago and get away with it? In Australia they would shoot you down. Laws might be different but I live 80 k's from Perth and theres very few areas I am allowed to fly between here and the city. Its all restricted airspace, licensed or otherwise.
     
  9. AMGPilot

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    There is more to this story I'm betting
     
  10. ISP5557

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    Yes there is a lot of area you can fly if you have a Class G, or Blanket COA. But there is a no take off/Landing ordinance in effect in Chicago.
     
  11. SanCap

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    My guess is the OP took someones advice and lawyered up.
     
  12. licensed pilot

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    It pisses me off when cops overstep their legal authority. Local police have no legal authority to enforce FAA regulations. All they should do is write a report and forward to FAA. The seizure of a citizen's property w/o due process (a search warrant) or as possible evidence with sufficient probable cause of a crime (UAV injures someone or damages property) is illegal and a 4th Amendment violation.
     
  13. AMGPilot

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    Chicago Plowed the runways at Meigs field they don't really care what the FAA says and they have precedent to ignore them

    If they have a no takeoff requirement by city ordinance then yes they can enforce that. FAA only has the airspace from 500ft agl
     
  14. licensed pilot

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    The cops can obviously enforce city ordinances. That is why my first questions were: "Can you tell us what 'flying too close to the downtown area" means, exactly? Is there a city ordinance/state law in place prohibiting your flight?'"
     
    #14 licensed pilot, Aug 19, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  15. slim.slamma

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    In Chicago, I don't have that answer.
    In nyc certain areas of the city do not fall under controlled airspace. But its still that other reg over crowds, congested areas.:cool:
    The world wasn't ready for uav's be patient. Chicago you can't fly but you can take off.
    NYC you can't take off but not all air space is controlled. Its all farking confusing

    As far as run in with the police if a person knows nothing then i can understand why they would confiscate a drone. Accident waiting to happen. I wonder did this fellow have a registration marker on his drone?
    At least 9 run in's with the police and we always shake hands in the end. But I'm familiar with what I'm allowed to do. You would never catch me flying around the U.N.
     
  16. AngelAndres

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    From 500ft/agl? Where did you read that? Is it part of the FARs?
     
  17. Brett W

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    Ok guys I'm going to weigh in here.
    About me, I am a 4000 hour Emergency Medical Helicopter pilot. I have been flying for 10 years and an aviation mechanic for 10 years before that. I am the chief pilot of a 5 helicopter operation in the US.

    Recently I lost an inspire 1 to a flyaway downtown Indianapolis. It disconnected from the ground station and proceeded to plow in to the 25th floor or an apartment. It broke out a window, and I became the first liability claim for a drone in my insurance company. It was recovered by the police which called the FAA. The police wouldn't tell me what happened to my drone till the 5 days after it happened when I recovered it. I made a police report for lost property the day it happened. Then the day I found out what happened, I called the FAA and self disclosed. *I IMMEDIATELY FILLED OUT A NASA FORM* (Google and fill out a NASA form for protection). Yes I do also have a 333 in hand. I also have all my prerequisites in for the 107 Cert. This day, I flew with a spotter and had total visual contact with the drone, I try to ensure I always do.

    I met with the FAA 2 weeks ago. I had told them I was flying for hobby (at the advice of my sUAS attorney), because I was only filming some cool stuff for me, and maybe a demo reel. Sadly I forgot about a heliport that I've flown to MANY times in downtown Indy JUST over a mile away. Here's what the FAA found me in "non-compliance" of:

    1. Your UAS flight operation was for the furtherance of a business (my company Exemption No.) and not a hobbyist operation, and

    2. You did not notify local heliport operators of your intended UAS operation.

    They are looking for people to make examples of per there own words, and after Aug they are going to go hardcore on violators. The police that notified them called the Regional FAA office in Chicago, I notified the local FSDO. They informed me that they were about to close out my file when they got a directive from the district to investigate. Also, district told them to treat it as an aircraft "incident" which takes it all to a whole new level. Much more investigation! Lastly they stated that if it would have hurt someone they would violate me

    I knew they would find away to violate me, so I informed my lawyer. When I met with them what they did say was that if I wasn't transparent, respectful, and admit my mistake they would have violated me. Because I self-disclosed and made changes myself between the flyaway and the meeting that they would do a "compliance action." A Compliance Action is new, it became available to them in 2015. Versus tying them up for a year with an enforcement action the compliance action allowed them to work with me and get me back in compliance with my own actions to get me to compliance. It does not effect my pilot's license at all, and with a certificate inquiry I would not pop up. My company would not be seen as dealing with the FAA in any way, the only thing was internal non-searchable paperwork to ensure I was following my own compliance plan when they followed up in a month. Here is my compliance reply:

    1. Conduct all operations under the pretense of our 333 Exemption and the inference that all operations are for the furtherance of the business and under commercial guidelines.

    2. Any operation within the greater Indianapolis area and surrounding cities requires calling the Indianapolis Airport Operations hotline to notify of our operations. We call and report our operation prior to all flights. Any questions we will contact you to seek resolution. Lastly, we will seek the appropriate authority to notify of our operations.

    I have only heard from them to state that it was recieved. I had already imlimented this BEFORE my meeting with the FAA once insurance paid for the new inspire. According to the local FSDO office I am the "most logged pilot in the Indianapolis area" that's a great thing.

    I hope it helps
     
    #17 Brett W, Aug 20, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016
  18. Steve@AerialImagesPro

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    Please don't quote rules and facts unless you know them to be accurate, or post something to backup your claim. misinformation is abundant on Internet, you don't need to add to it.

    FAA has authority from 'the ground up'
    Busting Myths about the FAA and Unmanned Aircraft
     
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  19. Brett W

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    Couldn't agree more!
     
  20. Donnie Frank

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    Are you sure that stuff is stored in the bird? I can view all that information on my iPad - every flight - even when it's completely disconnected from the controller. I'm given a menu option to "Delete flights" or "Sync to the cloud." So I assume the flight data is stored in the iPad. Is it also stored in the Inspire?