Welcome to InspirePilots.com

Join the leading DJI Inspire community for free!

USA Night Time Operations

Discussion in 'Certified UAV Pilots' started by Beverly Hills Aerials, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Beverly Hills Aerials

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Beverly Hills
    Does anyone have a exemption allowing for night time operations ? The attorney that filed my paperwork said it was not possible. Then on Tuesday I spoke at the California Association of Realtors alongside a FAA representative that said they do approve them, but those applications required more scrutiny. She was broadcast over go to meeting so I wasn't able to get more detailed with my questions with her.

    Anyone have success getting the night time operations approved in their exemption ? and could you recommend someone to help prepare the paperwork or offer any other advice.

    Thanks guys
     
  2. DroneTechAerial

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2015
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Malibu, CA
    So far nobody has been able to get authorization except for some state university or designated USA testing facility if I remember right. So No. Remember "night time "starts 1hr after official sunset.
     
    SanCap likes this.
  3. Beverly Hills Aerials

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Beverly Hills
    lame,... actually sunset is at civil twilight i believe which is more like 15 min after sunset ?
     
  4. boydp323

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    2
    Civil twilight is defined when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. Sunrise/Sunset is the instant at which the upper edge of the sun appears or sinks on the horizon. This is typically established at the local time. Civil would be about 15 minutes earlier or later.
     
  5. SanCap

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,334
    Likes Received:
    395
    Location:
    South West Florida
    Night as described in FAR 61.57(b), "period beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise."
     
    CaptainBadge likes this.
  6. Beverly Hills Aerials

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Beverly Hills
    Im pretty sure in the exemption it said
    you are completely right, I had confused what the exemption states vs what my sport pilot certificate allows me to do. Sport pilots can fly until civil twilight. The exemptions states cannot fly at night as defined above.
     
    #6 Beverly Hills Aerials, Jan 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2016
    SanCap likes this.
  7. boydp323

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    2
    Right. And now you have me thinking. I didn't look up the reg. This makes a difference. Sunset/sunrise, civil twilight and night are all different. I didn't pay close attention to the exemption and assumed sunrise/sunset. Thanks!
     
    SanCap likes this.
  8. licensed pilot

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    278
    Location:
    CASA GRANDE, AZ
    It would require a new COA to supplement the blanket COA attached to the 333. Night flying approval is even tough for public safety agencies as the feds are very anal about UAS night operations. I'd love to ask an FAA rep to show me an approved night COA for a commercial 333 operator so I can review the language and decipher the magic code...;)
     
  9. CaptainBadge

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2015
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    240
    It reads like this "After further review, we grant you authority to conduct night operations in the middle of the Mojave Desert on the third Thursday of the month of February so lang as it is a leap year. Operations higher than 15 feet agl are not permitted. UAV will be lit with flood lights from no less than one million candlepower from 4 directions. UAV must be tethered to a block weighing not less than 5 metric tons which itself will also be tethered to another block weighing not less than 10 metric tons. The operator shall distinguish himself with no less than 42 glow sticks, green in color and taped to his chest and forehead.'
     
    gruvpix likes this.
  10. Dr. Ifly Drones

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    144
    Location:
    Nashville, TN USA
    It's my understanding that the night flying is locked to the definition of VLOS. Right now, every 333 I've seen on the public site for the FAA stipulates flight under VLOS...
     
  11. licensed pilot

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    278
    Location:
    CASA GRANDE, AZ
    roflmao!
     
  12. licensed pilot

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    278
    Location:
    CASA GRANDE, AZ
    Just spitballing here.. wouldn't it be VLOS if I see the UAV lights? I mean, I am a licensed pilot and I've never seen the outline of another aircraft while flying at night (if I did I'd be way too close!) , only the nav lights and strobe.

    PS- I've never flown my UAV at night...yet.
     
  13. Dr. Ifly Drones

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2015
    Messages:
    285
    Likes Received:
    144
    Location:
    Nashville, TN USA
    There is the rational side of me that agrees with that idea but, I suppose the government has to set some sort of general parameters...
     
  14. licensed pilot

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    278
    Location:
    CASA GRANDE, AZ
    Right. I do not expect the Feds to ever approve a nighttime shoot under my 333, even though I am in a rural area, class G airspace, no major airports nor IFR approaches, etc...

    and I'd love to be proven wrong some day...;)
     
    SanCap likes this.
  15. Beverly Hills Aerials

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Beverly Hills
    actually this isn't right. FAR is describing night flights but the exemptions references 14 CFR 1.1 which gives a different definition which is the end of civil twilight begins night.

    see both attached for reference. first file is CFR 1.1 i found online ( which is what the exemption references)
    second photo is from my FAR AIM 2016 61.57
     

    Attached Files:

    SanCap likes this.
  16. licensed pilot

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    278
    Location:
    CASA GRANDE, AZ
    Correct. We have to operate under the 333 rules, which cites CFR 1.1. According to the USNO, sunset in my location is at 5:59 and civil twilight is at 6:25. So technically I could fly between those two times. I never fly after sunset, CFR 1.1 notwithstanding.

    Sun
    Begin civil twilight 6:56 a.m.
    Sunrise 7:22 a.m.
    Sun transit 12:40 p.m.
    Sunset 5:59 p.m.
    End civil twilight 6:25 p.m.
     
  17. SanCap

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,334
    Likes Received:
    395
    Location:
    South West Florida
    Thanks for the correction.
     
  18. Droneyboy

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2016
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    22
    I submitted to the FAA for night flying about a month ago.............I'll post when I get a response. It appears that 200 feet AGL is the FAA limit at night. Need lights on craft to be seen 3 miles away(tough one), LOS, safety, what ifs, etc.
    I wonder if I proposed tethering the bird with a fishing line would have helped. I'm half serious on this one. We shall see.
     
  19. Dave Armbrust

    Joined:
    May 27, 2016
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    98
    It was posted on the DJI Forum that a daytime waiver has been granted. I quote:

    "So, applied under my 107 certification for a waiver to fly at night for the fire department. Everything went through in less than 30 days... FAA actually pulled through on this one☺

    Yes, the waiver comes with some stipulation... such as the use of a VO, and receiving/providing training to PIC and VO on the illusions of darkness. However, all of the stuff listed that must be followed is all legitimate in safely flying at night so no complaints here☺.

    Im very excited. The process was 100% painless."

    Part 107.29 prohibits night operations, yet appears to intend to have a different definition than 1.1.

    Until recently the FAA has had three definitions of night.

    1) Sunset to sunrise, which has to do with aircraft lighting
    2) Night as defined in 1.1 "the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, converted to local time."
    3) 61.57(b) which states from "beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise". This is only used for manned aircraft for night currency.

    Now, with Part 107.29 the FAA has created a fourth definition which is used for lights on UAS. It starts at sunset and end 30 minutes later and you must have lights that are visible for 3 miles and it once again starts 30 minutes before sunrise and end at sunrise.

    They did not define night or daylight in 107.1 definitions so we are still forced to use the definition of night in 1.1 for 107.29(a) "as published in the Air Almanac". And we must use lights for 30 minutes after sunset.

    What does this literally mean? I can operate my UAS under 107.29 from Sunset to end of civil twilight (1.1 definition, which is 25 minutes after sunset today for my location). While 107.29(b) only allows operation until end of civil twilight, as published in the Air Almanac, I am required to have lights until 30 minutes after sunset. There technically is a period of 5 minutes today after the end of civil twilight till 30 minutes after sunset where I would have to use lights, yet I am prohibited from operating in this five minute period by 107.29(a).

    It would have made more sense to just say we must use lights from sunset to sunrise since they did not bother to change or create a new definition for night. Or they could have used the newly create 30 minute definition in 107.29(a).

    Of course a recreational UAS operator has no night restrictions, other than any "community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization". If you are a certified remote pilot do not even think about operating at night (1.1 definition) without a waiver to 107.29, you would never be able to convince the FAA it is a recreational flight and you could loose your certificate. The irony is that loosing your remote pilot certificate could make the flight legal!

    I have not see a night waiver yet, but I would not be surprised if it allowed you to turn your lights off 30 minutes after sunset since 107.29(b) only requires it for this thirty minute period.

    Sorry for such a long explanation for night time operations, but it was not my job to write the regulations. My job is only to understand, follow and teach them.
     
  20. API Jim

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I received my 107.29 waiver in about two weeks. LED strobes made for bicycles do a fine job of lighting up an Inspire (or even a Phantom) at night, though not all brands will work. You need to pay attention to prop clearances and orient the lights so they can be seen from above, since that is where pilots who need to see your drone will most likely be.

    Having a private pilot certificate probably helped my case as well, though may not have been essential. I did reference FAA documents available online (including the Pilots Operating Handbook) as reference materials I use to train my visual observers. Look at the standards the FAA has posted, and address each point they raise, specifically, and your night waiver will probably sail right through. I spent an hour on the computer. I'd call that pretty painless. The X5 does surprisingly well at night, as long as the subject has some light on it.