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UK The dreaded "congested area"

Discussion in 'Certified UAV Pilots' started by Wing Commander Smyth, May 13, 2016.

  1. Wing Commander Smyth

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    Hi All

    So I am reaching out to you certified pilots for advice here.

    Essentially, I'm a profesional cameraman and got my PFAW last year, but 10% of my work requires a drone.

    My small number of previous jobs have been in quiet areas, where I can easily take off and land with 30m clearance, not bother people (maybe the odd sheep!) and essentially, fly within the rules easily.

    I have now been asked to work on a property series, with properties in cities!!!

    With the land owners permission, can I take off and fly straight up and then get shots from above 50m, over other peoples houses or not??? Its driving me mad. I've asked the CAA for clarification, they replied "if you fly within the rules you'll be fine" - well thanks, that doesn't help!

    Another certified op tells me that the CAA now say you can fly over people/property, as long as its 50m away.........correct??

    Any experience, thoughts or advice would be ace.....and much appreciated.

    Oh and the shoot is ........ MONDAY! (classic TV!)
     
  2. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Hi,
    Unfortunately as you know you cannot fly over or within 150 meters of a congested area and a city or town would most definitely be classed as that.
    I won't go into Cap722 166/7 since I'm sure you know the stand offs required.
    However, having said that, most situations are workable with careful planning and/or permissions.
    If it would help you can PM me the Lat/Long of your intended site and I can take a look.
     
  3. Wing Commander Smyth

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    Hi @The Editor
    Yeah, thats what I thought, but i'm sure I've seen other footage of drones over towns/cities.....
    Would love to PM .....um how do I do that again?!?!
     
  4. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Click on my name on the post above or this post, then on the box that appears, click on 'start a Conversation'.
     
  5. IrishSights

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    With a standard PfAW and under 7kg the 150m congested area rule do not apply.

    IN 2014/186 in paragraph 3.1 it says "SUA of 7 kg or less are not required to use the CAOSC for a standard permission 1 . The '1' footnote says "For SUA with a mass of 7 kg or less a permission to operate within congested areas, at least 50 m clear of third parties etc., is normally given ‘as standard’

    That is, given as a 'standard' PFAW

    Unless there is a new IN I have missed?
     
  6. The Editor

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    You're right but I think the OP was even having problems with 50m for the intended location.
    Interestingly enough, if you read carefully the word over doesn't factor so you could argue that as long as you maintain 50m vertically from a building, structure or vessel then you are still adhering to 166/7 for sub 7kg.
     
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  7. Wing Commander Smyth

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    Ok guys, so this is EXACTLY what I was getting at!

    Another pro drone op (does it way more than me) said as i'm flying a sub 7KG, I just need to be 50m away, at all times. "You'll be fine" were his words.

    But as I am a slightly long in the tooth camera op, I wanted clarification.

    So, are we now saying that technically, at sub 7kg, i'm good as long as I'm 50m away.

    Thanks for your time on this!
     
  8. IrishSights

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    So for closer than 50m he needs to get it 'under his control'. That's the way I would have done it.
     
  9. Wing Commander Smyth

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    @IrishSights - just to clarify, I have the house owners permission to take of and land, the nearest house is over 50m away, so everything within my take off and landing is "within my control".

    If I was filming in a terrace street, I would assume you would not be able to take off and land as the next house is well under 30m away........I hope they don't ask me to film a terrace!
     
  10. The Editor

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    Yes, however, it could be argued that 50m vertical clearance is sufficient to satisfy 166/7 now for operation in a congested area under IN-2014/184 (I guess that's the one you meant ;)).
    So.......providing your SUA is <7kg is it now acceptable to fly over a village or town for example providing you maintain 50m vertical clearance from the tallest roof/structure you fly over?
     
  11. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Were just contemplating the 50m vertical clearance now. :)
    The game changer is really IN-2014/184 and how it is interpreted.
     
  12. The Editor

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    From what you say I would think you will be fine.
    You have permission from the house owner (or person responsible) and you have your 50m clearance.
     
  13. IrishSights

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    You have to be careful of roads too. They need to be under your control or >50m. Can be a bummer. I remember I had to turn down a job of a church roof inspection as it had a main road on one side and terrace houses on the other 3 sides and no room inbetween
    EDIT: and nowhere to take off from.
     
  14. Wing Commander Smyth

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    I would say yes! I've now looked at the IN-2014/184 (which is what my drone mate must have been referring to), and that says to me, stay 50m clear or anything, and it's all good, for sub 7Kg.

    I can't see anything in there that would dispute that.....you?
     
  15. The Editor

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    I would say you should be fine providing:
    • You are only flying a sub 7kg aircraft
    • You have 30m clearance during take off or landing
    • You maintain a 50m clearance at all times be that vertical or lateral from any structure, vessel, person etc not under your control.
    IN-2014/184 basically relaxes the standard permissions for small mass SUA's and operation within a congested area and absolves the operator of the need to file a CAOSC.
     
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  16. Wing Commander Smyth

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    I love this forum.

    There, I said it.

    HUGE thanks to both of you chaps, and how nice to be in a thread that works, and hasn't broken down into snipes and all that malarky.

    I received the X5R today.....so I guess i'll be straight back on here tomorrow with a whole new set of questions!

    Thanks again, and have great weekends!
     
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  17. The Editor

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    Good luck and have fun with the X5R (I hope you've got a lot of hard drive space to unload that footage!!! :p)
     
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  18. Wing Commander Smyth

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    Ok so Ive had 10 mins and another thought popped up!

    So with the 50m clear thing, does that apply to roads as well, it must do? Am I right in thinking that you can fly over congested area (including roads) as long as you are 50 m away? Or are roads still a no no you think???
     
  19. AllanM

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    I now cross roads (including the M4), at a reasonable pace, and at, say 80-100M. I don't loiter over them or within the statutory 50M. The way I see it is I am mitigating risk, also, the higher and faster you travelling the less likely noticed and be a distraction to motorists.

    I don't have a PFAW, BTW.
     
  20. MarkLincs

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    Right its 50M from anything not under your control so roads / houses etc

    If you want to fly closer than 50M to anything NOT under your control OSC time