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Drone operator arrested for impeding rescuers

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Rex R

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just another sign that common sense is becoming less common.
Rex
 

K'Tesh

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I'd like to know what the law concerning this... Not that I'd fly a drone anywhere near a manned aircraft, but just so that people are aware that they need to stay XYZ yards away from situations like this.
 

Screaminhelo

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There is an R/C field that is along one of our flight corridors.

One warm, sunny Saturday, we crossed over the R/C field at about 1000 feet and someone thought that it would be fun to try and fly formation with us. I kept an eye on the model and as it came nearer, I gave my pilots a count down as it came nearer. When it was about 100 feet away, I called a left break and our rotor wash made for an experience that he is not likely to forget. As we turned back on course, I saw the model finally back under control at about 500 feet.
 

Screaminhelo

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I'd like to know what the law concerning this... Not that I'd fly a drone anywhere near a manned aircraft, but just so that people are aware that they need to stay XYZ yards away from situations like this.
I am not certain about this, but I believe that R/C activity is supposed to stay below 500 feet and maintain a similar separation from aircraft. There are also rules concerning operation of R/C aircraft in the vicinity of an airfield that are similar to what we follow in the rocketry community. I'm sure that there are a few on the boards here that know the rules concerning R/C flying much better than I that can give you a better answer though.
 

tightwad

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I'm totally surprised at the stupidity of some people. If he had registered the drone with the FAA he should have known the law. No excuses...throw him jail!
 

cherokeej

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AMA says R/C craft are supposed to stay below 400 feet AGL. IIRC, most manned aircraft have a floor of 1000 feet AGL. Good reason to keep R/C away from an airport.
 

dr wogz

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A few years ago, it was with "park flyers". Those smaller battery powered R/C aircraft.. And with being flown anywhere, any "park", oblivious to any potential dangers. Now it's drones. The biggest problem is that they are somewhat sold as "toys", with little instruction (or thought) given at the time of purchase..
 

Titan II

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AMA says R/C craft are supposed to stay below 400 feet AGL. IIRC, most manned aircraft have a floor of 1000 feet AGL. Good reason to keep R/C away from an airport.
That is incorrect.....this is from the AMA site.

(c) Not fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator
 

ttabbal

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And for a LOT of cases, 400AGL is fine. For others, not so much. It's not uncommon for glider guys to be 1kft+. They don't do that in airport approach paths though. Saying R/C should stay below 400 all the time is about like saying rocketry should. Most of them don't fly electronics that can even tell them how high they are. And people in general suck at estimating height. The problem right now are the people buying "toy" drones with zero idea that they can be dangerous. Then flying them over crowds, and too close to manned aircraft. I suspect it's a mix between simply not thinking that their toy can be dangerous and selfishness.

It doesn't help that drones are the new UFO sighting. People see a funny shaped cloud or a distant aircraft and cry drone. I've seen reports of quads keeping up with a jetliner. Umm... no.

Registered or not, it doesn't take much brain power to know that flying your toy around manned craft, search and rescue, firefighting, etc. is a dumb thing to do. Even if you believe there is zero chance you will harm the manned craft, you don't belong there. And it's been all over the media that it's illegal in many cases now, or just plain unsafe, so just take the hint already. I really dislike reactionary/draconian punishments, but I'm not sure how to drive the point home to these people. It doesn't help that they are rarely caught. It's hard to catch someone who is a long way off.

As for solutions, I honestly don't know. R/C in general has a long record of safety. But many of the new people aren't really in the hobby they just bought a toy at some random store. I see these things in gas stations now... For larger R/C, and high altitude stuff, it might make sense to use the same waiver system HPR uses. At least then the manned craft have some idea where things are happening. That still mostly covers the hobby guys though, and they aren't the problem......
 

watheyak

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My other hobby is R/C sailplanes. We're 500' agl right off the winch and only intend to gain altitude. There is nothing illegal or wrong with that. 400' agl is a suggestion and not a rule. But you have to use common sense. We fly very far away from airports and are constantly scanning the sky for full scale aircraft. A rocket style waiver for the R/C sailplanes is something I've thought about, but I'm reluctant to let the FAA know I'm willing to do more paperwork without them asking first.

I am also a professional pilot. If you are flying your FODcopter close enough to a full size aircraft for the pilot to see you, you're too close, whether you're flying at 400' or 4'. Again, common sense.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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So I can be fined 250,000 bucks for flying my quadcopter in my front yard. That's total BS. This is a good example of a few idiots making it hard for everyone else. I kinda understand why they have to be registered but unless the thing crashes and/or is "captured", the owner will likely still go unknown. They can/will still break the law, endanger others, and what not and get away their stupidity. Wow. I don't know why I am still surprised by the stupidity of some folks.

I didn't even know I had to register the thing, now I am breaking the law by flying it around my place. Actually I don't think it weighs over .55 lbs, and I can't remember last time I flew it. Broke a gear last time and haven't fixed it yet. But still. Grrr. That's more money to fork over because of a bunch of ninkapoops being ninkapoops. Now I have to weigh mine? Is there a card included with a new drone saying it has to be registered or is that done when bought? They should have different classes or levels maybe. Class 1 - no register. Class 2 - register. Class - 3 register and get a waiver.

This idiot should be prosecuted, for not registering the thing (if that is the case) and again for impeding a first responder. Make an example. Make up something for his stupidity as well.

Mikey D
 
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Screaminhelo

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AMA says R/C craft are supposed to stay below 400 feet AGL. IIRC, most manned aircraft have a floor of 1000 feet AGL. Good reason to keep R/C away from an airport.
Generally speaking, the minimum altitude for manned aircraft is 500 feet AGL.
 

dr wogz

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So I can be fined 250,000 bucks for flying my quadcopter in my front yard. That's total BS. This is a good example of a few idiots making it hard for everyone else. I kinda understand why they have to be registered but unless the thing crashes and/or is "captured", the owner will likely still go unknown. They can/will still break the law, endanger others, and what not and get away their stupidity. Wow. I don't know why I am still surprised by the stupidity of some folks.

I didn't even know I had to register the thing, now I am breaking the law by flying it around my place. Actually I don't think it weighs over .55 lbs, and I can't remember last time I flew it. Broke a gear last time and haven't fixed it yet. But still. Grrr. That's more money to fork over because of a bunch of ninkapoops being ninkapoops. Now I have to weigh mine? Is there a card included with a new drone saying it has to be registered or is that done when bought? They should have different classes or levels maybe. Class 1 - no register. Class 2 - register. Class - 3 register and get a waiver.

This idiot should be prosecuted, for not registering the thing (if that is the case) and again for impeding a first responder. Make an example. Make up something for his stupidity as well.

Mikey D
What's the term.. "Ignorance is bliss" and "ignorance doesn't excuse you". I know that they, the FAA, are / were trying to get people to register their drones. if I recall, it was a $5 fee for registering.. ( I know that, and I don't even live in the US!) But as well, very few bothered to register their drones..

Yes, it would be nice to have a card included, or even better, to have to enter a password before it flew. An FAA issued (or other governing body) password that gathers a certain amount of info, like a car or dog or even an AMA licence. (We seem OK with this, and expect it to a certain degree.) But, we can see the uproar, that "I have to register a birthday present for my little Timmy, so he can play with this in our back yard?!" this would cause. And hat the store would then also have the responsibility to inform purchasers of said product.. Of course, we see that happening when you order from Amazon...

Having it in the instruction is rather pointless, how many read the instructions, let alone would follow them? How many would look at an extra card in the box?!
 

ttabbal

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Just to be clear, the FAA thing is $5 and registers the "pilot", not the drone. You pay once, and all your R/C aircraft are covered. You are supposed to put your FAA number on the craft somewhere that doesn't require tools to access. So inside the battery bay is OK if you don't need tools to open it etc.. Which is nice for the scale guys at least.

IMO it is stupid. Anyone doing something stupid like that won't put any identifying info on it. And should it cause a manned craft to crash, I doubt any such marking would survive the crash. At the very least it should exempt flying below nearby trees and buildings. For the commercial units it might make sense to require the owner to put in their FAA info into the software that comes with it and store that in the onboard controller before allowing them to fly above, say, 50ft. The manufacturers hate that idea for obvious reasons. Same thing with point of sale restrictions. And the effect it would have is debatable anyway.

I don't mind putting some info on the plane, I don't mind paying the FAA the $5. I do mind that I can't see any way it's useful to anyone, other than the police checking out all the nearby drone owners when some moron does something stupid. And that doesn't actually help anything as someone breaking the law and endangering people isn't going to register themselves and put their name on it. So the only use I can see for it is to harass people who are very unlikely to be involved with the target of the investigation. The excuse is that it's more about educating people, but then why the 250k fines?
 

tHoagland

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The 400' AGL limit is now and hard limit for all UAV between 0.55 -55 lbs (or unless within 400 ft of a structure).

The $5 registration is for hobbyist. It allows you to fly as many different drones as you want under your registration number. Any commercial (for compensation) flights require the operator to be certified (FAA part 107) and each UAV registered.

The altitude and all other restrictions (line of sight, airport vicinity, etc ) can be waived with proper paperwork.

All that said, I hate unchecked regulations as much as anyone, but the prevalence of drones and idiots make these nessacary . An unchecked operator can cause serious injury to people or property (imagine a 30 lbs drone crashing down on a highway during rush hour). Unfortunately, the FAA is the most relevant agency and is attempting to apply the same level of regulation as they do with manned flights and it's yet to be seen how/if the regulations are enforced (I can't imagine FAA marshals patrolling local parks and neighborhoods).
 

Steve Shannon

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The FAA group that deals with UAVs is the same that deals with unmanned rockets and moored balloons. They have been very open in their discussions with the rocketry organizations, NAR and Tripoli, the balloon operators, and any organizations that use drones. By far their greatest fear in the past few years has been misuse of drones, spurred by many very negligent or even criminal incidents. (To all of our credit rocketry was a very distant third.) They worked on these regulations for years and published them with a reasonable lead time to allow hobbyists to educate themselves.
There are two parts. The easily complied with regulations (cheap and they've put a lot of handholding into their materials) and the expensive fine for those who flout the law. Carrot and stick.
I agree, FAA won't be patrolling. I would expect that they will use a wide spectrum of punishments from slap on the hands to the totally ignorant hobbyists who have somehow missed the news and whose actions endanger neither persons nor property, to full on PO'd federal agency for those imbeciles who insist on hovering near fire crews and airports. I think that's the way it should be.


Steve Shannon
 

Titan II

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Regarding the alleged 400' AGL limit noted above. There is considerable confusion regarding the issue. Please see what I have attached that comes from the AMA site. We frequently fly turbines and sailplanes above 400'.


FAA Acknowledges AMA as a CBO and our Safety Program
Our hobby has faced many challenges this year as we address an increase in government intervention and proposed regulations. AMA has been aggressively advocating for our hobby, and during the past few weeks, we’ve been happy to report successful progress.

Today, our members have yet another AMA government advocacy victory to celebrate.

There has been confusion among our members as to whether operations above 400 feet are permitted by the FAA. AMA has remained steadfast that the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act) permits operations above 400 feet if conducted within our safety program requiring the pilot to be an AMA member, to avoid and not interfere with manned aircraft, and to keep the model in visual line of sight of the pilot/observer. It should be noted that the AMA Safety Code requires model aircraft to remain below 400 feet above the ground when within 3 miles of an airport unless there is an agreement with the airport that allows models to safely go higher.

In January of this year, the AMA requested that the FAA clarify the 400-foot issue in writing. We are happy to share that in a recent letter to the AMA, the FAA recognized AMA’s role as a community-based organization and acknowledged our safety program, including allowing flight above 400 feet under appropriate circumstance.

In this letter, dated July 7, 2016, the FAA states:
“…model aircraft may be flow consistently with Section 336 and agency guidelines at altitudes above 400 feet when following a community-based organization’s safety guidelines.”
“Community-based organizations, such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics, may establish altitude limitations in their safety guidelines that exceed the FAA’s 400 AGL altitude recommendation.”

Essentially, this letter confirms that sailplanes, large model aircraft, turbines, and other disciplines can responsibly operate above 400 feet if the AMA member is operating within our safety programming. Equally important, the FAA again acknowledges AMA as a community-based organization.

This victory falls on the heels of other successful AMA efforts, including an AMA member exemption from the FAA’s Final sUAS Rule (Part 107), the removal of problematic text in the 2016 FAA Reauthorization Bill, and preserving the Special Rule for Model Aircraft through 2017.

Thank you for your support.
 

ChrisAttebery

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The CA state legislature passed a law last year after drones stopped aerial firefighting a couple times in a few month period. Anyone interfering with emergency personnel whether it is in person or with a drone is guilty of a misdemeanor. From what I've read if a drone is seen anywhere in the area the tankers will stop flying even if it's not near their flight paths.
 

MikeyDSlagle

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What's the term.. "Ignorance is bliss" and "ignorance doesn't excuse you". I know that they, the FAA, are / were trying to get people to register their drones. if I recall, it was a $5 fee for registering.. ( I know that, and I don't even live in the US!) But as well, very few bothered to register their drones..

Yes, it would be nice to have a card included, or even better, to have to enter a password before it flew. An FAA issued (or other governing body) password that gathers a certain amount of info, like a car or dog or even an AMA licence. (We seem OK with this, and expect it to a certain degree.) But, we can see the uproar, that "I have to register a birthday present for my little Timmy, so he can play with this in our back yard?!" this would cause. And hat the store would then also have the responsibility to inform purchasers of said product.. Of course, we see that happening when you order from Amazon...

Having it in the instruction is rather pointless, how many read the instructions, let alone would follow them? How many would look at an extra card in the box?!
Hey, hey. No need for name calling. ;) I have had my toy quadcopter for a few years now, pre-registration. I haven't exactly had my finger on the pulse of drone regulations and such. Where I live, the risk of me crashing into a passing aircraft or even a home other than mine is very remote. So having to register to fly it never even crossed my mind. It's just so silly.

Did you know here in Louisiana you can only keep one redfish over 27"? Of course you didn't, because why would you need to know something like that, it doesn't affect you. :D

I know it is difficult to tell from reading, but I am joking - just a little sarcasm. Yes I know the registration thingy does apply to me, was only a joke.

Mikey D
 

cherokeej

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That is incorrect.....this is from the AMA site.

(c) Not fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator
Which part is incorrect? 400 feet. That's what I typed. Read much?
 

bill_s

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The CA state legislature passed a law last year after drones stopped aerial firefighting a couple times in a few month period. Anyone interfering with emergency personnel whether it is in person or with a drone is guilty of a misdemeanor. From what I've read if a drone is seen anywhere in the area the tankers will stop flying even if it's not near their flight paths.
Why? It's a fly, swat it.
 

Incongruent

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Why? It's a fly, swat it.
And when they seek compensation... SUE THEIR PANTS OFF!!!

I think it's because the kinetic energy of the drone makes it a bit more than a fly, there was an airplane landing somewhat recently where a drone made a significant dent in the nose. Also, there could be the possibility that the drone falls down into the forest and *fwoosh* the lipo ignites.
 

ttabbal

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There is concern that a collision would damage the manned plane. Potentially causing a crash from hitting an engine, windshield, control surface etc.. Part of the problem is that there has been no testing done, so the effects are completely unknown. It doesn't help that many of them are made from carbon fiber or aluminum tubing, so they pose more of a threat than the size alone might indicate. However, they are built light, so it's hard to say. I think in the vast majority of cases, the manned craft would completely destroy the drone suffering no more damage than a single bird strike, which happens all the time. But an impact on the end of a carbon tube could, in theory anyway, punch through a windshield, for example. And helicopters might be more at risk. I honestly don't know, and nobody else does either due to lack of testing. So people assume the worst.

As for someone seeking compensation for a manned craft hitting their drone, no need to sue them. FAA already has those stiff fines they can impose. But sure, make them pay to fix the manned craft. Even if it's just to wash the windshield. Or make them do the work, supervised of course. That might make an interesting punishment, 80 hours repairing manned craft damaged by drones and birds. Even if it's on craft that aren't going to fly again, just to make them see the damage they cause. Not that I expect it would do much good for most of the morons. It might help with those that just don't understand though.
 

dr wogz

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Hey, hey. No need for name calling. ;) I have had my toy quadcopter for a few years now, pre-registration. I haven't exactly had my finger on the pulse of drone regulations and such. Where I live, the risk of me crashing into a passing aircraft or even a home other than mine is very remote. So having to register to fly it never even crossed my mind. It's just so silly.

Did you know here in Louisiana you can only keep one redfish over 27"? Of course you didn't, because why would you need to know something like that, it doesn't affect you. :D

I know it is difficult to tell from reading, but I am joking - just a little sarcasm. Yes I know the registration thingy does apply to me, was only a joke.

Mikey D
Mickey, joke & sarcasm taken! hope you read mine too!! it's all good!! :D

It is odd, that some things require a permit, a licence, to register and some don't. I remember this all started back when the 'back yard / park flyers' came out, same thing. But they still had a bit of a learning curve. Drones are easier. And, most these days come with cameras. So, I'm sure many have bought them with the intent to fly they up building to 'peep into' open windows..

The big issue here, and what I was eluding to, is how do you know there is a need for registering? without first asking the question (does it occur to the average person buying one to ask?) Is it the responsibility of the seller? to ensure the buyer is aware? being who & what we are, we'll only do it (register) if it is absolutely necessary, forced upon us, is super easy, etc.. How many of those "Warranty mail in cards" have we all sent in when we bought a new stereo? TV? Dishwasher?! How hard are they to fill out & mail?!!



Oh, and you mean 'Drum' don't you! ;) I thought it was 24" like GA & FL.. I'm an avid fisherman (fly & spinning) so I know to look up the rules & regs for each province & state I fish in. Fished in FL a few times! (And that a guide is the best way to ensure tight lines!)

-snarky mode: off-

:D :D
 

ChrisAttebery

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Because if it comes into contact with the manned aircraft there's no telling what damage it will do. How do you propose to "swat it"? Last time I checked the FD didn't carry around SAMs to shoot down drones.

Why? It's a fly, swat it.
 

Steve Shannon

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Because if it comes into contact with the manned aircraft there's no telling what damage it will do. How do you propose to "swat it"? Last time I checked the FD didn't carry around SAMs to shoot down drones.
And because it's one more thing that the pilot of a manned aircraft should not have to be aware of.
Besides, how does a person flying an air ambulance, fire tanker, or passenger "swat it."
 

Incongruent

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There is concern that a collision would damage the manned plane. Potentially causing a crash from hitting an engine, windshield, control surface etc.. Part of the problem is that there has been no testing done, so the effects are completely unknown. It doesn't help that many of them are made from carbon fiber or aluminum tubing, so they pose more of a threat than the size alone might indicate. However, they are built light, so it's hard to say. I think in the vast majority of cases, the manned craft would completely destroy the drone suffering no more damage than a single bird strike, which happens all the time. But an impact on the end of a carbon tube could, in theory anyway, punch through a windshield, for example. And helicopters might be more at risk. I honestly don't know, and nobody else does either due to lack of testing. So people assume the worst.

As for someone seeking compensation for a manned craft hitting their drone, no need to sue them. FAA already has those stiff fines they can impose. But sure, make them pay to fix the manned craft. Even if it's just to wash the windshield. Or make them do the work, supervised of course. That might make an interesting punishment, 80 hours repairing manned craft damaged by drones and birds. Even if it's on craft that aren't going to fly again, just to make them see the damage they cause. Not that I expect it would do much good for most of the morons. It might help with those that just don't understand though.
I know about the fines, but sue their pants off has a better ring to it. :D
 
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