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UK Drone Code & ANO 2009-166, regarding sub 7Kg drones
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Rigger73
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Most of us in the UK should know the Drone Code off by heart, but I was interested after watching Ken Heron on YouTube, expalaining how the FAA (U.S.A.) codes says you can fly 400ft above building as long as you are within 400ft radius of it etc.  

I was wondering if the UK was the same.   A bit of reading on tinternet comes up with this;

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs ... %20March%202015.pdf

Civilian Air Publication - CAP722.  More specifically - Chapter 3.19 (Page 37) - which then referes us to Air Nav Order 2009 No' 3015, Part 22, Article 166.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/3015/article/166/made

All drones below 7Kg do not need permission to fly within Air Traffic Managed areas - although talking to the relevant Air Traffic Area Managers is highly highly advised.  They are still restricted to VLOS though.


Here's what I've found.

DJI models, Inspire, Phantom, Mavic and Spark are not regulated by 166 (4) - as they are all under 7Kg. (CAP722-3.19 Table)

(4) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft which has a mass of more than 7kg excluding its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight, must not fly the aircraft—

(a)in Class A, C, D or E airspace unless the permission of the appropriate air traffic control unit has been obtained;
(b)within an aerodrome traffic zone during the notified hours of watch of the air traffic control unit (if any) at that aerodrome unless the permission of any such air traffic control unit has been obtained; or
(c)at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is flying in airspace described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) and in accordance with the requirements for that airspace.








So which law has precedence?

UK Drone Code - 6 basic rules for everyone?  -http://dronesafe.uk/drone-code/



Or the UK CAA Laws in accordance with ANO 2009 and CAP 722 - Quite a bit more comprehensive to say the least.


Please - I'd be interested to hear what other's interpretation of the rules are.

Can anyone find specifc rules for drones that weight less than 7Kg are are restricted to 400Ft AGL, in the UK?
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Nebuchadnezzar
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Good Video & Info !! Thanks for sharing Rigger
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Aardvark
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My understanding is that the drone code was produced by the CAA to provide simple guidelines for the U.K hobbyist using SUAs. That's what we should stick to, and it should be that simple.

So unless we have the owners permission I see it as we would not be permitted to fly anywhere within a 50m radius of that building, or 150m if a 'congested' area as defined by the CAA.

Some good information at BMFA site Here and Here

And specific to FPV Here

I see the rest as being for commercial purposes and of no interest to hobby flyers.

And I think the 400feet above ground level would still operate. If DJI drone were to ascend to the top of a 1000 foot building and then 400 feet above that, a loss of signal would initiate an RTH at 1400 feet. Or perhaps a more practical example might be flying up a mountain in UK only to have the drone RTH at high altitude into the path of a manned aircraft or paraglider etc.

Drone code rule number 5 covers it all, you the pilot will be held legally responsible for your flight.
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Rigger73
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Aardvark Posted at 2018-2-1 11:28
My understanding is that the drone code was produced by the CAA to provide simple guidelines for the U.K hobbyist using SUAs. That's what we should stick to, and it should be that simple.

So unless we have the owners permission I see it as we would not be permitted to fly anywhere within a 50m radius of that building, or 150m if a 'congested' area as defined by the CAA.

Fair points Aardvark, and thanks for your input.

Question is would that hold up in a court of law if some-one were to fly at 500ft with no clouds, wind, air traffic routes etc?

The drone code is just that - a code.

Under what legislation would the prosescuters take the pilot to court?.


NB - I'm not condoning breaking the Drone Code - or any laws for that matter - but if the law is open to interpretation - then I'm guessing some will try and bend the rules a bit.

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Nigel_
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Think of the Drone Code as the Highway Code for drones, normally you should follow it although it is not the actual law, it has things in it that are not in the law and doesn't cover everything that is contained in the law.  If you disobey the Highway Code then you can be charged with Dangerous Driving or similar offences even though you haven't broken any specific laws.

With regard to 400ft above a building, the 400ft rule is above the surface so no, stick to the 400ft shown on your display, the manned aircraft you are trying not to hit will probably also be using the ground as the reference, probably somewhat inaccurately as most of them don't have any way of measuring their actual height above ground.

Although as you point out, a Phantom is under 7Kg and so doesn't legally have to comply with the 400ft and wont normally be found at fault as long as it is within VLOS range where the maximum in good visibility is actually beyond the Phantom's 500m limit.  Having said that, to get a Phantom back down from 500m, even in sports mode, takes so long that landing to avoid a helicopter approaching at 200ft may be impossible unless you have very good all round visibility to see it approaching while still several minutes away, so it may be hard to argue that your flight was safe and that would make it illegal.
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Nigel_
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Note that if you take your eyes off the aircraft to use the FPV screen then you are limited to 1000ft altitude under the FPV rules, and must have a spotter, don't think many of us comply with that!
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Rigger73
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Thanks for your input Nigel.

I gathered the 400ft is 400ft rule - but I wanted to check - hence all the reading, and finding Article 166, and how sub para 4 didn't cover drones sub 7Kg.


Good point on the P4 - or any other drones ability to descend quickly.
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Aardvark
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Rigger73 Posted at 2018-2-1 12:02
Fair points Aardvark, and thanks for your input.

Question is would that hold up in a court of law if some-one were to fly at 500ft with no clouds, wind, air traffic routes etc?

They would only prosecute I would think had some transgression been reported to the police (as CAA advise people to do). The police would then be obliged to investigate I would think. I suspect that if we operated outwith the drone code then that would open us up to prosecution under any potential violations there might be against the the CAA laws.
People no doubt break these guidelines all the time, and common sense seems to be allowed to prevail, with prosecutions only taking place in more serious incidents. I'm only aware of a handful having taken place within the UK.
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Rigger73
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I think you're right on those points Aardvark.  UK Prosecution office has too much on its plate at the moment with negative media attention.

I only know of one prosecution - and that was a flyaway from a fixed wing drone in Barrow-In-Furness - which just missed a bridge top that traffic and pedestrians were using.


Judging the height of drone is going to be hard enough as it is.  Without evidence showing scale, It's going to be very hard to prosecute.
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Nigel_
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Rigger73 Posted at 2018-2-1 12:33
Thanks for your input Nigel.

I gathered the 400ft is 400ft rule - but I wanted to check - hence all the reading, and finding Article 166, and how sub para 4 didn't cover drones sub 7Kg.

If you have a model jet aeroplane capable of going up to 1000ft and back down within 30 seconds each way then the 400ft wouldn't make much sense, it is VLOS that makes sense.  The regulations were written before drones existed.   At maximum decent speed of 3 m/s the P4 needs 2 minutes 47 seconds to get down from maximum height, and that is if there is no wind to slow it down!   A helicopter can travel 7 miles in that time!
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Rigger73
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100% agreed about VLOS.
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Rigger73
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No one else from the UK got any thoughts on this?
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Rigger73
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Only Nigel and Aardvark have opinions on this?  I'm surprised that others have not looked into this - or have no opinions on the matter, be it in the UK or out.
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Nigel_
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Not too sure what your question really is, you might get more response if you made it clearer.

However few people read through the regulations, most either read the Drone Code, or just ignore the rules!
Maybe why they intend to introduce a test before we can fly...
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Rigger73
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-2-2 11:33
Not too sure what your question really is, you might get more response if you made it clearer.

However few people read through the regulations, most either read the Drone Code, or just ignore the rules!

I guess I'm asking which takes precedence;

Drone Code - or ANO2009 Article 166.

Flying a sub 7Kg drone - what could you be prosecuted with altitude wise - if you are in a clear area with no air traffic management.
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JD23
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Hi guys,

After spending literally hours trying to research pretty much this exact topic (you’d think that laws they want us to follow would be easier to find!), I’ve found the following.
NB- I’m coming at this from the viewpoint of flying a P4 (way under 7KG), I don’t fly FPV, and it’s purely recreational, so nothing commercial related.

OP talks about ANO2009. I can’t see anyone else mention it, but there is now an ANO2016. Largely (at a glance completely) the same in relation to drones etc, but it just means that instead of 166 and 167, you’ll be looking at 94 and 95.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2016/765/article/94/made

The CAA also has 94 and 95 shown on their site:
https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/ ... onal-drone-flights/

The CAA’s CAP722 document is still (it would appear) in use, but the following document details the relevant numbered changes etc due to the change from ANO2009 to ANO2016.
http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/InformationNotice2016073..pdf

Based around the NB above, I see the laws (dumbed down as I’m not typing them out in full!)  that I have a legal requirement to follow as being:
94(1)- Don’t drop things from the drone.
94(2) - Only fly if it’s actually safe to fly.
94(3) - Maintain VLOS with my drone.
95(2)(a) - Don’t fly over or within 150m of a congested area.
95(2)(b) - Don’t fly over or within 150m of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1000 people.
95(2)(c) - Don’t fly within 50m of any vessel, vehicle or structure not under my control.
95(3) - Don’t take off or land within 30m of people out of your control.

As my drone is below the 7kg mentioned in 94(4), I am legally allowed to fly at any height (or indeed any distance from myself), so long as it adheres to the above points, and I am therefore not legally limited by the 400ft mentioned in the Drone Code. That being said, it’s often tricky to spot the drone at 400ft, so I won’t be going higher any time soon. I do however wish I had known that I could go above 400ft last year, when I was droning off a cliff overlooking the sea. I could see and hear for miles, so wouldn’t have had any issues with incoming aircraft. Oh well, next time!

On a side note I do wish that it was clear that not all of the Drone Code is law (with respects to my particular situation). They should simply have a set of PDFs on their website. I would click on the PDF named “sub 7kg drone with camera” and then would be presented with all of the relevant laws. These can then be followed by best practices and explanations as to why it is safer to do certain things, like fly under 400ft etc, but it should be crystal clear what is a law and what is simply a guideline.

If I’ve made any mistakes above, or if I’m just completely wrong about anything, please let me know, as from now on I’ll be following the above to the letter.   
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Nigel_
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JD23 Posted at 2018-3-3 21:43
Hi guys,

After spending literally hours trying to research pretty much this exact topic (you’d think that laws they want us to follow would be easier to find!), I’ve found the following.

"it should be crystal clear what is a law and what is simply a guideline. "

I think they have made it as clear as the highway code is clear!  It is not practical to put every law in the highway code, same with the drone code, but it is advice that you are expected to follow.

For the 400ft rule, note that the dronecode says "Stay below 400ft to comply with the dronecode", with "dronecode" in bold to emphasise that they are talking about the dronecode and not the law.

As for your list, note that it is incomplete since it only covers regulations specific to small unmanned aircraft.  You do still need to comply with things such as airspace restrictions; for example if there is an airshow at the location you want to fly then the airspace will be closed to all air traffic not controlled by the airshow, thus to ensure you comply with the law you really need to check the notam information before each flight, and also check that you are flying in normal class G airspace and not for example in a military low fly training zone while it is active.

You might find this an interesting read, since it gives a summary of the actual regulations and an idea on how they are used:
https://www.airproxboard.org.uk/ ... eport%202017233.pdf
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embayweather
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I have always viewed the airspace as being rather like a layer cake and 400ft is agl, not above a building. There  might be some fluffiness around the joining of the various layers for different types of craft, but I find that if I stop in my layer and VLOS then all is well. I would also question how well you can see the drone at 400ft and above, I know I would struggle, especially without my high output light. Locally we have many types of craft using what might be considered drone 'airspace', everything from model planes (who have nearly hit me a couple of times), up to fast military jets. Indeed in the Lakes nearby, the jets can be below us, even when we fly below 400ft agl. Whilst the Drone Code is just that, a code, for me it is a code of good practice, and I would find it hard to argue in court that I did not follow that nationally agreed code of good practice, and something went wrong during the flight. As has already been mentioned the pilot cannot initiate take off unless (s)he has determined that it is safe to conduct the flight. They need to ask themselves is it worth breaking the code of best practice to gain whatever image or information they need to collect, and also if they are prepared to defend that decision robustly should something go wrong? I doubt the Police would ever be interested unless someone was hurt or died. My own family were buzzed by a drone last week in a public park. When they reported the matter to the local constabulary the officer on the other end of the phone was completely unaware of the rules, and what should be done. I suspect that such a knowledge level is the norm throughout this country. Thus 'rogue' pilots will take advantage of that and fly way higher, or nearer to structures and people, than guidance permits.
For me the situation is clear. I will not fly above the 400ft agl because it is potentially dangerous here, and I admit that is really the limit of my vision to (allowing for a margin of safety). I do not want to fly more than VLOS because should something go wrong I do not need to carry that responsibility with me. I do not do it because I have no need to do it. All of my images, and work are well below those levels. Finally I do not do because my expensive drone means a lot to me. It is not a disposable item. I know others have said on here if you cannot afford to lose the drone then you should not buy one. For many that may be true, not for me. If I can see it and control it and get the work done then I am content. I am content to follow the code or practice too, which I strongly believe, as I was taught this at Ground School, that the 400ft limit is there for a purpose, to keep various types of aircraft separate in the sky. Who am I to argue?
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JD23
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-4 04:25
"it should be crystal clear what is a law and what is simply a guideline. "

I think they have made it as clear as the highway code is clear!  It is not practical to put every law in the highway code, same with the drone code, but it is advice that you are expected to follow.

Nigel,

Thanks for your message.

You're spot on when you say they state "to comply with the Drone Code". My point is that for someone who doesn't fly that often (me), I came to the (somewhat easy but wrong) conclusion that the Drone Code was law. My mistake I fully appreciate.

I do use either the NATS "Drone Assist" app or the Altitude Angel "Guardian" app. I'm hoping that relevant airshows and airspace restrictions will show up on there (as I've seen military exercises on there previously and steered well clear). Should I also check the 'notam' link you sent, or do you know if these two sources (notam and either of the apps) contain the same information?

I had a similar conversation online with someone recently regarding our right in the UK regarding 'citizen's arrest' and use of force. It annoys me how few people know the laws regarding such potentially crucial information. These laws are only not known by the masses as (unless you've had some formal training in the matter) it's rather difficult to come to a correct answer, as the relevant laws are strewn across several pieces of legislation. I guess I'm coming at this whole drone thing with a similar mindset of, 'I wish everything was black and white, especially for someone with zero experience on the subject'. That's where the Drone Code (as well as citizen's arrest!) falls short in my opinion!

Thanks again for your input, and especially the links
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JD23
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JD23 Posted at 2018-3-4 05:40
Nigel,

Thanks for your message.

embayweather,

We are in full agreement it would appear. Perhaps it's just me being stupid and no one else came to the same conclusion, but for a year or two I've honestly thought that the 400ft was written-in-stone law for my particular flying circumstances - and this conclusion was based largely on the Drone Code.

I agree that sub-400ft is usually the best thing to do, which is why I say I think the information regarding what is law should hit you in the face (again, maybe it's just me being blind!), followed by the best practices and crucially WHY they are strongly recommended. As anyone bothering to look into the law, clearly has zero wish to interfere with 'real' aircraft!  

A quick personal story to show just how likely I am to stay well within 400ft!
I've actually got a video (from my P4) of this event whilst on holiday in Wales. I had already performed numerous flights that day at around 80-120m. I was 150m away from the nearest village, and was on large grounds of the house we were staying in, so all was fine. I had checked the relevant apps, and the area I was flying in had no warnings at all. As far as I was concerned, I had done my due diligence. I took off, and had got no more than 15m off the ground, when two large military aircraft (not jets, more like transport planes) thundered overhead. Now, as I had been flying at and below the 120m mark already that day, I had a pretty good judgement for how high things were, and I'd bet money on the fact that those planes were below 120m (they were not much higher than the nearby trees) - and they were literally directly above my P4 that had just taken off. This certainly put things into perspective for me, that even if you think you've done all of your due diligence, 'real' aircraft can still pop up where you least expect them (and you literally couldn't hear them until they roared directly overhead). I checked all droning websites regarding where it was safe to fly etc immediately after this event to see if I had missed something, and it still said all was clear.  
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Nigel_
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JD23 Posted at 2018-3-4 06:00
A quick personal story to show just how likely I am to stay well within 400ft!


That event should have shown you how long it would take to get your aircraft down from above 400ft compared to how fast military and other aircraft can approach from out of sensory range!  If you are flying at 1000ft when one of those approaches, well you are probably safe because they will go under you even if you descend at the full descent speed of 3 meters per second.   The drone code is a guide, but if you decide to not comply then you had better be sure of what you are doing and like the Highway Code it can affect the result of an investigation, or even a court case.

Next time you are in North Wales or the North of Scotland, maybe check the RAF low flying timetable: https://www.gov.uk/government/pu ... -training-timetable , I've seen both transport aircraft and fighter jets pass below me many times, although you can normally hear those Hercules coming from some distance away!

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Nigel_
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JD23 Posted at 2018-3-4 05:40
Should I also check the 'notam' link you sent, or do you know if these two sources (notam and either of the apps) contain the same information?

The notam site is the real info, I'm not sure what those apps display but I suspect that it a reduced set, I don't think either of them is an "official" app, even the "NATS Drone Assist" is not run by NATS, it seems to be an independent company that maybe makes profit from the info you give it!

What was your conclusion on Citizens Arrest?  (Keep the answer short!)
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JD23
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-4 08:46
The notam site is the real info, I'm not sure what those apps display but I suspect that it a reduced set, I don't think either of them is an "official" app, even the "NATS Drone Assist" is not run by NATS, it seems to be an independent company that maybe makes profit from the info you give it!

What was your conclusion on Citizens Arrest?  (Keep the answer short!)

Nigel,

Thanks for all your help. I was already aware at how slowly the P4 descends, and so I wouldn't have gone all that high anyway as I had high trees around me on that occasion, and so visibility of anything incoming wasn't great. But yes, irrelevant on whether or not I was within the law, it was a humbling and eye-opening experience that I'm not in a hurry to replicate!  

Re citizens arrest, I've spent the vast majority of the past decade in the police, so I've been around these laws on a regular basis.

What most people call a 'citizen's arrest' is covered under S24A PACE which is an 'any person' law (S24 PACE being where the police get their power of arrest).
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/60/section/24A

S3 Criminal Law Act (another 'any person' law) is where as a civilian you'll obtain the right to use reasonable force, to enforce S24A PACE (FYI, this is also what allows you to use reasonable force to help out a constable who is struggling with someone they're trying to arrest for example).
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1967/58/section/3

A point of contention in my other discussion was that 'low-value shoplifting' (now classed as anything £200 or under) is now classed as a summary-only offence (S24A allows a citizen's arrest on indictable offences).
S176 Subsection (6) of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/12/section/176/enacted) allows the powers conveyed under S24A PACE to still apply for low-value shoplifting. In essence if someone steals something of low value from a shop, a member of the public (you), or store detective, or store security or even a shelf stacker (all of whom, including yourself, have exactly the same powers under law when it comes to this) can 'arrest' the thief and use reasonable force to keep him there until the police arrive.  

Apologies if that's not short enough, but it's as short as it needs to be to make sense!

Happy droning, and thanks again.  

2018-3-4
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Rigger73
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Hey guys.  Sorry been away with work for the last 4 weeks.

JD23 - welcome fella.  Part of the thin blue line, eh?  I'm sure you've got a story or two to tell - but that would be another time and another thread.


Thanks for the heads-up regarding ANO2009 being superceded by ANO2016.

I'll have a look at that once I can get some time to myself.  Only back yesterday - and already my diary is filling up with things to do round the house.

Who knows - maybe I'll get to fly the drone at some point.

Your tale of how an aircraft at low level caught you unawares is a good point that I wish more were aware of.

A big kite with turbo-props, like the Herc can be heard - but a C17?  Not so much.  I used to work aviation - and although the back end of an aircraft can be quite noisy - 120Db+, and there is a phenonomen where the front end can howl - something to do with compressor face harmonics, but if the angle is off just slightly then there is a marked decrease in noise levels.  No louder than a truck in some respects - more so when you are wearing ear protection.

I've been caught out with aircraft taxiing fast - and although I've looked (wearing ear-defenders, means you are constantly looking around), I've still nearly been run over while crossing dispersals/pans.

At to that - the aircraft running 300mph+, trees etc on horizon masking sounds etc - and yes, they can be ontop of you with little to no warning.
2018-3-9
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Nigel_
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Rigger73 Posted at 2018-3-9 02:04
Hey guys.  Sorry been away with work for the last 4 weeks.

JD23 - welcome fella.  Part of the thin blue line, eh?  I'm sure you've got a story or two to tell - but that would be another time and another thread.

Hercules used to be easy to hear coming, but the current ones seem to be quite quiet.  The propellers have changed over the years, starting with 3 blade, through 4 blade and 6 blade, and now they can have 8 blades!

The C17 can be heard from miles away, it's about the loudest aircraft that flies over my house, but the sound doesn't travel well through trees, there are no low frequencies, and if there is a river nearby it could be almost overhead before you hear it.  

I had a pair of Chinook helicopters come over the house a couple of days ago, you can always hear them coming   But walking through forest last year, a Merlin helicopter came directly overhead and I only heard that coming 4 seconds before it was above me, 2 seconds before I worked out what direction it was, and that was flying at maximum 200ft, which is against the rules - shouldn't get that close to people, I think it must of taken off from about 500m away.

If I am going to fly high then I make sure there is good visibility all around, if I'm amongst trees then I don't go much above the tops of the trees, if you can't see what is coming then it's not safe.
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solentlife
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For those in EU and UK is still full member - and as far as its known - intends to remain a member of the overall Aviation Governance body of EU .... worth looking at the 'discussion document linked to here ..

https://rpas-regulations.com/wp- ... -01-2018_180207.pdf

This is the intended ruling to govern UAS in EU and incl. UK ....
For those who don't know - I'm a Brit living in Latvia and keep an eye on UK ruling etc. I am also a member of the Latvian Discussion body LARPAS - directly involved in this matter.

Nigel
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Rigger73
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solentlife Posted at 2018-3-9 05:34
For those in EU and UK is still full member - and as far as its known - intends to remain a member of the overall Aviation Governance body of EU .... worth looking at the 'discussion document linked to here ..

https://rpas-regulations.com/wp- ... -01-2018_180207.pdf

Good find Solent.

I'll make a note to read it more thoroughly when I have time.

That and re-reading ANO2016 will give me some light bedtime reading
2018-3-10
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