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Phantom 3 questions on the edge of purchase
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lightpanther
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So, I don't have a phantom 3 yet and am considering buying one. Some concerns:

1) I presently have an ASUS Nexus 7. WIll this be usable with the phantom 3?

2) It is my understanding that there is not (presently) an ability to output the video to FPV goggles such as the Fatshark system? Is that correct?

3) It is my understanding that there is some kind of "altitude fencing" (500m?) enforced in the phantom 3. Is that really true? I can think of many places I have been, and where I would like to film, where such a limitation is quite simply fatal to any worthwhile use of the device.


These are my questions for the moment.

2015-4-30
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labroides
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1.  The Nexus 7 (2013) is on the list of supported devices
3.  There is a 500m above home point.
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lightpanther
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labroides@yahoo Posted at 2015-5-1 09:17
1.  The Nexus 7 (2013) is on the list of supported devices
3.  There is a 500m above home point.

1) That's cool. Good.

3) That's a very poor decision and hasn't been thought through, imo.
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suqsid.bobmail
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lightpanther Posted at 2015-5-1 09:43
1) That's cool. Good.

3) That's a very poor decision and hasn't been thought through, imo.

1) Yes, Nexus 7 works.

2) The remote that comes with the P3 does not have HDMI out. The Inspire remote does and it works on the P3, but it would be an expensive add-on just for the HDMI.

3) The 500m limit can be overridden in the settings. You have to accept a responsibility confirmation message, but it will let you do it.
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john.lambert4
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suqsid.bobmail Posted at 2015-5-1 10:23
1) Yes, Nexus 7 works.

2) The remote that comes with the P3 does not have HDMI out. The Inspire r ...

How can you change the 500m height limit in the Pilot app?  Can you describe the steps involved, as I didn't think this was possible?
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droneflyers.com
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I saw that Nexus 7 II is the supported model...NOT the original Nexus 7.
"Android: Samsung S5, Note 3, Sony Xperia Z3, Google Nexus 7 II, Google Nexus 9, Mi 3, Nubia Z7 mini"

Also, it's likely to be somewhat slow in rendering as compared to newer and faster tablets.

I'm not sure of the height limitation, but line of sight is what these birds are designed for.....if you can see and control your quad at that height you are certainly eagle eyed. In many countries it's not even legal to fly at heights such as that.

The reason they are limiting ALL of these is that - if they didn't - we'd have some big problems (like crashing jets or helicopters, etc.).

It's not a poor decision. It's a decision which must be made if they want to sell millions of units and have them operated safely. If you need something to do more you can find models which may be more programmable, but they are not going to have the "buy and fly" features of the P3.

Note - the altitude limits are above ground level. So you can surely fly up in the mountains.
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john.lambert4
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Here in Australia there have already been cases where CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) have fined ppl who have posted their Phantom videos on YouTube for breaking the law, such as flying too high, above crowds, at night, near airports, etc.  Our height limit here is 400 feet, which is the same as the US I believe?  I've flown my P2 above this, and I must admit you have big issues visually seeing it at this height (which is also a law here), so 1600 feet would be practically impossible to see it.  I would be nervous relying on the video feed alone to see where my P3 is!  
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suqsid.bobmail
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john.lambert4@o Posted at 2015-5-1 10:29
How can you change the 500m height limit in the Pilot app?  Can you describe the steps involved, a ...

The altitude limit is in the Pilot app itself, not the drone. The Pilot App has to be connected to the remote and drone for this change to work.

When in the "camera" part of the Pilot App, press the icon just to the right of the home icon at the top left. That will bring up the MC Settings page.

The top option is "Maximum Altitude (10-500m)".

Set it to what ever you want, say 1000.

That is when you have to "accept" that you are going above the 500m limit, but it will let you.
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lightpanther
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john.lambert4@o Posted at 2015-5-1 10:29
How can you change the 500m height limit in the Pilot app?  Can you describe the steps involved, a ...

I would also like to know this. Could you post the details please? Even though I don't have a phantom yet, I would like to confirm that this override is really possible, as I think it is an important issue.
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suqsid.bobmail
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lightpanther Posted at 2015-5-1 11:12
I would also like to know this. Could you post the details please? Even though I don't have a phant ...

Just did right before you posted.
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lightpanther
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droneflyers.com Posted at 2015-5-1 10:32
I saw that Nexus 7 II is the supported model...NOT the original Nexus 7.
"Android: Samsung S5, Note  ...

Confound it. Looks like I won't be able to use my present Nexus then, which is an original one.

On the altitude thing, I agree by and large with the safety advice. However, I am a mountaineer as well as a photographer.  It would be an awfully good use of the Phantom to reconnoiter difficult faces and ascents before I laid any fingers on the rock. Such ascents are often substantially in excess of 500m. Climb to 480m and then hand launch again from a 7" ledge, while roped to the mountain? Not doable.

As well, If I were engaged in that kind of activity I would definitely be flying FPV on a crystal clear day alongside a spotter with a high grade pair of binoculars. No pilot of a full sized aircraft this side of sanity would be flying close enough to a mountain to be interfering with what I'd be doing, unless he was hell bent on killing himself or others.

But there is another issue too. I just don't like this thing of limitations being coerced from a back end with respect to a (relatively) large sum of money the buyer is putting out for a technological object. I understand safety. Treat me like an adult and give me the responsibility for it that (as an adult) I should not have to ask for.
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john.lambert4
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I've tried this, but it changes it back to a red "0" if I enter anything above 500??
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suqsid.bobmail
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john.lambert4@o Posted at 2015-5-1 11:25
I've tried this, but it changes it back to a red "0" if I enter anything above 500??

Are you connected to the remote and p3?

Many settings don't work if you aren't.

Also remember the the decent has a rate of about 2m per second. If you are too high up when your battery goes low, you are going to be in big trouble.

Good rule of thumb is that you need a minute for each 100m decent.
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lightpanther
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suqsid.bobmail Posted at 2015-5-1 11:17
Just did right before you posted.

Yeah, I saw. Apologies. I think I posted at the same time.  
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john.lambert4
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suqsid.bobmail Posted at 2015-5-1 11:32
Are you connected to the remote and p3?

Many settings don't work if you aren't.

That could be why yes, I thought of that after I posted.  If you can change yours and it sticks to the setting then that's great.  Not that I intend of flying at those heights, but it's good to know you can alter it.  And yes, VERY dangerous going over 500m even if your battery is still good!  I don't want CASA on my back!!  
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lightpanther
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Out of interest, was I correct in my Fatshark assumption? (question 2)  If so, does anyone know if DJI is working on this, or whether there is a workaround?
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suqsid.bobmail
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lightpanther Posted at 2015-5-1 11:49
Out of interest, was I correct in my Fatshark assumption? (question 2)  If so, does anyone know if D ...

The work around is to use an Inspire 1 remote with the HDMI output. It can be link to, and used on, the P3.

Another alternative is to use a tablet with an HDMI output, such as the NVidia Shield.
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Mikey14
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Is it possible to change the "meters" into US "feet"? I have no clue how the metric system works.
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Brandon00151
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Ok the battery has a 23 minute flight time.  So lets say 20 minutes just to be safe. Considering you can Ascend faster than you can Descend then that means if you were to go straight up you'd want to allow more to descend than ascend. In other words 8(2400m at 5m/s) minutes going up and 12 minutes going down(2400m at 3m/s).  At that point it would be very dangerous to fly at such altitude since you wouldn't want to risk hitting a plane. Not to mention at the altitude the winds could be a lot higher than they are at ground level so you could risk losing your quad.   Just not a good idea.
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PeteGould
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lightpanther Posted at 2015-5-1 11:24
.I just don't like this thing of limitations being coerced from a back end with respect to a (relatively) large sum of money the buyer is putting out for a technological object. I understand safety. Treat me like an adult and give me the responsibility for it that (as an adult) I should not have to ask for.

I understand your point of view BUT:

There are a lot of idiots out there who do not act like adults.  Given the choice they will defeat all the safety mechanisms, fly in the wrong places, and eventually cause a major aviation accident.

When that happens, expect emergency legislation making all drone flight illegal, period.

For this reason I fully expect, within a very short time, that all UAS manufacturers will be forced by the regulatory agencies in the nations where they operate to limit flight to legal areas.  That will mean no-fly zones your aircraft will refuse to penetrate and altitude ceilings above which it will refuse to climb, with no override.

If you buy now, no matter who you buy from, don't be mad at the manufacturer when they are forced to add these restrictions via mandatory firmware updates.
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suqsid.bobmail
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Mikey14 Posted at 2015-5-1 13:38
Is it possible to change the "meters" into US "feet"? I have no clue how the metric system works.

The internals of the quad programming are all in metric meters.

It is easy for any app (including DJI's Pilot app) to convert those numbers to feet. You change a setting from "metric" to "imperial". Imperial is already set as the default if the app detects you are using US English as your language on your device.

The conversion is simple: 1 meter = 3.2808399 feet (3 feet 3 3/8 inches).
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suqsid.bobmail
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PeteGould Posted at 2015-5-1 19:50
I understand your point of view BUT:

There are a lot of idiots out there who do not act like adult ...

Pete is so right on this.

I have noticed looking at the changes in the SDK, that they are really putting an emphasis on "no-fly" areas. They are compiling them into the native code used by apps to communicate with the drone.

Won't stop the hackers or real bad guys, but it will stop the average consumer.
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PeteGould
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suqsid.bobmail Posted at 2015-5-2 01:33
You change a setting from "metric" to "imperial". Imperial is already set as the default if the app detects you are using US English as your language on your device.

Sadly the last time I tried this, it did not make the conversion throughout the DJI Pilot app (which I am currently using with an Inspire, but it's the same app used with the P3).  For instance, the app would display the aircraft's height and distance in feet on the front page during operation, but still wanted input in meters when setting altitude and horizontal distance limits.
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john.lambert4@o Posted at 2015-5-1 10:29
How can you change the 500m height limit in the Pilot app?  Can you describe the steps involved, a ...

You cannot.
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Tahoe_Ed
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Mikey14 Posted at 2015-5-1 13:38
Is it possible to change the "meters" into US "feet"? I have no clue how the metric system works.

In the App, go to Camera, Settings and the first line is Units of Measurement.  You can select Imperial, feet, there.
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lightpanther
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PeteGould Posted at 2015-5-1 19:50
I understand your point of view BUT:

There are a lot of idiots out there who do not act like adult ...

Well then, the law should go after the idiots. The infantilization of the populace is not the answer, imo, and is harmful in larger and conceptually wider ways.  Anyway, I didn't really come here to get embroiled in this kind of argument. I'm a Phantom noob, wanting to know about the product, but this knocked me back, I must admit. Imagine your gun decides who to shoot when you have an intruder. Imagine your car decides not to go any faster than 30 in a 30 zone. It's not any different with a quadcopter. Not ANY different.
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PeteGould
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lightpanther Posted at 2015-5-2 07:49
Imagine your gun decides who to shoot when you have an intruder. Imagine your car decides not to go any faster than 30 in a 30 zone. It's not any different with a quadcopter. Not ANY different.

Different in one respect.  Your car can kill a few people.  Your gun can shoot a few people.  But your quadcopter can down a 767 and kill hundreds of people aboard the airliner and potentially hundreds more on the ground.  The government isn't going to wait for that to happen.  Argue all you want. They're not.  By the same token they're not going to let you buy dynamite either, and for the same reasons.

And my point was not so much the philosophical argument but the fact this this is being shoved down drone makers' throats, if not directly by the government, then by their own attorneys and insurers with the understanding that a single incident could top a billion dollars in liability - and you bet your butt the victims will go after the manufacturers for creating something that can down an airliner and selling it on the open market.

The bottom line is they are ALL going to do this.  Every manufacturer will.  So don't be mad at DJI.  Not over this.  There are plenty of other areas where they're fair game.  
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lightpanther
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PeteGould Posted at 2015-5-2 08:36
Different in one respect.  Your car can kill a few people.  Your gun can shoot a few people.  But y ...

"Different in one respect.  Your car can kill a few people.  Your gun can shoot a few people.  But your quadcopter can down a 767 and kill hundreds of people aboard the airliner and potentially hundreds more on the ground."

I think that’s massively unlikely, but even if we take it to be possible, I think you’re missing the point. Only an idiot would fly an aerial object (even if it was just a balloon on a piece of string) into the path of an aircraft,  just as only an idiot would drive a car along a sidewalk with pedestrians. There are always going to be idiots. Treat the IDIOTS like idiots…don’t treat the rest of the population like them.  In my opinion the possible use of this device that I floated earlier in this thread is a perfectly legitimate and creative use. No one would be endangered *(unless there were other climbers on the rock face)and thus governments or companies would be overstepping the mark by shutting these possibilities down.

"The government isn't going to wait for that to happen.  Argue all you want. They're not.  By the same token they're not going to let you buy dynamite either, and for the same reasons. "

Well, that doesn’t make it right. I'm less interested in what Governments "will do" than I am in what Governments "should do"and every time we lose sight of that ball, we sign away another little but of legitimate individual freedom. Governments do all kinds of things that aren’t right, and can overstep their mark into invasion of the supposed freedoms they are protecting in multiple ways… but again,that’s a different debate. Making dynamite difficult to obtain *(not illegal) isn’t going to stop people who want to blow up stuff.

"And my point was not so much the philosophical argument but the fact this this is being shoved down drone makers' throats, if not directly by the government, then by their own attorneys and insurers with the understanding that a single incident could top a billion dollars in liability - and you bet your butt the victims will go after the manufacturers for creating something that can down an airliner and selling it on the open market."

But a light aircraft is something that can “down an airliner” and is “sold on the open market” and is (much) more likely to down another aircraft than a Phantom, in fact…much,much more likely to, even allowing for all variables,  so again I don’t really see your point.

I would actually support a basic kind of transponder on a Phantom or other quad type object and that they should be treated like aircraft…yes,perhaps you need a license. But then, like other aircraft, you should be able to fly in aircraft airspace. In other words, to be treated like an aircraft you should REALLY be treated like an aircraft.


"The bottom line is they are ALL going to do this.  Every manufacturer will.  So don't be mad at DJI.  Not over this.  There are plenty of other areas where they're fair game. "

Lol, I’m not mad at all. I'm happy and relaxed and I like a good debate, even if I didn't come here intending to have one. I really dig the Phantom from what I can see. I'm 99.9% awed with it, and I don't even have one yet. BUT...It’ll be pointless for companies to artificially wheel clamp their aerial products. Hackers will hack…those hacks will become widespread on the internet (surely I’m not saying anything here that isn’t completely obvious)…in other words, those determined to break the law will break it. That doesn’t mean you should nanny everyone from the back end.  As I said previously, limiting your car’s engine to 30mph in a 30 zone sounds like a “smart” idea on paper. But I can think of several situations in which it could kill someone.
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PeteGould
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lightpanther Posted at 2015-5-2 12:05
Treat the IDIOTS like idiots…don’t treat the rest of the population like them.

I hear you.  Philosophically in many respects I agree with you.

At the same time - I am also a pilot.  I have dealt with the FAA and understand the bureaucracy, which is to a level you have never in your life imagined if this is your introduction into the national airspace.  This is the same FAA that tried to fine a guy $10,000 for flying a nearly weightless Styrofoam model with a tiny camera on it through a college campus, deeming it reckless operation of an aircraft - the same FAA that went before the NTSB to get said Styrofoam model ruled "an aircraft" for purpose of federal regulation, a precedent that makes ALL UAS "aircraft" as a matter of law.  He was eventually allowed to limp away with a $1,100 dollar settlement (this is FAA v. Pirker, if you enjoy doing research).

We can debate what "should be" all day long.  We might even agree.  Our federal government does not, so I'm dealing with what IS, not what should be.

I actually have much greater concerns than altitude being forcibly limited to 400' AGL.  My concern is that these craft are likely to be outlawed altogether, and I'm not at all sure there's a way to stop it from happening.  With a private plane there's a significant investment coupled with a sense of self-preservation, given that your ass is aboard said private plane.  With a UAS, on the other hand, the only thing you risk is the aircraft, not your life.  Consequently we're already seeing people doing really, REALLY stupid things with these craft.  San Francisco is having an enormous problem because there are so many UAS flying around the Golden Gate Bridge that it apparently resembles a swarm of bees.  The craft are intruding into sensitive DO NOT ENTER areas that would subject a person to arrest, and allowing operators to see security-related things that they could not normally see but for the use of a UAS.  Not to mention that if two craft collide and drop onto the bridge they could cause quite an accident.  These things don't have license plates.  Good luck finding the idiots when the accident happens.

Now multiply this by all of the good visuals in the nation.  Bridges, parks, the Statute of Liberty (which is already surrounded by manned aircraft).  The list goes on nearly endlessly.  

And consider how many times these things have had near-misses with aircraft.  Apparently there have already been a bunch.  You say that only an idiot would do that - well, true, but you may need to broaden your definition of the word idiot.  Many people who acquire a Phantom know nothing about controlled airspace, or where they might encounter low-flying aircraft, or what altitude they can safely fly at.  Two news helicopters recently found a Phantom flying ABOVE them (because the operator was flying way above 400').  Unlike other aircraft, most UAS are so small that pilots really can't see them, making the "see and avoid" rule of VFR flight impossible to obey.

Because any jackwagon with a little bit of money can buy one (unlike the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars involved in passenger planes), these things are proliferating so quickly that no one can possibly go after idiots in any meaningful way.  There are far too many idiots and their behavior is far too idiotic.  And many of them don't even REALIZE they're being idiots because they bought something whose implications they didn't even consider.

And yes, I PROMISE you that if a Phantom or Inspire gets sucked into the engine of a 767 or A320, it WILL cause catastrophic engine failure, and if it happens at a critical time it could very well cause a disaster.  Likewise if one encounters the blades of a helicopter it will almost certainly cause a crash.

So with all that said - and recognizing the truth of your observation that idiots will be idiots no matter what anyone tries to do - I think it is only a matter of time before one of these things, in the hands of an idiot, causes an incident that kills a lot of people.  And I think within 30 days of said incident they will be completely outlawed.

And BOY, I hope I'm wrong.
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PeteGould Posted at 2015-5-2 15:09
I hear you.  Philosophically in many respects I agree with you.

At the same time - I am also a pil ...

Treat the IDIOTS like idiots…don’t treat the rest of the population like them.

I hear you.  Philosophically in many respects I agree with you.

“At the same time - I am also a pilot.  I have dealt with the FAA and understand the bureaucracy, which is to a level you have never in your life imagined if this is your introduction into the national airspace.  This is the same FAA that tried to fine a guy $10,000 for flying a nearly weightless Styrofoam model with a tiny camera on it through a college campus, deeming it reckless operation of an aircraft - the same FAA that went before the NTSB to get said Styrofoam model ruled "an aircraft" for purpose of federal regulation, a precedent that makes ALL UAS "aircraft" as a matter of law.  He was eventually allowed to limp away with a $1,100 dollar settlement (this is FAA v. Pirker, if you enjoy doing research).”

Unless I’m mistaken though Pirker was flying commerically, which is another bee in the FAA’s bonnet. Yes, bureaucracies will be bureaucracies, and there are even situations where they are needed. I don’t quite think he “limped away” though.The FAA’s case would probably have failed on appeal if pressed to court, because they cannot make new laws on their own. Congress does that. They settled for $1,100, with a condition from Pirker's lawyers that he did not admit to any wrongdoing, and I suspect he settled due to the likely drawn out length of an appeal case.

“We can debate what "should be" all day long.  We might even agree.  Our federal government does not, so I'm dealing with what IS, not what should be.”

Well, the world changes though. The right way for things to work is that what “should be” has an influence on what presently “is”and especially on what “shouldn’t be.” Now there’s a force in favor of photographic quads here. At present, and unless they turn out to be a “skateboard” fad, people want them, a lot of people want them, and they want them a LOT. It begins to become a sticky matter for government agencies to restrict or ban things that represent new opportunities, commerical and recreational, for human beings, and which are not *intrinsically* harmful. That rarely ends well. Quads are no more intrinsically harmful than manned aircraft (though the tech is still evolving of course).

“I actually have much greater concerns than altitude being forcibly limited to 400' AGL.  My concern is that these craft are likely to be outlawed altogether, and I'm not at all sure there's a way to stop it from happening.  With a private plane there's a significant investment coupled with a sense of self-preservation, given that your ass is aboard said private plane.  With a UAS, on the other hand, the only thing you risk is the aircraft, not your life.  Consequently we're already seeing people doing really, REALLY stupid things with these craft.”

Right. That brings up a couple of things though. There’s the aforementioned thing of a (hypothetical) company altering the device you are buying with later “limits” unbeknownst at purchase time. Imo, that is not commercially acceptable, no matter what the legal status. How would you feel if your drone company (let’s not make this/limit this to DJI) wheel clamped your quad altitude to 400’ 3 months or 6 months after you bought it? How about if quads were made illegal altogether and the quad company “updated your firmware” effectively leaving you with a $2000 paperweight? Do you think that is commercially or ethically acceptable? I certainly DO NOT. That doesn’t mean I would break the law and/or risk a heavy fine or jail (under such circs) by flying it. It’s about buying a car and having the car company remotely disable the engine. That’s not acceptable behavior, imo, because what I paid for (and through the nose) was a flying technology. Unless there was a substantial refund that reflected it down to the real value of an interesting paperweight, I would call out any such corporate act as essentially criminal. I own the device once I purchase it. I am not leasing it or “purchasing a subscription” as I might do for a web-served software program.

The second thing is this: for the best part of a century manned flight has had the air to itself. I have been a full-sized aircraft pilot in my time too (gliders in my case)…and I can understand the nervousness. Yes, quads would make me nervous if I was flying gliders or any full sized aircraft (I no longer do). And it is understandable that pilots would want to preserve that status quo and not have the skies flooded by these upstart “drones.” But that, again, is where their case starts to get iffy. This is perhaps clearest, and least complicated, with recreational flying (of which there is a lot). A great many places presently called “airports” are in fact not airports at all, but private recreational airstrips, operated, for example, for the leisure of local, reasonably affluent homeowners. When one recreational group, however, starts to argue that another (equally) recreational activity is giving them grief, I don’t think they really have much of a plausible case that their activity is somehow more worthy over the other. A similar case can be made for the commerical use of quads, which in many ways would be risking life a lot less than the use of full sized, manned aircraft…even for regular photography. I don’t think there’s any a priori argument that settles a case that the future should not consist of widespread “aerial traffic” involving both manned and unmanned “aircraft” for  both recreational and commercial purposes. And if that makes the skies busier, well “tough”…perhaps it will have to be rationed equally for everyone.


“San Francisco is having an enormous problem because there are so many UAS flying around the Golden Gate Bridge that it apparently resembles a swarm of bees.  The craft are intruding into sensitive DO NOT ENTER areas that would subject a person to arrest, and allowing operators to see security-related things that they could not normally see but for the use of a UAS.  Not to mention that if two craft collide and drop onto the bridge they could cause quite an accident.  These things don't have license plates.  Good luck finding the idiots when the accident happens.”

Although all that a license will do is milk money from those who are unlikely to break the law in the first place. Building a quad, now, is not that hard. Anyone with a little bit of engineering skill and determination could do it…and not put anything resembling a license plate anywhere on it. Given the increasing range of these things…and one assumes that they will eventually be controllable over much greater distances using cellphone technology…good luck finding the pilot of a “wild” drone who is operating the thing even from a mile and a half away…or in five years time, from halfway across the country.


“Now multiply this by all of the good visuals in the nation.  Bridges, parks, the Statute of Liberty (which is already surrounded by manned aircraft).  The list goes on nearly endlessly.”  

See I think all of those things are perfectly legitimate subjects for recreational (photographic) quads. Indeed, they are *exactly* what they are best at, and “laws” which wheel clamp those are in an oppressive and ill-conceived direction that is actually quite antagonistic to change and progress. I suggested a potential solution to the problem earlier. Put transponders on quads. There are other possible solutions. Partitioning the days on which aircraft and quads might be able to use the sky over busy areas. Again, no one goes on about the fact that aircraft fly over busy areas all the time.

“And consider how many times these things have had near-misses with aircraft.  Apparently there have already been a bunch.  You say that only an idiot would do that - well, true, but you may need to broaden your definition of the word idiot.  Many people who acquire a Phantom know nothing about controlled airspace, or where they might encounter low-flying aircraft, or what altitude they can safely fly at.  Two news helicopters recently found a Phantom flying ABOVE them (because the operator was flying way above 400').  Unlike other aircraft, most UAS are so small that pilots really can't see them, making the "see and avoid" rule of VFR flight impossible to obey.”

Hence transponders. Or partitioning the days on which quads can fly. However, also partitioning the days on which manned aircraft (especially manned, light aircraft, non-emergency) can fly. What it will come down to is how much Americans want this tech. If they really really want it, restrictions won’t stand legal pressure from all sorts of vested interests who would like to use this technology to innovative ends (just think of Amazon, for instance…and they aren’t *done* with this subject just because they’ve run into some snags; not by a long way).

“Because any jackwagon with a little bit of money can buy one (unlike the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars involved in passenger planes), these things are proliferating so quickly that no one can possibly go after idiots in any meaningful way.  There are far too many idiots and their behavior is far too idiotic.  And many of them don't even REALIZE they're being idiots because they bought something whose implications they didn't even consider.”

I think you are overstating that. Media tends to emphasize the most headline-grabbing fool stunts from ACROSS THE NATION, which can give an entirely false impression that every second day someone is landing a quad for a touchdown during a football game, or hovering it over the White House Lawn, or taking pictures of the latest top secret submarine. Sure, these things are happening…but I’d venture that tens of thousands of people are using their quads *pretty much safely* every day and without incident. There are certainly some people on youtube flying too high in the present safety environment, but I think that itself is a sign that Airspace XP needs to be updated to Airspace 7, if not Airspace 8  ;)

“And yes, I PROMISE you that if a Phantom or Inspire gets sucked into the engine of a 767 or A320, it WILL cause catastrophic engine failure, and if it happens at a critical time it could very well cause a disaster.  Likewise if one encounters the blades of a helicopter it will almost certainly cause a crash.”

It could *conceivably*, but it would be much more likely to cause a failure of a single engine, and almost *infinitely* more likely to shred the phantom to melted plastic while the aircraft sails on to its destination. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not claiming that what you are saying is *impossible*…but I also think it’s a boogeyman that some people (not necessarily you) are holding up, as well as a double standard. Again, aircraft have been flying over busy areas and residential districts all of my life. Is that “dangerous”? You BET it is. It just happens to be convenient to us human beings for a number of reasons, and to certain vested or legacy interest groups for that to continue. Whenever one of those comes down, and they do, it causes a whole bunch more damage to life and limb than a phantom is going to do.

“So with all that said - and recognizing the truth of your observation that idiots will be idiots no matter what anyone tries to do - I think it is only a matter of time before one of these things, in the hands of an idiot, causes an incident that kills a lot of people.  And I think within 30 days of said incident they will be completely outlawed.

And BOY, I hope I'm wrong.”

Completely outlawed would be a bit extreme. Hurried through and probably ill thought out regulations, that would likely have to be entirely overhauled through the court system just 2 to 3 years later…is more likely, imo.

And there’s another thing. At present, these delicious adult toys are approximately the size of basketballs. While the future is hard to predict in the fine grain, it is not too far fetched a scenario to posit that in just 5 years time they may be approaching the size of tennis balls…in seven to ten years time, operational models the size of large insects (dragonflies, yellowjackets) may appear. Eventually (20 years plus) camera bearing aerial devices the size of fruit flies may be a real possibility. But let’s hold the thought at the dimension of large insects just now (yellowjacket size). The idea of having a "pilot's license" for such an aerial device would be unenforceable, not to mention knee-slappingly hilarious right out of the box. Good luck with reading the FAA license plate on a wasp that is more than three inches from your face. Nor is anyone going to be shooting down a wasp with a rifle in their backyard because it was invading their privacy…since it will be hovering 30 feet away in the bushes and they won’t even know that it’s there. Again, unenforceable. To set in concrete laws and legislations that are (dramatically and effectively) going to render themselves obsolete in just a few years time could best be described as a ticket to a comedy show.
2015-5-2
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p-swieconek
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Although somewhat long winded, perfect post for the P3 - I truly believe that the future of MX rotor is size - the Phantom being It !  DJI knows this - that's why the phantom continues to be their premier machine. Any larger and safety becomes too much of an issue. This is the big difference between th Phantom and the Inspire,S800' S900 and 1000. They are simple too big to operate safely in any environment. The future is micro miniaturization of FC, Optics and power. This is exactly why there won't be any Amazon Prime deliveries via drone any time in the next 10 years.
2015-5-2
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p-swieconek
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And to my point - DJI - when will you be introducing your first purely recreacianal drone racer . 250 to 300mm ? Drone racing is where it's at if you want to have fun flying  MX- the emphasis on photography is a good business strategy, but  don't forget that presently, your competitors are making a fortune on race drones - but need your expertise in GPS controlled flight.
2015-5-2
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p-swieconek
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p-swieconek@com Posted at 2015-5-2 17:33
And to my point - DJI - when will you be introducing your first purely recreacianal drone racer . 25 ...

Forgot to mention that most all drone racing is below 50' - So unless FAA wants to regulate tree height..... Good safeguard against future FAA regs.
2015-5-2
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mike6250
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Keep in mind you cannot fly the Phantom 3 over 120 meters in the US they have restricted the altitude you can fly.  
2015-6-13
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Helios
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mike6250 Posted at 2015-6-14 13:36
Keep in mind you cannot fly the Phantom 3 over 120 meters in the US they have restricted the altitud ...

Again, NO. This is WRONG information. The limit is set to 500m. Stop posting this false statement.
2015-6-13
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HunterBrooks
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Interesting debate.  

My crystal ball says that folks like lightpanther (and another climber on this forum) would simply need to apply for an exemption from the rule, pay some nominal amount of money for a yearly permit, and receive permission to fly higher only while climbing (most likely with caveats like requiring spotters, etc.).   The flight log would keep track of the data for auditing if needed.  The same happens now with certain types of gun permits, bridge jumpers, many extreme sports activities, etc.  

For authentication purposes, through a firmware upgrade, when registering for the permit, lightpanther's SSN and/or driver's license number, permit number and registered quad number would all get linked.  He could simply enter his permit number into the DJI app, authentication happens and the override could be made.  This way his permit number couldn't be stolen and used by another quad pilot - unless they also stole his quad of course.  Heck, the iPad Mini 3 already has a fingerprint scanner built in.

Everybody wins .....  
2015-6-14
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aburkefl
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Flight distance : 78612 ft
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HunterBrooks Posted at 2015-6-14 16:14
Interesting debate.  

My crystal ball says that folks like lightpanther (and another climber on thi ...

What are you guys trying to do - put thousands of lawyers out of work?!? LOL

Lot of good arguments/points. Unfortunately, product liability lawsuits are really big biz in this country (U.S.) and, no matter what we do, we can't legislate stupid. Many think we can, but the reality is that we cannot.

Years ago I read that Stihl, (among other things, they make chainsaws) must have huge letters in the manual when they sell a chainsaw in the U.S. - DANGER: DO NOT TRY TO STOP BLADE WITH YOUR HANDS. Apparently, when they sell the same product in Sweden, they are not required to add this warning. Apparently in their country, someone dumb enough to try to stop the blade with their hands would be thrown out of court. The grounds might be for something slightly less than idiocy, but the odds are they would be laughed out of court.

Unfortunately, our system is far more complex and, consequently, far more prohibitive.

One poster above suggested that users might be able to obtain an exception/variance from the rules. Personally, it wouldn't bother me if "hobby users" were limited to 400 feet AGL. My Phantom sort of disappears from view long before that!
2015-6-14
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Jack57
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lightpanther Posted at 2015-5-1 11:49
Out of interest, was I correct in my Fatshark assumption? (question 2)  If so, does anyone know if D ...

Dji have said that there will be a HDMI board coming out soon.
2015-6-14
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lightpanther
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Jack57 Posted at 2015-6-14 21:43
Dji have said that there will be a HDMI board coming out soon.

By and large (climbing excepted, and that's a specialized use) I think aerial footage, unless of something uniquely requiring it, starts to become "meh-ish" above about 250 feet. You can see this on many drone videos. They start to become much of a muchness, and they're just not that interesting. Simply shooting stuff from high up is not that interesting, unless your point of interest is also a striking feature which is that high up to begin with *(this is, however, the exception to the rule, and it does somewhat bother me).

Most interesting drone videos are much lower and closer to points of interest than the DJI ceiling, or even 400 agl. I'm not saying this in approval of the ceiling, just...photographically.
2015-6-14
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