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The Spark over the San Francisco Bay - and a question...
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2073 83 2018-2-20
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RobertWSimpson
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First things first, here is some footage that I took with my Spark flying out over the San Francisco bay at sunset.  I love the colors that this little guy is able to capture!


And now my question:
What do you all think about the drone regulations?  I was technically flying legally, but I was way more intimidated at this location than I have been at "other" (less legal) locations.  I know these planes are still over a thousand feet up on this approach, but they look like you can just reach out and touch them.  And, if I was an idiot, I could totally fly up there too.
I feel like this falls into the "use your best judgement" category.  My question is: why doesn't it work the other way as well, as in, it's illegal here, but I am going to use my best judgement, and since there is no damage to be done, I will go ahead and fly my drone.  Obviously, this logic does not work.

I am curious to hear your thoughts!

by the way, here is the map of the area on Hover.  I was in the park right by the water.  I should also note that I see people here flying UAVs (of all types) almost every time I visit this park.

area map

area map

2018-2-20
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Smark
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Ah! I love San Fran!
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RobertWSimpson
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Smark Posted at 2018-2-20 11:17
Ah! I love San Fran!

haha me too!

except that you basically can't legally fly a drone anywhere here.
2018-2-20
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Bright Spark
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If it's not legal, it's not legal.
There's no best judgment on theft, speeding or most things.
Same in uk, I wish it was otherwise but it's not. Lot's of people breaking the law just means harsher laws.
Can't see a way forward personally.

2018-2-20
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Rustic17
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Firstly, any airspace you can find that's legal to fly in should be taken advantage of to the utmost!!!  Secondly, I flew fighters and business jets over 46 years.  A typical ILS or visual approach is on a 2.5 - 3.0 degree glideslope which means at one mile from touchdown you'd be 250' above the ground and at two miles from touchdown 500'.  So when we talk about avoiding airports by 5NM, we're talking about a plane on a 5NM final approach being at ~1250' above the ground.  Are you safe flying at your 400' above the ground...you bet...UNLESS you get a flyaway that includes vertical climb.  Have I flown my drone illegally...you bet.  Am I very very careful when I do this???  Sure!!!   For example...I'm at a marina four miles from an airport and abeam the runways (nowhere close to final approach).  I want to get a 200'  Dronie of the marina.  No aircraft in the air. I'm probably going to do it and not call the tower, either.
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RobertWSimpson
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Bright Spark Posted at 2018-2-20 11:48
If it's not legal, it's not legal.
There's no best judgment on theft, speeding or most things.
Same in uk, I wish it was otherwise but it's not. Lot's of people breaking the law just means harsher laws.

it's sad but true.  When people lack the ability to judge what is appropriate, I do suppose some legislation is required.

in defense of my original assertion, theft affects other people, so I would always deem that inappropriate, which jives with the law.  I speed when I can (most of the time it's impossible in California), but speeding is loosely enforced at best.  You're right though.  If I'm going even 1 MPH over the posted speed limit, I accept that I could get a very justified ticket for doing so.
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RobertWSimpson
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Rustic17 Posted at 2018-2-20 11:50
Firstly, any airspace you can find that's legal to fly in should be taken advantage of to the utmost!!!  Secondly, I flew fighters and business jets over 46 years.  A typical ILS or visual approach is on a 2.5 - 3.0 degree glideslope which means at one mile from touchdown you'd be 250' above the ground and at two miles from touchdown 500'.  So when we talk about avoiding airports by 5NM, we're talking about a plane on a 5NM final approach being at ~1250' above the ground.  Are you safe flying at your 400' above the ground...you bet...UNLESS you get a flyaway that includes vertical climb.  Have I flown my drone illegally...you bet.  Am I very very careful when I do this???  Sure!!!   For example...I'm at a marina four miles from an airport and abeam the runways (nowhere close to final approach).  I want to get a 200'  Dronie of the marina.  No aircraft in the air. I'm probably going to do it and not call the tower, either.

I love your use of jargon.  Makes me feel much better about doing the exact same things.

Thank you for your input.  I was afraid people would see the end of that video and flame me until I deleted my account.
2018-2-20
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sidtx
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You can get an app called flightradar 24, that shows you real time altitudes of all airliners, and most other aircraft.

Then you will know exactly how high they are over your location.  You will also be able to know when they are coming,  especially the big boys (A380, 747) that frequent SFO.

Sid
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RobertWSimpson
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sidtx Posted at 2018-2-20 12:02
You can get an app called flightradar 24, that shows you real time altitudes of all airliners, and most other aircraft.

Then you will know exactly how high they are over your location.  You will also be able to know when they are coming,  especially the big boys (A380, 747) that frequent SFO.

oh cool I will check that app out!

I am not brave enough to get much closer than I show in that video.... which is nowhere near the flightpath OR altitude.  Even with the app, I'm not sure I would want to.  It would be cool to know where they are exactly though!
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sidtx
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It's a cool app for aviation geeks.   Also,  it's useful for those times when you hear something large at low level over your house!!   With the app it's easy to figure out that Lifeflight or a Southwest Airlines pilot (in a hurry) just buzzed your house.

Sid
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Bright Spark
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I am not critical. I would love to fly  much more freely, but I am uncomfortable at being open to action from the authorities.
I must say that theft is no less acceptable because it affects others. All law is based on protecting others. Speeding is a factor in many accidents which affects others. My main concern would be a claim against me for injury/loss to others.
But I repeat I am drone enthusiast, and reluctanly accept the direction things are heading.
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RobertWSimpson
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sidtx Posted at 2018-2-20 12:12
It's a cool app for aviation geeks.   Also,  it's useful for those times when you hear something large at low level over your house!!   With the app it's easy to figure out that Lifeflight or a Southwest Airlines pilot (in a hurry) just buzzed your house.

Sid

we get a lot of stuff flying over our house around here.  I do enjoy peeking out the window to see what it was.
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RobertWSimpson
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Bright Spark Posted at 2018-2-20 12:17
I am not critical. I would love to fly  much more freely, but I am uncomfortable at being open to action from the authorities.
I must say that theft is no less acceptable because it affects others. All law is based on protecting others. Speeding is a factor in many accidents which affects others. My main concern would be a claim against me for injury/loss to others.
But I repeat I am drone enthusiast, and reluctanly accept the direction things are heading.

To accept your assertion, you would have to first accept that all legislators have our best interests in mind when law-making, which I do not believe to be true.

I'd rather not make this political though!  Let's keep it light hearted!

Do you ever find yourself tempted to fly in no-fly-zones???  Do you ever satisfy that temptation???
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Sidd Finch
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The spark should be using geo-fencing so if you are too close it should not let you launch and fly. So the place you are flying should be ok. CA has a lot of regulations regarding Parks and locations you can fly. It might be good to check out to see if you are ok to fly where you are flying. Even with lots of people flying... if it wrong its wrong.

Sidd
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RobertWSimpson
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Sidd Finch Posted at 2018-2-20 13:39
The spark should be using geo-fencing so if you are too close it should not let you launch and fly. So the place you are flying should be ok. CA has a lot of regulations regarding Parks and locations you can fly. It might be good to check out to see if you are ok to fly where you are flying. Even with lots of people flying... if it wrong its wrong.

Sidd

I've launched and flown in places that are labeled as no-fly-zones.  Maybe that is part of a new update?  I've also been fully grounded though in FL when Trump was in town.

I agree if it's wrong it's wrong, but I also believe in exercising good judgement.  Sometimes even when things are legal, they are still wrong.  my original question is - when things are illegal, can they be "right."  seems weird that it would only work in one direction.
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LouisP
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sidtx Posted at 2018-2-20 12:02
You can get an app called flightradar 24, that shows you real time altitudes of all airliners, and most other aircraft.

Then you will know exactly how high they are over your location.  You will also be able to know when they are coming,  especially the big boys (A380, 747) that frequent SFO.

That works for airliners in the US but not for GA planes (yet)... General aviation is not required to have ADSB transponders .. so they usually do not show up on FR24
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Sidd Finch
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-20 13:55
I've launched and flown in places that are labeled as no-fly-zones.  Maybe that is part of a new update?  I've also been fully grounded though in FL when Trump was in town.

I agree if it's wrong it's wrong, but I also believe in exercising good judgement.  Sometimes even when things are legal, they are still wrong.  my original question is - when things are illegal, can they be "right."  seems weird that it would only work in one direction.

I agree there needs to be a reasonable standard. There is just not a lot of wiggle room if the authorities decide you are in the wrong. Good video btw. I would love to drive up to SF and fly but I am too paranoid about all the restrictions. Flying in San Jose is tricky enough.

Sidd
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Bright Spark
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I am as keen as anyone to be reasonable and indeed light hearted over everything. Unfortunately I cannot imagine any lawyers reciprocating in kind. Drones have outstripped thinking in some ways and regulations, resulting in  many grey areas.
Whether clarity will ever emerge we cannot know.
They will however get much smaller and more capable., and therefore harder to regulate.
But as regards your question to me, no I do not fly illegally in any way, but sadly that means I hardly fly at all!

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Montfrooij
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Looks great, but here in NL I would not (legally) be allowed to make that shot I guess.
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RobertWSimpson
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LouisP Posted at 2018-2-20 13:57
That works for airliners in the US but not for GA planes (yet)... General aviation is not required to have ADSB transponders .. so they usually do not show up on FR24

What is GA?  The airport to the south of me is a small one with privately owned planes (mostly turbo-props), so I am guessing none of those would show up?  
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RobertWSimpson
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Sidd Finch Posted at 2018-2-20 14:26
I agree there needs to be a reasonable standard. There is just not a lot of wiggle room if the authorities decide you are in the wrong. Good video btw. I would love to drive up to SF and fly but I am too paranoid about all the restrictions. Flying in San Jose is tricky enough.

Sidd

Actually, in the city of SF, the skies are WIDE open.  I've flown there a few times.  I still have a couple of shots I would like to get

Lombard ST from directly overhead
Coit tower
Twin peaks
others...

If you'd like to go to the city and fly, let me know, I wouldn't mind joining you.  I'll even get my buddy who has a Mavic to join us.  We can try not to crash into each other's UAVs!
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RobertWSimpson
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Bright Spark Posted at 2018-2-20 14:34
I am as keen as anyone to be reasonable and indeed light hearted over everything. Unfortunately I cannot imagine any lawyers reciprocating in kind. Drones have outstripped thinking in some ways and regulations, resulting in  many grey areas.
Whether clarity will ever emerge we cannot know.
They will however get much smaller and more capable., and therefore harder to regulate.

it's not supposed to be that way!!!

Hopefully, as drones become smaller, they will be viewed as less of a threat.  Think of an inspire falling on someone from 100ft as opposed to something much smaller and lighter.  Maybe that will help us instead of hurt us?

One of my favorite things about the Spark is its unassuming appearance.  I think since most people see it as a toy, they tolerate it to a larger degree than say a phantom or something bigger.
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Bright Spark
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Agreed entirely. The sub 250 gram class looks a bit more promising.
The new tello , admittedly no gps or gimbal (yet), but much else is only 80 grams. Now you're talking!
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RobertWSimpson
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Bright Spark Posted at 2018-2-20 14:47
Agreed entirely. The sub 250 gram class looks a bit more promising.
The new tello , admittedly no gps or gimbal (yet), but much else is only 80 grams. Now you're talking!

I've always wanted to be a fly on the wall!
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RobertWSimpson
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Montfrooij Posted at 2018-2-20 14:35
Looks great, but here in NL I would not (legally) be allowed to make that shot I guess.

What is the legality in question?  In the US, there is a 5NM radius around every airport.  I was outside of that radius, and therefore legal.  What is the rule in the Netherlands?
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LouisP
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-20 14:35
What is GA?  The airport to the south of me is a small one with privately owned planes (mostly turbo-props), so I am guessing none of those would show up?

Sorry.. yes.. General Aviation.. so private planes.  I have an ADSB receiver and those almost never show up has having transponders so they would not show on FlightRadar 24..  The law is that they all are supposed to have them by 2020 (last time I checked, they may have extended the deadline).  Once all airplanes have ADSB.. it would be easy for someone to make a small handheld device that could tell a drone operator if an airplane is in the vicinity.  Thinking about it.. that would be pretty cool actually.
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RobertWSimpson
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LouisP Posted at 2018-2-20 15:12
Sorry.. yes.. General Aviation.. so private planes.  I have an ADSB receiver and those almost never show up has having transponders so they would not show on FlightRadar 24..  The law is that they all are supposed to have them by 2020 (last time I checked, they may have extended the deadline).  Once all airplanes have ADSB.. it would be easy for someone to make a small handheld device that could tell a drone operator if an airplane is in the vicinity.  Thinking about it.. that would be pretty cool actually.

that would be very useful.  Maybe it could even be included in the DJI app!  The fact is that there are going to be more and more UAVs in the skies as time goes on.  Making things harder on Drone pilots while not changing anything about any other flying objects is a little unfair.
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Montfrooij
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-20 14:51
What is the legality in question?  In the US, there is a 5NM radius around every airport.  I was outside of that radius, and therefore legal.  What is the rule in the Netherlands?

With larger airports the area is larger in NL.
https://kadata.kadaster.nl/dronekaart/
Look at Amsterdam. That is much more like 20km or something I guess. So if you are at 10km I would not be allowed to fly there.
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dansmar
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Check out that spot on the official FAA app B4ufly- that is within 5nm of the airport and an illegal spot to fly - sometimes around busy airports the exclusion zone is greater than 5 miles.

Relying on third party apps or dji go can get you into trouble - the only official source is the faa app B4ufly
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dansmar
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Here is a close up of the area showing as class b
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Rustic17
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My question is does B4UFly show only those areas 400' and below???  Or is it showing the whole Class B airspace???   In the airspace diagram you see Class B is like an inverted wedding cake.  There is an area in the middle of the Class B that is surface to 10,000 at SFO but as you get further from the airport you may actually be under the Class B.  Could B4UFly be actually showing the entire Class B airspace versus that airspace restricted to drones flying 400' and below???
airspace.jpg
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dansmar
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Rustic17 Posted at 2018-2-21 06:59
My question is does B4UFly show only those areas 400' and below???  Or is it showing the whole Class B airspace???   In the airspace diagram you see Class B is like an inverted wedding cake.  There is an area in the middle of the Class B that is surface to 10,000 at SFO but as you get further from the airport you may actually be under the Class B.  Could B4UFly be actually showing the entire Class B airspace versus that airspace restricted to drones flying 400' and below???


B4ufly app is showing surface restrictions - note in the upper left hand corner the drone with a line through it - this indicates a no fly zone for drones (if you can fly at a place the drone won’t be struck through it will show a check mark)

This app is put out by the FAA specifically for drones to show no fly areas, areas where you need to take action or where it is ok to fly

Not all no fly zones are round or 5 miles
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RobertWSimpson
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Montfrooij Posted at 2018-2-20 23:16
With larger airports the area is larger in NL.
https://kadata.kadaster.nl/dronekaart/
Look at Amsterdam. That is much more like 20km or something I guess. So if you are at 10km I would not be allowed to fly there.

wow, I mean, on the flight path, that would make sense.  for example, 99% of jets landing at San Francisco take the exact same approach.  perhaps a larger radius in this direction would be appropriate, but the rest of the airspace is nearly unused.

I wonder what the logistics for a more dynamic system would be (dependent on wind direction, as that governs which runways are being used).  Maybe that would make things better for everyone.
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RobertWSimpson
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dansmar Posted at 2018-2-21 07:21
B4ufly app is showing surface restrictions - note in the upper left hand corner the drone with a line through it - this indicates a no fly zone for drones (if you can fly at a place the drone won’t be struck through it will show a check mark)

This app is put out by the FAA specifically for drones to show no fly areas, areas where you need to take action or where it is ok to fly

well, ignorance WAS bliss.  
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RobertWSimpson
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Interesting. Each airport can establish its own airspace with altitude and radius. Here is SFO airspace:

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dansmar
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-21 09:29
Interesting. Each airport can establish its own airspace with altitude and radius. Here is SFO airspace:

[view_image]

True, I am in the Vegas area here and the surface restrictions go out 10 miles in most directions. DJI app says ok, and in some class g areas DJI claims it's class b - so it's always best to double check with an official faa source such as B4UFLY app.

we all learn as we go - happy flying
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Montfrooij
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-21 09:20
wow, I mean, on the flight path, that would make sense.  for example, 99% of jets landing at San Francisco take the exact same approach.  perhaps a larger radius in this direction would be appropriate, but the rest of the airspace is nearly unused.

I wonder what the logistics for a more dynamic system would be (dependent on wind direction, as that governs which runways are being used).  Maybe that would make things better for everyone.

Anything dynamic is hard to enforce. So I think this is at least clear.
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RobertWSimpson
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Montfrooij Posted at 2018-2-21 10:16
Anything dynamic is hard to enforce. So I think this is at least clear.

Well, we wouldn't want to make things difficult on the authorities!
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Montfrooij
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-21 10:20
Well, we wouldn't want to make things difficult on the authorities!

Better to have some clear rules if you aks me.
Some people need them....

And with all this new tech, it is hard for those who make laws to keep up.
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RobertWSimpson Posted at 2018-2-20 14:37
Actually, in the city of SF, the skies are WIDE open.  I've flown there a few times.  I still have a couple of shots I would like to get

Lombard ST from directly overhead

The skies aren’t wide open to fly at any of these sights you would need the permission of anywhere between 3-5 heliports
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