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Low flying helicopter
578 23 2017-8-7 09:54:10
Asainz320
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About two weeks ago I was hagging out with my family and some friends at a sandbar here in Miami. This is a nice place to fly since it is a very wide open space and amazing scenery. There were other Mavics, a couple of Phantoms and I even saw a Spark for the first time there. There are no airports nearby so it is legal to fly there. All of a sudden a tourist heli just flew by at a speed of about 80mph to 100mph and at an altitude of 30-40 feet... right above all the boats parked there. I have seen them do this at the beach to give the riders a closer look and give more thrill to the flight. My question is... who will be at fault if the heli impacts one of our drones. I undertand that the law is the manned aircraft have the priority and that we have to give the right of way, but at 100mph and 40' altituded there will be very little chance of seeing the heli in time to get out of the way. Where can we ask these questions and how can we report something like this to the proper authorities?
I have also seen the Miami Dade Police helicopter flying extremely low by South Pointe Park which is another well known drone location and it is legal to fly there as well.
2017-8-7 09:54:10
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Maveriksam
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Hi Asainz320

Thank god we don't have any of that (Magnum PI) stuff in the UK.
You must be able to report it to the CAA over there in US of A.
2017-8-7 10:11:26
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AG0N-Gary
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You might want to take along a separate camera and shoot pix of the choppers doing what you say.  After you gather a few, go visit the various law breakers and ask them about it.  They should be no closer than 500 feet vertically and I'm not sure about the horizontal distance but there is a limit there also, unless they are taking off or landing.  They may just need to know that there are other flyers in the area.  Do watch closely though, because as you say, you do not have priority.  That doesn't mean they can violate their rules either though.
2017-8-7 10:46:39
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dronist
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Where in Miami? There is only a small section in Miami Beach where you can fly. There are a lot of Heli pads and Sea base heli pad in Miami Beach, and they usually fly below the 400' feet but 30' / 40 ' ??? I have never seen that!
2017-8-7 11:21:05
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Asainz320
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dronist Posted at 2017-8-7 11:21
Where in Miami? There is only a small section in Miami Beach where you can fly. There a lot of Heli pads and Sea base heli padin Miami Beach, and they usually fly below the 400' feet but 30' / 40 ' ??? I have never seen that!

At Halouver Sandbar. I had never seen any helis flying that low in that area. There are red cross helicopters that fly by but those fly really high, higher than 500'.
2017-8-7 11:35:25
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dronist
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Asainz320 Posted at 2017-8-7 11:35
At Halouver Sandbar. I had never seen any helis flying that low in that area. There are red cross helicopters that fly by but those fly really high, higher than 500'.

Remember that you can't fly around Haulover Park because it is a state park. Also there is a Heliport west side of the park. Maybe that is why they are flying so low but again 30/40 feet???  That is toooo low!

2017-8-7 11:50:20
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Asainz320
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dronist Posted at 2017-8-7 11:50
Remember that you can't fly around Haulover Park because it is a state park. Also there is a Heliport west side of the park. Maybe that is why they are flying so low but again 30/40 feet???  That is toooo low!

To my understanding you can fly in State Parks, but not on National Parks. National Parks are well documented on Airmap which is the app I use to check for flight safety.
2017-8-7 12:41:32
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Mari
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... Airmap and other apps gather data of which they don't know its correct and up-to-date. Check local/national auhorities to find out if it is allowed and safe to fly...
2017-8-7 13:50:52
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gnirtS
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You're still responsible, hence the line of sight rules (or in some places, *unaided* line of sight).  The purpose of those is you scan the airspace around the drone to maintain separation if needed.  I also think he may have been a lot higher than 30-40ft - people tend to massively underestimate altitude.  South Pointe is scary though - a lot of tourist rotary traffic cuts around that corner at a fairly low level.
2017-8-7 15:17:06
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dronist
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Asainz320 Posted at 2017-8-7 12:41
To my understanding you can fly in State Parks, but not on National Parks. National Parks are well documented on Airmap which is the app I use to check for flight safety.

Actually you are NOT allowed to fly drone in Florida state parks. The directive is valid until 2099, believe it or not!
2017-8-7 15:59:14
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dronist
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Asainz320 Posted at 2017-8-7 12:41
To my understanding you can fly in State Parks, but not on National Parks. National Parks are well documented on Airmap which is the app I use to check for flight safety.

Actually you are NOT allowed to fly drone in Florida state parks. The directive is valid until 2099, believe it or not!

From FL state park site:

The use of personal drones is prohibited in Florida State Parks.



Expiration: Monday, June 29, 2099

2017-8-7 16:03:17
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Asainz320
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dronist Posted at 2017-8-7 16:03
Actually you are NOT allowed to fly drone in Florida state parks. The directive is valid until 2099, believe it or not!

From FL state par site:

Oh wow!thanks for this info.
2017-8-7 16:41:30
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Asainz320
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Mari Posted at 2017-8-7 13:50
... Airmap and other apps gather data of which they don't know its correct and up-to-date. Check local/national auhorities to find out if it is allowed and safe to fly...

So far Airmap has accurately given me current up to date info regarding games being played in the nearby stadium, special flights coming in to the airport and also when there is emergency air traffic in the area. Im sure they are missing some info, but up to now it has worked pretty well.
2017-8-7 16:44:25
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Asainz320
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gnirtS Posted at 2017-8-7 15:17
You're still responsible, hence the line of sight rules (or in some places, *unaided* line of sight).  The purpose of those is you scan the airspace around the drone to maintain separation if needed.  I also think he may have been a lot higher than 30-40ft - people tend to massively underestimate altitude.  South Pointe is scary though - a lot of tourist rotary traffic cuts around that corner at a fairly low level.

I know why the rule is there. Usually you can hear any aircraft approaching in time to get low to the ground and out of the way. In this case the heli was so low that it scared a bunch of us in the sandbar. I did not hear it coming only till it was passing right by us. I know how to measure distance pretty well. An average electricity pole is about 30 to 35 feet (they are about 40' without being burried). If there had been electric lines where the heli flew, it would smached into them.
2017-8-7 16:52:30
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gnirtS
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Im still banking on you massively underestimating the altitude.   A drone operator has way less field of view and situational awareness than a pilot but the rules still apply.  Manned has priority over unmanned so its 100% the drone operators fault.  The safety argument could be if you know traffic flies low in that area and (ii) cant get your drone out of the way quickly enough then you shouldnt fly there.

2017-8-7 17:11:52
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Asainz320
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dronist Posted at 2017-8-7 16:03
Actually you are NOT allowed to fly drone in Florida state parks. The directive is valid until 2099, believe it or not!

From FL state park site:

I wonder if this referrers to taking of and landing from the park, but ok to fly over it? I will have to do more digging on this, because there are a ton of State Parks in South Florida.
2017-8-7 17:24:34
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Asainz320
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gnirtS Posted at 2017-8-7 17:11
Im still banking on you massively underestimating the altitude.   A drone operator has way less field of view and situational awareness than a pilot but the rules still apply.  Manned has priority over unmanned so its 100% the drone operators fault.  The safety argument could be if you know traffic flies low in that area and (ii) cant get your drone out of the way quickly enough then you shouldnt fly there.

Lol... you're one of those.
Maybe theres a chance that I miscalculated the altitude but I have been flying for long time and I have a pretty good idea of hights. I also have a good idea how the Mavic looks at different distances. This was a small 2 person heli, so it wasnt very hard to gage the distance more or less. If it would have been a police or rescue helicopter then I would undertand it would be harder to gage the distance because of the size. I still believe that if I had been flying my Mavic at 100' when the heli flew by, it would have flown underneed my drone. Traffic doesnt fly that low in that area and thats my concern now flying again in that area, knowing that this could happen again. This was the first time I saw that heli fly so low over people. My other concer is the amount of people that were flying their drones there. It could have easily wiped anyone out. Im aware of most rules and always fly with commun sense, this incident was scarry.
2017-8-7 17:39:17
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MTUFLYER28
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That's a really good question... assuming you are legal to fly there the helicopter is still responsible for maintaining a safe distance from people and property.  Technically it can still fly below 500' but if you complain to the FAA I would think they would at least make a call and if nothing else that may give the operator a heads up that drone operations are taking place along his typical flight path.  Might make him think twice before buzzing the beach in those areas.  Take a look at the link on what to do to report a low flying aircraft.   If you can see and read the "N" number on the aircraft that likely means he is closer then he should be to you.   Low Flying Aircraft Complaints
2017-8-7 17:57:04
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gnirtS
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Asainz320 Posted at 2017-8-7 17:39
Lol... you're one of those.
Maybe theres a chance that I miscalculated the altitude but I have been flying for long time and I have a pretty good idea of hights. I also have a good idea how the Mavic looks at different distances. This was a small 2 person heli, so it wasnt very hard to gage the distance more or less. If it would have been a police or rescue helicopter then I would undertand it would be harder to gage the distance because of the size. I still believe that if I had been flying my Mavic at 100' when the heli flew by, it would have flown underneed my drone. Traffic doesnt fly that low in that area and thats my concern now flying again in that area, knowing that this could happen again. This was the first time I saw that heli fly so low over people. My other concer is the amount of people that were flying their drones there. It could have easily wiped anyone out. Im aware of most rules and always fly with commun sense, this incident was scarry.

Im banking on you underestimating the altitude and you haven't supplied a single thing to prove otherwise.
That aside, the FAA and general guidelines are clear cut - if you are unable to guarantee adequate separation you don't choose to fly there.  It doesnt matter if there is rotary traffic at 500ft,300ft or 100ft its still the unmanned operators job to stay out of the way either by moving or by not flying in the first place.

2017-8-7 18:07:48
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Asainz320
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gnirtS Posted at 2017-8-7 18:07
Im banking on you underestimating the altitude and you haven't supplied a single thing to prove otherwise.
That aside, the FAA and general guidelines are clear cut - if you are unable to guarantee adequate separation you don't choose to fly there.  It doesnt matter if there is rotary traffic at 500ft,300ft or 100ft its still the unmanned operators job to stay out of the way either by moving or by not flying in the first place.

You got it
2017-8-7 18:22:20
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Asainz320
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MTUFLYER28 Posted at 2017-8-7 17:57
That's a really good question... assuming you are legal to fly there the helicopter is still responsible for maintaining a safe distance from people and property.  Technically it can still fly below 500' but if you complain to the FAA I would think they would at least make a call and if nothing else that may give the operator a heads up that drone operations are taking place along his typical flight path.  Might make him think twice before buzzing the beach in those areas.  Take a look at the link on what to do to report a low flying aircraft.   If you can see and read the "N" number on the aircraft that likely means he is closer then he should be to you.   Low Flying Aircraft Complaints

This is exactly what I mean but there are others here more concerned about how accurate my altitude gauging skills are lol. No matter if the heli was flying at 30' or 200', what Im trying to get accros is that the heli was low enough to hit any of the drones flying in the area. It is not a place where this is common and thats my concern. Most people like me will not know that this could happen. The heli should know that this ks a popular drone area and should avoid the low flybys just to impress the passenger or the crowd on the water.
2017-8-7 18:35:51
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dronist
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Asainz320 Posted at 2017-8-7 17:24
I wonder if this referrers to taking of and landing from the park, but ok to fly over it? I will have to do more digging on this, because there are a ton of State Parks in South Florida.

You are not allowed to fly over either. I had the same issue when I was visiting PA. I stopped at the ranger station and asked and they said you are not allowed to take off, land or fly over because of the wild life.

But in PA, there are 6 state parks where they have limited area inside the park designated space where you can fly your drone.

You can check and let me know. I am going down this Sept to Miami Beach and I will stop at one of the parks and ask the rangers.

2017-8-7 18:47:29
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Asainz320
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dronist Posted at 2017-8-7 18:47
You are not allowed to fly over either. I had the same issue when I was visiting PA. I stopped at the ranger station and asked and they said you are not allowed to take off, land or fly over because of the wild life.

But in PA, there are 6 state parks where they have limited area inside the park designated space where you can fly your drone. I don't know if they have it in FL but from the statement I copied you on it was very clear.

Yeah I will let you know what I find
2017-8-7 19:08:01
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elg93337
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Using the FAA B4UFLY app on your phone, you can clearly search (25.910728, -80.128559 works as Latitude and Longitude for Haulover Sandbar)  see that there are 3 related helipads in that area: Aventure, Aventura Hospital & Medical Center, and the Intra Coastal Police Sub Station.  Also, the whole area there is in Class B airspace (check out SkyVector.com for your local aeronautical chart.   Just because many others are out doesn't make it safe or legal to do so, BTW.  You would likely clearly be in the wrong if you don't yield right of way and/or have contacted your local airspace towers before you flew, just FYI.

2017-8-7 22:34:24
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