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Crash your helicopter? Blame a drone!
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GrangerFX
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DJI drones have obstacle avoidance unlike human pilots who fear a lightweight piece of plastic more than a tree. If aircraft pilots are allowed to blame drones for their own piloting errors, we are all screwed. Let's hope the FAA places blame where the real fault lies: The helicopter pilot for not having good situational awareness at 50 feet AGL and close to trees.
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2 ... lamed-private-drone


2018-2-18
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Geebax
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Yeah, this is already being discussed on another thread. The most credible explanation is the pilot instructor screwed up and decided he could easily blame it on a drone because it was gone and not able to answer for itself.

Besides, what were they doing practising low altitude training exercises in the vicinity of trees and not at an airport?
2018-2-18
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djiuser_iGJqCoTNTQSa
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Why are you mad? Drone pilots, as usual, were being idiots and it caused an issue this time, because it was only a matter of time before some asshat created a hazard large enough that it ended up in the news. My father also almost had a collision with a drone pilot doing things he wasn't supposed to. Have you seen what the Phantom did to the Blackhawk rotor, it's not pretty. So, don't be mad at the pilot of the helicopter, be mad at your fellow flyers being irresponsible. Your 20/20 hindsight doesn't change what happened there, even though you can magically assert all your expertise of 0.

People like you criticizing this are like the critics of Captain Sully, with magical hindsight capabilities. Well, the difference being that those critics had actual experience in a field, unlike you.
2018-2-18
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GrangerFX
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djiuser_iGJqCoTNTQSa Posted at 2018-2-18 19:06
Why are you mad? Drone pilots, as usual, were being idiots and it caused an issue this time, because it was only a matter of time before some asshat created a hazard large enough that it ended up in the news. My father also almost had a collision with a drone pilot doing things he wasn't supposed to. Have you seen what the Phantom did to the Blackhawk rotor, it's not pretty. So, don't be mad at the pilot of the helicopter, be mad at your fellow flyers being irresponsible. Your 20/20 hindsight doesn't change what happened there, even though you can magically assert all your expertise of 0.

People like you criticizing this are like the critics of Captain Sully, with magical hindsight capabilities. Well, the difference being that those critics had actual experience in a field, unlike you.

I will yet point again to the millions of drones being sold and the FAA admonishing people who have never flown anything before to "stay below 400 feet and in visual line of sight" as if that would magically prevent a collision with an aircraft flying below that altitude. I suggest placing equal responsibility on the drone and aircraft pilots to stay out of each other's airspace. Yes that's what I said. The FAA should declare 400 feet and below to be drone airspace. Stay out of it except near airports or in an emergency or you will be looking for some middle age dude who bought a drone from Best Buy to blame for your accident.
2018-2-18
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HedgeTrimmer
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If there was a drone there...  
There is possibility that student pilot of helicopter encroached on drone's airspace.   Being to busy concentrating on “low impact and hover taxi maneuvers”; student did not see drone and flew up behind drone. The instructor over-reacted, causing helicopter's tail rotor to hit a tree.
2018-3-3
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dorbot
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Geebax Posted at 2018-2-18 19:05
Yeah, this is already being discussed on another thread. The most credible explanation is the pilot instructor screwed up and decided he could easily blame it on a drone because it was gone and not able to answer for itself.

Besides, what were they doing practising low altitude training exercises in the vicinity of trees and not at an airport?

Helicopter pilots are required to do "confined area landings" as part of their training.
When I did mine I was with an ex Vietnam pilot and he showed me a trick for knowing when you are really close to trees.
If you notice the leaves beating precisely in time with the rotor blades then you are about 4 inches away.

Cant do that at an airport.

Anyway, the helicopter was where it was required to be the drone wasn't.
Still, seeing a drone should not make you fly into a tree.
2018-3-3
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Nigel_
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dorbot Posted at 2018-3-3 21:29
Anyway, the helicopter was where it was required to be the drone wasn't.


Why do you say "where it was required to be the drone wasn't" ?  I know the report says "The student told the police they were at a maximum altitude of 50 feet when the quadcopter breached their airspace. ", but as far as I am aware both aircraft had the same right to that airspace and both where required to avoid any collision.  The drone appears to have acted correctly and avoided a collision, it was the helicopter that didn't.    The helicopter was in airspace where it should expect to meet drones, the helicopter student should be required to have training on how to fly safely in that shared airspace.
2018-3-4
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iFoxRomeo
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dorbot Posted at 2018-3-3 21:29
Helicopter pilots are required to do "confined area landings" as part of their training.
When I did mine I was with an ex Vietnam pilot and he showed me a trick for knowing when you are really close to trees.
If you notice the leaves beating precisely in time with the rotor blades then you are about 4 inches away.

Absolutely right!
2018-3-4
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Eric13
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-4 01:21
Why do you say "where it was required to be the drone wasn't" ?  I know the report says "The student told the police they were at a maximum altitude of 50 feet when the quadcopter breached their airspace. ", but as far as I am aware both aircraft had the same right to that airspace and both where required to avoid any collision.  The drone appears to have acted correctly and avoided a collision, it was the helicopter that didn't.    The helicopter was in airspace where it should expect to meet drones, the helicopter student should be required to have training on how to fly safely in that shared airspace.

"both aircraft had the same right to that airspace and both where required to avoid any collision"

There is no such thing as equal rights in airspace for drones.
Drones must always retreat and give way to manned aircraft.
2018-3-4
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iFoxRomeo
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-4 01:21
Why do you say "where it was required to be the drone wasn't" ?  I know the report says "The student told the police they were at a maximum altitude of 50 feet when the quadcopter breached their airspace. ", but as far as I am aware both aircraft had the same right to that airspace and both where required to avoid any collision.  The drone appears to have acted correctly and avoided a collision, it was the helicopter that didn't.    The helicopter was in airspace where it should expect to meet drones, the helicopter student should be required to have training on how to fly safely in that shared airspace.

The rules are clear about that! Model aircraft have to give way to manned aircraft! There is no exception for that rule. Yes the helicopter pilot has to expect drones at low lovel, but he also should expect the drone operator to avoid the helicopter.Helicopters are made to land at any possible landing area. That is something that has to be trained.

Of course it is possible that the crew made this all up. But this has to be investigated. Don't know if the Robinson has a voice recorder. That would tell something about this incident.
So let's not be hasty in our conclusions. Let the NTSB do its job.

Fox
2018-3-4
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BlueHound
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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-4 03:46
The rules are clear about that! Model aircraft have to give way to manned aircraft! There is no exception for that rule. Yes the helicopter pilot has to expect drones at low lovel, but he also should expect the drone operator to avoid the helicopter.Helicopters are made to land at any possible landing area. That is something that has to be trained.

Of course it is possible that the crew made this all up. But this has to be investigated. Don't know if the Robinson has a voice recorder. That would tell something about this incident.

"There is no exception for that rule" This is my main issue with the rule. It does not allow for the simple physics of the situation. Normally the way you would attempt to give way for an aircraft would be to descend as rapidly as possible (which is not rapid at all since drones have very slow descent speeds due to the ring vortex). Descending is not possible when you are attempting to avoid a helicopter that itself is just a dozen or so feet off the ground. So now what do you do? Even with your drone in plane sight a few hundred meters away, is the drone closer or the helicopter? Which is the best direction to move the drone in for safety? How is your ability to judge relative distance between a large helicopter and a tiny white dot? Even if you did manage to perfectly avoid it, the helicopter pilot could still panic and jerk sideways and hit a tree and blame you.

As written, the rule indicates that if your drone is in the air, any nearby helicopter crash your fault no matter what. Why not add a "best effort" clause? Why not make it clear that aircraft pilots within drone airspace are responsible for avoiding drones whenever possible? Why not make helicopter practice areas off limits for drones with a reasonably small radius and add them to the DJI database like prisons? This whole set of rules is just a giant punt by the FAA. They want to maintain the status quo and ignore the millions of amature drones being sold nationwide.
2018-3-11
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Nigel_
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BlueHound Posted at 2018-3-11 09:19
"There is no exception for that rule" This is my main issue with the rule. It does not allow for the simple physics of the situation. Normally the way you would attempt to give way for an aircraft would be to descend as rapidly as possible (which is not rapid at all since drones have very slow descent speeds due to the ring vortex). Descending is not possible when you are attempting to avoid a helicopter that itself is just a dozen or so feet off the ground. So now what do you do? Even with your drone in plane sight a few hundred meters away, is the drone closer or the helicopter? Which is the best direction to move the drone in for safety? How is your ability to judge relative distance between a large helicopter and a tiny white dot? Even if you did manage to perfectly avoid it, the helicopter pilot could still panic and jerk sideways and hit a tree and blame you.

As written, the rule indicates that if your drone is in the air, any nearby helicopter crash your fault no matter what. Why not add a "best effort" clause? Why not make it clear that aircraft pilots within drone airspace are responsible for avoiding drones whenever possible? Why not make helicopter practice areas off limits for drones with a reasonably small radius and add them to the DJI database like prisons? This whole set of rules is just a giant punt by the FAA. They want to maintain the status quo and ignore the millions of amature drones being sold nationwide.

Agreed, which is why the rule does not exist in the UK rules and why the proposed EU rules have it written in this way:

‘maintain a thorough visual scan of the airspace surrounding the Unmanned Aircraft in order to observe and not create a hazard to other aircraft’

Of course the helicopter should also not create a hazard to other aircraft, including your drone, and both aircraft should attempt to safely resolve any conflict that does occur.
2018-3-11
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RedHotPoker
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You'd think it was amateur hour, with that heli pilot.

Obviously he never RTFM!! Haha

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2018-3-11
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djiuser_iGJqCoTNTQSa Posted at 2018-2-18 19:06
Why are you mad? Drone pilots, as usual, were being idiots and it caused an issue this time, because it was only a matter of time before some asshat created a hazard large enough that it ended up in the news. My father also almost had a collision with a drone pilot doing things he wasn't supposed to. Have you seen what the Phantom did to the Blackhawk rotor, it's not pretty. So, don't be mad at the pilot of the helicopter, be mad at your fellow flyers being irresponsible. Your 20/20 hindsight doesn't change what happened there, even though you can magically assert all your expertise of 0.

People like you criticizing this are like the critics of Captain Sully, with magical hindsight capabilities. Well, the difference being that those critics had actual experience in a field, unlike you.

You can take issue with something written by another person, yet still retain respect and courtesy.   There was no need to take it as far as you did.
2018-3-11
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iFoxRomeo
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BlueHound Posted at 2018-3-11 09:19
"There is no exception for that rule" This is my main issue with the rule. It does not allow for the simple physics of the situation. Normally the way you would attempt to give way for an aircraft would be to descend as rapidly as possible (which is not rapid at all since drones have very slow descent speeds due to the ring vortex). Descending is not possible when you are attempting to avoid a helicopter that itself is just a dozen or so feet off the ground. So now what do you do? Even with your drone in plane sight a few hundred meters away, is the drone closer or the helicopter? Which is the best direction to move the drone in for safety? How is your ability to judge relative distance between a large helicopter and a tiny white dot? Even if you did manage to perfectly avoid it, the helicopter pilot could still panic and jerk sideways and hit a tree and blame you.

As written, the rule indicates that if your drone is in the air, any nearby helicopter crash your fault no matter what. Why not add a "best effort" clause? Why not make it clear that aircraft pilots within drone airspace are responsible for avoiding drones whenever possible? Why not make helicopter practice areas off limits for drones with a reasonably small radius and add them to the DJI database like prisons? This whole set of rules is just a giant punt by the FAA. They want to maintain the status quo and ignore the millions of amature drones being sold nationwide.

I agree it's not easy. But actually if you are not able to "see"  whether the flight path between the drone and the aircraft is safe or  not, you are not VLOS anymore.This can be 50m or 200m or more, depending on model size, shape, lighting situation, eyesight, weather, sourrounding area etc. And you as the UAS operator are in charge to avoid collisions.


For UK
Quote:
Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO)


Article 94
(3) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct,
unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in
relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the
purpose of avoiding collisions.


Source: https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Model-aircraft/



There is no drone airspace per se. The airspace is shared among the users of the airspace.
But  undeniably the health and life of the crew of a manned aircraft is of  higher value than the sUAV itself. So one should even consider crashing one´s drone as ultima ratio.
E.g. crash into the trees or shut down the motors in flight (ofc unless  you are over people(if you have the permission for that)).... But before  doing that you should think of other options.
E.g. As soon as you hear  an aircraft, descend to treetop level, then scan the area for the  aircraft. Next to trees the Drone should be safe, as the manned a/c will avoid these.

But if you are at 400ft this could take too long. So start searching for the aircraft and act accordingly. Don´t wait till the a/c comes too close, return to your position, so you can better judge the UAVs flightpath in relation to the other A/C... etc.
But don´t activate RTH, neither intentionally nor unintentionally.
It all depends on the actual situation, but it is highly improbable that a helicopter will suddenly and silently appear 50m next to your drone, as you hear them long long before you see them.

No, a nearby helicopter crash doesn´t automatically mean that it is your fault. It still has to be proven that your action lead to that crash.

"Why not make aircraft pilots avoid drones whenever possible?" Well, they will do that because of their self-preservation instinct, as every midair collision bears dangers. The rule is "see and avoid". A drone is smaller and harder to see than a manned helicopter. And the helicopter pilot won´t hear your drone, but you will hear the helicopter very well.

It´s not only practice areas. Think of emergency medical helicopters. They can appear an land nearly everywhere.

The FAA and the other nations FAA equivalents want to keep air-traffic as safe as possible. It has nothing to do with keeping status quo. The new "Drone rules" are an attempt to keep flightsafety on a high level. Attempt, because their rules are sometimes overshooting the target and ignoring the technical advances. A lot of media hype and ANGST is also involved...
E.g. former 9km in Canada, while Germany has 1,5km distance from Airports. Or those ridiculously high fines for flying is a national park.

Millions of dronepilots have now access to the airspace which was not accessible for them before. So the majority has no idea of dos and don´ts in this area. Before that you had to learn to fly a R/C aircraft. That meant that you had to spend a lot of time with this topic and got sensitized with the rules of the air(e.g. in a model flyers club). Flying in VLOS was absolutely mandatory, as the RC aircraft would crash otherwise. No automatic take off, hovering, landing or such.

I still have my Logo 14 RC Helicopter from 2005. 1,30m Rotordiameter, 3,3kg take off mass. One battery did cost 450€ back then. No chance to fly more  than 200m away from me, as it is next to impossible to determine the  aircraft´s attitude at these distances. Once you loose the attitude, the  helicopter is doomed.

Today you go to the local electronics store and buy a drone that flys for you and you can put it to 7/4km distance and 500m height away, far from VLOS and endanger manned aircraft.

The drone operators have to adopt to the rules, not the other way around. But the rules should provide as much freedom as possible and be as strict as safety really dictates.

I don´t want DJI to include more no fly zones. I think this is not the right way. The operator has to have the full control over the drone as the operator has absolute liability and not DJI.



Fox


2018-3-12
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iFoxRomeo
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-11 10:49
Agreed, which is why the rule does not exist in the UK rules and why the proposed EU rules have it written in this way:

‘maintain a thorough visual scan of the airspace surrounding the Unmanned Aircraft in order to observe and not create a hazard to other aircraft’

The proposed definition sounds good. And they require you to not create a hazard to other aircraft. So not giving way to a manned aircraft is creating a hazard to this aircraft as the pilot will highly likely not see your drone in time (as I mentioned in the post above).

And the present UK rules tells you(the drone operator) that you are responsible to avoid a collision.

Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO)

Article 94
(3) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct,
unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in
relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the
purpose of avoiding collisions.


Source: https://www.caa.co.uk/Consumers/Unmanned-aircraft/Model-aircraft/

You are right, that it is not explicitly written the way it is in the german rules, but it is still unquestionable that the drone operator has to give way to the manned aircraft.

Fox

2018-3-12
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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-12 07:06
The proposed definition sounds good. And they require you to not create a hazard to other aircraft. So not giving way to a manned aircraft is creating a hazard to this aircraft as the pilot will highly likely not see your drone in time (as I mentioned in the post above).

And the present UK rules tells you(the drone operator) that you are responsible to avoid a collision.

Hi Fox,

Good info but you are kind of missing my point. You said "I agree it's not easy." I would say it's not possible or practical. I encourage you to do a quick search for drone videos on YouTube. How many of the drone pilots that made the videos actually follow the line of sight rules and would be able to avoid the sudden appearance of an aircraft? I would say relatively few.

My main issue with the FAA rules is that they fail at their most basic task: to promote safety. The problem is that there is no drone airspace as you said. There should be. No actually there must be at this point. There are 162,313 active certified pilots as of 2016 (quickie Google search) and those numbers have been dropping since 1980. Meanwhile 770,000 drone pilots registered with the FAA a year ago and that number wass increasing by 100,000 every three months. I would guess that we are close to a 10:1 ratio between drone pilots and aircraft pilots. Almost none of the drone pilots received any kind of formal training. They are out flying their drones and finding out how far and how high they can go. The FAA rules are not helping a bit.

The best solution is a new set of rules that clearly defines drone airspace and the responsibility of aircraft pilots while they are in it. There should also be a timeline for adoption of a nation wide drone automated flight control system (as is being developed by companies like Google and Amazon). It must include private drones. That should eliminate the vast majority of potential accidents.
2018-3-12
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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-12 07:06
You are right, that it is not explicitly written the way it is in the german rules, but it is still unquestionable that the drone operator has to give way to the manned aircraft.


No, saying that the drone has to give way implies that the helicopter has right of way which is not the case.  In current UK rules and the proposed EU rules it is carefully worded so that both aircraft (pilots) have the same rights and responsibilities when flying into potential conflict with each other, neither pilot should assume that the other will give way and neither pilot should cause a hazard to the other aircraft.

It is not always possible for drones, balloons, gliders etc. to give way to faster powered aircraft and the rules reflect this.
2018-3-12
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DronePilot_01 Posted at 2018-3-12 08:06
Hi Fox,

Good info but you are kind of missing my point. You said "I agree it's not easy." I would say it's not possible or practical. I encourage you to do a quick search for drone videos on YouTube. How many of the drone pilots that made the videos actually follow the line of sight rules and would be able to avoid the sudden appearance of an aircraft? I would say relatively few.

A Human in an aircraft will always be of higher value than a recreational "toy"drone. It doesn't matter if the ratio is 10 drones to 1 manned aircraft, or 10000 to 1. The UAV has to be subordinated to a manned aircraft. And I know a lot of those youtube videos you mentioned. You are right, many would panic and do nothing. If I could add something to the rules, I would make a small licence and insurance mandatory to everything heavier than 250g without exception, so that UAS operators know the relevant rules and regulations. You say the FAA rules don't help? They do. Because the majority of drone operators don't know the rules, doesn't make the rules useless. The participants in the air have to check the rules. You do have to follow the traffic rules, don't you? And if they change, you are responsible to adopt to them.Ignorance is no excuse in law.
There are rules for drones and people need to know and actually follow them.... This whole drone thing is quite new - at least for the lawmakers - there will be changes and adjustments to the laws.There are enough points in the various rules I personally don't like, but it is the way it is now. Perhaps the hundred thousands of drone operators might gather together to raise their voice, so that changes in our interests might happen.

Fox



2018-3-13
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-12 09:09
No, saying that the drone has to give way implies that the helicopter has right of way which is not the case.  In current UK rules and the proposed EU rules it is carefully worded so that both aircraft (pilots) have the same rights and responsibilities when flying into potential conflict with each other, neither pilot should assume that the other will give way and neither pilot should cause a hazard to the other aircraft.

It is not always possible for drones, balloons, gliders etc. to give way to faster powered aircraft and the rules reflect this.

Believe it or not, but will never win a trial where your small UAV had the right of way -as you interpret it- but took down a R22. You(the drone) have not the same rights as a manned aircraft.

Powered aircraft(heavier than air) have to give way to gliders and ballons. Gliders have to give way to ballons.

Fox

2018-3-13
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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-13 07:54
A Human in an aircraft will always be of higher value than a recreational "toy"drone. It doesn't matter if the ratio is 10 drones to 1 manned aircraft, or 10000 to 1. The UAV has to be subordinated to a manned aircraft. And I know a lot of those youtube videos you mentioned. You are right, many would panic and do nothing. If I could add something to the rules, I would make a small licence and insurance mandatory to everything heavier than 250g without exception, so that UAS operators know the relevant rules and regulations. You say the FAA rules don't help? They do. Because the majority of drone operators don't know the rules, doesn't make the rules useless. The participants in the air have to check the rules. You do have to follow the traffic rules, don't you? And if they change, you are responsible to adopt to them.Ignorance is no excuse in law.
There are rules for drones and people need to know and actually follow them.... This whole drone thing is quite new - at least for the lawmakers - there will be changes and adjustments to the laws.There are enough points in the various rules I personally don't like, but it is the way it is now. Perhaps the hundred thousands of drone operators might gather together to raise their voice, so that changes in our interests might happen.

You can stamp your feet all you want saying that manned aircraft are more important than unmanned but you can't change physics. The number of drones in the air continues to increase rapidly and adding more rules for drone pilots won't stop low flying aircraft from running into them. Adding a few rules for aircraft pilots, on the other hand, could dramatically reduce the risk of accidents. Isn't that why the FAA exists in the first place?
2018-3-13
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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-13 08:16
Believe it or not, but will never win a trial where your small UAV had the right of way -as you interpret it- but took down a R22. You(the drone) have not the same rights as a manned aircraft.

Powered aircraft(heavier than air) have to give way to gliders and ballons. Gliders have to give way to ballons.

Nobody suggested that the UAV has right of way, but neither does the helicopter, although the UAV pilot does have a 150 meter bubble around him/her where the helicopter is banned and most people complying with our UK Drone Code will be flying within that bubble so if a helicopter hits their UAV then the helicopter pilot will be at fault.

In the USA you don't appear to have a limit on how close helicopters are allowed to fly to people?
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-13 13:30
Nobody suggested that the UAV has right of way, but neither does the helicopter, although the UAV pilot does have a 150 meter bubble around him/her where the helicopter is banned and most people complying with our UK Drone Code will be flying within that bubble so if a helicopter hits their UAV then the helicopter pilot will be at fault.

In the USA you don't appear to have a limit on how close helicopters are allowed to fly to people?

'Nobody suggested that the UAV has right of way, but neither does the helicopter, although the UAV pilot does have a 150 meter bubble around him/her where the helicopter is banned and most people complying with our UK Drone Code will be flying within that bubble so if a helicopter hits their UAV then the helicopter pilot will be at fault.'

Can you show us where the CAA rules say that? The worldwide rule is that manned aircraft have presedence in every situation, the UAV pilot never has precedence. For a start, the manned aircraft cannot know of the presence of the UAV, as there is no mechanism on the device for broadcasting its presence or position.
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Geebax Posted at 2018-3-13 16:25
Can you show us where the CAA rules say that?

Since we harmonised under the EU rules (SERA), there is a minimum 500ft rule under the EU regulations, however the UK has a modification to that rule which is where the 500ft bubble comes from:

SERA (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uk ... ksi_20150840_en.pdf)
"(f) Except when necessary for take-off or landing, or except by permission from the competent authority, a
VFR flight shall not be flown:
(1) over the congested areas of cities, towns or settlements or over an open-air assembly of persons at a
height less than 300 m (1 000 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 600 m from the aircraft;
(1) elsewhere than as specified in (1), at a height less than 150 m (500 ft) above the ground or water, or
150 m (500 ft) above the highest obstacle within a radius of 150 m (500 ft) from the aircraft."

And for the UK only:
"Minimum Heights By Day
Although SERA changes the minimum height to a blanket 500ft above the surface, the CAA has used
the flexibility provided in SERA to allow aircraft in the UK to fly below 500ft provided they are 500ft
away from persons, vessels, vehicles and structures – in other words no change from the UK’s
former '500ft Rule' that people flying in the UK are used to applying. The CAA has also granted
generic permissions to allow for all the long-standing exceptions to the old rule 5 that were
contained in rule 6 – i.e. gliders hill-soaring, aircraft picking-up and dropping articles at aerodromes,
practising forced landings and flying displays/air races/contests, to continue unaffected. Otherwise
1000ft is the minimum height over cities, towns or settlements or over an open-air assembly of
persons above the highest obstacle within a radius of 600 m from the aircraft."

Not sure what official document this is in, but I copied it from here:
http://flyontrack.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/SERA.pdf

"For a start, the manned aircraft cannot know of the presence of the UAV"
It can know the presence of the UAV pilot if it does a slow 500ft flyover first to check for people, vessels, vehicles etc. before descending below the 500ft limit.  It is clearly the responsibility of the manned aircraft pilot to ensure that he is not within 500ft of any person including UAV pilots.

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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-13 17:22
Since we harmonised under the EU rules (SERA), there is a minimum 500ft rule under the EU regulations, however the UK has a modification to that rule which is where the 500ft bubble comes from:

SERA (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/840/pdfs/uksi_20150840_en.pdf)

Interesting rules. But I still don't believe the pilot of an aircraft can spot a UAV or operator from that altitude, I know as a former pilot I would not have a chance, the target is far too small.
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Geebax Posted at 2018-3-13 17:53
Interesting rules. But I still don't believe the pilot of an aircraft can spot a UAV or operator from that altitude, I know as a former pilot I would not have a chance, the target is far too small.

In the near miss reports, the airline pilots are often spotting Phantoms from 1000 ft while flying at 135 knots!

But yes, I agree that spotting a Phantom from a helicopter is going to be difficult even if the helicopter stops to hover, even in the ones that have glass beneath your feet so you can look straight down.  However if you are unable to check for people within 500ft of your aircraft then descending below 500ft  would presumably be considered as unsafe and thus a serious violation.

Our Drone Code tells us to stay below 400ft to keep us out of conflict with manned aircraft, we have an expectation that the manned aircraft will not normally encroach on that 400ft and the manned aircraft rules clearly give them responsibility to stay 500ft away from UAV pilots.   We also have to ensure the flight is safe so can never put all the blame on the manned aircraft, but they certainly can't put all the blame on the UAV pilot if they are breaking the 500ft rule.   There are exceptions such as the police helicopter, but if they are breaking the 500ft rule then it will be like them driving their police cars through red lights - they are responsible if there is a collision.
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DronePilot_01 Posted at 2018-3-13 09:44
You can stamp your feet all you want saying that manned aircraft are more important than unmanned but you can't change physics. The number of drones in the air continues to increase rapidly and adding more rules for drone pilots won't stop low flying aircraft from running into them. Adding a few rules for aircraft pilots, on the other hand, could dramatically reduce the risk of accidents. Isn't that why the FAA exists in the first place?

I'm not stamping my feet. What do you think will happen if lawmakers have to decide for more strict rules? Restrict manned aviation or model aviation? I'm afraid they would tend to take the easy way and restrict hobbyist more than manned aviation. The rules that exist are sufficient for deconfliction, but both sides have to know and stick to them. And your point in physical impossibilities is exaggerated. You normally hear an approaching aircraft in time before it is too close(except for airwolf or blue thunder).
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Nigel"...except by the permission of the competent authority...
Military helicopters or medical emergency helicopters for example are also allowed to fly lower than 500ft.

As you live in the UK why don't you ask the CAA directly what the right action would be? Do you have to give way or the helicopterpilot?

The near miss reports of pilots seeing a drone are one of how many actual misses? How often did a drone near-miss an aircraft and no one recognized it? In higher altitude the drone is better visual against the ground.
As geebax said, it can be extremely difficult to spot such a small target in time.
Extreme example: Do you want a medical helicopter to perform a 60+ deg bank turn to avoid a drone while the doc in the back is tying to keep the patient alive? The crew can only avoid things that they can see. The drone operator is in the better situation, as he/she can hear and highly likely see the helicopter before the crew sees the drone. Then the crew has to realize that the small dot that they see is not a bird. A bird's flightpath is more or less forseeable and except for pigeons, birds try to avoid a aircraft once they see it. A drone can change directions in a way that a bird can't.

Good example with the police car. If you see the police car approaching, you still have to avoid a crash with it. You have to give it way, haven't you?
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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-14 01:57
Nigel"...except by the permission of the competent authority...
Military helicopters or medical emergency helicopters for example are also allowed to fly lower than 500ft.


"Do you have to give way or the helicopter pilot?"
It is quite clear that both have to fly safely and avoid dangerous situations.

"Do you want a medical helicopter to perform a 60+ deg bank turn to avoid a drone while the doc in the back is tying to keep the patient alive?"
If we stick to our Drone Code then it wont happen since the medical helicopter will always fly above 500ft except for access to the patient and hospital.  When it needs to fly below 500ft it will first circle the area and check that it is safe to drop down and if it spots a drone or kite then it will not fly into conflict until the drone has left the area.

Last time I came close to a coastguard helicopter that wanted to land to give medical assistance, it dropped a crew member in the water who then swam ashore and cleared people off the centre of the beach before the helicopter came in to drop off the doctor and then they recleared the beach to collect the casualty and take them to hospital.  It got to less than 500ft from people, but only after they were under control.  Had someone flown a drone over the cleared area then that would obviously be unsafe and thus illegal and I would have expected them to be prosecuted.  Military helicopters, although the rules don't legally apply to them, will always fly above 500ft except in low level training areas and when landing to collect/drop off troupes at which point they should check the area is clear before doing so, although in my experience they don't.

"Good example with the police car. If you see the police car approaching, you still have to avoid a crash with it. You have to give it way, haven't you?"
No, you should give way if you can do so safely while obeying all the normal rules of the road, and if you don't give way then any accident due to the police car not following the normal rules of the road is the police car's fault.
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-14 04:02
"Do you have to give way or the helicopter pilot?"
It is quite clear that both have to fly safely and avoid dangerous situations.

Are you a politician? Avoiding the question....
In you world something can't happen which is not allowed to happen.

You obviously have no clue about helicopter operations. Which is not a problem.
If there was only one person at the adequate landing site at the beach, the helicopter would have started the approach and that single person on the ground would realize this and leave the place.
But if there are many people, the approach would scare them and cause a mass panic with a high probability of people getting injured. What you saw had nothing to do with 500ft and people under control. How could one person control many people at a landing site at all?

I don't know the rules for military air-traffic in the UK. But normally the military is the "service" that hast the lowest limits. So I would always expect military helicopters to fly low level.


Here, in simple language: http://dronesafe.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Dronecode.pdf
Quote from the dronecode:
"If your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft it is a criminal offence...."

Like it or not. It simply doesn't matter if you think that the aircraft is allowed to fly that low or not. And that makes the drone-operator to give way to manned aircraft.

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I could never understand why Drones dont have strobes fitted at the factory . it would help everyone out
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On the "who should give way" question: Is it better to for the well trained helicopter pilot to avoid the drone or the dude who just bought a drone at Best Buy and is taking it out for a spin to be responsible for the safety of all of those on the helicopter? Essentially you are putting lives in the hands of any random drone pilot.

The politics of the situation says that human pilots must have right of way but this is simply not practical with the current generation of drones. There is no way that Joe Sixpack can be expected to make expert decisions in split seconds and to do it correctly every time. For now I recommend making 400 feet and below drone airspace. That would offer the maximum safety for pilots and passengers of low flying aircraft.
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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-14 07:44
Are you a politician? Avoiding the question....
In you world something can't happen which is not allowed to happen.

Funny - I thought the same thing. That could have been a politicians answer.

Nigel's explanation of airspace open for drones as a bubble does not exist in the UK or elsewhere.
The fact that drone flying is allowed within a certain range/height does not mean the drone pilot is temporarily owning that space.
Neither does he have equal rights in that airspace.
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Eric13 Posted at 2018-3-14 10:40
Funny - I thought the same thing. That could have been a politicians answer.

Nigel's explanation of airspace open for drones as a bubble does not exist in the UK or elsewhere.

Of course the drone pilot doesn't own the space!

Even though manned aircraft are not allowed within the 500ft bubble, other drone pilots can fly much closer, they have a 150ft/50m bubble that they can't enter.

The rules are carefully written not to include the words "give way" because that implies that the other aircraft has right of way, which is not the case.  So yes, the careful wording is very similar to what a politician would use, but it is not my wording, it is from the rules that we must follow, you shouldn't ignore it just because you don't like the wording.
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DronePilot_01 Posted at 2018-3-14 10:28
On the "who should give way" question: Is it better to for the well trained helicopter pilot to avoid the drone or the dude who just bought a drone at Best Buy and is taking it out for a spin to be responsible for the safety of all of those on the helicopter? Essentially you are putting lives in the hands of any random drone pilot.

The politics of the situation says that human pilots must have right of way but this is simply not practical with the current generation of drones. There is no way that Joe Sixpack can be expected to make expert decisions in split seconds and to do it correctly every time. For now I recommend making 400 feet and below drone airspace. That would offer the maximum safety for pilots and passengers of low flying aircraft.

Well that's the rule today and was for the last centuries and it did work, as the modelflyers had to and they did in fact inform themselves. Today lazy joe thinks the world belongs to him and the airspace as well....

The helicopter pilot has little chance to detect the drone in time to avoid it, simply because it is so small.

I'm afraid that lawmakers will not make laws in favor of the model flyers if the idea of a drone airspace comes up. My guess would be that they limit rc flying to model airfields only with a protection zone of 1 mile. Outside of that, no recreational flying.

Again, if I could change the law, I would make it mandatory to have a rc pilot licence for everything heavier than 250g. Nothing that costs a lot of money.
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Eric13 Posted at 2018-3-14 10:40
Funny - I thought the same thing. That could have been a politicians answer.

Nigel's explanation of airspace open for drones as a bubble does not exist in the UK or elsewhere.

Danke Eric
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-14 12:24
Of course the drone pilot doesn't own the space!

Even though manned aircraft are not allowed within the 500ft bubble, other drone pilots can fly much closer, they have a 150ft/50m bubble that they can't enter.

Please get out of your bubble.
Once again for you:

http://dronesafe.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Dronecode.pdf
Quote from the dronecode:
"If your drone endangers the safety of an aircraft it is a criminal offence...."

Like it or not. It simply doesn't matter if you think that the aircraft is allowed to fly that low or not. And that makes the drone-operator to give way to manned aircraft.
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Nigel_ Posted at 2018-3-14 12:24
Of course the drone pilot doesn't own the space!

Even though manned aircraft are not allowed within the 500ft bubble, other drone pilots can fly much closer, they have a 150ft/50m bubble that they can't enter.

"Even though manned aircraft are not allowed within the 500ft bubble,  other drone pilots can fly much closer, they have a 150ft/50m bubble  that they can't enter."

You are so focused on your romantic bubble, Nigel :-)

I'm losing it. I don't understand your theory anymore:
If you and I go fly together we both have a bubble around us and can't enter each others bubble?
That would be sad - we wouldn't be able to stand next to each other!

Don't take it too personal. Let's keep having fun here while discussing things ;-)






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iFoxRomeo Posted at 2018-3-14 12:26
Well that's the rule today and was for the last centuries and it did work, as the modelflyers had to and they did in fact inform themselves. Today lazy joe thinks the world belongs to him and the airspace as well....

The helicopter pilot has little chance to detect the drone in time to avoid it, simply because it is so small.

I think we are long past the point where drone use could be so drastically restricted. If such rules were put into effect it would pretty much put DJI and most other drone makers out of business. Why pay $1500 for a P4 Pro when it can do no more than a $200 WiFi drone? Why buy a drone at all if you are not allowed to fly it anywhere but really boring places with lots of RF interference from other people trying to fly at the same time? The DJI drones are used to take amazing aerial videos of spectacular locations. That's why we all buy them.

You are correct that a helicopter or aircraft pilot would have trouble dodging a drone because it is so small. A drone pilot has a similar problem of dodging an aircraft because it is so big and fast. You said that you can hear an aircraft approaching. That's only true if you are flying close to your own location. If the drone is a mile away, you will never hear the aircraft.  DJI advertises that their drones have ranges of over 4 miles. This is because if you are trying to capture some really amazing scenery you often need to fly a large distance. Again this is why people spend $1500 for DJI drones rather than $200 for a toy.

It is time to stop pretending that the current FAA rules make sense. Either they need to add drone airspace or we should just sit back and nod when aircraft collide with drones and say "working as intended".
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DronePilot_01 Posted at 2018-3-14 13:32
I think we are long past the point where drone use could be so drastically restricted. If such rules were put into effect it would pretty much put DJI and most other drone makers out of business. Why pay $1500 for a P4 Pro when it can do no more than a $200 WiFi drone? Why buy a drone at all if you are not allowed to fly it anywhere but really boring places with lots of RF interference from other people trying to fly at the same time? The DJI drones are used to take amazing aerial videos of spectacular locations. That's why we all buy them.

You are correct that a helicopter or aircraft pilot would have trouble dodging a drone because it is so small. A drone pilot has a similar problem of dodging an aircraft because it is so big and fast. You said that you can hear an aircraft approaching. That's only true if you are flying close to your own location. If the drone is a mile away, you will never hear the aircraft.  DJI advertises that their drones have ranges of over 4 miles. This is because if you are trying to capture some really amazing scenery you often need to fly a large distance. Again this is why people spend $1500 for DJI drones rather than $200 for a toy.

"DJI advertises that their drones have ranges of over 4 miles."

That's a good point and the major problem:
The drones are so capable and we are so excited to explore/discover areas from above but the law doesn't allow this.

VLOS not only demands seeing the drone but being able to determine its attitude.
I tested it a bit and honestly: That little white and square thin in the sky - I have problems to determine its attitude after 150ft!
The only reference is the camera which always faces the same direction.
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