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How do you maintain line of site on a drone with over 1 mile range?
967 19 2018-4-4
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Danger Lampost
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United States
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As I learn about the world of drones I keep feeling like I'm stumbling across obvious things that I'm too dense to understand.

I know we're supposed to maintain line of site vision on our drones, or at least our spotter should if we're going FPV.

I know the Mavic Air drone I have can potentially exceed 1 mile in range.

I can't imagine maintaining visual lock (line of site) on in the Air at one mile.

Therefore, I am sincerely confused. Do people in real life really not fly their drone past line of site given the great range and small size of these drones?

What am I missing?
2018-4-4
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STRIDE8
Captain
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Yes I stay within the line of sight.  The extended range ability eliminates the worry about the drone disconnecting.  
2018-4-4
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davidmartingraf
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Stay in line of sight whenever you can at all times - the range is extended to defend against the drone disconnecting. You can meet the range goals of the Spark with Spotters who can help you keep eye on the drone. \
2018-4-4
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A CW
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The VLOS rule is to reduce the risk of a mid air collision with a manned aircraft - so it is important that you can physically see the drone at all times to be able to take emergency action should a police helicopter or air ambulance unexpectedly fly low in the line of the drone (that’s also why the drone has a CSC function built in too). The transmission range is to ensure strong connectivity/no signal loss within a 500m radius of the pilot. You can also apply for permission from aviation authorities (such as the UK CAA) to fly beyond VLOS but you’ll need to be a professional UAV pilot with a strong case and be tens of miles from any manned flight paths. That said, many people will test their drones range at least once - just look at YouTube range tests - five miles is the furthest I’ve seen! Not advisable!
2018-4-4
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LC17SMP
lvl.3
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I have really good vision. I can see a flashing led for a long ways.    Certainly nowhere near the mavics range but still pretty far in the right conditions.
2018-4-4
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luciens
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Well, of course the extended range isn't just insurance - 3+ miles range for an aircraft that becomes impossible to maintain orientation on barely 100 yards away is clearly intended for much longer range use than that. In fact, to do any decent videography practically requires FPV as well as often having to fly well out of the range of being able to maintain visual orientation of the aircraft too. There's pretty much no other way to do it in all but the simplest cases.

Also, the LOS requirement is only for commercial operations; it's only strongly suggested for recreational flying and is not a hard and fast rule. Apart from that, I believe some countries still don't have a LOS requirement even for commercial operations, but I may be wrong about that.

So the range is there intentionally, and definitely designed for use for operations beyond LOS. It just so happens to be nice to have for when you do have to maintain LOS, such as commercial ops here in the US and elsewhere....
2018-4-4
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dronist
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Read the FAA rules for UAV and you will get the picture.

Important thing especially for newbies is to maintain LOS AT ALL TIME so you don't get yourself in trouble. If you loose connection and you need to bring your AC back manually then you are SCREWED, beside loosing the drone, is the amount of damage you can cause to others.

As always preach, Safety first - Fun second!
2018-4-4
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Aeromirage
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I never fly out of VLOS.
So who needs a range of 3-5-7 miles???
2018-4-4
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StanfordWebbie
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When I was new, I did fly out beyond LOS.  After you get some flight time under your belt, you come to realize that VLOS is best.  I think it's sort of a ''right of passage''.  Folks who have been flying for a long time tend to adhere to the VLOS guideline.  Of course, there are scofflaws out there - ensuring that new laws will soon be passed to further restrict our flying.   
2018-4-4
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djiuser_iGJqCoTNTQSa
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A spotter only applies if you are flying under 107 rules. Also, a spotter must have VLOS at all times without any magnification. Meaning, even with a 107 certification, your buddy doesn't get to sit there with a drone or a pair of binoculars and watch the drone. A hobbyist does not get to do that, unless the club YOU ARE REGISTERED UNDER has rules that allow otherwise (and if you don't have a club, then you also don't get to try to follow a club's rules. You get to stick with the general guidelines), you must have eyes on the craft without any magnification outside of corrective glasses.
2018-4-4
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DJI Diana
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A CW Posted at 2018-4-4 14:42
The VLOS rule is to reduce the risk of a mid air collision with a manned aircraft - so it is important that you can physically see the drone at all times to be able to take emergency action should a police helicopter or air ambulance unexpectedly fly low in the line of the drone (that’s also why the drone has a CSC function built in too). The transmission range is to ensure strong connectivity/no signal loss within a 500m radius of the pilot. You can also apply for permission from aviation authorities (such as the UK CAA) to fly beyond VLOS but you’ll need to be a professional UAV pilot with a strong case and be tens of miles from any manned flight paths. That said, many people will test their drones range at least once - just look at YouTube range tests - five miles is the furthest I’ve seen! Not advisable!

Useful information. Thanks for sharing.
2018-4-6
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A CW
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DJI Diana Posted at 2018-4-6 01:03
Useful information. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks Diana    
2018-4-6
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DroneDriver
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djiuser_iGJqCoTNTQSa Posted at 2018-4-4 19:02
A spotter only applies if you are flying under 107 rules. Also, a spotter must have VLOS at all times without any magnification. Meaning, even with a 107 certification, your buddy doesn't get to sit there with a drone or a pair of binoculars and watch the drone. A hobbyist does not get to do that, unless the club YOU ARE REGISTERED UNDER has rules that allow otherwise (and if you don't have a club, then you also don't get to try to follow a club's rules. You get to stick with the general guidelines), you must have eyes on the craft without any magnification outside of corrective glasses.

Please define the difference between "guidelines" and "rules".
2018-4-6
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DroneDriver
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DroneDriver Posted at 2018-4-6 01:59
Please define the difference between "guidelines" and "rules".

Don't know where that came from...

Please define the difference between "guidelines" and "rules"
2018-4-6
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DroneDriver
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DroneDriver Posted at 2018-4-6 02:01
Don't know where that came from...

Please define the difference between "guidelines" and "rules"

Just discovered you can't use quotations...

Please define the difference between guidelines and rules.
2018-4-6
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Brokenphones
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DroneDriver Posted at 2018-4-6 01:59
Please define the difference between "guidelines" and "rules".

Rules must be adhered to. Guidelines are 'best practice'.
2018-4-6
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rolling56
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It's your drone and you can fly it however you want until you get caught and/or hurt someone/something. "Most" of the fly aways that come here lost them because they were out of VLOS. Please don't be one of those in the future lol
BAH! stupid forum a person cannot use the quotes here without having them show up like this? WFT DJI!
2018-4-6
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DroneDriver
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I'm with you on the response.

I see so many freshies come here looking for answers after-the-fact, asking questions that absolutely would be answered before they ever flew once if only they had familiarized themselves with the potential bullet or falling rock (I would have used quotes, here), that they are using, sometimes mindlessly.

I  want them to think that there are two paths to follow, but it is always about using common sense with either.  It's kinda like the rules say you can't kill people but the guidelines don't say that. Real extreme example, I know, but so are the questions and sometimes scary (quotes, again) statements.
2018-4-6
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Mullheliflier
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One thing that may help keeping within visual line of site, which is an important safety issue, is to fly out to a distance that you are comfortable with keeping line of site, note that distance and set it as the maximum radius in the App settings. When you reach that distance you will get an audible warning 'maximum flight distance reached' and the drone will hold position. Same for height
2018-4-6
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Captain Mal
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Mullheliflier Posted at 2018-4-6 03:13
One thing that may help keeping within visual line of site, which is an important safety issue, is to fly out to a distance that you are comfortable with keeping line of site, note that distance and set it as the maximum radius in the App settings. When you reach that distance you will get an audible warning 'maximum flight distance reached' and the drone will hold position. Same for height

That's actually a really great idea. Thanks for the tip!
2018-4-6
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