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What is VLOS?
9751 32 2016-7-11
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Wingsy
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I know what it means (Visual Line of Sight) but I'm not sure what it is. A speck in the sky? Seeing it well enough to know its head from its rear? And what about when you were seeing it then lose it? That happened to me this morning -- didn't see it until it was nearly overhead.

Think the legal definition could be: Being able to see it if you knew where to look.
2016-7-11
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mjlstudios
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If you can see it at any distance, it is in your VLOS
2016-7-11
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Wingsy
lvl.3

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mjlstudios Posted at 2016-7-11 09:40
If you can see it at any distance, it is in your VLOS

Well what if you're looking at it and then look down at the console to do something, then look up and can't find it? You know you COULD see it if you knew exactly where to look, but for a while you cannot see it. Does it constitute NOT being with VLOS during the time you're trying to reacquire it?

I guess what I'm asking is, is VLOS that distance where you COULD see it, or do you have to be looking at it to qualify as being within VLOS? (I bet some day a judge will have that question presented to them.)
2016-7-11
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billwish76
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I believe technically means they want you to keep your eye on it and if you're going to do fpv you need a spotter
2016-7-11
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billwish76
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But I know what you mean this weekend I was flying over the lake and I looked down at the console to see how far I was out and when I looked up I couldn't see in the air no more so I just hit return to home till I got sight of it and went back to what I was doing
2016-7-11
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RedHotPoker
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Why are you trying to "seemingly" manipulate what you already obviously know, that correct answer to be?
If you look down, when you know you probably shouldn't have, and don't have a spotter with you, which you aways should have, when flying a hobby class drone, and this is why.
If you look up, and can't see your drone, perhaps you should immediately look back down at your compass pointer and turn her around for the home point.
When the drone is high in the sky or far out into the distance, perhaps isn't the time to be looking down. Is it!? So train yourself to keep eye contact with her.
What's more important when you are flying a $1K+ drone, than VLOS? Haha
If you don't have a spotter, keeping constant VLOS, then guess who's next in line for the duty, commander Sir?

Do you have an obligation to fly safe?

RedHotPoker
2016-7-11
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grangerfx
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I am going to keep telling the truth about this: VLOS according to the FAA only goes a few hundred meters. After that you can no longer see your white drone against a white or bright sky. Obviously almost no one follows this rule because we use FPV to safely fly our drones at far greater distances. The FAA says you need spotters in order to do this. These are people along your flight path that can see your drone at all times and notify the pilot of dangers. Obviously no one does this and even if they did it would make flying drones less safe. Can you imagine trying to avoid collision with an aircraft by using voice commands over a radio with multiple spotters when the plane is closing at 150MPH? "To the right! The right! No the other right!" This is part of the gobbledygook rules that some people love to point to when they talk about safe flying. Real safe flying involves staying 400 feet or less above the terrain, away from crowds and busy roads and other sensitive areas like forest fires. It does not involve trying to dodge high speed low flying aircraft.
2016-7-11
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Cessna172
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grangerfx@gmail Posted at 2016-7-12 00:04
I am going to keep telling the truth about this: VLOS according to the FAA only goes a few hundred m ...

^^ THIS ^^ is what it means.  (post above)

Long distance flight is not legal under the FAA rules.
They probably should publish a distance in feet and meters to clarify.
I would imagine that distance would be approx 1000 ft or 333 meters
Beyond that you may be in Line of Sight....but not Visual Line of Sight because the "Visual" part means you can clearly see the aircraft.
At least that's the crux of what I remember reading when I took the time to read the full text of the rules.  It was a lot and can't be sure I correctly remembered it all.
In fact, I'm sure I do NOT correctly remember it all.
2016-7-11
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mjlstudios
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Wingsy Posted at 2016-7-11 10:13
Well what if you're looking at it and then look down at the console to do something, then look up  ...

I painted my P3P bright red. The white body blended into the sky and clouds too easily and the bright red stands out from the sky and clouds. I usually have a spotter with me most of the flights, and if I don't I fly a little closer
2016-7-11
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grangerfx
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mjlstudios Posted at 2016-7-11 10:18
I painted my P3P bright red. The white body blended into the sky and clouds too easily and the bri ...

Good move! That should buy you an extra hundred meters or so. How does it work at 2+ miles?
2016-7-11
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Kneepuck
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I have a 1000 watt floodlight attached to my drone.  It will only fly about 2 feet in the air,  because it is dragging the light and a small generator behind it,  but you can see it for miles even in broad daylight.  I recommend this for everyone.
2016-7-11
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gosports1
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We need Pictures of the Red Quad Copter and the 1000 watts light
2016-7-11
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mjlstudios
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grangerfx@gmail Posted at 2016-7-11 14:15
Good move! That should buy you an extra hundred meters or so. How does it work at 2+ miles?

It works just fine at 2+ miles...I just cant see something the size of a P3P at 2+ miles!
2016-7-12
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braddoll13
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I've been flying rc for years,  I'm 43 yrs old. Been at it about the time 2.4ghz was taking off.  I started around 13 yrs ago.
There was and still is no way to get,  out of vlos lol. That's what kills me on these drones,  bull something that will fly a mile stock, 2 ta 3 with legal upgrades,  but say it should be within vlos even fir a spotter! No way it will happen,  what i bought mine for was to explore country.. i can fly my helicopters within los all day,  my airplanes,  i like 3d, so they hover right next to me most the time lol. Sorry but till i can't,  I'm cruising as far as i can over the open country.  Thought that's what i bought it for.!! Fly on!
2016-7-14
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braddoll13
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And to add, now i can get a better understanding how far,  or lack of how far i am flying my planes.  I fly 60 ta 73 inch, wing span, nothing to crazy.  And i thought i was getting way out there lol, turns out,  only like 900 ft away really. But i bet i go way over 400ft high, without knowing.  I can take a 73 inch, 1/4 scale up till i can't hardly see it! That has to b over 400 ft,,,, ooops. (Cause i can still see my little drone at 400!) Lol.
2016-7-14
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Westside Osprey
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I can give you some numbers.

My P3P on a nice clear blue sky day, I can see it well and relocate it after looking down easily up to 1400', so I always keep it inside 1200'.

On cloudy days with lots of haze more like 800-1000'. Use judgement to stay safe.

My black S800 (about 60" diameter and large Zenmuse gimbal with bright LED lights) on a sunny clear day about 1800' max less in haze.

I use my MRs for commercial video (I have the 333 exemption and I am a GA pilot) as well as hobby for fun. And actually shooting video I rarely fly more than 200-400' out from my monitors/controllers, and rarely above 100' AGL, low shots tend to be much more dynamic and I often fly really close to trees, cliffs, trains, boats or whatever I am shooting.

As a GA pilot the stories here about flying thousands and even ten thousands of feet out scare the h..l out of me. In my mind that is extremely irresponsible. Keep it in sight, these are VFR only craft, that means your only way to stay separated from other aircraft is by having exact knowledge of your aircraft position and flight attitude and heading, and spotting other aircraft. This is the way all aircraft flying VFR have to operate, VFR means Visual Flight Rule, this means your eyes are the only way to maintain safe traffic spacing.
2016-7-14
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russ43phantom
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I think the real question is ... does VLOS require you to see your drone instantly when looking up from your DJI Go 4 device without a long search.  If so, the actually VLOS for me would be less that 500 feet.   Another interpretation would be VLOS means you need to be able to see instantly any manned aircraft or any other hazard within the airspace within which you are flying.  That VLOS for me would be defined as up to a mile or more.  Using these definitions, what does the FAA mean by VLOS?
2017-6-26
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Punchbuggy
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Can't help but think there's a lot of over-thinking on this matter, team. Any specification of a distance is only a guide. You just need to  understand the intent of references to VLOS. We all know that the screen video only gives one angle (in front) and it's difficult to get any real perception of depth. So the requirement for maintaining VLOS is essentially whatever distance which you still have full visibility of the craft and any objects around it. It's a matter of safety.

So if you have great eyesight (without the aid of binoculars - which would reduce hands-on-controller), then you're far better off than someone who hasn't. Or get a good spotter.
2017-6-26
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Nigel_
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russ43phantom Posted at 2017-6-26 19:56
I think the real question is ... does VLOS require you to see your drone instantly when looking up from your DJI Go 4 device without a long search.  If so, the actually VLOS for me would be less that 500 feet.   Another interpretation would be VLOS means you need to be able to see instantly any manned aircraft or any other hazard within the airspace within which you are flying.  That VLOS for me would be defined as up to a mile or more.  Using these definitions, what does the FAA mean by VLOS?

It simply requires that the light waves leaving the drone are able to reach your eyes.  If there was a tree in the way then it would not be VLOS even if it was only 10 meters, if the drone was on the Moon on a cloudless night then you would have visual line of sight.  It is of course different to radio line of sight since radio waves can pass through clouds.

Of course the regulators in your country may have defined visual line of sight differently, but from a scientific point of view even a blind person can have visual line of sight, it doesn't say anything about their ability to actually see something, only about the ability of the light waves of the visual spectrum to make the journey.

The important thing is that if a helicopter or other manned aircraft enters the same airspace then you must be able to give way, even if it arrives from behind the drone where it is not visible on the display device.  That requires that you are close enough to be able to see any manned aircraft, but not necessarily be able to see your drone as long as you know it's location and orientation from the FPV and other data and can still manoeuvre safely.  It will also depend on the number of other obstacles about and your knowledge of those obstacles.

The important question is - is the flight safe?  If not then you shouldn't make that flight.

2017-6-27
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embayweather
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In the UK VLOS is no more than 500 m , (then it becomes BLOS), or the limit of your own ability to see the aircraft clearly and its surroundings, whichever is the smallest number. For me I reckon aournd 250 - 300 m is my limit, which is fine coz thats all I need. To go beyond VLOS special permissions are required .
2017-6-27
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DroneGuyEd
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This is what part FAA 107 says for VLOS for US folks.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Visual line-of-sight (VLOS) only; the unmanned aircraft must
remain within VLOS of the remote pilot in command and the
person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS.
Alternatively, the unmanned aircraft must remain within
VLOS of the visual observer.

At all times the small unmanned aircraft must remain close
enough to the remote pilot in command and the person
manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS for those
people to be capable of seeing the aircraft with vision
unaided by any device other than corrective lenses.

The key word there is 'capable'.  They didn’t use words like constant or continuous.

If its behind a tree, you are NOT capable of seeing it.  If its hidden by some structure or object, you are not capable of seeing it.  If its so far away that it cant be seen by unaided eye, you’re not capable of seeing it.

If you look away at the screen and lose track of it for a few moments, you are probably still capable.  It may take you a few seconds to reacquire visually.  If you have a spotter, they may be able to help you reacquire it visually.  If you or no spotter can see it, then its probably no longer capable for VLOS.
2017-6-27
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russ43phantom
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Nigel_ Posted at 2017-6-27 00:27
It simply requires that the light waves leaving the drone are able to reach your eyes.  If there was a tree in the way then it would not be VLOS even if it was only 10 meters, if the drone was on the Moon on a cloudless night then you would have visual line of sight.  It is of course different to radio line of sight since radio waves can pass through clouds.

Of course the regulators in your country may have defined visual line of sight differently, but from a scientific point of view even a blind person can have visual line of sight, it doesn't say anything about their ability to actually see something, only about the ability of the light waves of the visual spectrum to make the journey.

I tend to define VLOS as NOT having to depend on instruments ... e.g. the display on your device.  Once you use your device to determine altitude, course, and actual location (on map), you are entering into the realm of Instrument Flight Rules vs. Visual Flight Rules (VLOS).  My sense is that the rule is there to promote safety.  If I need to look at my display at a critical moment when I see an approaching manned aircraft, it is too late to look down.  
2018-2-10
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dayviduk
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Could never understand why these drones don have a strobe underneath , the green and red are only really visible in low light, so no use for VLOS
2018-2-10
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cgw37
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Hola, yo también tengo la misma duda, estaba buscando información en esta página, badoo, pero no tiene nada que ver con el asunto. A ver si alguien puede dar la definición exacta. Gracias.
2018-4-26
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Mark The Droner
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cgw37 Posted at 2018-4-26 03:32
Hola, yo también tengo la misma duda, estaba buscando información en esta página, badoo, pero no tiene nada que ver con el asunto. A ver si alguien puede dar la definición exacta. Gracias.

Translation:

Hello, I also have the same question, I was looking for information on this page, badoo, but it has nothing to do with the matter. Let's see if someone can give the exact definition. Thank you.

I think post #2 answers the question very nicely.  

And, at least for me, that's why the idea of installing super bright LEDs on all four sides of the UAS is so attractive.

2018-4-26
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sandruski
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contactos de hombres
2018-7-11
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Mark The Droner
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Above is spam
However, I'd like to update my post above

https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... 9980&fromuid=214861
2018-7-11
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djordan2
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billwish76 Posted at 2016-7-11 07:44
But I know what you mean this weekend I was flying over the lake and I looked down at the console to see how far I was out and when I looked up I couldn't see in the air no more so I just hit return to home till I got sight of it and went back to what I was doing

Same here.  I can follow my P3Pro with my eyes to a distance of nearly 2,000 feet.  Sometimes farther. But if I take my eyes off of it to look at the controller, it's gone.
2018-7-11
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Thenhan
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Wingsy Posted at 2016-7-11 06:13
Well what if you're looking at it and then look down at the console to do something, then look up and can't find it? You know you COULD see it if you knew exactly where to look, but for a while you cannot see it. Does it constitute NOT being with VLOS during the time you're trying to reacquire it?

I guess what I'm asking is, is VLOS that distance where you COULD see it, or do you have to be looking at it to qualify as being within VLOS? (I bet some day a judge will have that question presented to them.)

From the FAA website it said "to ensure you can see your drone at all times."
4-1 06:05
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Mark The Droner
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Per the FAA site:

Visual Line of Sight (VLOS). Means that any flightcrew member (i.e., remote PIC, the person manipulating the controls, and visual observer, if used) is capable of seeing the aircraft with vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, spectacles or contact lenses in order to know the UA’s location, determine the UA’s attitude, altitude, and direction of flight, observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards, and determine that the UA does not endanger the life or property of another.

See the link in post 32 for more details
4-1 07:43
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Michael Kemper
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The way I interpret VLOS for the Part 107 pilots in my construction company is "*useful* visual line of site." If your mobile device goes blank, and your drone appears to be visually similar to a gnat at 50', what's the use of VLOS? Maybe RTH saves your butt, but if my drones lands in an electrical substation, causes $150,000 in damage, and my best answer to my owner and FAA is "I lost it in the sky," our drone program is over. Practically, I understand most pilots aren't playing such a high stakes game when they fly... until... they are.
4-2 15:04
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Air/America
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Maybe get something called "bird tape" for gardens and put a short piece (2 feet) on each of the drone horizontal leg members. It is a plastic tape so should not impair the compass or rc signal. It is supposed to "flash" or reflect the sunlight to scare the birds out of the garden?

4-5 03:59
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JPilotR
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Too bad the FAA delineates things with "unaided" except for corrective lenses, spectacles, etc. It would be advantageous to put one of those LED beacons on a drone to increase VLOS distance or at best just improve visual siting in general. Regardless, I guess it wouldn't hurt to put one one of those high-intensity LED beacons/nav-lights to increase safety anyway, even for daylight operations (not just near civil twilight).
4-6 05:30
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