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400' FAA altitude limit a law or a suggestion?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by salt, Jun 26, 2016.

  1. salt

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    The FAA recommends drone owners not exceed 400 feet, is this a law or just a suggestion from the FAA? I often go over 400'
     
  2. snerd

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    It's not a law, but a recommendation. But soon to be law in a few months, I think. That being said, I always try to follow the recommendations.
     
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  3. msinger

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    It's the law for commercial pilots. It's a recommendation for hobbyists.
     
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  4. Mark The Droner

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    I think it would be wise to think of it as a regulation rather than a suggestion.
     

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  5. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I concur with the above in "regarding" it as a regulation instead of a suggestion.
     
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  6. SteveN76

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    Just use common sense. If you fly in an area that planes or helicopters fly I would stay at 400 feet. Since manned aircraft is supposed to stay above 500 feet you should be ok. If your in an unpopulated area with no air traffic you could go a little higher. That's just my opinion. Safe flying keeps the hobby reputable.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
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  7. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    General Aviation "can" be flying below 500'AGL. The less populated the area is the MORE likely you are to see aircraft lower for that very reason as well.
     
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  8. Mark The Droner

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    I think that idea needs to change. It made some amount of sense before the UAV era, but now, it's inviting disaster, depending on how one defines a low populated area. There could be a P4 pilot in that low populated area happily flying at 400'.
     
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  9. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Manned aircraft ALWAYS has full right of way and rightfully so.

    Remember we're talking hobby/recreational use and we have been allowed up to 400'. Keep in mind that if some of the big hitters on the retail side get their way we would have been "allowed" only 200' AGL and 201' - 400' AGL would have been "Retail/Delivery" UAS only.
     
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  10. Mark The Droner

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    That's great, but they're flying at 100+ mph and they're not going to see a P4 until it's seconds away from a collision. The P4 pilot, at the same time, is at 400' with a Cessna bearing down at him a 100 mph at 200'. What does he do? Remain still? Drop in elevation? Raise in elevation? Fly perpendicular to the Cessna's course?

    The P4 is like a toddler stumbling along on the Interstate. He doesn't want to get hit, but he doesn't have a lot of options when he sees the semi bearing towards him.

    Maybe the Cessna could stay up at 500' which would solve the problem.

    Re delivery, my idea is to keep us at 400', give the commercial delivery drones 500-900', and push the Cessnas up to 1000'. :grinning:
     
    #10 Mark The Droner, Jun 27, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  11. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    You can hope, wish and declare "maybe" from now on but that won't help the matter. UAS are to always see & avoid even if this means cutting the power and doing a Yard Dart.
     
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  12. Mark The Droner

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    Cutting power and dropping from the sky could result in a collision.
     
  13. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Regardless it's up to the UAS to do everything possible to avoid the collision. The manned aircraft is most likely to change course and maintain the current altitude. The manned aircraft is going to do everything in their power to stay away from terra firma.
     
  14. salt

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    Where I live in the states the only aircraft Iv seem below 1000' was one I was piloting. At my china house, where general aviation doesn't exist, the lowest flying aircraft Iv seen was a military helicopter around 3000'. A low flying aircraft is pretty loud so the sound should give you time to take action.
     
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  15. auen1

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    Just wondering about the 400' limit.
    If you fly from a mountain peak, theoretically, it's 400' from where you are standing?
    Common sense and safety aside, it seems with the current regulations, a person could easily end up flying in the same airspace as real aircraft.
    Are there rules for flying from a high place?
    And is there a limit, built in to the Phantom, to limit max descent?


    Thanks!
     
  16. Mark The Droner

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    This question comes up probably more than any other question.

    As far as your app, the altitude is measured from the launch point.

    As far as the FAA, it's measured from the ground immediately below your Phantom.

    I'm not sure of the limit of max descent but I know it's well below zero.
     
  17. msinger

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    That's how the old rule was worded. The new rule is a bit different:

    "Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure."

    So, if there is a radio tower on top of the mountain peak (for example), your Phantom could be well above 400 AGL as long as it's within 400 feet of the radio tower.
     
  18. N017RW

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    No one has ever reported any issues descending into negative altitude readings (into valley, canyon, crater, etc).
    No reason to expect one either. Eventually I guess you could exceed the barometer's measurement range in which case it would just stop at whatever the max pressure is it can measure.

    If you accidentally meant ascent height, the aircraft is limited to 500 meters above take-off point and has a service ceiling of 6000 meters where it would seem the air is too thin for proper operation.
     
  19. auen1

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    OK, got it.
    Good to hear there is no limit to how low you can fly.

    Maybe sometime in the future, Phantoms will have a radar altimeter, to eliminate any guessing of your AGL, while flying.
     
  20. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Here's how it works:

    Amateur use is protected from further regulations under section 336 of the 2012 FMRA if, and only if, you follow the guidelines identified.

    The 400ft AGL ceiling is technically a recommendation but if you don't follow it, you could be subjected to part 107 or even part 91 regulations should the FAA deem your activity to be dangerous.

    So let's say you fly up to 1,000ft AGL and a Cessna comes by. Despite your efforts to descend as fast as possible, you have a "close call" with it. Local officials find you and pass your details to the FAA. The FAA can and most likely will fine you for failing to stay clear of a manned aircraft.

    It doesn't matter if you did everything you could to avoid it, it will still be your fault.
     
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