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400 Foot Altitude Quiz

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Jimmymac, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. Jimmymac

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    Forest Hill Bridge is 900 feet above the river below. The mountain tops are another 400 feet above the bridge level. I'm standing at river level, how high can I fly my drone?[​IMG]


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  2. msinger

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    The FAA only wants you to fly a maximum of 400 feet above ground level (the ground beneath your Phantom).
     
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  3. bbfpv

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    technically, whatever you have set for you max height.
     
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  4. Jimmymac

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    I spoke to a pilot and posed this exact question, his answer was this: "In aircraft flying terms vertical airspace is termed AGL (Above Ground Level) where Altitude is measured Barometrically. Private aircraft are restricted no lower than 1000 AGL in urban areas and 500 in rural areas and over waters i.e. lakes and ocean. So yes, technically you could fly your drone to an altitude not to exceed 1700 feet from river level. However, I'm not familiar with drone flying restrictions."


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  5. ukglyn

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    Legally only just short of half way up the bridge.
     
  6. yawnalot29

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    I am always perplexed by the height police and their lack of acknowledgement on what you said above.

    Key words being "the grounds beneath Phantom".

    That no one flying Phantom has the information they need to observe that guideline. Unless of course you are only ascending and descending and never move horizontally.

    I guess if you never fly over 100 feet above AGL from take off and keep constant VLOS, you have a greater chance of observing the 400 AGL guideline as it was intended.

    Otherwise it is just splitting hair.
     
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  7. fvader

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    you know how they say age is just a number..
    i think that applies here.. just use common sense.
    if you want to fly 850 feet under the bridge then there should be no issue with it.
    some people here have that 400 number stuck in their heads and anything that is talked about 400.1 + will get a "your not safe, your breaking the rules, your a danger to us all" type of comment.
    just be smart about how and where you fly. you'll be fine.
     
  8. Jimmymac

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    I like that answer fvader


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  9. yawnalot29

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    Exactly why 400 is just a number guideline. There are plenty of example where 400 is dangerous.

    Many coastal area in California is very hilly. You can easily take off at the side of hill or top of cliff at 600 feet ASL. Proceed to fly up to 300 AGL or 900 ASL. Then head toward the beach/coast line.

    You will find helicopters, banner towing prop planes BELOW you.

    Your P3 instrument aren't going to tell you that you are over 400 AGL. It will show that you are behaving like you should at 300 AGL (false reading obviously).
     
  10. msinger

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    I've never seen any rules that say you cannot fly higher than 400 feet. It's just what the FAA is recommending as a safety precaution.

    In the above scenario, I doubt the FAA would even blink their left eye if you chose to fly 400 feet above the top of the bridge (or closest mountain top).
     
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  11. ScatSpeak

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    There are many answers to the question depending on whether you are:
    1. the FAA
    2. a Law Enforcement Officer
    3. the Park Service responsible for the bridge/river area
    4. a drone pilot who strictly follows FAA guidelines
    5. a drone pilot who disregards FAA guidelines
     
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  12. StumbleBee

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    Let's keep splitting hairs, for purpose of discussion...
    You fly your bird over a canyon which is 500 feet deep but only 200 feet wide. You are at a 150' altitude above the surrounding land but at the halfway point you are 650' above the bottom of the canyon.
    1. Does the fact that the canyon was only 200' wide matter? What if it was a mile wide? What if there were a 300 foot deep sink hole you were photographing?
    2. At no point were you further than roughly 250' from solid ground. Is this of any importance?
    3. At one point you were at an altitude of 650' from the canyon bottom. Are you in violation?

    I think we can all reasonably agree on answers, but you can see how the "altitude" question can be...questioned.

    Just for the record, I'd fly up to 400 feet above the bridge roadbed. That's me.
     
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  13. Wolfiesden

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    Exactly.

    Blanket rules are just as moronic as one rule fits all rules. They don't and they won't.

    For example, the houses on my block have a high tension power line running along our property lines. Those are like 250' or so high (best guess, not getting a tape measure out to measure them). There is also a 300' water tower half a block to the west. We have trees around 100' ish. A NFZ starts at the south end of my block.

    Flying my drone down our street to video Christmas lights (or halloween) at < 200' and violating (technically) a NFZ is not a problem for me. If there is a commercial aircraft flying down our street <300' then the pilot is yelling "Brace! Brace! Brace!" in the intercom! My copter will not change that or interfere with a crash in progress.

    Would I be buzzing around at 400' or more in the NFZ? Certainly not. Again, reason needs to prevail, not one size fits all NFZ geo fencing.

    As for the OP, its 400' above ground level. Otherwise most people would not be able to fly anywhere on the planet except near oceans where the ground is < 400' AMSL. Here I believe we are 600ish AMSL so that lets me get up to 1000' AMSL or 400' AGL. So I would think you could fly up to 400' above the side mountains but only 400 above the river. Technically. So it depends on where your copter is in that scene. Personally, I would buzz the bridge no problem. But I would also look out for stunt planes and manned choppers in the area as they COULD fly under the bridge. Not likely. But could.

    Again, common sense. Fly where full size aircraft can't and you won't be in their way. If, at any time, you are flying where a manned aircraft could fly or would fly or is flying, then you are doing something wrong. Normally 400' is no problem. But if a crop duster is working the field, YOU need to move. Common sense.
     
  14. DAP-UAV

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    Just be safe. Watch for other air traffic. You are not the only one that likes to fly under high bridges. Do not fly over the bridge/traffic. Common sense. IF you have an incident and someone is injured or property is damaged you will be held responsible for not following any rules that may have been ignored. Just be SAFE. That's what everyone wants, SAFETY. 400 ft AGL means the vertical distance between the aircraft and the ground directly below the aircraft. If you were @ 405 ft AGL, that is not an issue, the instrumentation is not that accurate. The only real danger I see flying around under that bridge is losing my UAV and not being able to retrieve it. LOL.
     
  15. Reed L

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    Actually you can go until it stops you. I was there at the confluence yesterday. I've thought about filming the bridge a lot and you will need 2 take off positions anyway. 1 from the NF bridge where you are to fly under the bridge and then going up the hill off of the New Foresthill bridge there's a flat area on the right. Used to be a trail and parking area years ago but the trail is still there and it takes you to the upstream side where you can see Clarks Hole above and also the bridge below. You'll have to walk in because there's a fence now. But from here you can go up 400'or down 400' :)
     
  16. DAP-UAV

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    Flying over the bridge at 400ft is a VIOLATION.
     
  17. SanCap

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  18. DAP-UAV

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    AGREE!
     
  19. SanCap

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    If you took off from Site 1 and then landed at site 2 (400 feet), then took off again and landed at site 3 (730 feet), took off again you should be able to fly another 370 feet above site 3 and still be legal in a fuzzy math kind of way :) See attached photo.

     

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  20. I.N.the.SKY

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    JUST USE COMMON SENSE! If you fly safe and responsible, and don't draw attention to yourself, most people will just let you be. When you start acting a fool and taking risks that are unnecessary, you're just asking for trouble.

    DAP, when you say "violation".... violation of what? Is there a law there? Just wondering.
     
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