Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Airspace awareness

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Deathcode, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. Deathcode

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    2
    Are people that fly drones aware of the different airspaces and their limitations, etc?
    I'm asking because all I could see in the forums at a glance is mostly related to FAA restrictions on the use of drones for commercial purposes, but I haven't seen many posts of people talking about airspace, on the contrary, I've seen posts from people flying at 5000+ feet.
    Anyways, I'm curious about it because while I do recognize that this is a hobby derived from the RC world it's gotten way more advanced and autopilots and GPS nowadays allow for flying without line of sight and that is a game changer.
    Also, another question I have is, would people here be in favor of regulations when it comes to drone pilots? similar to training to achieve a sports pilot license (maybe not as in depth..)
    Reason I'm asking is again, because I see many people flying drones in ways/places you're not supposed to and while this is cutting edge technology, and while I don't have data on drone accidents, it seems pretty evident that the accident ratio is elevated.
     
  2. MadMitch88

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Unfortunately --- it's all a big crap shoot when flying an RC machine out beyond LOS. There are people in here using the Coffee Ground Station app to send their Phantoms on 6 or 7 mile missions and that's just nuts! How can they possibly know what kind of aircraft are flying at that range?

    I think the best we can hope for in the future is some kind of unified air traffic system that is tracking ALL flying machines in U.S. airspace from 50 ft. AGL to infinity. It could be done rather easily with Federally-mandated transponders on all manned & unmanned machines that communicate with ground-based towers as well as satellites for the larger commercial planes. That way, when you plan on flying your UAV beyond 2,500 ft. (ie, beyond eyesight) then you would have a real-time Google Map view of all flying objects in the area (even flocks of birds?) and you can make the proper adjustments.

    Who knows when this system will actually be up and running --- maybe by 2050 ??
     
  3. p fandango

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2014
    Messages:
    600
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    i've actually set the max ceiling height of my P2 so it can't go over the 400ft (uk rules)
     
  4. MadMitch88

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    That's merely wishful thinking here in the USA --- many medical, news, and police helicopters are buzzing around our airspace at below 400 ft. AGL.
     
  5. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    4,919
    Likes Received:
    1,796
    Location:
    Lost Angeles
    There are many of us who have a pretty solid awareness for airspace classes, what they mean and where they are. And there are many many more who have very little to no awareness at all.
     
  6. Suwaneeguy

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    22
    IMO, manned aerial vehicles are less likely to fly under 500 feet AGL.
    For the simple fact they need the time to recover in case of an emergency.
    As I understand it, manned aircraft MUST fly at certain levels.
    e.g. A helicopter is going to fly at 2,000 feet while a commercial jumbo jet is going to fly at 35,000 feet.
    Neither is going to be in the others flight path.
    Our little toys certainly are not going to be flying in the normal flight path of a jumbo jet.
    Nor are the big manned aircraft going to be flying between the trees, under bridges, or 30 feet above the Vegas strip.

    And the comment about getting 5 to 7 miles from a phantom is laughable.
    While not impossible, stock equipment ain't gonna get close.
    :eek:
     
  7. SteveMann

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Westford, MA
    I have to agree with DirkClod - your questions sound just like what a poorly-informed reporter would ask.

    Generally, yes. The vast majority of drone flyers rarely go over 200 ft AGL and most aren't near airports. So the question of airspace limitations are pretty moot.

    Wow, where to begin? You see so many posts regarding the FAA's slow response to regulating light drones for commercial use because there is a huge pent-up anticipation by thousands of drone owners who want to make a business from aerial photography, and they want to do it legally. There probably haven't been many posts about airspace because I suspect that most drone flyers already know where the airspace restrictions begin. Some don't, and they are the ones that make the news. And, yes, you can legally fly a drone to 5,000 ft. There are no rules against it as long as you keep the drone out of controlled airspace. The vast majority of the airspace in the USA is Class "G" where you could fly as high as 18,000 ft MSL.

    Is there a question here?

    first, I am a commercial pilot, owned my own Cessna for 15 years and have well over 1,200 hours in the cockpit. I spent about $10,000 dollars in the 1980's to get my license and ratings (IFR and CFI). But I think the Sports Pilot's license is still overkill. Those of us who want to fly drones for compensation (FAA-speak) would welcome some kind of reasonable regulations from the FAA. First, once the FAA "legalizes" commercial light drone operations, we will be able to get insurance. Also, local laws (read: Texas) that unreasonably restrict aerial photography by drone will be superseded by the Federal law. And idiots with guns (I.E. Fox News viewers ) who shoot drones down can be prosecuted for interfering with air commerce. What I would like to see is the model set by Transport Canada (this is paraphrased for simplicity) where you take a one-day course in safety, weather, airspace and common sense. Then when you pass a test you get a certificate that TC accepts as validation of your ability to fly safely.

    This alone makes me think you're a reporter trolling for a story based on your erroneous assumptions. Just where do you "see many people flying in ways/places you're not supposed to..."? Considering that there are tens of thousands of these light drones in the US and the news, even the fear-mongering Fox news can't find more than a handful of drones causing problems. Seriously, point me to one, just one example of your "many people". Pirker? Here's a quote from the American Bar Association:
    The drone over the Hudson River? The helicopter pilot's did not know what they were seeing, and they, the helicopter pilots, chased the drone, not the other way around.
    Of course you don't have data on drone accidents. There are none. Yes, there have been a few accidents that caused injury - usually to the drone operator. Some point to the death of a child when an R/C helicopter went out of control in Seremban, Malaysia, but that was not a drone - it was a scale model gas-powered helicopter with three-foot aluminum props. Drones generally have five to eight-inch props of plastic or carbon fiber. A whole lot less mass. Yes they can cause a nasty hematoma and even require stitches, but I am still waiting for a news report documenting anyone in the US injured by a drone accident who is not involved with the flight. Still waiting.

    So, come clean - why are you asking?
     
  8. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,734
    Likes Received:
    3,451
    You can have as much regulation as you like but it won't stop idiots doing what they do.
    You can't legislate common sense.
     
  9. Davekyn

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2014
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just answer the question. JC!
     
  10. gunslinger

    gunslinger Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Messages:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    497
    Location:
    Least Coast...
    That'd work. The largest growing occupation would then quickly shift to "air traffic controller."

    -slinger
     
  11. MadMitch88

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I see Medevac helicopters and police choppers operating all the time under 500', dum-dum. :lol:


    Coffee's Ground Station app EASILY allows a 5 to 7 mile Phantom mission on a stock bird, dum-dum.

    Don't be proud of your ignorance of the facts. Learn before you speak!

    Here's a couple Google Map screenshots from a fella who sent his bird out on a 6-mile roundtrip:


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Here's the actual video of the 6-mile roundtrip GS mission:

    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HirQJ4DS6Vw[/youtube]
     
  12. Suwaneeguy

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2014
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    22
    Excuse me madmitch, but you said 5 to 7 miles making me believe it was one way.
    Your screenshot is showing me now that the total trip to and back was 6 miles.
    Ergo, 3 miles out.
    Then I question that because of the time it would take to do so.
    If your average flight time is 20 minutes, then you have to figure out how far the bird can go in 10 minutes to return safely and land at your feet.
    3 miles is just over 4800 meters. Somewhere along the way you are going to have a signal loss which may cause the bird to return to home.
     
  13. SteveMann

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Westford, MA
    You are correct. No laws attempting to regulate common sense will ever work because common sense isn't common. But having a legal way to fly will protect many thousands of entrepreneurs.
     
  14. SteveMann

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Westford, MA
    MadMitch, neet Deathcode. You both seem to be equally uninformed.
    First, if you are on a long range beyond LOS mission at 500 ft AGL, the odds of finding another flying contraption is so close to zero there's not enough room in a blog post for all the zeros after the decimal point 0.0000...1%. You are more likely to hit the MegaMillions lottery and be hit by a bus on the same day. Or that a hawk will think that your Phantom is lunch.
    The Air Traffic Control system only tracks aircraft flying by instruments (IFR) and VFR aircraft requesting radar service. On any day there are thousands of small General Aviation aircraft in the air. Some don't have transponders because they aren't required more than 30 miles from major air carrier airports (JFK, LAX, SFO, etc), and some don't even have radios or an electrical system. Even if you managed to add a transponder that would weigh more than your aircraft, ATC would never see it. You would most likely be squawking 1200, the VFR code, and most, if not all ATC controllers specifically filter out routine 1200 codes because there's so many it would clutter their screen to be unreadable. If the ATC radar computer calculates that a 1200 return would conflict with other traffic, and not another 1200 code, it will light up on the controller's screen as a TC, or Traffic Conflict Alert. Because of the huge workload on controllers, the FAA is moving away from the current model with a human controller in the loop, https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/, hoping to be complete in 2020.
    Here's a little secret of the FAA. They don't do anything until the accident history dictates it. We didn't have an ATC system until two airliners collided over the Grand Canyon in 1956. We didn't have a transponder requirement in what we now call Class B airspace until a Boeing 727 hit a Cessna 172 from behind over San Diego in 1978. When a light drone brings down a manned aircraft, you may see new regulations or equipment requirements. Don't hold your breath because it probably won't happen in our lifetimes.
     
  15. MadMitch88

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Messages:
    539
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    When you use Coffee's Ground Station app --- you do NOT need to worry about maintaining control signal with the bird. You plug in your GPS waypoints and off it goes!

    And yes --- you can fly a Phantom using this method 7 miles one way --- just dont expect it to have battery power to fly back (ie, 14 mile total). But if you got a good landing spot at a friend's house 7 miles away, then let her rip and enjoy the video after she lands! :p If you got a Flytrex Live device on the bird, then you can sit in front of your PC screen and watch the flight path on Google Maps in real time (not the video link).

    Can you please learn facts and details before posting rebuttals? You seem really confused about Phantoms all their capabilities.
     
  16. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    Hey Steve, I have a question about this statement.

    First, I highly respect your opinions expressed throughout the threads here, because of the fact that you not only have a pilots license and many years experience both in flying a real plane and that includes a keen awareness of the FAA and how they respond to situations, as well as a great deal of common sense when applying your knowledge, but you also have a love of this sport as well. (OK enough of the flattery already!) ;)

    I am aware that Transport Canada recently opened up the ability to use a small drone like a phantom for commercial use without the need of a SFOC anymore. I did not see(or I missed) the part about Transport Canada setting up a certificate course. Can you point me to where you saw that info?

    Thanks
     
  17. SteveMann

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    653
    Location:
    Westford, MA
    Not TC directly, but there are a few places that offer Drone Pilot Certification, such as http://cqfa.cegep-chicoutimi.qc.ca/pro/index.php?id=1007&lng=An.
    From their FAQs:
    So, I was conflating the two issues, the SFOC and the new relaxed rules when I suggested that the Canadian model is one the FAA should copy.
     
  18. Deathcode

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm not from any communication media, no affiliations with any source of news, blogs, etc.
     
  19. gunslinger

    gunslinger Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2013
    Messages:
    2,722
    Likes Received:
    497
    Location:
    Least Coast...
    I'm a member of a golf course in New England (USA) and I've known the people who run the place for years. They let me fly there whenever I like, though I make sure I stay away from the golfers as that'd distract the crap out of me, having an aircraft buzzing around. :x

    Anyhow... I fairly often see aircraft flying under 500 feet. One day, this moron came charging out of nowhere, actually diving down towards the golf course. He couldn't have been much more than 200 feet off the ground. He came back to make three passes and I swear one of them was closer to 100 feet up. :shock:

    What happens if this genius comes back when I'm flying, runs into me and doesn't have the altitude to pull out? How would you prove he was in YOUR airspace and you weren't in his??? :cry:

    I was also golfing a couple of years ago, and walking around the corner of a dog leg. I hear this "Whoooosh"... look around and don't see anything, so I keep walking. In under a minute, this huge balloon comes over the tree line, and I mean JUST over the tree lne, slowly sailing right over my head, across the golf course and over the forest on the other side. Could a Phantom do heavy damage to one of those things??? :shock:

    -slinger
     
  20. Deathcode

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2014
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    2
    Just to clarify, what part of my questions sound as poorly-informed? because I'm asking very valid questions here.

    well, I found posts of people flying at 5000 feet AGL... that's why I'm asking if people are aware of airspace limitations, my question remains valid.

    Thank you, because you just answered my original question. You don't know much about airspace it seems and that worries me double with you in particular.
    But here, let me give you a refresher course:
    Class G airspace (yes, that's where you should be flying drones) goes only as high as 1,200ft AGL but never exceeding 14,500 MLS.
    I really don't know where did you get the 18,000 ft MLS, but please go back to the books...
    Also, the majority of space is class "E".
    So, in short, if you're a drone pilot, stay below 1,200ft AGL and 700ft AGL in selected areas, and if you're going to answer about something you are not sure, then better don't answer at all. you're misinforming people that want to learn and they might think your statements are true, which they aren't.

    My question was already established above.

    Ok, this is why it worries me double with you. You are/were a CFI and you don't know airspace!!! which is probably the MOST important topic in a private pilot checkride or written exam!!! I hope for the safety of many GA pilots that you're staying on the ground, and fly your drone in class G. Thank you in advance!


    This alone makes me think you're a reporter trolling for a story based on your erroneous assumptions. Just where do you "see many people flying in ways/places you're not supposed to..."? Considering that there are tens of thousands of these light drones in the US and the news, even the fear-mongering Fox news can't find more than a handful of drones causing problems. Seriously, point me to one, just one example of your "many people". Pirker? Here's a quote from the American Bar Association:
    The drone over the Hudson River? The helicopter pilot's did not know what they were seeing, and they, the helicopter pilots, chased the drone, not the other way around.
    Of course you don't have data on drone accidents. There are none. Yes, there have been a few accidents that caused injury - usually to the drone operator. Some point to the death of a child when an R/C helicopter went out of control in Seremban, Malaysia, but that was not a drone - it was a scale model gas-powered helicopter with three-foot aluminum props. Drones generally have five to eight-inch props of plastic or carbon fiber. A whole lot less mass. Yes they can cause a nasty hematoma and even require stitches, but I am still waiting for a news report documenting anyone in the US injured by a drone accident who is not involved with the flight. Still waiting.
    So, come clean - why are you asking?[/quote][/quote]

    Again, you just made a whole movie in your mind, congrats, you can write a script for it based on my simple questions. Just check the forums, this one in particular, look at YouTube, search for flyaway drone. I was merely asking if the community would be in favor of creating a certification, nothing more, nothing less. Note that I said, it seems like the accident ratio is elevated and that's based on the research conducted online. Many drones prone to failures, sure, the technology is new and it's prone to failure like anything brand new, but at the same time, educating drone pilots wouldn't hurt and that's what I was asking. Thanks for bringing up those cases yo mentioned, I didn't hear about them so I'll look them up.

    Oh, and more more thing...
    please stay on the ground, and if you fly, grab a quick refresher with a current CFI. Thanks