Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

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

Can FPV flying be safe?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by DrJoe, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. DrJoe

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2014
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    96
    The FAA says not to fly FPV without a spotter and without losing line of sight.
    The AMA says the same thing.

    That puts the FPV flyers in a bit of a pickle. So much of this board relates to FPV flying beyond visual range. But can it be safe?

    Depending on your gear, you really don't have a great view. At 640 resolution, you are not going to be able to see a medical helicopter coming in to land, an AgCat (crop duster) on a run, etc. Even at 720p resolution (for those willing to drop $1400 on a Lightbridge) you aren't going to have great visibility to "see and avoid".

    I bought some of the FPVLR antennas and can take my P2V+ out almost a mile depending on conditions. Its really pretty cool. But is it safe?

    AMA insurance will NOT cover you if you are breaking the safety rules.

    I'm interested in continuing to fly out of LOS, but I am having a tough time countering the argument that because you cannot "see and avoid" other aircraft, it isn't safe. The argument that its unlikely to hit a manned aircraft, or even another drone, just isn't acceptable.

    Perhaps we can prevent the FAA from banning FPV flight by coming up with something constructive that would allow the safe operation of FPV beyond visual range. I just can't figure out what that would be...
     
  2. PsychopathRC

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2014
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    London, England
    If you don't fly to far, I think FPV CAN be safe. I can hear helicopters from 1500 - 2000 feet away. Waaaay out in the distance. But maybe I've weird hearing. If I up the quality of view on my Vision Plus App, it's really rather good I think :D
     
  3. N017RW

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,239
    Likes Received:
    1,613
    Location:
    Palm Beach Co.- FL
    Until something augements situational awareness for the pilot I can't see much 'give' on this restriction.
    Isn't similar to operating any vehicle unmanned or otherwise? Like VFR vs. IFR it takes more training and scrutiny to be allowed to do it.

    Sure it's just me and OK I might be called 'old school', but I get concerned just flying behind a tall tree(s).

    Depending on the particulars it can be 10 seconds or more where I don't see it and I don't like it.
     
  4. GoodnNuff

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    1,909
    Likes Received:
    831
    Location:
    Washington State

    So on other threads when you say stuff like;
    "With proper equipment, preparation and monitoring, flights out of LOS are possible to conduct safely."
    (viewtopic.php?f=3&t=29151&start=30)
    You really don't have any idea what you need to do to make blind FPV flights safe when not in LOS?????
    Ok.
     
  5. DrJoe

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2014
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    96
    That is exactly right. I do believe that it could be safe, but what are the arguments for it? I have no idea. Let me play devils advocate...

    Rebut these arguments:
    You could hit something
    You could lose communication
    A low flying medical chopper or small plane could be in your airspace.
     
  6. PetePerrim

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    My argument is that I will act in the spirit of the law, not necessarily the letter of the law. If you ain't got no balls then put your Phantom away.
     
    skalofong likes this.
  7. DrJoe

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2014
    Messages:
    591
    Likes Received:
    96
    Hmmm. Not quite what I was hoping for.

    I was hoping more for:
    • I plan the flight with the aid of a current sectional chart, monitor Unicom, and contact the local radar control center to brief them.
    Or maybe
    • The distance flown is kept to a certain signal strength/distance ratio. Line of site is always maintained, even if the UAV is beyond visual range, meaning no object between operator and UAV, like trees or buildings.

    Something like that. "I ain't got no" $10,000 is what I "ain't got", Pete. You may have balls, but you "ain't got no" intelligent argument.

    All I'm doing is trying to put together some thoughts for my letter to the FAA, NTSC, and my congressional representatives. I'm gonna pass on the "balls" argument.
     
  8. spudraleigh

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Ha! I think he was referring to "ball bearings," which, if you don't have enough in your motors, will cause them to fail to function properly and thus become dangerous. If you don't have enough ball bearings, you should not be flying, dammit! :lol:
     
  9. knuckles

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2014
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Arizona
    Why not add a spotter with binocs to extend line of sight.
     
  10. PhantomFanatic

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1,143
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    USA, GA
    Here's a thought: Noise canceling headphones are common. It should be possible to cancel out the sound from the rotors, before it is transmitted back to the base station. That would allow one to hear nearby aircraft, etc.

    A secondary camera aimed higher would help, but that would get very expensive unless it could be sent on another channel and viewed in small screen on the monitor or goggles.

    How about using a GPS tracker (I have one on order) and maybe it could be overplayed on a video Google aerial map? At the very least, you would know where your bird is, if all went wrong.