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FAA just called me

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chad556, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. chad556

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    Yep, you read that correctly... I just received a phone call from an FAA official out of Scottdsdale, AZ informing me that a cease and desist letter would be arriving via certified mail to my address within the next few days. The inspector said he had been looking at forums like this and researching the people posting. He said that many of us have websites that advertise aerial photography services using a UAV and that all of us would be getting the same letter. He was not nice about this either. He said that I would be fined if caught using my phantom for any commercial services. He went on to say that even if I fly below 200 feet and maintain line of site, it is still illegal, and that they are cracking down on this. Not sure what to think at this point. He also said that they are getting more and more complaints from people about this, and that in many cases the complainant is actually a competitor of the violator, meaning other aerial services are ratting you out in hopes that it shuts you down.

    I verified that the person I was speaking to was indeed an official with the FAA.

    Just a heads up.
     
  2. freelanceshots

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    All I can say is WOW. That didn't take long as I was predicting the end of the year. This is serious stuff where there's got to be a law in the works that will make flying quads and multirotor illegal or require a special license. As I've stated before, the popularity and sudden interest predominately started by dji's great success in online promotion and youtube killed the hobby. Not harshing on Dji but when you make this cool equipment more affordable, easier to fly and available to everybody then it hampers the folks that are true diehard multirotor hobbyist. Just like DSLR's cameras becoming more affordable. It allowed more people to buy nicer cameras making them think they can all the sudden run a photography business which in turn can make it harder for the real photographers to keep food on the table.

    My intentions back February where solely to invest in the quadcopter for business purposes. Never would have spend 1000 dollars to see if I just like flying. Once I found out about the laws being pasted that made it illegal to fly these RC here I forsure didn't take the risk to put up services online advertising this. It sucks that we can't all continue to fly these but Its getting out of hand. The sky is just to dangerous a place to have a whole bunch of little craft flying around especially up in the clouds with all this FVP technology.
     
  3. GeneL

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    I don't imagine you have your personal information on your website, or available through forums, so someone you know elsewhere must have sent them the information. Maybe, being the feds, they can backtrack on an unlisted phone number to your address. They don't have unlimited resources put people on doing gumshoe work if it involves more than what they can do off their computer I would imagine. I know there are those that think the feds are Gods, but they're the same bunch that's sending SSI checks to dead people.
     
  4. chad556

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    My website has a contact number and email... That's how they got in touch with me, I assume.
     
  5. Yeager

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    Everyone is spooked by the term "drone" these days. It never used to matter to people when RC devices were called airplanes, helicopters, cars, motorcycles, etc. Once the term "drone" was in the news it was somehow equated with "multirotor", "quadcopter", etc. Hell I wouldn't be surprised if RC planes, helicopters, cars and motorcycles eventually get a bad rap even though the hobby has been around for decades. The great thing about it is that the people that listen to the fear mongers, have low attention spans and will eventually forget about this subject and move onto the next fear flavor of the day. Lets hope that day arrives soon. :)
     
  6. freelanceshots

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    When I think of the term drone it's an unmanned aircraft flown by a person on the ground through a display or goggles. This drone craft also records video so the term fits like a glove. The FPV flying that everyone is chasing is a major culprit. If it weren't for this aspect I think these RC craft would be treated more like your heli's and other RC toys. Line of sight should have been the understood rule for non military or specific organizations. The FPV potential gets people doing all kinds of things they wouldn't consider without it. Flying up in the clouds when you can't keep track of your craft is what I think is the straw that broke the camel's back.
     
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  7. BruceTS

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    That's not the problem, If I go out and fly my quad doing the exact same thing that Chad does, but for my own pleasure, I'm not violating any FAA regulations. It's only when you start charging for services are they cracking down on you, so I guess you'll have to be very creative in the way you fly to get the footage and get paid to do it. Free aerial services if they pay you to do other things perhaps?
     
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  8. eyeinthesky

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    I'm new to this quad thing so don't know anything. Does the FAA have a history of actively pursuing things like the OP spoke about?
     
  9. martcerv

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    In this case it shows its nothing at all to do with air safety just the federal Mafia enforcing its laws and shutting down people encroaching on the turf of those paying the protection fees to the mafia. Most likely just competitors dobbing people in but I thought it was fairly common knowledge regarding aerial photography for commercial use, though its complete bs as the FAA or other nations aerial authorities should be enforcing laws purely for public safety not for such commercial reasoning. Forcing people to pay big bribes I mean licenses for such activities for no other reason then their financial gain is pretty much criminal but then thats what the mafia is lol.
     
  10. FrankB

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    In Canada, there are no restrictions with regard to flying UAV's if you're an amateur. But if you use a UAV for commercial purposes, you must get a permit from Transport Canada. In my case, I needed to submit a detailed plan of what I intended to do with the Phantom, and then received a one year permit, which lays out some specific conditions that I must abide by; for example, the Phantom can only be flown if I have a second person with me who acts as an observer.
     
  11. martcerv

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    I understand that but the strange thing is if flying as an amateur why is it any different, would the professional likely be less risk then an amateur first timer. Why stricter laws if your selling footage compared to doing exactly the same thing as a hobby? I think there should be clear limits shown for hobby fliers and within these it should make no difference if you make money off the footage or not.

    In some work we did a while back making some advertising products with lights on them, we came across the government issue of having a lit sign visible from a car is too dangerous and so nt permitted. However if you payed the permit of many thousands of dollars it was ok, somehow paying a bribe or license makes a lit sign no longer a hazard to cars only the ones that haven't been paid for are. :lol:

    I see this as almost the same thing, there should be clear safety guidelines for all flyers amateur or professional and solid limits for unlicensed recreational use. If you want to go beyond this then there should be a license system along with educating people on flying in higher risk areas. The fact that someone does it as a hobby or for profit should have nothing to do with it as it should be a safety issue that needs to be addressed with clear guidelines set out saying what is and what isnt allowed for users of all levels.
     
  12. cssfly

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    I just looked at your video footage no wonder the FAA call you! Its guys like you that need to think before you fly over emergency situations IE: like the kid drowning really? Don't •••• it up for the rest of us!!! :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
     
  13. chad556

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    I am contracted with the local news stations. Puting a 3 pound uav in the air is far more cheaper and safe then hovering a 3 million dollar 22000 pound aerostar up. The faa rules have nothing to with safety and everything to do with money.
     
  14. Buk

    Buk

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    Please post the "cease and desist" letter when it arrives.
     
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  15. FrankB

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    For you Canadians here, or those in the U.S. wanting to know what is required in Canada to legally fly a UAV for commercial purposes, here is the most relevant Transport Canada WEB site: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/general-recavi-brochures-uav-2270.htm. Basically, you need to have a Special Flight Operations Certificate that lays out certain conditions that you must abide by, including all provisions of the Canadian Air Regulations (CARs).

    One potentially onerous requirement is to have at least $100,000 3rd party liability insurance before you can operate the UAV. I carry this under my overall business insurance, so don't have a breakdown of what just the insurance for the Phantom would cost.
     
  16. mercillus

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    Decent article I found on this topic.

    http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/local_new ... ty-concern

    Whats funny is how long has the USA had a war on drugs? Been after gun control? Been after forcing the free people to give up their freedoms? Keep your drones guys. Just be smart about it. Like remove use of a UAV when getting aerials from any site anyone can read. Remove the key words they are using to snoop the internet.
     
  17. Bats

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    Just curious if anyone may have a link to the FAA regulations regarding this, and what exactly is prohibited. For example, you aren't allowed to fly commercially, but what happens if you fly for free and just sell the footage afterwards? Especially if you are doing any processing or editing to the footage, it would seem that this is a different service entirely..
     
  18. GeneL

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    It's a sure they have that covered - they think like that. One report I read awhile back said that they busted an operator who tried to get around their regs by giving away the aerial work as a part of a larger production. They said "Noooo..."

    This whole this is very similar to their long-standing rule for licensed private pilots prohibiting carrying paying passengers without a commercial license. Of course, most pilots aren't stupid, and they tried every trick in the book to get around that, and the FAA countered with whatever nitpick fit their rule. I understand that even a passenger paying for gas was a grey area, but that may have changed by now. Sad but true the Feds always win.
     
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  19. Driffill

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    This is the guide I go by, obviously I'm Australian. But it's similar to the regs in the us . . . .

    http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013C ... c358722592

    Section 3, 101.295.

    It also covers use of hobby aeroplanes and balloons and kites!


    To any Aussies reading this . . . I watched the state of origin rugby last night, I wonder how close to being classed as a "drone" the "spider-cam" is??? Same as the cable strung cameras they have in the USA for the NFL etc
     
  20. FrankB

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    As a Canadian, I am far more concerned about a Phantom dropping out of the sky and landing on my head, especially when I'm out in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere, than I am about a loony bins with an assault rifle doing me in. ;)