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"FAA Legal tether"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Timtro, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. Timtro

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    RE: http://www.robotshop.com/en/faa-compliance-tether-multi-rotor-drone.html

    I was told by a reputable podcast host that this guy is "honest", partly out of curiosity I bought one of these.

    Look at the picture: that's what you get. That's all you get. Actually the platform doesn't have four bolts like the illustration, it has only two. They're just bolts. That's it.

    It's cleverly designed, I suppose, but if you're expecting instructions or some documentation on their claim of "FAA legal", forget it. It ain't in the box.

    Follow up: I contacted the vendor (RobotShop) and they directed me to links to "instructions" which appears to have been written by a fourth-grade drop out at worst or a drunk proof reader at best, and a "compliance" letter, which states in the first paragraph that "...the system DOES NOT meet the requirements of a waiver under 14CFR Part 101... ". There are several other outlandish statements "on the home-made web site. http://www.faacompliant.com/Page_4.html including a statement that the serial number for the device is " the equivalent to a full size aircraft 'N' number. "

    Seriously? "equivalent to a full size aircraft N number"?

    Follow up... 2/23/14
    Still watching for the promised "Certification letter" from the FAA Compliant people... Stay tuned...
     
  2. Ozzyguy

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    That thing looks like an accident waiting to happen. Get the right wind and tilt condition and get it tangled in your rotors. Worse tangled around someone or power lines.
     
  3. DeweyAXD

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    Yeah this thing popped up on the FB page a week or so ago and was discussed briefly on an FAA thread in here... it seems to be a genunine product straight out of the "crazy loop hole box" of the FAA. Basically makes you as legal as a kite. The guy/company spent $18k to develop it so they'll need to sell a fair few to get that back.

    At first it seems proper mad but I guess if (and its a big if) you can justify the risk of cables snagging, falling multirotors and not being able to fly over tall objects then it is potentially a cheap way to make money from the "Multi-Kiting" hobby. Fair play to them for the effort (assuming it is legit!).

    Videos of it in action are here:

    http://www.faacompliant.com/Instructions___Videos.html

    Of course none of them have a 'booooing, fut fut fut crack' noise at the end :lol:
     
  4. MILLER4PRESIDENT2020

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    I was looking at that. Are you saying it doesn't come with any actual documentation? That's the main reason I wanted it...for the so called documentation. Sure its cumbersome but just buy it, carry it along with you and do your thing. The odds some FAA inspector actually drives by you while taking aerial photos is one in a billion. The odds they stumble onto your website and contact you and ask for your documents are greater.
     
  5. OI Photography

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    An associate of mine who is both lawyer and a pilot pointed out this exact scenario a while ago as a potential loophole, but we both agreed it sounded like it would be impractical unless you were just needing to get the UAV directly above your position and not moving very far in any direction.
     
  6. Timtro

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    Nothing in the box but a sales receipt. I emailed the vendor but so far no reply. I will say that I have not taken the tape off the fishing line (yes, that's what it appears to be, not "military" anything, more like Bass Pro Shop). It is likely I will be asking for return authorization from RobotShop. The source web site indicates this guy once wanted $200 for this kit. The spool doesn't even turn as you might expect. I'm not sure what the screws are for, possibly for bolting to a piece of plywood, perhaps?

    The demo video shows him doing some fairly radical maneuvers without tangling in the props. The key appears to be a kind of fishing weight that keeps the line below the craft by gravity. The demo video does show a landing at some distance away, possibly to stay away from the line on the ground. After I ordered it I also saw some discussion that the FAA doesn't consider something with motors to qualify as a balloon or kite, so that also casts doubt on the "legal" part.

    To the other comment, yes, my thought was to use it for strictly vertical flights for photography. Perhaps I was a little too eager to find a way to get legal, or just curious. I've gone back to watching YouTube pilot training videos, reading up on how to use FAA sector charts, and practicing flying when the weather lets me.

    My web site says what I am doing: Limited non-commercial demonstrations to build up a demo reel for whenever the green light comes. And that includes stuff at the local RC club field. I'm betting that a "black box" for flight logging could be a requirement so I've installed a FlyTrex. Worst case, I can use it to prove I'm not flying where I shouldn't.
     
  7. LeoS

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    rofl

    while we're talking about loopholes, how about:

    1. Tie everything up, set it up as instructed.
    2. Unfurl the line a bit, then cut it off.
    3. You've set up your alibi, now fly.
    4. If any compliance officers come up, the string was just accidentally cut off and you're in the process of landing it.
    5. Thank the officer and bid him good day.
     
  8. Timtro

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    I can probably find a fishing line, a flanged spool and a pretty orange weight for a lot less than $100 and I might figure out how to attach it, but that's really not the point, is it? They apparently filed some paperwork. ($18,000 worth of paperwork?) It should have come with instructions and documentation in the box for the claim that it make everything "legal". I'm still waiting.

    Follow up: Now Chris Taylor from Viking UAS wants to blame RobotShop for leaving things out of the box. These people make SNAFU look like Cirque du Soliel. I still don't know whether to believe anything they say about the tether system. The attitude and incompetence of the people behind it overshadows everything else. Now they are intent on getting me accept a refund to get rid of me, but I have yet to see the proof in the form of the promised certification document, so in consideration of jtw29's positive testimonial (below) I will continue to play along.
     
  9. jtw29

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    We use one of these at the construction site where I work in order to stay in compliance with the FAA. It is legit. We worked with the FAA to try and get approval for regular flights but that didn't work out. We asked, "how about if we tether it?" They said "that would be acceptable. Here are the 50 pages of documents you need to fill out, and the schematic drawings we need of your tether system for FAA approval." That looked daunting so we gave up at that point. Until I came across this device. It appears that this guy went forward and did all the paperwork necessary to get approval for the specific tether system he is selling. He gives you an ID number to stick on your UAV and he keeps a record of the ID number for the FAA so they know you've purchased an approved device. In our case we were only going up 40 feet to take survey photos of our construction site for creating 3D models of the area. For the $99 he is currently selling it for, it was a no brainer for us. The line stays out of the way pretty well. It actually uses the airflow beneath the UAV to keep the "fishing bobber" centered below the craft. Works pretty well. And the line is pretty thin and black so it doesn't appear in our photos. We are using an S800 EVO.

    It certainly would limit the types of operations you can do but for us it was a perfect solution.

    UPDATE: I take this all back! Dont' buy one! See my latest post in this topic.
     
  10. LeoS

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    I'm not even sure who's kidding whom anymore at this point :mrgreen:
     
  11. MILLER4PRESIDENT2020

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    thats fine but if I order it, I want this actual paperwork that goes behind it so if the FAA comes knocking at my door I can show it to them. The original poster said he ordered it and got nothing but the spool of fishing line. His story seems legit but with no backing paperwork he very well could be scamming us all. (i.e. came up with a fancy $18,000 story and a website and is now selling spools of fishing line for 99$, the FAA comes knocking at your door and you tell them I bought this from XYZ, and they remark "we have never dealt with that guy")
     
  12. ZonComGMZ

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    The certificate is another $200.
     
  13. jtw29

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    The instructions on how this actually works is pretty lacking on the RobotShop website.
    Did you fill out the application for the paperwork here: http://www.faacompliant.com/Step_1.html
    That's kind of a separate step from the purchase of the actual device. But there was no extra $200 charge for the paperwork. It just takes a few days to come. You should receive a serial number for your UAV and a copy of the FAA compliance statement to keep in your wallet as well as a full size one for your files.

    So, just to clarify, I don't have any interest in this product or company. I'm not trying to sell it. I'm just hoping I can help anyone who wants more info. This guy is not selling anything that isn't something we could do ourselves. But for $99 bucks, it's worth paying for someone else to do the paperwork for me. The device itself it actually a piece of garbage with some fly fishing line attached. Not too special. But for some reason the FAA wrote an explicit letter saying that this particular device complies with their regulations. So, that's why I bought one.

    UPDATE: I take this all back! Dont' buy one! See my latest post in this topic.
     
  14. MILLER4PRESIDENT2020

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  15. Ozzyguy

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    It think you are getting scammed. No way it cost $18000 to "develop" a fishing line. What a load of bs
     
  16. GMANNZ

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    Yeah this looks like spammer marketing bollocks for nothing ..... fishing line compliance ?? .... ROFLOLOL ..... Tell ya what (anyone that would pay for this) .... send me $99:00 and I will end you a special UAV "FAA Compliant" sandstone rock to tie it off too as well, so you'll be fully safe and ground hugging at the same time .... :lol:
     
  17. Ozzyguy

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    Ha^ this guy:). Just watch your development costs. They can quickly spiral out of control. You will have to include a hard hat I think:)
     
  18. MILLER4PRESIDENT2020

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    i agree but you are dealing with the FAA. I deal with them every day. One of my old instructors was working on his plane and needed a new alternator and happened to notice that it was the EXACT model alternator from a car. But he is not legally allowed to use the one from a car because it is not FAA approved. Because there is a theoretical stamp of approval that accompanies the FAA approved alternator it literally costs double.

    Welcome to government inefficiencies
     
  19. ElGuano

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    Re: "FAA Legal tether"

    Most likely that's the case. But in the CPU world, identical chips are routinely binned as slow, med and fast parts. Speeds and thermal envelope are usually tested, and sometimes higher binned chips are dropped to the lower rating because of higher demand. But many chips don't pass the test for the fastest bin and are by necessity relegated to the slower bins. I have no idea if this is applicable to something as mundane as an alternator, but unless you know there aren't additional safety standards and testing requirements for an otherwise identical part, can you be sure it is exactly the same?
     
  20. Timtro

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    The biggest problem I see with this product is the credibility of the company and the people behind it. Their QC is the pits and when somebody calls them on it by stating the facts they guy starts with the attitude thing.

    The concept looks legit on the surface but it all falls flat after that.


    UPDATE: After some lengthy and somewhat caustic back and forth emails it appears that the promised "FAA Certification" will be provided.
    Stay tuned...