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FAA Requirement of 3 Mile visibility in night flights under part 107

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by FrankSC, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. FrankSC

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    Under the new part 107 rules for commercial use of drones the FAA is requiring that a strobe be active that is visible for 3 miles as anti-collision tool for other aircraft to see. Flying at night is allowed with this light between civil twilight and sunrise and after sunset till the end of civil twilight. It is also allowed at night between civil twilight times with an approved variance. This is all for the commercial use.

    My question, I know my Phantom 3 Pro lights are not visible for 3 miles. Has anyone made modifications to include any high intensity LEDs to meet these requirements?
     
  2. Rasit

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    How do you know they are not visible at 3 miles, in the dark, on a clear night....
     
  3. joet

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    Doubtful as they are pointing straight down, so most of the light energy would go down as well.
     
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  4. joet

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  5. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I've not dug into it yet but I'm pretty sure "Night flights" are only allowed when the applicant meets the criteria AND a waiver has been issued. I'd have to consult a professional on this but I'm fairly confident that Night Flights will only be allowed via waiver.
     
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  6. RedHotPoker

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  7. joet

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    That is correct at the moment.

    §107.29 Daylight operation.
    (a) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during night.

    (b) No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft system during periods of civil twilight unless the small unmanned aircraft has lighted anti-collision lighting visible for at least 3 statute miles. The remote pilot in command may reduce the intensity of the anti-collision lighting if he or she determines that, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to do so.

    (c) For purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, civil twilight refers to the following:

    (1) Except for Alaska, a period of time that begins 30 minutes before official sunrise and ends at official sunrise;

    (2) Except for Alaska, a period of time that begins at official sunset and ends 30 minutes after official sunset; and

    (3) In Alaska, the period of civil twilight as defined in the Air Almanac.



    Waivers to Certain Small UAS Operating Rules
    The small UAS rule (14 CFR part 107) includes the option to apply for a certificate of waiver, which allows for a small UAS operation to deviate from certain operating rules if the FAA finds that the proposed operation can be performed safely.

    • Waivable sections of part 107
    • Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25)*
    • Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
    • Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31)*
    • Visual observer (§ 107.33)
    • Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
    • Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
    • Operation over people (§ 107.39)
    • Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
    • Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51)
     
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  8. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    One of our very own members,
    Jonathan Rupprecht was granted a (I think the first ever) Part 107 Night Flight waiver today.
     
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  9. kenundrum

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  10. FlashBuddy

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    $49.95?! OMG. And no mention of night visibility range.

    NoCo Drones
     
  11. RedHotPoker

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    Eh, Free shipping though!! ;-)
    Just stick a postage stamp & postal code upon it. Haha

    RedHotPoker
     
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  12. Phil Tuggle

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    I found a solution that works fine, and is very inexpensive - two lights for under 10USD. Having seen this thread tonight, my wife and I drove both our cars out onto a straight local highway and tested these lights, just received from an online store (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C4UU2KW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). Admittedly, though conditions are clear and there is almost no moon, each light could be clearly seen to just over 4 miles in the test. OF COURSE the downside - always a down side - is that these are not strobing or rotating (which I believe anti-collision lights must do), so maybe there is a simple 12v circuit that can be attached. To be honest, there is NO WAY I can justify over 150 dollars* - or even 49 - for a tiny white strobe...or two.

    Anybody know how to make my cheap lightweight lights blink? If so, please send list of parts needed and schematic.
    ________
    * Besides, that kind of money is needed to buy a hand held NAV/COM radio for listening to pilots and talking to ATC.
     
    #13 Phil Tuggle, Aug 30, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
  13. kenundrum

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    HOME PAGE
    The manufacturer website claims 10nm at night and uses the same strobe inside a survival beacon rated by the coast guard for 14nm. I'll see if i can do a test at some point, but the thing is almost blindingly bright at close range.

    Sent from my SM-G920P using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  14. RedHotPoker

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    I found the ultimate solution for drone orientation lighting and many of my drone &/or DSLR photography needs as well. Very bright with 1500 lumens @6000 kelvin. ;-)

    www.lumecube.com/164.html
    Please See Lume Cubes for ultimate brightness. With three strobe modes to choose from.

    RedHotPoker
     
    #15 RedHotPoker, Aug 31, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  15. RasterEyes

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  16. skyeboysteve

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    I wonder if using these strobes for daylight operations would also help increase your VLOS range?


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
     
  17. RedHotPoker

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    If you want very bright visible strobe LED lights, Lume Cubes have three strobe settings and can be seen for several miles quite easily, in any light.

    [​IMG]

    RedHotPoker
     
    #18 RedHotPoker, Sep 6, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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  18. kenundrum

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    While i don't have any pictures available right now, i can get some a little later.
    The stobe came with just 2 wires and you can attach/crimp/solder whatever connector onto it. I ended up getting something along the lines of https://www.amazon.com/Tera-Bright-...id=1473193623&sr=8-7&keywords=phantom+2+light to power it. It's a wire and small board that fits onto the phantom 2's main power connector sitting between the main power board and the battery. It's run through a vent on the body and the output is a standard 3S balance charge plug. I soldered a connector to the strobe and it can now just plug in and get power straight from the onboard battery. I believe i saw on the manufacturer's website that someone just strapped a 9v battery to the strobe when they weren't able to get acceptable voltage from onboard power.
     
  19. Phil Tuggle

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    I want to do some twilight photography. Has anyone found an economic, lightweight solution that actually blinks at least 40 but not more than 100 times a minute and can definitely be seen for 3 nautical miles in clear weather? Although the FAA has not been specific regarding the anti-collision lights needed for twilight operation (and night time if allowed under a waiver). I like the Lume Cube but missed any information about flashing. I believe flashing/blinking will be required sooner or later and do not want to have to purchase things twice.

    SURELY the FAA will allow us to compromise somewhat on requirements codified way before electric drones came along.

    The only existing FAA regulation I have found so far regarding anti-collision lights is cited here:
    https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2016-title14-vol1/pdf/CFR-2016-title14-vol1-sec23-1401.pdf

    The summary is this...(sorry for the length)

    § 23.1401 Anticollision light system.
    (a) General. The airplane must have an anticollision light system that:

    (1) Consists of one or more approved anticollision lights located so that their light will not impair the flight crewmembers' vision or detract from the conspicuity of the position lights; and

    (2) Meets the requirements of paragraphs (b) through (f) of this section.

    (b) Field of coverage. The system must consist of enough lights to illuminate the vital areas around the airplane, considering the physical configuration and flight characteristics of the airplane. The field of coverage must extend in each direction within at least 75 degrees above and 75 degrees below the horizontal plane of the airplane, except that there may be solid angles of obstructed visibility totaling not more than 0.5 steradians.

    (c) Flashing characteristics. The arrangement of the system, that is, the number of light sources, beam width, speed of rotation, and other characteristics, must give an effective flash frequency of not less than 40, nor more than 100, cycles per minute. The effective flash frequency is the frequency at which the airplane's complete anticollision light system is observed from a distance, and applies to each sector of light including any overlaps that exist when the system consists of more than one light source. In overlaps, flash frequencies may exceed 100, but not 180, cycles per minute.

    (d) Color. Each anticollision light must be either aviation red or aviation white and must meet the applicable requirements of § 23.1397.

    (e) Light intensity. The minimum light intensities in any vertical plane, measured with the red filter (if used) and expressed in terms of “effective” intensities, must meet the requirements of paragraph (f) of this section. The following relation must be assumed:

    [​IMG]
    where:
    I e = effective intensity (candles).
    I(t) = instantaneous intensity as a function of time.
    t 2−t 1 = flash time interval (seconds).
    Normally, the maximum value of effective intensity is obtained when t 2 and t 1 are chosen so that the effective intensity is equal to the instantaneous intensity at t 2 and t 1.
    (f) Minimum effective intensities for anticollision lights. Each anticollision light effective intensity must equal or exceed the applicable values in the following table.

    Angle above or below the horizontal plane Effective intensity (candles)
    0° to 5° 400
    5° to 10° 240
    10° to 20° 80
    20° to 30° 40
    30° to 75° 20

    So, the question remains, where in the US can we get a cheap strobe that is really bright, lightweight, easy to wire-in, AND blinks 40 times a minute?