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Flying in trees

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Chris Vedeler, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. Chris Vedeler

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    I flew my P3 at a camp ground in the trees this past weekend. I must admit it was the most nervous I have ever been flying. I aborted several attempts of getting above the trees as the P3 would drift slightly towards the trees. Once above the trees I lost sight of my quad and so had to trust the POV and the GPS.

    Here is a video I made:

     
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  2. wardchris22

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    Nice work. Haven't been game to try that yet. Only have a week's worth of flying under my belt to date. Not sure about the US, but here in Australia, it's actually illegal to fly above 400ft or to not have line of sight of the aircraft at all times without express approval from the aviation authority. I can understand many of the rules, but many others defy logic, but there are whispers that some of these rules may be relaxed a little in the near future.
     
  3. ozbusa

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    The 400' limit in Australia only applies to flight within controlled airspace. Download the CASA app called "Are You Safe to Fly your Drone?". It gives you the rules for Australia.
    Trust me , I'm an Air Traffic Controller!
     
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  4. Chris Vedeler

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    I had my height limit set to 120 meters on my first flight from my camp ground. I was launching from a valley floor and at that limit I could quite easily hit the side of a hill less than 200 meters away. If I would have climbed to the top of that hill and flown to 400 feet from that point, I would have been 700 - 800 feet above the valley floor. I figured the spirit of the law was to protect aircraft and any aircraft flying only 400 feet above the valley floor would be in serious danger, not from my P3, but for hitting the surrounding mountains.
     
  5. ozbusa

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    I suspect the 400' is related to the fact that under CAR's (Civil Aviation Regulations) aircraft are not supposed to fly below 500' above ground level or 1000' above a built up area. That is 500' above the ground immediately below them. This obviously doesn't apply to aircraft close to an airport, but you can't fly there anyway without approval.
     
  6. Chris Vedeler

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    So in mountainous areas, what is "ground level"? The 400 foot rule makes sense when the ground level is flat, but what about steep mountainous areas?
     
  7. zzkazu

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    ozbusa, that is great information; app and ruling interpretation. I always understood it was a hard ceiling at 400 feet no matter what in Aussie.
     
  8. ozbusa

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    The regulations can't cover every circumstance, however if you can safely fly your aircraft within 500' of the ground, then you can follow the terrain on your flight path going up and down and left to right as required to avoid said terrain. So an aircraft could be flying down a narrow valley or ravine and be well below the surrounding hills and mountains. Sorry I can't be more specific.
     
  9. caffeinated

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    True. It's the 5km rule that kills me, specifically heliports. I like my country scenery so all good but there are such nice open parks within 5km of Melbourne cbd
     
  10. ozbusa

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    Remember, its not the CBD, but the airports and helipads etc. But with Tullamarine, Essendon, Moorabin and the city heliports etc it does become difficult in a city. Basically if you can start your Phantom 3 then you should be able to operate below 400' given the firmwares inbuilt airport restrictions.
    The other point I should add is that Controlled Airspace goes well beyond 5 km from airports etc, but the lower level of the Controlled Airspace gets higher the further you are from the airport.
     
    #10 ozbusa, Jun 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  11. RoyVa

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    Any pilots flight path is going to be above the mountain terrain at a safe altitude equal to a safe glide path alltitude to clear any tree or obstacles on those mountain ranges so really your Phantom was in safe flying areas from aircraft based on their safe flying alltitude for the terrain. Boy does that get mind boggling. Be safe fly safe and have fun!!
     
  12. wardchris22

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    Interesting info zzkazu. I always found the RPA rules interesting given that fixed wing aircraft must remain a minimum of 500ft above ground, and 1000ft above built up areas, yet rotary wing must only maintain a clearance of 300ft. That puts RPAs smack bang in the middle of this range, and hence many safety arguments are disregarded.

    I have an app called 'safe to fly' but I'm not sure it's CASA built/regulated.

    I have a commercial licence for fixed wing light aircraft (but have not flown since retail drones hit the market) so I'm a little behind on any rules and regs regarding their use.
     
  13. Adamation

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  14. wardchris22

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    Apologies, it was ozbusa who made the comment. Yes I have that app, and i had obviously overlooked the fact that it was a controlled airspace thing.

    The other question/challenge I have in terms of the regs is the 30m rule. I cannot see any specification anywhere that says it relates to horizontal distance only, therefore if I am 30m ABOVE any building, public arena etc then to the word of the regulations I am still technically ok. I might be taking a few liberties here, but that's the way I interpret it
     
  15. wardchris22

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    Chris Vedeler, the basic rules in general aviation (in australia at least) are that you must remain 500ft above ground level at all times, and not within 1500m of any ground/mountain that reduces this (yes we deal in feet vertically and metres horizontally - don't ask me why). So in theory you could fly through a 3000m wide canyon at 500ft above the bottom, but if that canyon were only 2000m wide, you would have to fly at 500ft above the highest point within a 1500m radius. Not explaining this well.... For a general aviation aircraft (eg Cessna) if you were to find the highest point within a 1500m of your aircraft at any time, you must fly a minimum of 500ft above this. So for drones, anything below this should be fine.
     
  16. Volantis

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    Thanks for posting your video. Flying through trees is one of my cinematic objectives. I like the scene where you were looking straight down the trees and moving horizontally slightly. That could be developed into an artistic impression.

    Here in the Midwest, we don't have tall lodge pole pines, so my approaches will be different. I was delighted to see you maintained contact with the drone. Fortunately, the canopy is not that dense where you were flying. Dense, broad leaf trees may not be as forgiving.

    Out here, a single tree in line of sight can block WiFi.
     
  17. caffeinated

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    I must admit this has crossed my mind daily. The'pictures' in the brochure have left right arrows but that's kind of meaningless. The brochures themselves are interesting as well as they are somewhat an interpretation of the underlying wordy regs which are far less clear.
     
  18. ozbusa

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    The Safe to Fly app or Flyer is linked from this CASA page:
    http://www.casa.gov.au/scripts/nc.dll?WCMS:STANDARD::pc=PC_100375
    So I am taking it as gospel, although I did try to ring them today for clarification and was given a number to call which just goes to an answering machine. I left a message and will post more if I get any further clarification.
     
  19. Ezookiel

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    It's 400' above ground level, i.e. the ground under your bird, so if the ground is rising, so is your maximum ceiling.
    This is great going UP a hill because your limit is above the ground underneath you, so you're pretty well right unless you were seriously high at the start.

    The real danger becomes when you're at the top. Flying at 400' at the top of a 400' cliff is fine right up until you go over the edge, and then suddenly you're flying at 800' and technically in breach, and then suddenly you'relegal again as soon as you come back over the top again. On a really steep mountain it could be almost impossible to descend as fast as the terrain can drop away beneath you,
     
  20. sym0

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    Well, I think you are all wrong. When I got my CASA UOC the definition of ground level is height above any obstruction within 600m of the aircraft. This means 400ft above com towers, tree tops, building terrain, anything, but only within 600m of the aircraft.

    This should not pose any issues with other aircraft as you we required to stay 1000m clear at all times, so if they fly over a tall tower at 500ft above the terrain but not increase altitude to clear a tower by the min 500ft altitude you should already be on the ground.

    Of course you would have made a mandatory air and VHF broadcast prior so any aircraft within 10nm will know you are there.

    Then again if your not licensed you just do whatever since your not trained and have no idea if you flying in restricted airspace, danger zones, controlled class c or within 3nm of ANY take off or landing point (including helipads which are everywhere, grass airstrips, registered and unregistered aerodromes).

    The safe to fly app is rubbish, you need oz runways and access to VTC and VNC charts for proper definition of airspace categories, correct VHF freq. and populous areas.

    CASA are relaxing the rules in a few weeks or months (who knows with them), which is not going to help anyone since the main change is to let unlicensed operators work for money, trouble is when you work out where you can fly without a license don't expect it to be anywhere convenient. Those helipads are literally everywhere. And you are not allowed to fly within 3nm.

    UOC holders are permitted to fly under 400ft (or whatever restriction their PPL, or RPAS Level 1 allows) anywhere except towered aerodromes. And UOC holders can also apply for area approvals for exemption to these restrictions too (for a cool $480 each approval). UOC holders can also set up permanent danger zones for frequent flights in one area.

    The other main issue is that unlicensed UAV operators are not insured. No aviation insurance provider will insure you without a UOC, and no employer or client will contract you without it at least $20million liability cover.

    So while the rules are being relaxed, you will still have to conform to industry work place health and safety, insurance and specific professional requirements as a worker and you can't do that with out the UOC.

    Typical CASA cart before the horse.
     
    #20 sym0, Jun 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2015
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