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Flying near an airport (UK)

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by pault, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. pault

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    Hi all

    IT arrived today and the maiden flight passed without damage but with a great deal of pleasure :)

    For the foreseeable future I will be in training mode but I am curious to know the legalities of flying near an airport.

    The easiest place for me to learn is about 2-3 miles away from an airport but well off any flightpath. I am aware that for licenced flyers the maximum height is 400 ' but that seems very high. I cannot find any maps showing any controlled airspace around the airport so I would be grateful for any pointers about where I could find one and anything else I should be aware of.

    Edit: the PV2 is obviously well under the 7kg limit when it would need specific permission from air traffic control to fly in controlled airspace so does that mean that only the 400' ceiling applies ?

    TIA
     
  2. Shrimpfarmer

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    If you keep it well below 400' then your going to be fine.
     
  3. pault

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    Thanks, that will be fine as I suppose at that height it is virtually impossible to see what the PV2 is doing so you are relying on the instruments/data anyway. Really looking forward to having the nerve to send it up that high :D
     
  4. Shrimpfarmer

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    Unless you have flown other RC aircraft I don't think you will enjoy it much above 100ft from your base altitude. If you do go higher than that keep it well out in front of you. Get someone to take your photo, you only have that look on your face just one time in this hobby :lol:
     
  5. FPV col

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    In the uk there is a 400' Max height for model aircraft as you stated but also if you are flying FPV (first person view) you are required to fly LOS (line of sight) with the aid of a second person as a spotter.. Be careful flying in near proximity of an airfield as there may be military activity and they very often under exemption fly well below the minimum 500' rule…
     
  6. garygid

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    Location:
    Laguna Hills, Orange county, CA 92653
    If you visit the airport, find the area where pilots file flight plans,
    and ask someone to show you an air traffic control map.

    Here is a resource for VFR sectional online maps in the USA
    http://vfrmap.com/about.html

    This one appears to be worldwide, and you can zoom out,
    scroll, and zoom in to see the UK. If you are located there,
    it might come up by default.
    http://skyvector.com/

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. Pull_Up

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    Ok, this is going to be a long one, sorry - don't say I didn't warn you. Pet subject of mine, I'm afraid, the whole UK legislation. Disclosure: I'm a lapsed UK PPL(M) and want to clear up a few misconceptions that seem to be around about legal aspects of RC flying in the UK. The rules regarding flying anything in the UK are contained in the Air Navigation Order ( http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP393.pdf ) which has legal status - break it, you're breaking the law.

    Model aircraft flying ("small unmanned aircraft") are exempt from most of the provisions, but the ones that directly effect us in the UK are:

    So, even in your back garden, or in the middle of nowhere, all bets are off if you fly like a ****head and hurt someone or something.

    Note the 7kg mass restriction in 4. Fly where you like, at whatever height you like... BUT s.138 means flying your Vision within a mile of Heathrow is going to land you with a big fine at best. Most airfields in the UK have an Aerodrome Traffic Zone (ATZ) which is a circle of radius 2 (sometimes 2.5) miles centred on the middle of the longest runway, extending up 2000ft. If you are within a couple of miles of an airfield then I wouldn't fly above 400ft as a self-imposed limit. If I was within half a mile of an airfield I wouldn't fly above the highest obstacle in the area (church steeple, or chimney or whatever) - actually I'd probably just go and find a nice bit of open land further away, to be honest.

    Lots of people think there is a restriction on smaller RC models flying above 400ft - it's not true. Legally you must maintain unaided visual contact. Guidelines have been issued that this is going to be around 400ft up and 500m horizontally. If you can't see your aircraft when it's 300ft up, you're breaking the law. If you can see it at 500ft up, you're not breaking the law. Of course at all times you need to be keeping a good lookout and listen out for other air traffic, especially unexpected ones like police helicopters, etc. Also, the "500ft rule" mentioned (Rules of the Air, Section 5, Low Flying (ANO Schedule 1) is frequently misunderstood. That rule says:
    It's a distance stipulation, not a height one. It's perfectly legal for a Cessna to be barrelling along at 30 feet above the deck, as long as they are 500ft away from you... but they might not see your Phantom 40ft off the deck right in their path. I used to regularly fly down to 50ft above large open fields to practice engine-out forced landings when I was training, for example. Probably wouldn't have seen something as small as a Vision being flown FPV from 1000ft away... I guess what I'm saying here is no matter what height you are at, you must keep a good look out for other air traffic. Don't rely on keeping under 400ft to be "safe" and don't rely on not finding any light aircraft at under 500ft, and don't restrict yourself to 400ft either if it's safe, and not recklessly done. I fly with the knowledge that if I hit any full-size aircraft with my Vision, at any height, I'm for the high jump and I look out accordingly.

    However, we have Visions - these are classed as "small unmanned surveillance aircraft" so we have some extra restrictions to deal with:

    So in addition to watching out for air traffic you need to keep well away from "the public" if they are not "under your control". A total stranger standing next to you talking about your aircraft is going to under your conrtol for these purposes, but random dog walkers, pedestrians on beaches, etc, not. Also, if you don't live out in the sticks then taking a tour of your neighbourhood is prohibited as well.

    If anyone wants to go to the lengths of buying charts I can recommend these guys as a place to buy 1:250,000 UK VFR charts of your area. They will show ATZs, no fly zones, controlled airspace, etc. overlaid on a scale that's useful for our purposes. http://www.afeonline.com/shop/caa-1-250-000-vfr-charts

    Sorry for the length, but..... Hello? Is anyone still here? Hello?! ;)
     
    Niro750 likes this.
  8. pault

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    Thank you guys for the replies :)

    I have read somewhere about the need for a second person when flying FPV but cannot find the relevant legislation .....

    It is also a moot point as to whether we are flying our PV in FPV mode as in my very limited experience I used a combination of visual and data control. At first I used only visual but within 20 minutes I was started to use the telemetry data as well. I have had some experience (albeit not very successful !) of flying model helicopters so am comfortable with Mode 2 so maybe a complete novice would be relying on mark 1 eyeball for longer.
     
  9. FPV col

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    Pull_Up.. Thanks for the brief answer :D interesting to see you are a fellow full size pilot, I also hold a UK PPL M rating and my bird is a quantum 912 :)
     
  10. Pull_Up

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    Here it is: http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/ORS4%20number%20956.pdf It's an exemption from s166(3) of the ANO, which has to be renewed annually by the CAA.

    I have heard from the chair of FPVUK that the CAA would not consider flying a Vision to be flying FPV if you are using it as advertised with a smartphone. If you start to add immersive FPV equipment like Fat Shark goggles then it would be deemed as such and in order to fly this way legally you would need to follow all of the criteria in the exemption.
     
  11. Pull_Up

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    Was, being the operative word. Looking in my log book I see my last flight was 2 weeks before the birth of my first child. And he was 7 in October! Apart from being too tired to be safe in the early months I didn't want to miss out on spending time with him (and subsequent number 2) to keep current, keep the aircraft maintained, etc, so after about 10 months I sold my AX2000 three-axis machine (lovely HKS 4 stroke on it). Always preferred a cabin and stick-n-rudder flying to being out in the breeze under a floppy wing. ;) Trained at Enstone and kept the aircraft there, too.

    http://flickr.com/gp/bagpipe/brbn34
     
  12. FPV col

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    Yep children do tend to keep you busy and the wallet empty... Nice machine the AX and even better with the HKS, I had an engine out once on a Q flexwing 462 motor at 1200' and managed to get it into a field which turned out to be a large garden of a very big house :) I also fly three axis aswel. Its C42 in winter and quantum in summer :D
     
  13. Pull_Up

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    Yes, it was a nice little machine once you got used to the adverse yaw from that all-flying rudder. Used to be nice on hot days to take the doors off for a little more ventilation.... Anyway, thread wandering alert!

    So yes, my advice to non-PPLs who are interested in who else might be sharing their airspace is to get a quarter mill VFR chart (I linked to it previously) which will show you not only obvious airfields but also microlight sites, gliding sites, parachute dropping sites, restricted areas, military low flying, etc, etc.
     
  14. Pull_Up

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    Just by coincidence here's a quick snap I took this morning walking the dog. This was over 2.5 miles away from RAF Benson. I'm not sure exactly how high that Merlin was but I know I've had my Phantom higher and with full visual contact. Keep listening and looking out and you'll always miss 'em!
     

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  15. shortyuk

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    interesting to see so many ex microlight pilots, its been 15 years since i flew , i started with a flash 2 alpha with a rotax 503, then my second flexwing was a Q 462, did some big cross countys in that machine, even flew it to belgium and back in 4 days from eshott in northumberland. Still got my lapsed ppl(d) lying around somewhere.
     
  16. gpauk

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    And a quick hello from another pilot -- paragliders this time though! A tad cheaper.... :)
     
  17. FPV col

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    Shortyuk... Now find that PPL and book a GST sounds like you miss it ! :)
     
  18. FPV col

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    Nice.. Never had a go but always wanted to..
     
  19. shortyuk

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    yes fpv im sure i will get back into it some day, things have moved on alot though, when i think back i think i paid around 5500 for my Q 462, some of the guys i used to fly with are spenting 25000 now for the latest flexwing, its all 1000cc 4 stokes now, and 75 mph cruise speeds, the lads i used to fly with have done some major flights now, over the north sea to norway, eastern europe , following the danube etc, heres me stuck with my phantom lol, i must say im loving it though
     
  20. zlinuk

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    Another UK PPL here although no longer current. Trained at Aero's out of Gloucester and was fairly active for 5 or 6 years. Without a doubt the best thing I ever did. Flying the Phantom is almost as much fun and a whole lot cheaper.