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Had my longest flight (distance and time) today..

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Coach, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. Coach

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    Max Height 350'
    Travel Distance 16k'
    Total Flight Time 14 minutes
    Max distance 3500'

    All my flights have been LOS until today. I was out over a frozen lake and wanted to push MY limits a little and fly using FPV and GPS. Around 1000' out and 200' up I lost sight of the bird (the moment I looked at my display). That's when I decided to have a little fun and realized this is what P3P's are designed to do.

    I'm still taking baby steps, but with each step, I'm learning and having a blast!
     
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  2. Ralph M

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    I've been intrigued by the way the FAA chose to word its safety guidelines:

    Keep your UAS with visual line of sight

    Technically - and I assume the FAA is a technical organization - visual line of sight does NOT mean the same thing as visible to the naked eye. What it means is that the sight line between the controller's position and the UAS is direct and unobstructed. This makes sense since radio frequency communications between the drone and the remote control could be interrupted by the presence of a hill or buildings or other landscape feature. Such an interruption could compromise the safe operation of the drone. But it doesn't mean that the drone can be seen without optical aid.

    So, your flight today was likely to still be LOS. It just flew out of unaided visibility. Congrats!
     
  3. RedHotPoker

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  4. Ralph M

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    @RedHotPoker - aside from the fact that you apparently don't know what the expression "don't mince words" means (mince words), I have reviewed the FAA document you linked. It provides no definition for "line of sight" and offers NO evidence that my understanding of a common technical term is incorrect.

    The GCN link is broken and points to a null page.

    For your own information, you might want to refer to the following:

    line of sight - Wiktionary
     
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  5. RedHotPoker

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    Hahaha, you make me laugh. Seriously out loud.
    http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf
    Besides, I live in Canada, and couldn't of cared less about your FAA, or opinions, ideas of proper flying style... You do it the way that you see fit, ok?
    Just fly it like you stole it, and you will be fine/d. Ha
    I enjoy the turmoil... Yeah, look that up too, ok. Hehe

    RedHotPoker
     
  6. Ralph M

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    @RedHotPoker: First, the additional FAA document you provided does, in fact, provide an interpretation - not a definition - of the term line of sight. It is an interpretation that is at odds with both its plain language meaning and technical use.

    The difference between interpretation and definition is important because "line of sight" didn't come from the FAA - it was part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 written by the US Congress. And the US Congress didn't bother to explain the term.

    More importantly, it is part of a document from 2014 that addresses model aircraft - not quadcopters such as the Phantom 3. Since that time, the FAA formally chosen to treat quadcopters differently than model aircraft in several substantive ways.

    One of the ways drones are treated differently is that "line of sight" is expressed as part of the "Safety guidelines for flying your unmanned aircraft." Guidelines, not rules. The example below is copied directly from my sUAS Registration Certificate.

    Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 12.37.43 AM.jpg .
    So, RedHotPoker, chortle if you like about my insistence on fact and accuracy (and the proper use of the English language), and cover your lack of same with bluster, but the reality is that the FAA has not provided a clear definition of what "line of sight" means in the context of sUAS. In its absence, I suggest the dictionary definition trumps yours.
     
  7. msinger

    Approved Vendor

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    Ralph M, in my approved 333 exemption, here is how the FAA explains "VLOS":

    "The UA must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the PIC at all times. This requires the PIC to be able to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, as specified on the PIC’s FAA-issued airman medical certificate."

    I realize my 333 exemption is to be used for commercial use, but I don't think the FAA is going to have a different definition of "VLOS" for hobby use. Whenever I've seen the FAA mention VLOS anywhere, they either use it vaguely or very specifically describe it as unaided vision.
     
  8. Ralph M

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    @msinger: Thank you for providing an example of FAA usage that is pertinent to this discussion.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
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  9. bluer101

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    Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) operations; means exactly that, keeping the unmanned aircraft in visual-line-of-sight at all times. This means not flying an unmanned aircraft into clouds or fog, not behind trees, buildings or other [even partial] obstructions. VLOS also means un-aided vision except for prescription glasses or sunglasses, and not having to use binoculars, telescopes or zoom lenses to see the unmanned aircraft.
     
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  10. JKDSensei

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    Hey Coach,
    Were you worried?
    I've been up to 375' but I don't do the long distance stuff....im chicken :D
    I've only been about 1500' out and could still see it.....but dang....that's far enough for me.

    Yeah, kudos on flying out over a frozen lake.....but would you have gone after it if it had landed out there near the middle?
    Or maybe it's a lake known to be safely frozen thick enough?

    I'm close to the everglades and I'm tempted to fly way out there but if it had a malfunction, getting out there is next to impossible unless you have an airboat...and even then not so easy.
    I gots no airboat :(
     
  11. rene van der meer

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    This makes sense. If you are flying nearby objects it is much safer watching the AC then using only the camera.
    I don't understand how people can fly such great distances and still maintain VLOS.
     
  12. Coach

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    Nah, I wasn't worried. Maybe a little nervous. People were driving trucks out on the lake, so yes I'd go out and get it. :)
     
  13. Solar Deity

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    Here's a graphical representation.

    SD

    VLOS.jpg
     
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  14. CactusJackSlade

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    That is about right.... at about 1000 feet if I blink I will lose VLOS o_O
     
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  15. Ralph M

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    @Solar Deity: I agree that your chart - nicely done, by the way - is a potential explanation for the FAA's inaccurate (from an English/technical standpoint) interpretation of the term given to it by Congress (but not defined), "line of sight." But why is it so hard to find anything like it in the FAA's own documents?
     
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  16. Jumping

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    Congress writes law with input from many sources, including agencies, constituents, lobbyists, court dicta, etc. To borrow a phrase, "What I have written, I have written". Then the agency must apply the law as written, and sometimes the agency will create details (regulations) within the scope of the law(s). The agency cannot, however, write or expand regulations outside the law. In the absence of agency regulations, both the public and the agency operate under the written law plus judicial findings.

    At times the agency may wish the law was more specific, said something else or required no details. In that case, they may choose not to write regulations. Then we have "guidelines" without force of law or regulations.

    Perhaps that describes where we are, with an agency wishing the law said something else; but knowing they cannot successfully write regulations in contravention of or beyond the written law.

    I do have great sympathy for the agency operating in the tension between the Code and the real world. Very difficult.
     
  17. rene van der meer

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    SD, nice picture.
    Can you honestly call everything between 1000 and 15.000 ft Line Of Sight?
    Shouldn't you be able to see the AC with the naked eye?

    I would rather call it LOT, Line Of Transmission.
    Even then if you fly further, how do you know that there are no objects between you and the AC?
     
  18. Solar Deity

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    SD, nice picture.
    Thanks

    Can you honestly call everything between 1000 and 15.000 ft Line Of Sight?
    You could call everything between zero and infinity LOS, as long as there is nothing between the Tx & Rx

    Shouldn't you be able to see the AC with the naked eye?
    That's Visual Line of Sight, and yes.

    I would rather call it LOT, Line Of Transmission.
    Sure, but I didn't coin the phrase, just interpreted it in a picture to differentiate VLOS & LOS.

    Even then if you fly further, how do you know that there are no objects between you and the AC?
    That would be geography. My pic was over water implying there is nothing in the way. The end could read infinity, as technically if nothing is between the transmitter and receiver, it's line of sight. Visual Line of Sight should be seen with the naked eye with no enhancements (help).

    SD
     
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