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Low flying planes at beaches

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JB-I, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. JB-I

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    Just want to get opinions on flying at beaches. I was at a beach in RI last weekend and brought my drone to get some shots. My goal was to launch it quickly and head out over the water 100-200 feet off shore and about 200-300 ft altitude and get some video and pics. As I was sitting there thinking about getting it out and prepping it for launch a plane towing a banner comes flying down the cost at about 400-500 feet altitude. Then seconds later a private helicopter comes buzzing up the shore only about 100 ft out and probably 200 FEET ALTITUDE! I quickly decided it was not a good idea to launch. Later that day I was fishing on an inlet to an inner water way miles away from the beach and 1000 ft inland from the ocean. Just as I started to get things ready to launch a WWII fighter plane buzzed us overhead literally 150 FT altitude. Totally illegal! WTF. I'm sure the FAA would hold me responsible if something happened even though the pilot of the plane was completely being reckless. And BTW he was not landing but doing show off flyby maneuvers to impress who ever was with him or watching. Just curious what your experiences and thoughts are for flying around beaches. I see a lot of beach video and pics and wonder if anyone has experienced this or is concerned about it.
     
  2. Traveler

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    If the are close enough to read their number you can report them. They can go below 500 feet, BUT they also suppose to be 500 feet from any person. Like us, the have to be accountable too!


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  3. JB-I

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    But if they can fly below 500 ft and we can too and we are both 500 ft from people than we have a potential problem. Don't we!
     
  4. Traveler

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    We do have that potential, thus the reason to stress see and avoid. The FAA regs says for them, sparse and or unpopulated areas, and again 500 feet from any person. My issues is, at their speed, they can cover 500 feet in about 4 seconds. Not much time to react. We're the new kids on the block though, so it is doubtful that they are going to take anything away from them. You were being smart to assess and stay grounded. Perhaps it would help to contact the nearest local airport and advice them if you are concerned about traffic where you want to fly. I would think that they could, although not sure they would, advice pilots of your intended operation. On the other hand, they may simply recommend you don't.
    Be safe.
    You did right in my opinion.



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  5. alokbhargava

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    I doubt these planes will dare to fly at such a low heights. It looks as if they are flying at 200' whereas they actually fly at 500'. I may be wrong but that's what I noticed. It's so difficult to judge the height of a plane by just looking at them.
     
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  6. strgazr27

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    They can also file for exemptions under special circumstances. And height can be deceiving.


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  7. DroneValley

    Approved Vendor

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    I fly a lot at the coast and you did the right thing by not flying when those other aircraft were around. Even though it's really hard to judge a planes height from the ground, it's better to be safe than sorry. The FAA is pretty clear about when planes can go below their mandated floor of 500'. Overall they can only do this when on approach to an airport or in an emergency landing situation. The only other exceptions for this are with light aircraft (like the plane towing the banner) and helicopters (for sightseeing). Even then they are not allowed to do this over populated areas. These exceptions could cause you a problem at the beach so that's why its super important to adhere to the "line of sight" rule so you can take action if needed to avoid contact. Even though these other aircraft are technically breaking the rules (with the exception), they still have the Right of Way and you'll be at fault if a collision occurs. I have to commend you again on your responsible flying, less experienced flyers might not have passed on flying that day.
     
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  8. PTCX

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    It's not always so hard to tell how low a plane is flying.
    I was at a local beach one day getting some shots of a shipwreck and the sand dunes and I launched from atop the dunes about 600 meters from the wreck and before I reached the wreck I heard a plane comming so dropped the Phantom down to near ground level almost at the waters edge and hovered.I took off the FPV goggles and looked for the plane to find it was flying at an altitude lower than the dune I was standing on,that dune is 30 to 40 meters high above sea level.
    I could see the top surface of the planes wings,how high do you think it might have been?
     
  9. Mark The Droner

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    I can tell you right now they do things different in North Carolina. On the beaches of Long Beach on Oak Island for example, people do whatever they want. Drink on the beach? Sure. Drive your boat close to shore? Of course. Run your wave runner in and out from the beach with people splashin' all around? Absolutely. And yes, I've seen those little planes fly so low you can hit 'em with a frisbee, nevermind a UAV.

    Just sayin'
     
  10. Traveler

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    It it reasonable to say that they have their share of reckless pilots too, so again, if you can read their number, they are likely too low, and I have to have faith that the FAA is concerned for reckless action on all sides. No one can fault you for reporting questionable behavior.

    Lastly, I is refreshing to see a thread with good peoples comments vs some of the trolls we have had lately!

    Cheers all.


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  11. Casey Gosselin

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    I was in north Kingstown camping and flew my drone that Saturday(23rd) and the 24th. We could've seen the same plane. It was probably 300 feet high
    and towing a geico banner. It flew straight in the direction of my quad. Luckily I lowered it to about 70 feet and waited till it passed, then landed. Afterthat I didn't put it up again for a couple hours and if I did not for very long. It really freaked me out.


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  12. Othan1

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    Report them. Do whatever. But the rule is "They have right of way".

    Whatever argument, feeling, emotion what have you in the moment or after...it doesn't matter beyond "they have right of way."
     
  13. RadRich

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    IMHO, why worry about what other people are doing? As long as you obey the laws/rules...if something was to happen, they can't blame you. You have a flight record, and if you stayed under 400 ft, you're Jake. I went to video the State Fair's last firework show and saw a few low flying planes and helicopters. Not once did I think not to fly.
    1. It was not a No Fly Zone area
    2. I was going to stay under 400 feet
    3. My Phantom is registered with the FAA
    Would I feel bad if someone hit my drone and crashed? After the initially shock, absolutely. However, if I'm doing everything by the book, then other aircraft have to be responsible for their actions, too. Just because they also wanted to see the fireworks doesn't give them the permission to bend or break the laws they must abide by.
     
  14. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I highly commend those above who saw planes and opted to not fly. That's how we do it and how we prove we are smart and rational about it.

    If you are hit by a manned aircraft YOU have failed the See & Avoid requirement. It's very simple as we are on the bottom of the totem pole regardless of how we feel about it. The rules are in place to ensure MANNED aircraft are safe and people on the ground are safe and we are required to See & Avoid regardless.

    Yes there are "scud runner" pilots who break the rules but that does not relieve the UAV operator of the requirement to See & Avoid!
     
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  15. Mike Hall

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    I had this same problem last week while I was on vacation.

    The problem was the tour helicopters buzzing the edge of the beach at 200 feet. I myself thought this was a little low, but who knows!!!

    I would hear them coming and i would lower my P3A to about 50 feet and then I was very uncomfortable flying that low even though the lifeguards had no problem with it.
     
  16. sg-nc

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    In case anyone is wondering is questioning how low aircraft are flying at Oak Island / Caswell beach NC - I just got back and captured this:


    I just put it out at around 120 feet up. Heard a helicopter ( Robinson R22 ) and immediately put it out further away from the beach and lowered to 80 feet. You can see it fly right over. I'm on the boardwalk, no more than a few hundred feet.

    Really made me think about flying out of visual range. It's our responsibility to avoid these craft and as much as I'd like to practice long runs up and down the beach, going to need to really watch the altitude, and attitude.

    If someone would like to suggest a better course of action, or give guidance I'm listening.
     
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