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New Phantom Flyer here - Questions, where not to fly?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by browen81, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. browen81

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    So I just received my Phantom 2VP 3.0 last week and have been having a blast flying it, but I am still very cautious to where I am allowed to fly, and how to handle the situation if I am questioned by the law.

    First, I live by the Ontario International Airport in California. I have done my research and understand the rules for flying near an airport, but have seen some conflicting laws.

    1. From what I understand is you cannot fly within a 2 mile radius of the airport, and in the 5 mile radius GPS waypoints are disabled, but you can still fly if you contact the air control tower...but really and I am going to make a big deal and contact them when I'm 5 Miles away, when I will only be about 200-300ft up?
    2. Then I read somewhere that you cannot even fly the drone in the 5 mile radius.

    So which is it, can or can I not fly within 5 miles?

    My second question. I am going to Vegas next month. Is it illegal to fly over Vegas and take videos of all the attractions? If I stay in a hotel with a balcony, and fly off from there, is that illegal, or is it up to the hotel's policy. I have seen youtube videos of people doing it, but are they just taking a risk?

    Third question. If i go hiking in the mountains, and go up to a peak, and fly off. Lets say the drop goes beyond 400ft. As soon as I fly over from my starting point am I in violation cause I'm over 400ft? When going down I assume it will show negative altitude correct, and when the RTH function is enabled it will fly up to 0ft first then the additional 20M, and come home?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Fplvert

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    Location:
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    :D
    First of all, welcome to the forum.

    Glad you're enjoying your bird. Where have you been flying?
    Your first question was about airports; see here: http://www.dji.com/fly-safe/category-mc

    Your second question might deal with flying over people, which is not a good idea. You really need to use common sense and know that you are responsible for your aircraft and any harm it may cause.

    Your third question was about altitude and RTH. As long as you have a Home Lock, your app will show altitude above ground level. It is pretty accurate. In your example, the altitude displayed would increase as you flew away from the peak. The altitude on the app is AGL. If RTH is initiated, the bird must have 6+ satelites and a home lock; it then flys up 60' above takeoff altitude and goes home.

    MHL
    Fplvert
     
  3. browen81

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    Thank you for the response.

    I understand it's not recommended to fly over people as there is a chance it could fall on someone, but going back to my question, I guess there is no law that states I can't fly around the Vegas strip, unless I am flying recklessly and endangering other people?

    For my third question, I didn't really get a clear answer from you. What I am trying to ask is, if I fly off a cliff, and the drop is greater than 400ft, am I instantly in violation, even though I started out at AGL? So I fly out 1000ft (horizontal) and the drop descends to 700ft (vertical), how is this determined as legal or not? And when descending the bird down the cliff, will it show negative altitude? In the event of RTH and if it has a negative altitude, it will first reach AGL, then ascend to 60' and fly back, correct?
     
  4. CityZen

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    Regarding question 3: The altitude shown in the app is always relative to the starting point. The craft doesn't know anything about ground level. If you descend below the starting point, it will show negative values. RTH is based on the starting point altitude, so your assumption there is correct.

    As far as the legalities concerning the altitude, I'd offer my opinion that if a plane would not reasonably fly where your quad is, you ought to be okay. That is purely my opinion, and not legal advice. :)
    Realize also that US national parks have a blanket ban on drones, unless something changed recently. Check with a ranger to see what the current state is.
     
  5. Narrator

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    Just an added point regarding your Vegas trip. If you ever fly and take your drone with you, you'll need to take your batteries in your carry-on luggage and notify them that you are doing so. LiPo batteries are not allowed to be stowed.

    http://www.flightsafetyaustralia.com/20 ... board-737/

    I'm not sure if the above link is the one I heard about, but the story I heard was that film crew were flying between shoots and had stowed the batteries, with one or two connected to a portable charging unit.
     
  6. browen81

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    Thanks for the answers everyone.

    I will be driving to Vegas, but I will be flying to Cancun in a few months, so that tip about flying with batteries is very helpful thank you. I believe I will be bringing my bird with me on the plane, as I do not trust them handling it. Can I still have the batteries in their separate slots in the foam case?
     
  7. Narrator

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    Based on why they require them as carry-on (so that cabin staff can manage it), I'd say yes, but best to ask. Each airline may have a different procedure.
     
  8. Great Pumpkin

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    Be advised that most of the LV Strip is within the 5 mile air space of McCarran Field
     
  9. browen81

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    Thanks for the tip. After reviewing DJI's fly-safe information about airports, it seems Vegas's airport is category A, and has some strict limitations, and potentially would make my drone land itself if in the 1.5 mile radius. However, I will be further than 1.5 miles out, but will probably hit a height limit around 100-200ft, as the height limit gradually increases as you move further out to 5 miles.

    I think I will play it safe, it's best I pass on this, and not fly my bird in Vegas. Seems like there are too many factors I have to consider, and would hate to ruin my buddies bachelor party cause I was selfish and wanted epic video from the sky. Maybe ill take my Hubsan X4 and fly it in the hotel room, and down the hallway :lol: Who knows, maybe after a few drinks ill fly it off the balcony :eek:
     
  10. Larry L

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    First welcome to the forum. Check but if you carry your batteries on, I think they need to be in a lipo bag. Not positive though. Next, go download the hover app on the App Store if you use a iPhone. There is a pretty cool map that shows your location & if you are in a no fly zone. You will be inside of a red area that is pretty easy to see if you will be breaking the law :shock:
    Good luck & enjoy your bird.
     
  11. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    You might like to test that some day. It's completely wrong.
    The Phantom has no idea how far above the ground it is.
    But it has a very good how far above/below home point it is.
    The app altitude is relative to starting point - not ground level, sea level or anything else.
     
  12. Stanza_guy

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    This thread is very timely, what with the recent Drone on the White House Lawn fiasco. I've been reading to solidify my awareness no fly zones and now I'm coming up with conflicting information. Perhaps those in the know can help enlighten me/us.

    According to the DJI sites and videos, the Phantoms are firmware limited such that they won't take off within 1.5 miles of any A airport, and will enforce a gradually increasing hight limit out to 5 miles. I get the 1.5 limit - don't go there. My questions fall in the 1.5 to 5 mile range.

    According to sites such as https://www.mapbox.com/drone/no-fly/, this 5 mile zone is No-fly.

    Also, I have seen many posts here that cite FAA regulations. (Sorry, I don't have the regulation number handy) regarding a 5 mile limit, usually accompanied by the common UAS "do" - Do contact the airport or control tower when flying within 5 miles of the airport.

    Which is it?
    - Never fly within the 5 mile boundary, at any height?
    - Get airport clearance first, then fly within 5 and respect the height limits? (Airport clearance is unlikely, I understand)
    - Fly within 5, respect the height limits, no obligation to seek clearance.

    I'm not trying to argue that DJI's posted video constitutes law or policy, I just want to make sure I KNOW the genuine regulations.
     
  13. Stanza_guy

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    Hey fellow Phantom pilots - any hope of an answer here? I see I posted this only a few hours before Adam's unfortunate website yarf and subsequent restore, so I'm hoping maybe a reply was posted but lost in that shuffle.

    To summarize the core question:

    When within the 5 mile perimeter of a class A airport:
    - Never fly, never take off?
    - Contact the tower, obtain permission, then fly and respect the ceiling?
    - Fly anyway, respect the ceiling.

    Maybe response to this post has been slow because people are always reluctant to dispense what might be construed as legal advice. I understand that, and I'm not seeking such. More so, I'm looking for "As I understand it ...." type of responses.