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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by martcerv, Oct 17, 2013.
Marty, thanks for posting this. It is quite informative and especially the arguments the attorney is putting forward. Whe asked about the laws, I have also made the analogy of "private" vs "commercial" tickets and "Flying for Hire" as a pilot. Additionally, there is a lot of talk about issuing "pilot licenses" for Phantom and other quad hobbyists. I hope we are all smart enough to police ourselves.
I found it interesting just like the video's I posted the other day with Luke's interviews with Colin Guinn. The rules are so grey that even if you want to follow them all you dont know exactly what the enforceable laws are. The commercial use I find rather silly and old fashioned as the FAA or CASA (in australia) are meant to be worried about safety not making money or stopping others from doing so. If something is ok without being paid I dont see how it is all of a sudden an issue when someone would pay for the service.
I think people should be held responsible for their own actions there are already laws regarding privacy, endangering others and or interfering with other people in a negative way in general. Sure if someone does something stupid then they should be punished under any current laws regarding privacy, or damages if they occur.
The one thing that I find the strangest is commercial use and YT videos, having a partner channel and getting some ad revenue would term the aerial video of a quad as commercial use. But if the user is not allowed to profit from such videos then how could youtube justify putting their own ads on to such videos. If the original creator of the video cant get a share of the ad revenue then should this not apply to everyone? Sould such videos be not permitted to have any google adsense ads on them at all as this is all commercial use is it not from anyone making money of such alleged illegal content. How can DJI run a video contest or anyone else with a prize up for grabs and then the terms indicate that they can use the video commercially in any way they choose. Its all just too murky and what we really need is clarification of the laws as they are enforceable, the last thing we need is more registration and bribes I mean licenses to pay.
I have been offered some commercial work with my phantom but turned it all down as the laws are too much of a grey area and constantly changing. From what I understand in Australia it costs around $10k+ to be permitted to do aerial RC video commercially. I will do a few projects for free just to practice my skills and get permission to fly in a few places in trade for some videos I can share. This surely is not commercial use as I see it but who knows how some may interpret this type of use, I think its much better to fly in places with full permission and if this means I need to share some video footage then I see no issue with this approach. The trade for content is purely for my use as a hobby and no financial gain is given to me by doing so therefore it cant be seen as commercial use.
I'm with you. I just turned down a gig to shoot the San Francisco skyline from just off shore for a production company doing a TV series. Too much exposure for me to consider doing it for free and too big a risk to do it for "hire". Until there are defined rules and regulations, I'll stick to keeping my head down and flying in areas where I stand little chance of criticism.
The problem is that the CASA (Australian) regs date from 2002 - well before every man and his dog had a camera on a flying thing. At that time there was a much clearer distinction between how people were flying for fun (tooling around with no cameras) and for business (large military-scale UAVs). When you're flying for fun without a camera you WANT to be miles away from everything. As soon as you add a camera, then you want to fly close to things for $$$, and that IS a safety issue.
While the CASA regs are still 15 years ahead of the FAA's, they're about 3 years behind the industry. CASA is working to change the regs, but it's slow. Theoretically, commercial ops with something Phantom-sized will come down from a $10k application to an online application with a pro-forma manual. You'll still need insurance and some training, but it is getting more appropriate.
The thing is, there's very little commercial stuff you could do, other than ag, in compliance with the "model" regs even if you ignore the requirement for an OC.
If you think the regs are onerous, think about what YOU would want to see for the random guy flying one on your street to take real estate photos of your neighbour's house.
I do understand what your saying but I dont see any difference between a kid flying In the street and a guy doing it commercialy. I couldnt care if the guys getting paid or not that is of no concern to me its his abilities and if he is being a nuisance or damaging things. Just because someone gets a license doesnt mean they are guaranteed to be no risk anymore. Look at the roads everyone is licensed pretty much but many are still a danger to themselves and everyone else. The funny thing is taxi drivers that pay $500k for a license to be allowed to charge a fee to drive people around are arguably some of the worst drivers and highest risk on the roads.
I dont see any distinction between a professional driver and a commercial driver and they all can do the same thing. You also dont need a special commercial license to drive a car as in anything that fly's. There are limitations for license types of the tyoe of vehicle you operate but not if you can make money using it or not. I dont see how someone can legaly fly a model hobby aircraft and within these same limits using the same setup its illegal to make even 1 dollar from the exact same craft in the same location. Safety has nothing to do with this regulation, and if anything this adds risk to this person.
I just dont see how someone paying $10k makes what they do any safer, if anything they will likely need to do more work just to pay this back and take more risks. More time in the air equals more risk of something going wrong and putting very high costs on such things will likely make people cut costs on equipment or maintenance in order to maximise profits and therefor making them more of a hazard then a hobby user
A lot of people ignore the actual regs though - you're not supposed to fly "over populous areas" or within "30m of people not directly involved in the operation". Those two effectively SHOULD wipe out the kid flying in the street and anyone trying to do event or real-estate photography. The fact that people ignore the model regs isn't a failing of the commercial certification system. It's a bit like saying truck drivers shouldn't need a commercial licence because other people speed.
Certification by CASA is the ONLY avenue I'm aware of to be able to move within those boundaries and do feasible commercial ops. That gives CASA oversight and a level of rigour to the systems and people operating in a risky environment.
A licence doesn't remove the risk entirely, but it adds a level of societal comfort that *someone* at least is watching. Fair point on the taxi drivers, but I think they also have different BAC limits. Commercial truckies and bus drivers certainly have more rigorous requirements than anyone doing something similar for perosnal use (like an RV).
My bottom line is that while the CASA system is currently onerous, I'm not opposed to oversight when there's risk to the general public. Even the revised regs will still only be "easy" if you're operating over non-populous areas and more than 30m from people.
Regulations on the roads though dont classify people as commercial license or regular license its a license type for heavy or larger vehicles. I could be wrong but taxis are the only ones that require a special license I order to charge fares for passengers. If you have a license for a particular large vehicle its just to give you access to drive these vehicles on public roads. There is no special license restriction between profit or non profit use.
In the rc world I think having some form of licensing with different classes of craft by size and weight wouldn't be a bad thing. Even just a basic test like a boat operators license for craft under a certain weight limit there is no need for this to be expensive just cover the costs of the licensing and testing. This way you would ensure that all people that pass this test will be aware of all regulations and then anyone flying outside of this will be fully aware of their actions. The laws will be clearly written and all applicable laws will be covered in such a test. There should also be a hobby class that requires no license for very lightweight craft. There should be no restrictions between commercial or recreational use within any set category but clear boundaries of what is and isn't permitted should be clearly layed out.
If such things are too expensive or laws far too restrictive then people will simply do what they want and avoid any or all set rules and licensing. If CASA is truly there to look out for the safety of other aircraft and general population they should get off their butts and do something that clears things up and isn't a basic money grab. They should be looking at educating people and doing this in a way that people would be willing to participate without making regulations that make the hobby inaccessible to the regular hobbyist.
I dont expect CASA to go the right way with this though as most licensing in Australia is a complete joke and not much more then letting those with lots of money do what they like and the rest get a big fat finger and STFU.
As an example a commercial product we did a while back included lit up advertising signs, these were to be placed on the roadside and the laws prohibit any lit sign on the side of the road because it is a hazard to drivers. This sounds fair enough but if you pay a $15k fee for an area near the road you can place whatever signs and lights you want. Is it no longer a hazards to the drivers? or does it not matter because the gov has now got their cut and they dont care about public safety as long as they make money. :lol:
Here is an example of the type of aerial video approved for commercial use by CASA in Australia, this is both a residential area even if a little rural, it is also with lots of people around the track.
Credit to the pilot as I think he has amazing skills but seriously if this is permitted with a full size heli I see their limitations on a 1-2 kg RC FPV and cam setup doing a similar thing just slightly hypocritical. :mrgreen:
Im sure if an RC heli was to crash the odds of any loss of life or serious damage to property being very slim, on the other hand this pilot makes a slight mistake it cause the death of everyone on board and quite possibly more people on the ground. The damage to any area where it crashes would also be devastating but I can see why flying a 1.3kg RC quadcopter is just far too dangerous given the same conditions.
Great thread martcerv. I've had numerous requests for paid gigs but still say no until the rules shake out. The hypocrisy and irony is self evident throughout these official notices. In spite of that, I am fearful of the wave of cheap quads about to fill the atmosphere with flyaways, crashes on roads and near plane misses.
Hope Trappy from TBS wins this, otherwise we all will be SOL......