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scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 12:18 AM
Gents,

Let's define some flying guidelines.

Here are the ground rules:

Please throw out what it should be NOT how it shouldn't be.
Let's keep discussions limited to the guidelines.
I'll update/edit the swag bellow as we go.
I'd like to keep them as simple as possible. Let's not "lawyer it up."
Please keep in mind that there are other NAS stakeholders who must understand our guidelines as well.
Keep in mind, guidelines serve more than just dictate how you fly. Just as important, they communicate to everyone else how you fly. They make it easier for everyone to understand us.


As a current, IFR rated pilot and avid FPV hobbyist, I'll do my best to moderate the discussion from "both sides of the aisle".
Looking forward to everyone's positive contribution.

Thanks.
:)

Here's a quick draft from another thread:



Definitions:

First Person View (FPV) piloting- remotely controlling a model aircraft through live video from an onboard video camera sent via wireless video transmitter received by a wireless video receiver and displayed on devices such as a video monitor and/or video “goggles”.
Amateur- Non-commercial hobbyists and amateur model aircraft users operating for sport and recreation. (Commercial operations are not covered under these guidelines.)
Pilot- Person controlling the aircraft, responsible for maintaining situational awareness of the airspace around the model aircraft with the goal of maintaining traffic avoidance and general safe operations
Safety Observer- Person assisting the pilot in maintaining situational awareness of the airspace around the model aircraft with the goal of maintaining traffic avoidance and general safe operations

FPV Piloting Safety Guidelines:

1. Always give way to Full Scale Aircraft.
2. If flying in an AMA field, the AMA rules (amended to relax the buddy box rule) should apply.
3. If flying outside of an AMA field, the following rules apply:

a. Continuously clear your operating airspace. Use a safety observer to clear your airspace and provide warning as required.
b. Fly the model aircraft within the cleared airspace.
c. Be familiar with your airspace. Avoid operations close to full scale aircraft (airports, controlled airspace, restricted areas, warning areas, military training routes, etc.) unless you have permission from the appropriate authorities (ATC, tower, airport manager, etc.).
4. Color and/or light your aircraft for maximum visibility
5. Check and abide by laws/regulations/ordinances regarding the your operations
6. Hold the required licenses for the radio equipment used
7. Do not operate in such a manner that impact of the FPV aircraft, or part thereof including its payload, with the surface creates a hazard to persons or property not associated with the operation
You are responsible for anyone/anything you hurt or damage.

Notes:
- At the moment there are no laws specifically addressing FPV per se. For now the the only federal guidance is contained in FAA AC 91-57 http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentID/22425
- Best to know your airspace. www.skyvector.com

Transfixus
12th June 2012, 12:32 AM
Sounds like good common sense, That being said I think it's a good idea to have some reasonable but strict guidlines. I would be very sad if someone accidently got hurt and laws were created severely limiting FPV flight. Big thumbs up to the above list!

scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 12:41 AM
Sounds like good common sense, That being said I think it's a good idea to have some reasonable but strict guidlines. I would be very sad if someone accidently got hurt and laws were created severely limiting FPV flight. Big thumbs up to the above list!

Thanks.

FWIW, consider how simply and liberally the FAA defines rules for high powered rocketry and high altitude free flight balloons:
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=ea968eea871ed9ab2380f6d979eaa7a6&rgn=div5&view=text&node=14:2.0.1.3.15&idno=14

In FS aviation, in general:

What is not specifically forbidden is permitted.
No set of rules "covers every situation or is a substitue for sound judgement."

Drednox
12th June 2012, 12:48 AM
Make up a PMCS chart for fpv equipment.

WildWill
12th June 2012, 12:54 AM
With all these rules I'm somewhat surprised I haven't seen mention of flying while intoxicated?

Also, I see a lot having to do with safety regarding full scale aircraft but never a mention about flying over crowds of people or highways.

It's late, I'll think of more tomorrow. :S

scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 12:55 AM
What is a PMCS chart?

WildWill
12th June 2012, 12:56 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preventive_Maintenance_Checks_and_Services

scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 12:59 AM
With all these rules I'm somewhat surprised I haven't seen mention of flying while intoxicated?

Also, I see a lot having to do with safety regarding full scale aircraft but never a mention about flying over crowds of people or highways.

It's late, I'll think of more tomorrow. :S

Here's what the FAA says about high altitude balloons:

No person shall operate an unmanned free balloon...

...(e) In such a manner that impact of the balloon, or part thereof including its payload, with the surface creates a hazard to persons or property not associated with the operation."

scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 01:05 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preventive_Maintenance_Checks_and_Services


Thanks.

I think that might be too much into the weeds...They fall more in the realm of "procedures" which we use to adhere to the "guidelines". Again, check out how the FAA handles balloons and rockets.

That said, here are my checklists, used since 2006, which include inspections. (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=615822#post6611997)

FPV FLYER
12th June 2012, 01:22 AM
Yawn, **** guidelines and rules lol. If you can't have common sense you shouldn't be flying fpv.

scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 08:53 AM
Yawn, **** guidelines and rules lol. If you can't have common sense you shouldn't be flying fpv.

If you can't have common sense you shouldn't be doing anything.

Guidelines serve more than just dictate how you fly. Just as important, they communicate to everyone else how you fly. They make it easier for everyone to understand us.

Thanks for reminding me to put that out.

"No rules" won't fly. The key is to construct our rules to be logical and easily understandable.

PDXDave
12th June 2012, 10:50 AM
Looks good! Should there be some language in there about obeying local ordinances when flying somewhere other than an AMA field? Also, what about adding language to the effect of "FPV aircraft will only be flown for recreational purposes, and not used for hire."? (Something to try to keep people from getting entangled in the "commercial use of sUAS" restrictions.) I'm not hard-over on either of these, just bring them up for discussion.

Vitamin J
12th June 2012, 11:01 AM
I like it, nice and short. There's only a few things I have an issue with. The first is the line that says "the following rules apply" are these rules or are they guidelines?

Secondly, I don't have a spotter with me when I fly 90% of the time. Why do I need a spotter when I fly in the local park and never go above the tree tops? Why do I need a spotter when I set up on a cliff edge and fly 500ft below myself?

Maybe a spotter should only be suggested for high altitude or long range flights?

scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 11:54 PM
Looks good! Should there be some language in there about obeying local ordinances when flying somewhere other than an AMA field? Also, what about adding language to the effect of "FPV aircraft will only be flown for recreational purposes, and not used for hire."? (Something to try to keep people from getting entangled in the "commercial use of sUAS" restrictions.) I'm not hard-over on either of these, just bring them up for discussion.

Good point. I'll add a set of "definitions"

scrtsqrl
12th June 2012, 11:58 PM
I like it, nice and short. There's only a few things I have an issue with. The first is the line that says "the following rules apply" are these rules or are they guidelines?

Secondly, I don't have a spotter with me when I fly 90% of the time. Why do I need a spotter when I fly in the local park and never go above the tree tops? Why do I need a spotter when I set up on a cliff edge and fly 500ft below myself?

Maybe a spotter should only be suggested for high altitude or long range flights?

I think this falls into "use the good judgement". If you don't think there will ever be a FS plane in that airspace, you can probably defend it.

Best that I can tell, not mentioning a spotter will not fly with the rest of the aviation community

Hucker
13th June 2012, 12:02 AM
Why no mention of having your HAM? Seems to me if we want to be legit the pilots should not be breaking any FCC rules while flying.

Vitamin J
13th June 2012, 12:03 AM
I think this falls into "use the good judgement". If you don't think there will ever be a FS plane in that airspace, you can probably defend it.

Best that I can tell, not mentioning a spotter will not fly with the rest of the aviation community
I just don't get this. Nobody ever needed a spotter to fly RC before.


Why no mention of having your HAM? Seems to me if we want to be legit the pilots should not be breaking any FCC rules while flying.
Theoretically you don't need a HAM to FPV if you use a vtx with low enough power. Perhaps this could go in the "local ordinances" section something like "be sure you follow all applicable rules for your video equipment."

scrtsqrl
13th June 2012, 12:25 AM
I just don't get this. Nobody ever needed a spotter to fly RC before.


Theoretically you don't need a HAM to FPV if you use a vtx with low enough power. Perhaps this could go in the "local ordinances" section something like "be sure you follow all applicable rules for your video equipment."

See and avoid. You have to be aware of other aircraft around yours. With FPV, being under the goggles or flying out of area, severely degrades your ability to do so...

I changed the wording to as you suggested to be broad enough to account for HAMs as you suggest.

Thanks for everyone's constructive input.

Vitamin J
13th June 2012, 12:32 AM
I dunno about you but when I fly LOS I can't look at anything other than my plane or it will crash...

IMO these guidelines should be written to be followed, not written to be ignored. If you say that FPV always requires a spotter you are basically saying that FPV is never safe, even when flying a 500g model at normal RC ranges. That is obviously not true. Just offering my opinion.

scrtsqrl
13th June 2012, 12:44 AM
I dunno about you but when I fly LOS I can't look at anything other than my plane or it will crash...

IMO these guidelines should be written to be followed, not written to be ignored. If you say that FPV always requires a spotter you are basically saying that FPV is never safe, even when flying a 500g model at normal RC ranges. That is obviously not true. Just offering my opinion.

I deleted reference to "spotter" and replaced it with "safety observer". You can be your own safety observer. You can have someone else be observer as required. Observation is not limited to visual observation...you can also listen for traffic for example.

Hucker
13th June 2012, 12:45 AM
How about :

Follow applicable FCC regulations for your radio gear.

I could understand how you might say, they should be doing that anyway so we shouldn't need to say it, but the fact is that we are using the amateur HAM bands that radio amateurs have fought to keep for many years. I assure you that they do not like knowing that a ton of people are using the bands without license. I think it is show of respect to them that we realize that we are also in their airspace and as well as FS aviation airspace.

radialmind
13th June 2012, 02:25 AM
Commercial operations (e.g.: pay-for-hire, aerial photography, etc)

I fully understand what you mean here, but aerial photography is not a pure example of a commercial operation, it's only conditionally, if money is received for anything produced between takeoff and landing (including an "fpv tour of the area" as a service).
I'd probably also state that commercial activities are covered by strict governmental laws instead, so that new people picking up these rules do not assume commercial activities are subject to no guidelines whatsoever.

My suggestion is to change this to something more or less like this, but some tweaking may be required to keep it simple:

Commercial operations (i.e: where you receive money for activities undertaken between takeoff and landing) are not recreational activities and are instead covered by governmental law in your country.

scrtsqrl
13th June 2012, 09:50 AM
Commercial operations (e.g.: pay-for-hire, aerial photography, etc)

I fully understand what you mean here, but aerial photography is not a pure example of a commercial operation, it's only conditionally, if money is received for anything produced between takeoff and landing (including an "fpv tour of the area" as a service).
I'd probably also state that commercial activities are covered by strict governmental laws instead, so that new people picking up these rules do not assume commercial activities are subject to no guidelines whatsoever.

My suggestion is to change this to something more or less like this, but some tweaking may be required to keep it simple:

Commercial operations (i.e: where you receive money for activities undertaken between takeoff and landing) are not recreational activities and are instead covered by governmental law in your country.

Edited. Thanks for the input. :)

PDXDave
13th June 2012, 01:02 PM
Commercial operations (e.g.: pay-for-hire, aerial photography, etc)

I fully understand what you mean here, but aerial photography is not a pure example of a commercial operation, it's only conditionally, if money is received for anything produced between takeoff and landing (including an "fpv tour of the area" as a service).
I'd probably also state that commercial activities are covered by strict governmental laws instead, so that new people picking up these rules do not assume commercial activities are subject to no guidelines whatsoever.

My suggestion is to change this to something more or less like this, but some tweaking may be required to keep it simple:

Commercial operations (i.e: where you receive money for activities undertaken between takeoff and landing) are not recreational activities and are instead covered by governmental law in your country.

Maybe I'm overthinking things a bit (wouldn't be the first time), but this made me flash back to my days as an airline pilot. The FAA uses the term "operating for compensation or hire," and interprets "compensation" very broadly. Money does not need to change hands. For instance, there are circumstances in which a private pilot could take a flight for someone else in all innocence. But if the destination is not of his own choosing, and if he is using the flight to build his flight hours towards a commercial certificate, the FAA sees that as the pilot as having received compensation and therefore conducting a commercial operation. FAR 1.1 includes this definition: "Where it is doubtful that an operation is for “compensation or hire”, the test applied is whether the carriage by air is merely incidental to the person's other business or is, in itself, a major enterprise for profit."

I've been trying to find out how the UAPO defines a "commercial operation" and haven't had any luck yet. Maybe in the interim we should change "money" to "compensation" in this definition. Thoughts?

steamburn
13th June 2012, 01:26 PM
My input:

3. If flying outside of the AMA field, the following rules apply:
a. Have a safety observer to clear your airspace, providing warning as required.

If I'm my own "safety observer" how can that be phrased so there is no legal challenge to the definition of "safety observer" interpreted rigidly as a being a different person than the operator?

b. Your plane should stay in the airspace cleared by your safety observer. (That means not in or on the other side of clouds.)

Merge 3a. and 3b. to define in which class of space, as per FAA rules, can we fly, and also in which conditions of visibility, (which is basically separation distance from clouds in each class of airspace).

c. Be familiar with your airspace. Avoid operations close to full scale aircraft, (airports, restricted areas, warning areas, military training routes, etc.) unless you have permission from the appropriate authorities (ATC, tower, airport manager, etc.).

prelator
13th June 2012, 01:46 PM
This code looks pretty good, but I should post this here as well for consideration. This is a different safety code some of us came up with after some discussion in another thread:





FirstPerson Video/View (FPV) Aircraft Safety Code



Effective June 1, 2012


GENERAL: A First PersonVideo/View (FPV) model aircraft is an unmanned aircraft capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere. It is intended exclusively for sport, recreation and/or competition. All model flights should be conducted in accordance with this safety code and any additional rules specific to the flying site.


1.FPV aircraft should not be flown:

(a) In a careless or reckless manner.

(b) At a location where model aircraft activities are prohibited.


2.FPV aircraft pilots should:

(a) Yield the right of way to all manned aircraft.

(b) See and avoid all aircraft and a spotter should be used when appropriate (busy airspace, populated areas, long distance flights, etc.)

(c) Not fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3)miles of an airport, or in Terminally Controlled Air Space (TCAS) without notifying the airport operator.

(d) Not interfere with operations and traffic patterns at any airport, heliport or seaplane base except where there is a mixed use agreement.

(e) Not operate FPV aircraft while under theinfluence of alcohol or while using any drug which could adversely affect thepilot’s ability to safely control the model.

3.FPV Aircraft should:

(a) Not exceed a takeoff weight including fuel, of 25 pounds for a FPV aircraft, or 10 pounds for a FPV aircraft flown in urban or heavily populated areas.

(b) Be identified with the name and address of the owner on the inside or affixed to the outside of the model aircraft. (This does not apply to model aircraft flown indoors).

(c) Not be equipped with metal-blade propellers.

(d) Not carry pyrotechnic devices which explode or burn,or any device which propels a projectile or drops any object that creates a hazard to persons or property.

Exceptions:

Free Flight fuses or devices that burn producing smoke and are securely attached to the model aircraft during flight.

Rocket motors (using solid propellant) up to a G-series size may be used provided they remain attached to the model during flight.

Model rockets may be flown in accordance with the National Model Rocketry Safety Code.

Pre-arranged and pre-authorized events agreed upon in writing with the event organizer.


4. FPV RADIOCONTROL (RC)

(a)All pilots should avoid flying directly over open air assemblies of people, unprotectedvessels, vehicles or open structures (i.e. stadiums or stands with people inthem) and shall avoid endangerment of life and property of others.

(b)A successful radio equipment ground-range check in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations should be completed before the first flight of a new or repaired model aircraft.

(c)FPV model aircraft must use the radio-control frequencies currently allowed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Only individuals properly licensedby the FCC are authorized to operate equipment on Amateur Band frequencies. (HAM license required except for certain frequencies have low power options that do not require licensing per FCC Part 15- i.e. 910 MHz @ approximately 0.025W)

(d)Excluding takeoff and landing, no FPV model should be flown outdoors closer than 25 feet to any individual.

(e)FPV night flying aircraft should have a lighting system providing the pilot and others with a clear view of the model’s attitude and orientation at all times.

One advantage of that code is that a spotter is not absolutely required. That I think is critical for many of us who fly alone the vast majority of the time and simply don't have the option to use a spotter very often. A possible compromise would be to only require a spotter if flying above 400 feet, since theoretically unless you're right in front of an airport runway there should be no airspace conflicts at that altitude.

scrtsqrl
13th June 2012, 07:50 PM
Changes made. Pls review. Thanks for the input. :)

Hucker
13th June 2012, 11:08 PM
scrtsqrl: Sorry for my post that appears to correct you after said you made a change. I had my post in the editor for a while and you responded before I finished. I like your wording better. Code is looking good.

FPV FLYER
13th June 2012, 11:15 PM
I don't think this is necessary: "Have a safety observer to clear your airspace, providing warning as required.", at this time we are trying to have the spotter removed with the ama.

I just noticed it was removed, good.

Hucker
13th June 2012, 11:26 PM
My input:

3. If flying outside of the AMA field, the following rules apply:
a. Have a safety observer to clear your airspace, providing warning as required.

If I'm my own "safety observer" how can that be phrased so there is no legal challenge to the definition of "safety observer" interpreted rigidly as a being a different person than the operator?

b. Your plane should stay in the airspace cleared by your safety observer. (That means not in or on the other side of clouds.)

Merge 3a. and 3b. to define in which class of space, as per FAA rules, can we fly, and also in which conditions of visibility, (which is basically separation distance from clouds in each class of airspace).

c. Be familiar with your airspace. Avoid operations close to full scale aircraft, (airports, restricted areas, warning areas, military training routes, etc.) unless you have permission from the appropriate authorities (ATC, tower, airport manager, etc.).

I like the idea of being explicit on airspace e.g. your plane shall remain clear of B/C/D airspace.

This forces FPV pilots that fly higher and farther to look at a sectional on line or ask for help on airspace. You can adde the restricted/prohibited too but staying out of B/C/D is very important.

Drednox
13th June 2012, 11:34 PM
Thanks.

I think that might be too much into the weeds...They fall more in the realm of "procedures" which we use to adhere to the "guidelines". Again, check out how the FAA handles balloons and rockets.

That said, here are my checklists, used since 2006, which include inspections. (http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=615822#post6611997)
I like that!
I was also thinking about it from a maintenance standpoint also. I recently took my apart one of my video receivers to install a saw filter and found corrosion on the circuit board. I've been used it well over a year and never had it apart. Had I not wanted to swap filters, I never would've found that. Could've been a distaster waiting to happen. Since then I went over every circuit board, plug, and motor in all my equipment looking for corrosion, dust, dirt, etc. Flying regular RC at LOS only I wouldn't even bother but with all that money flying high and away I learned to be a little more meticulous when checking things out!

scrtsqrl
13th June 2012, 11:39 PM
I like the idea of being explicit on airspace e.g. your plane shall remain clear of B/C/D airspace.

This forces FPV pilots that fly higher and farther to look at a sectional on line or ask for help on airspace. You can adde the restricted/prohibited too but staying out of B/C/D is very important.

Indeed. Edited.
Thanks for your input!
:)

scrtsqrl
13th June 2012, 11:40 PM
I like that!
I was also thinking about it from a maintenance standpoint also. I recently took my apart one of my video receivers to install a saw filter and found corrosion on the circuit board. I've been used it well over a year and never had it apart. Had I not wanted to swap filters, I never would've found that. Could've been a distaster waiting to happen. Since then I went over every circuit board, plug, and motor in all my equipment looking for corrosion, dust, dirt, etc. Flying regular RC at LOS only I wouldn't even bother but with all that money flying high and away I learned to be a little more meticulous when checking things out!

Best to find out something is about to fail on the ground than have it fail in flight...:)

Drednox
13th June 2012, 11:48 PM
Absolutely! It reminded me of when I was in the army, out in the field, if I was having a hard time getting reception from my radio the first thing we did was use a pencil eraser to clean the contacts on the antenna plugs. 9 times out of 10 it worked. I could imagine what a little oxidation on an sma connector could do to your video or RC signal.