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  • for flying above Banks and police stations !

  • Why would you go to prison, if you're doing it non-commercially and safely?

  • 10 years ago they (and me) would have done that in between buildings for an april fools joke, but now you could go to prison for even thinking it !

  • I'm sure it must be frustrating for those living in the US and trying to come to grips with the FAA stance on UAVs (and in general, all unmanned aircraft systems - balloon, rocket, model aircraft, etc). Take heart though that with an increasing demand for UAV operations from commercial users they will eventually find need to find a solution (albeit likely an overly stringent one given my experiences of these things in the US in the past).

    From an Australian perspective we have it lucky, but it's taken 20 years to get the the stage where CASA announced (last July) a new project to review the 10 year old CASR 101 (which requires individual approval of UAV systems and operators, operating outside of model aircraft rules). To get to CASR 101 it took years of back-and-forth between CASA and organisations pushing for authorisation. It was only after about 6 years of early development of the Aerosonde in Oz and a beginning of commerical operations both here and overseas that CASA was induced to act and draft CASR 101 (because it's really hard to argue that a 15kg UAV capable of full autonomy for 40 hours is a model aircraft).

    As I said, we're far luckier in Oz. In many ways we have a progressive aviation authority and a broad acceptance of advancing technology... but it took a long time to get here and it will only take one major disaster for our government (or any government for that matter) to rethink their stance on UAV operations. Remember, it only took 2 geese to bring down an Airbus A320 into the Hudson river... about the size of a small aero UAV... so I wouldn't be surprised to see the US taking a LONG time to get it right. ;)

  • Oh, so I've been manipulated into helping you to make your point. Sneaky. ;-)

  • Ellison, I think you 100% support my message.  There are so many variables at play that it is unreasonable to believe that each individual should be the sole judge on what is safe or not with their choice of operations and expect a positive outcome.

  • Well, I had this discussion before.  Foam can be dangerous, if it's going fast enough.

    As for the falling penny, the Mythbusters has already busted that myth.  Terminal velocity is about 65 mph, and not enough to penetrate skin, or crack a skull.  It'll be any ouchy, not lethal.

    As for flying an aircraft without the proper license or training, theory is much different from reality.  In theory, anyone knowing how to fly an RC airplane has the knowledge to fly a plane.  The question is does that person have the physical skills required.  Working rudder pedals, and a transmitter joystick have a very different skill requirements.  

  • I think all their rules are already stifling.  I can't afford to meet all the requirements to attain a private pilot license let alone a commercial pilot license, but I can guarantee you that I could fire up a Cessna and take it for a cruise and land without killing myself.  I would likely make a ton of communication, navigation and procedural errors but as long as no one else was in MY airspace I would be just fine.  But I tend to follow the rules and therefore I am grounded.

    We should hope the new rules are fair, logical and risk-based.  We continuallly hear arguments like "my r/c airplane wouldn't do as much damage as a full scale if it crashed", which is likely true.  But how much mass does it take to kill someone if dropped from 200 feet?  Supposedly, a U.S. Penny dropped from the Empire State Building has the potential to kill someone.  And I am prettey sure a falling or rogue quadcopter could hurt someone pretty badly.  I've seen the photos of blood and stiches from multicopters propellers that didn't even get off the bench.  If you want to do something "risky" for hire you should expect some level of oversight and regulation will need to be respected.

  • I think in this case, pushing the limits of the law is needed.  If people didn't do that the FAA would never get off their butts, and make some rules.  Let's just hope the rules they make are reasonable or hobby flyers, and not stifling to commercial activities.

  • The FAA doesn't specifically care about a 4 pound foam aircraft, they care about the fact that they have no plan or regulations to determine what is safe and legal.  Until then, they require everyone to stop flying for compensation.  Soon we will see where the "draw the line in the sand" and we will know what they truly care about.

    We continually hear the argument, "what's difference if I get paid or not to fly?  I'm still flying".  Well, here is a perfect example: these guys would have never flew from the West Coast to NYC to build and fly three 6' aircraft in questionable airspace.  They increased airspace congestion in questionable airspace and did it for compensation.  The FAA could ignore it, but we should all hope that they do their job and expend resources to look into this event.  If this event is not cleared or punished, it will only open doors for the next guy to do something bigger and more grand and the next thing you know we have a real problem.

    Based on the related articles and info provided, these aircraft were flown illegally.  They say they had a permit but the event was paid for by an advertising company and therfore they were flying for hire.  

    We will likely see an outcry over this and similar statements to those recently from California LAPD will be heard coast to coast.  "no commercial uav flying".  Arguments are being made that these were not a uav because there was no camera onboard but the camera doesn't make it a uav, the Vehicle makes it a uav.  You can buy a RTF T-28 from Park Zone and fly it all day long, but the moment you accept compensation to fly that same T-28 in the same airspace you were flying it in, it becomes a UAV being flown illegally...no autopilot required, no camera required.

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