Old 01-28-2015, 12:29 AM   #1
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Default DJI Phantom crashes on the White House lawn

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2015/01/...-wake-up-call/

This apparently involved alcohol, a very late night, and a quad-copter that belonged to a friend. Now, the Feds are all discussing the "what-could-have-beens", to include dispersal of chemical weapons, bombs, remote controlled firing of airborne firearms.

If one wanted to bring on onerous Federal regulation, I can't imagine a better way to get the process started.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:36 AM   #2
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Those regulations already exist as I understand it at certain National Parks. The White House is already a TFR/no-fly zone so new regs aren't going to change anything...
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Old 01-28-2015, 01:50 AM   #3
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Those regulations already exist as I understand it at certain National Parks. The White House is already a TFR/no-fly zone so new regs aren't going to change anything...
It's not so much The White House.... it is illegal to fly ANY UAS/UAV system within 15 miles of DCA. Obviously, there are procedures for DOD and other federal agencies to be granted waivers.

That being said, the individual responsible for this also works for the NGA, and self reported because of their security clearance. I suspect they'll be looking for a new job very soon, as their clearance is almost surely going to be yanked.

That being said, the FAA is supposed to be releasing new regulations governing the use of these remote control pests very soon. It's widely expected that they will at a minimum allow private property owners to restrict operation of them in their airspace. That would mean the railroads would be well within their rights to tell people, "Not over our tracks, yards or trains."

At the minimum, operators of these things should be required to carry professional liability insurance and I'd even go so far as to suggest a license to operate them if not operated at a registered hobby site.
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Old 01-28-2015, 02:02 AM   #4
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Those regulations already exist as I understand it at certain National Parks. The White House is already a TFR/no-fly zone so new regs aren't going to change anything...
Yes, the Park Service does have a prohibition against UAS on Park Service land and the DC SFRA does prohibit all manner of types of "flight" operations (including UAS, model rockets, etc.) within 30 NM of DC. Clearly, none of that had a deterrent effect, probably because the average person who purchases one of these things has no knowledge of FARs, nor are they required to receive any sort of awareness training.

Look for that to change.
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Old 01-28-2015, 03:34 AM   #5
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That being said, the FAA is supposed to be releasing new regulations governing the use of these remote control pests very soon. It's widely expected that they will at a minimum allow private property owners to restrict operation of them in their airspace. That would mean the railroads would be well within their rights to tell people, "Not over our tracks, yards or trains."
They already do that for common trespassing, but that doesn't stop anyone from trespassing in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 01-28-2015, 05:37 AM   #6
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I've seen a number of comments elsewhere threatening to shoot down any drone "trespassing" over their private property.
Obviously one's property rights end at some height. What would that altitude be?
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:00 AM   #7
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Obviously one's property rights end at some height. What would that altitude be?
However high one can effectively shoot.

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Old 01-28-2015, 01:02 PM   #8
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I've seen a number of comments elsewhere threatening to shoot down any drone "trespassing" over their private property.
Obviously one's property rights end at some height. What would that altitude be?
Property owners have air rights below and to LSALT (Lowest Safe Altitude), US Government dictates everything above it. Generally LSALT is 1000 feet above highest terrain (mountains, antennae, buildings, etc.).

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Old 01-28-2015, 02:00 PM   #9
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Property owners have air rights below and to LSALT (Lowest Safe Altitude), US Government dictates everything above it. Generally LSALT is 1000 feet above highest terrain (mountains, antennae, buildings, etc.).
Hi Loyd,

The minimum altitude regulation in your post is for operations conducted by fixed-wing aircraft over populated areas (cities, towns, settlements, open-air assemblies of people (such as a sporting event). The Federal Air Regulations (FAR) are somewhat looser when fixed-wing operations are conducted over sparsely populated areas, where 500 ft is the minimum separation from people, structures and vessels. Over water, you can essentially fly as low as you dare, as long as you stay that far from any boats. Crop dusting operations are a good example of fixed-wing flight ops over land.

Helicopters and powered parachutes have even lower minimums...in fact, the FARs don't specify a minimum for those. They just say that the operation must be conducted without hazard to persons or property on the ground.

These rules have been in effect for many years. The reason you don't hear about a lot of problems with manned aircraft is because they are operated by people who require a certain amount of training and a Federally-issued certificate. The Feds know who we are and will have our butts in a sling if we are found to have violated any of these rules. FAR violations are a lot bigger deal than a traffic ticket. The problem with UAVs is that they are largely unregulated, and in the last few years, the price of admission and the amount of skill required to operate has seriously come down. The result is that these things are now falling into the hands of folks who really don't know what they are doing, nor have they considered all of the ramifications of their operations.

Ultimately, I expect that with perhaps some limited exceptions, some sort of certification will be required to operate UAVs. Without that, you will have an aerial free-for-all, and I don't think the public, or the politicians will put up with it.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:19 PM   #10
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The other part of this story that most haven't heard yet is that the DJI in question was borrowed from another person. They were at an apartment party and had been drinking most of the night when they decided to fly it around in the living room.

At some point, someone thought it would be a fantastic idea to go ahead and open up the sliding glass door and just fly it around from the balcony. During that process, the drone lost communication with the remote because the remote's battery went dead.

They called the owner of the drone and told them what happened, but realized finding it at night while drunk, it was probably a lost cause. They didn't find out where the drone ended up until after they woke up the next day and saw the news.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:25 PM   #11
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Hi Loyd,

The minimum altitude regulation in your post is for operations conducted by fixed-wing aircraft over populated areas (cities, towns, settlements, open-air assemblies of people (such as a sporting event). The Federal Air Regulations (FAR) are somewhat looser when fixed-wing operations are conducted over sparsely populated areas, where 500 ft is the minimum separation from people, structures and vessels. Over water, you can essentially fly as low as you dare, as long as you stay that far from any boats. Crop dusting operations are a good example of fixed-wing flight ops over land.

Helicopters and powered parachutes have even lower minimums...in fact, the FARs don't specify a minimum for those. They just say that the operation must be conducted without hazard to persons or property on the ground.

These rules have been in effect for many years. The reason you don't hear about a lot of problems with manned aircraft is because they are operated by people who require a certain amount of training and a Federally-issued certificate. The Feds know who we are and will have our butts in a sling if we are found to have violated any of these rules. FAR violations are a lot bigger deal than a traffic ticket. The problem with UAVs is that they are largely unregulated, and in the last few years, the price of admission and the amount of skill required to operate has seriously come down. The result is that these things are now falling into the hands of folks who really don't know what they are doing, nor have they considered all of the ramifications of their operations.

Ultimately, I expect that with perhaps some limited exceptions, some sort of certification will be required to operate UAVs. Without that, you will have an aerial free-for-all, and I don't think the public, or the politicians will put up with it.
As I told some folks on Facebook, at a minimum, one should have to carry professional liability insurance to own and operate one of these things. Requiring that much will turn away the average rock with lips at the checkout counter/page.

Telling people further that private property owners can restrict air rights over their property should further discourage people from flying them where they're not wanted.

As for the people that threaten to shoot them down... eh, whatever. Part of me hopes they do start doing exactly that, but the other part of me knows that the crop of people with that type of aim is miniscule at best, even with birdshot.
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:04 AM   #12
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I knew quad-ding was on its way out when I heard about the White House, but as soon as government officials see this back yard video, it will really be toast!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL0zLHLMBVw#t=77
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Old 01-30-2015, 12:26 AM   #13
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As for the people that threaten to shoot them down... eh, whatever. Part of me hopes they do start doing exactly that, but the other part of me knows that the crop of people with that type of aim is miniscule at best, even with birdshot.
Hi Sean,

The NTSB has ruled that UAVs, model airplanes and model rockets are "aircraft" from an FARs standpoint, and with that ruling, FAA has made it clear that they will cite operators for violations, just as they would for a manned aircraft. Of course, this also means that folks cannot shoot at a UAV.....unless of course, they'd like an extended vacation at a Federal Pen.
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Old 01-30-2015, 02:30 AM   #14
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I knew quad-ding was on its way out when I heard about the White House, but as soon as government officials see this back yard video, it will really be toast!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL0zLHLMBVw#t=77
Yup, the government is going to crap their pants because average citizens have figured out how to make one of their secret weapons.
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Old 01-30-2015, 10:50 PM   #15
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Hi Sean,

The NTSB has ruled that UAVs, model airplanes and model rockets are "aircraft" from an FARs standpoint, and with that ruling, FAA has made it clear that they will cite operators for violations, just as they would for a manned aircraft. Of course, this also means that folks cannot shoot at a UAV.....unless of course, they'd like an extended vacation at a Federal Pen.
3 hots and a cot... could be appealing to some.
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