Brain teaser . . . Just for fun

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I'm standing at my buddies condo in the mountains. He has a nice place at the edge of a mountain with beautiful views overlooking a valley. You can see for miles from his rear deck.

I fire up the drone in his front driveway and bring her up 50'. I take a nice photo of the front view of his home, just above the roof line with the mountains and valley in the background.

He says, "hey, fly straight over the roof and turn around so I can have a photo of the back of my place".

I fly straight over the roof and go out past his home about 100', turn the drone around and take the photo. I am now 800' AGL.

Was that legal? ;)
 
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Yes.
According to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Frequently Asked Questions/Help
Part 107 limits your altitude to 400 feet unless your unmanned aircraft is flying within 400 feet of a structure (in which case you may not fly higher than 400 feet above the top of that structure).

So in general, you can fly above 400 feet if you are within 400 feet of a tall structure- presumably for use cases of antenna tower inspections and the like.

If flying under the guise of a hobbyist, I believe the "guideline" of 400 AGL still applies. However the AMA has mentioned that they qualify as a community based organization and since their safety rules indicate that you can operate above 400 as long as you are not near an airport, you would be covered by the "follow community based safety guidelines" part of the hobbyist rules.
 

Mark The Droner

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No. If you're flying recreational, you're flying under Part 101 which means you're abiding by AMA's Safety Code which states you must avoid flying directly over structures.
 
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No. If you're flying recreational, you're flying under Part 101 which means you're abiding by AMA's Safety Code which states you must avoid flying directly over structures.
Well it says unprotected structures... i'd say a house counts as protected. A tent, for example, probably not. Unfortunately, the same section of the safety code states that you need a flight safety line established where ever you fly- so not exactly practical outside a flying park.
 
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That's quite a dangerous backyard for the kids.
 

Mark The Droner

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It doesn't say that, although one could try to argue that in court.

See B.1. here: https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/105.PDF

It says "...unprotected people, vessels, vehicles or structures..."

(I find the word "or" there odd, why not use "and"?)

But even if it did mean to say "protected structure", the roof is part of the structure - I think it would be tough to argue that a roof is not part of the structure which is what you'd have to do.

The fact is, none of this has been tested in court, so we can't be sure what would happen, but as it stands, Part 101 is the law whether or not we like it or agree with it.
 
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Your off in the mountains, you fly out over a lookout and shoot scenes. Watch where your flying and have fun and be careful. All these that are worrying and nitpicking ... who gives a rip. You think someone is going to appear out of the air and give you a ticket. They have more important things to check up on in my humble opinion.


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Haha. All good comments. The hypothetical was based on an actual situation that I thought about later. I don't know the answer but this would be my guess:
  1. Since I said I was with my buddy, that implies I was flying for fun, and therefore hobby/recreational rules apply.
  2. The house is at the edge of a cliff, so yes, 100' out is at a very long drop down. Didn't measure but 800' is probably close.
  3. Recreational rules do say 400' max, so I would think the flight did violate them.
  4. Although the drone was only lifted 50' initially, when it flew over the valley it was well beyond the 400' limit.
Like I said this was just an excersise for fun but it certainly does show that it is important to always be very conscious of what you are doing when flying. If in doubt, don't do it.
 

Mark The Droner

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Haha. All good comments. The hypothetical was based on an actual situation that I thought about later. I don't know the answer but this would be my guess:
  1. Since I said I was with my buddy, that implies I was flying for fun, and therefore hobby/recreational rules apply.
  2. The house is at the edge of a cliff, so yes, 100' out is at a very long drop down. Didn't measure but 800' is probably close.
  3. Recreational rules do say 400' max, so I would think the flight did violate them.
  4. Although the drone was only lifted 50' initially, when it flew over the valley it was well beyond the 400' limit.
Like I said this was just an excersise for fun but it certainly does show that it is important to always be very conscious of what you are doing when flying. If in doubt, don't do it.
What recreational rule says 400' max?
 

Mark The Droner

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I am not sure this example has anything to do with AMA document #560 (see the title) except indirectly (see document 105).

Okay, I think I'm going to bow out of this thread :grinning:
 
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I'm only 200' above sea level where I live on the edge of a cliff but always cautious venturing out. I had an Air Force trainer plane come through a few weeks back, I wasn't flyling (glad I wasn't) I waved and he tipped his wings as he flew past, close enough for me to see him wave back from the cockpit. That would have been way too much excitement for me. I am well outside the airport and helipad zones. I wonder what rules apply to the airforce, from what I have seen probably not many.
 
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Safety Guidelines
  • Fly at or below 400 feet
  • Keep your UAS within sight
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people
  • Never fly over stadiums or sports events
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
  • Never fly under the influence
  • Be aware of airspace requirements
Fly for Fun
 

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