How to do this legally under part 107?

Nov 11, 2016
Reaction score
I have an idea for my dream shot.
I am currently studying for my part 107 and scouting for the juiciest air-lines I can find in my city. I live in Chicago and I know there are local ordinances to worry about but my information on them is quite vague (and they seem to be issued with no logic). For the purposes of this I am prioritizing figuring out how to do it legally according to the FAA first, but if anyone has insight into Chicago laws (and their teeth/jurisdiction) that would be appreciated as well.

I am flying a DJI Inspire 1 with a partner. We have been flying for about a year. The shot I want is to take the drone in a straight line down a straight street for the entire duration of a battery. I am estimating 15 minutes of battery life. If I set 2 waypoints and tell the drone to move 30mph I should travel around 7 miles.

Since any person on the road will presumably be inside of a car. This actually gives me the best chance of avoiding people underneath me (since the FAA has stated cars count as coverings). I should still have v-obs on the route watching for people crossing the street.
The big trick I think is VLOS. I see 2 options

1- Piloting from a vehicle: This is probably not legal but seems the most practical. It has been stated that this is allowed in rural areas with low population. I can infer from this that it is "illegal to do this in highly populated areas" but that is some pretty gray space. What is considered populated enough? Any clarification on this ruling would be neat but let us assume that this is not allowed in Chicago no matter how much I plan it carefully.

2- Daisy chain: This seems to be my only option. I have not yet needed to figure out how to physically daisy chain between controllers but Im relying on that being fairly easy. First I need to figure out how far I can be to satisfy VLOS. Estimations from other pilots on forums said they felt comfortable they had VLOS at 1500 feet away. That means if I want to daisy chain this shot I need something like 35 controllers (each of which cost 500) and 35 Pilots In Command, since I would not be able to be next to each of them. So that does not work.

3- Reduce speed/distance: If I give up a bit on my dream of a 7 mile line, I can go 10 mph and cover 2.5 miles. At that speed or lower it *may* be possible for two pilots to leapfrog each other with bikes.

4- Post Production Magic: I have no idea if this is possible. But I wonder if I chopped the 7 miles up and hopped from exact way-points if blending them together somehow in post-production would work. Maybe somebody has invented that technique... in any case..

I wish I could do 1.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!


Premium Pilot
Feb 9, 2014
Reaction score
Live! From New York!
You may be able to do this with the proper credentials and permits. Movie companies do this all the time.
Be prepared to pay for the privilege. :)
Jan 27, 2016
Reaction score
# 1 is definitely out, only allows in 'sparsely populated areas'. Chicago definitely wouldn't qualify. I don't think that you can link new controllers while the bird is flying, you have to actually trigger the linking at the bird (at least on the phantoms). Even if possible, you would not have control during the linking process which could lead to disaster. Why not set up successive missions with the first waypoint of the next mission the last one on the previous one? Then link the different mission videos in post processing. Keep the missions short enough that the bird can return to the home point (or move the home point to near the last waypoint as litchi allows you to do). Biggest hurdle will be getting past local 'laws'. Good luck, I'm sure we will all be rooting for you. Let us know how things work out.


Staff Member
Premium Pilot
Jan 5, 2015
Reaction score
Western North Carolina
I don't think you're going to be able to do this and be within regulations without

a: getting some waivers (the daisy chain is waiverable if you can prove it's safe, I think it is)
b:a change in the regs allowing you to operate from within a vehicle.
  • Like
Reactions: Sammyshack10
Nov 25, 2016
Reaction score
Just an FYI, to fly over vehicles, they must be stationary. So, a waiver for that too. This sounds like a cool idea but there's a lot involved. I also live in Chicago and would love to see someone make this vid. Keep me posted on your progress. I don't know much about city ordinance but I'll let you know what I find if anything reliable. Good luck!

Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Latest member