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Discussion in 'Flight Regulations' started by Howard Dapp, Jan 4, 2016.
Instead of drone registration for hobbyists. Limit recreational users to 100 feet AGL and 200 feet in distance. There's no reason why any hobbyist needs to go higher or farther. Make it come home if it exceeds 200 feet. Make all manufacturers sell new RC aircraft to limit their aircraft to these proposed rules. The manufacturer can design it so that you can unlock Distance and altitude restrictions once you get certifications and tailor make it to each countries regulations. The more certifications and training you acquire, the more you can unlock the height and distance limits. Make DJI, do a mandatory update to existing aircraft that have already been purchased.
Nice thought, Dave, but DJI can't require a firmware update. And there are thousands of people who own drones and don't want to register them. And believing that Banggood and their ilk will comply is delusional. And it's pretty unlikely that the FBI is going to start a major operation to fine operators and confiscate their drones for not doing so. Truth is the US government is grasping at straws trying to deal with this. I don't want to start a political debate here (heaven knows there's enough of that crap going around) but I'm not sure I believe that applying for a reg number for my hobby drones is a bad thing. Which is why I did it. And I think others should, too. It sets a good example, and we need good examples of people willing to abide by the laws of the land. Even if they're not perfect (the laws, I mean).
That might be the case on the older legacy flight controllers but on the newer DJI stuff it does have the ability for mandatory updates. My inspire forced me to do an update when I purchased it. It allowed me to fly it twice and then I could not fly it anymore until it was updated. I would imagine the P3 is the same way since it came after that.
So there you are on the Nat Geo shoot in the boonies of Africa and your DJI times out or whatever it does that makes it think it needs a mandatory update. Two more flights and you are grounded from getting any more flights since you don't have a satellite phone or hookup and you are days away from civilization.... Great 'professional' solution, not
Yeah, no thank you.
Gary as it stands right now DJI gives you plenty of time (and days) before it requires the update. It just doesn't pop up and say "ok you have 2 more flights". They haven't done one in a long time it was more when the Inspire was new. As a professional, you need to prepare your equipment before you go out on a big job and you will know if you need to update well enough in advance.
What scenario would you rather have? Perform a one time forced update that makes the entire UAV world more safer or continue to have amateurs smear your livelyhood because morns lack good judgement? I remember 4 years ago when I flew somewhere everyone thought it was the coolest thing. Now its like people roll their eyes. I don't need people to think what I do is cool, but it sure would be nice not to be lumped in with every idiott out there. Having electronic limits certainly takes the power away from the morons. I would take it anyway possible, even if the worst case scenario happens like Gary mentions and it messes up a job. There's also a difference between a forced update and a recommended update. Forced updates do not happen very often, they are quite rare. I would take it in a heart beat.
Relying on software/firmware in flight control systems is quite problematic on a number of levels. First of all, not all hobby drones even have GPS, so all of those would be unaffected. And most that do have a setting that turns off the GPS for "manual" flight. I'm not sure you could convince me that you could design a GPS-based FC that would be able to "intervene" in a manual flight in a way that wouldn't potentially cause a serious problem. So this is why I think we need laws/rules/regulations, etc.
I just don't see a way to solve this in a solid technical way.
Actually, they can -- and they do. If you fail to update the firmware on the Inspire 1 or the Phantom 3, the application you use on the iPhone/iPad will not allow you to fly until you do the upgrade. AMHIK.
The app checks in with the mother ship to see if there is new firmware and it gives you a grace period of about two weeks, I think.
On the Phantom/Inspire 1 I've heard stories of people using an aluminum foil "cap" that is taped to the top of the copter and blocks the GPS signal so that you can override the DJI-imposed "no fly zones." The primary reason people seem to be doing this is that, even though they have a Section 333, permission from ATC, etc., Nanny DJI will not let the aircraft fly at an airport.
Well, at least the machines are not taking over the world....oh...wait....my computer is telling me that I need to take urgent action...
I think that if someone can design a state of the art flight control system that does everything todays copters are doing you can easily limit the height. As I have learned at flight school an Altimeter is nothing more than a crude air balloon and analog altimeters don't have any electronics. You can easily incorporate the functions of the altimeter and its limits without using or involving the GPS circuit. Look at our old MK rigs, we have the ability to limit the max height, this could all be managed easily in my opinion. I agree about distance limits being something different but 99% of the issues are altitude related anyway.
The only way to manage the altitude drone issues is through electronic management. Every drone should have it. If it doesn't, it shouldn't be allowed to be sold in the US.
Does your computer at least have a sexy voice like Jeff's germany girlfriend?
Dave, our "fellow" UAV operators (and my that I mean anybody with a set of sticks in their hand) in the USA are even rebelling against having a simple number written on the side of their machines...do you think they'd tolerate what you're suggesting? I agree with you in principle, but I think the political climate in this country would pose a severe obstacle. Expecting that our reps in DC will understand the technology enough to even discuss this is nothing short of fantasy. I wish it wasn't that way.
I understand what you are saying. I got a good taste of the political element on my last job. Knowing what should be done is a lot different than getting it done. The logic is so simple though. Flying, like driving a car is a privilege though. You can't drive a car without a license, insurance, and registration not legally at least. Same should go with flying "to a certain degree" even on the most basic hobby level because even the smallest and lightest drone can cause harm if it drops like a brick from 400 feet. The problem is that people have the mind set that a drone is a toy and toys shouldn't be regulated. This toy however isn't like any normal toy because of the serious safety and privacy issues.
So there's really two ways to go about it. Require a license,and registration on the user end, or enforce certain flight restrictions through the electronics. Until one of these happen there will always be issues because you can't trust people to do what you and I have done from day 1.
When you have change there's always going to be resistance but from my experience if you clearly communicate the change, communicate it by stating that that's just the way it is. As time passes people will even forget what it was like before the change. I am sure that's the way it was in Canada and everywhere else before there were drone rules and regulations.
Dave, let me strike near and dear to your heart: what would you think of a speed limiter on your car that was pre-programmed in some way to sense the posted speed limits on all roads and did not let you exceed those limits, even by 1 MPH? So 25 MPH in that school zone was really 25 MPH?
Yeah, that's what I thought.
You are blending the comparisons to fit your argument
Nothing like a friendly debate.
If you want to mix the comparison between cars and drones lets do it accurately and fair before we even get to that school zone you mention. You can't get behind the wheel of a car until you meet some requirements. There are age requirements, knowledge tests, and then a practical driving test. You also need to register your vehicle and insure it. There are also police and school guards to keep people in check and honest on the highway and in the school zones you mention. Do you think people would drive differently if they knew there were no police to keep them honest? How many people that normally drive 65-70 mph would start pushing it to 85 to 100 mph? Or even higher? How many people would start blowing through school zones at 50-60 mph? If we didn't have the police for checks and balances don't you think that maybe it would be a good idea to have a speed limit governor on our cars? Maybe not 1 mph over but certainly something reasonable wouldn't you agree? Luckily we don't need that but there will be issues in the future with insurance companies having direct access to your cars computer to see how fast you are driving and are you truly coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. But that's a separate discussion.
We don't have any regulations in place with drones on a hobby or commercial level and from what I hear what is proposed will not fix the issues. From what I understand as it stands there won't be a test to evaluate your flying proficiency just an online knowledge test where you need to score 100%. I sure hope that changes. Even if it does it will be on the commercial side only. As you well know the majority of the issues are with hobby users not commercial users so there will never be a requirement for a pilots license, knowledge or skills test, or age requirement. Add to this we have no drone police to keep the checks in balance and its an issue that will just get worst. For automobiles we don't have "hobbyist" drivers so we can't truly compare but the issues of drones can be as serious as driving a 3000 pound piece of steel at 70 mph as even a 5-10 pound drone can injure or kill innocent unsuspecting people or property.
There has to be something done to offset the major issues. The technology is there, it should be used to fix the problem if we can't get anything to keep people honest. Why do you think Freefly has electronic restrictions on height and distance? It's not because they were bored and wanted to screw with drone pilots. If you were the president of the United States what would be your solution to the problem?
Shades of the lemmings in the original Macintosh rollout commercial. Paraphrasing, "Absolute technical limitations will absolutely cause incidents." The regulations say Line of Sight, unaided. A non pilot will make the ruling, LOS means 100 yards. That's it, you can't fly past 100 yards, as the regulations have been baked into the electronics. All of it dependent on GPS? Electronics would failsafe to no flight if you do not have a 3d GPS signal. Inside, no GPS, no fly. Sorry, I can't remember anytime where something from a regulation didn't have unintended consequences.
Enforcement, such as the police speed guns, well that is the purpose of the FAA who's primary mantra is safety. They are the speed gun operators.
Gary you hit the nail perfect by saying a non pilot will make the rulings. If the FAA are the speed gun operators/police they better beef up the army by a thousand fold.