My number came up yesterday (crash!)

Discussion in 'Cinestar 8' started by Steve Maller, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Jose Luis Ocejo

    Jose Luis Ocejo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2012
    Messages:
    581
    Likes Received:
    44
    I second Dave 100% Steve is a very experience pilot and experience drone tech if any one is responsible is Steve ,bad things can happen to the anyone your comparative to an average no experience phantom irresponsible dude is totally out of place
     
  2. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    807

    Wayne, my experience in these matters is precisely why the copter went down where it did, and not near the runners. I always mind my altitude, trajectories, and attitudes so that there's an escape route. I had a camera operator and a safety spotter, clear landing zones, and at the first sign of trouble, I was able to maneuver the copter to a safe spot to land (if you can call it that).

    The conditions were not ideal, which is why I was operating mostly about 50m or so away from my takeoff position, and at the time I experienced trouble, the copter was nearly directly overhead. I had acres of safe landing area surrounding the area I was filming. At no time was anybody in any jeopardy, and I can tell you with certainty that the race was not disturbed in any way (I was there at the behest of the organizers, too).

    So I understand the vitriol (I've exhausted quite a bit of it myself), but I would ask that you read through this thread and understand that it would have been easy for me (as many have) to keep this under wraps and eliminate the potential learning experience for all of us (the product developers, as well). But I chose to share it, so I guess I must absorb your criticism.

    But I stand by my practices, and if more were as careful and methodical as I am (and many others to whom I owe a debt of gratitude), many of the more spectacular accidents you've seen out there would result in situations more like mine, with zero property damage, zero injuries, minimal copter damage (props and two CF booms), and no problems with the authorities (who were very helpful throughout).

    Your thoughts?
     
  3. Rod Hartzog

    Rod Hartzog Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    9
    I second what Dave and Jose said about Steve and I too have flown with him, he is a practiced professional that leaves nothing to chance and that was a pretty harsh judgement....well handled Steve!
    Congratulations for handling the situation safely and avoiding any injuries; thats what it's all about.
     
  4. Wayne Mann

    Wayne Mann Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    12
    Everyone seems to be ignoring the simple fact that the pilot chose to fly OVER the top of people at and EVENT. You simply do NOT do that. You say that you took all safety precautions, but you didn't. There is only one safety precaution in this situation that needs to be adhered to and that is to not fly over the crowd of people. If you must shoot an event you do it from 75 to 100 yards horizontally away from any group of people. If the event doesn't have the necessary empty space off to one side to allow safe operation then you don't shoot that event. I turn down event coverage all the time for safety reasons.

    You were extremely lucky that once the machine started having issues that you had any control over it at all. It could have just as easily had a total failure and went straight down or flew off into the sunset until the batteries died. What happened there should have scared you to the point of needing a Depends Undergarment.

    Did you have a safety meeting with every runner and bystander to let them know that you would be flying a Drone over that particular area and give them instructions on what to do if they hear someone yelling that the Drone is experiencing issues and that I am losing control? I seriously doubt it.

    It doesn't matter how many people gave you permission to fly there. Those people have no idea about the safety issues these things can cause in the event of a failure.

    Please don't take this personally as I am not singling you out. I am just trying to educate people on major safety issues that exist, especially when shooting at events.

    The new regulations that have been posted state that you will not be able to operate within 500' of a group of people. That is 175 yards away horizontally. That distance is a little excessive, but when I see things like this I understand why it's necessary.

    I realize that you guys more than likely have no idea who I am and really that doesn't matter in the slightest. I have known and done work with Tabb back in the day before Freefly so feel free to ask him about my qualifications to give safety advice when needed.

    Have a great day everyone.


    Wayne Mann
     
  5. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    10,357
    Likes Received:
    1,161

    Wayne: Can you point us to these new regulations to which you refer please?

    Thanks
    Andy
     
  6. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    807

    Wayne, stating that there are "regulations" is untrue. I'm not sure what country you live in (or state), but in California and the USA there are no regulations. There are "best practices", lots of hand-waving, and many shady cowboys doing all sorts of things that defy common sense. I don't know if you're a regular here on the FF Forum (you don't appear to be), but there have been exhaustive discussions for the nearly 2 years I've been here about these issues, and there are many of us who routinely fly in circumstances just like I did. And we do so safely. We all know that this...let's call it a "field" instead of an industry...is still in its "climbing out of the primordial ooze" phase. But all of us (yourself included based on some of the posts I've read) have finessed some of the proposed and discussed rules on one form or another, mostly because they a) make little sense and b) have not actually been enacted, approved or even tested in any significant way.

    So while I appreciate what you're saying and know that safety cannot be overstated, I also know that we are all trying to invent something here. And as somebody who's had the good luck to ride at least one of these kinds of waves of innovation, I'm not jumping off anytime soon. So I wish you well in your endeavors, and hopefully we'll all have some clarity under which to operate soon. But we do not have that now.
     
  7. Wayne Mann

    Wayne Mann Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    12
    Hi Andy,

    The 500' statement came from one of the six or seven operators in CA that was working with Flying Cam drafting the new regulations that the FAA will be using in some form or fashion. If you read into the proposed rules it is in there somewhere along with no night flying without special waivers, no tracking objects while flying from a moving vehicle and a whole bunch of other stuff as it was explained to me by said company in CA.

    Sorry Steve, I should have said new regulations that have been posted for "review". I am well aware that there are no current regs or laws. I have been in this business since 2004 and a professional R/C helicopter pilot since 1987.

    Steve you just said that you and "many others routinely fly in circumstances just like you did, meaning events flying over large crowds of people. And we do so safely." The truth is that you and anyone else that flies over crowds of people, operating under the guise that you are operating safely, are seriously delusional. At the end of the day these things are toys, not certified aircraft and the flight control systems are not the most reliable things on the planet. They are subject to have a failure at any time and if you are flying over crowds of people any such failure is "LIFE THREATING". Just to beat a dead horse, how is flying a MK controlled machine with all of it's flight control electronics out in the breeze operating safely in fairly foggy conditions? After five minutes in the air everything would have been pretty much soaking wet.

    For the record very few of the top aerial operators post on helicopter and multirotor forums anymore. The FAA is watching and reading these forums and in a nut shell they do not want to be lumped in with people doing questionable things.

    If people continue operating UAVs over crowds it will only be a matter of time before we have a tragic accident that was totally preventable. I get asked to do a lot of stuff on film sets that have serious safety issues and I will explain to the Director, DP or Producer why I can't do the shot exactly the way they want and I work with them to create a safe way to achieve their goals in any given shot. Just remember; There is no amount of money that is worth the risk of hitting someone with a UAV. If the worst case scenario happens you will be looking at "Negligent Homicide" and your life will be over.

    I will assume that some of you know who Sara Jones is/was. She is the camera AC that got killed on the train tracks in Doctorsville, GA filming Midnight Ryder in March of this year. If you happen to have seen the ABC special on 20/20 a couple weeks ago we shot all of the aerials for that show. The four people in charge of that production put that film crew on the train trestle with the film crew under the assumption that they had permission to be there and that it was safe. Now Sara is dead and all four have been charged with Negligent Homicide and they face a possible fifteen year sentence. My point is flying over a crowd of unsuspecting people is by definition "negligent" or "careless and reckless endangerment". Something to think about.


    Wayne
     
  8. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    807
    Wayne, your characterization of what I did as (your caps) "LIFE THREATING" is unfounded and inflammatory. We all take far more significant risks on the freeway and airplanes every day than what you and I do with UAVs with cameras hanging from them. Your Vimeo videos (yes, I watched them...your work is impressive) have close passes over people and property without protection from your copters' blades as well.

    We all know that adequate preparation and constant work on our skills brings the risk factors into a reasonable envelope. The risks do not disappear. Which is not to say that tragic accidents do not result from poor decision making. But success comes from careful calculation of the odds and eliminating as much of the negative systemic influence to try and garner a successful outcome. Because those of us who have chosen to do this have consciously decided that we prefer this path to sitting in front of a computer all day. But one's going to end up with a bump on one's head every once in a while (hopefully no worse).

    As for the regulations that may or may not appear, I have submitted my opinions and data through appropriate and diverse channels. I hope that the wisdom of this nascent industry can overcome the absurd political climate in which we live today and can result in something we can all sign up to.

    In the meantime, we're all debating things, blazing trails, inventing stuff, having fun, and building community.
     
  9. Wayne Mann

    Wayne Mann Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    12
    With all due respect the people in my videos that I fly over know that I am flying over them. They have also sat in on a safety meeting where I instruct them on what to do in the event I declare an emergency and they agreed to the risk involved. But, I am done here. There seems to be a Superman/I am indestructible complex going on here. This is exactly why we need regulations to govern the use of UAVs in a commercial setting. Just like a lot of the laws in this great country that were put in place because there are people out there that need protecting from themselves.

    Have a great evening.


    Wayne Mann
     
  10. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2012
    Messages:
    10,357
    Likes Received:
    1,161

    Aha! Thanks Wayne!

    I think you mean the Exemption Requests filed under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization Act of 2012?

    In which case you're referring to page 6, paragraph 17 of, for example, the Exemption Grant to Aerial MOB LLC, which states:

    17. Regarding distance from non-participating persons, the operator must ensure that no persons are allowed within 500 feet of the area except those consenting to be involved and necessary for the filming production. This provision may be reduced to no less than 200 feet if it would not adversely affect safety and the Administrator has approved it. For example, an equivalent level of safety may be determined by an aviation safety inspector’s evaluation of the filming production area to note terrain features, obstructions, buildings, safety barriers, etc. Such barriers may protect non-participating persons (observers, the public, news media, etc.) from debris in the event of an accident. This is also consistent with the same FAA Order 8900.1, V3, C8, S1.​

    So this is not as you point out, a regulation, but a specific Exemption Grant to the petitioners flying specific aircraft over closed movie sets. I've done an analysis of these Exemption Grants at http://rathergoodguides.com/document-guides/the-faa-makes-grants-suas.html -- although not of the particular aspect of the lateral offset from non-participants.

    The real problem is when specific distances are enumerated, is that the "Goldilocks Effect" kicks in (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldilocks_principle) and, sadly, it's all to easy to construct perfectly rational arguments why the number (in this case 500 feet) should be (as the FAA suggests above) 200 feet.

    However, I suspect that there is no good science behind the 500' or the 200' either as far as the sUAS identified in the petitions. It's just numbers that seem to make some kind of sense based on what a prudent pilot in command might choose. That's not to say there should not be enumerated distances -- but, by their very nature, they will probably have to be arbitrary. In this particular case, the 500' was a number specified by the FAA -- in many other instances the FAA seems to have adopted restrictions suggested by the petitioners.

    In this case the aircraft approved is apparently an "Amateur Built and Other Non-Type Certificated Aircraft" Quadcopter with the serial number AMSUAV 1001 (Based on the Amended Exemption Request filed by Aerial MOB LLC). As far as I can tell it is the only aircraft approved.

    You're also correct about the no night flying and the pilot in command cannot be on a moving vehicle or object.

    The FAA Docket for all of the paperwork is at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FAA-2014-0353


    Out of curiosity, did you manage to get a Section 333 Exemption for HeliCamHDMedia.com operations? I'm envious if you did!

    I think there would be several forum members who would appreciate knowing how you got approval for commercial operations....that seems to be a much sought-after status given that the FAA's position is that, unless you have a COA or Section 333 Exemption grant, there can be no commercial flight operations (regardless of whether they are over people or not).


    Thanks
    Andy.
     
  11. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    311
    There are no official standards for what you refer to. There are "general" guidelines and FARS but I have yet to see anything specific as far as the details of "how many people" or how far you should be away from people. There are no clear and defined federal rules and regulations other than not flying over 400 feet or flying within 5 miles of an airport. It is incumbent upon each aviation professional to know not only the federal laws relevant to his job but you need to know the state and local laws as well. Often you have to look to the local municipality for direction and guidance. Hopefully we will have some very clear policies in the very near future. But we don't have them to work with right now. Therefore its a judgement call and you do what you can in the most responsible way to avoid and minimize an accident at all costs. I always call the police and often the municipality and have a safety coordinator. If you get permission for an event, coordinate with police, and you use best safety practices, its up to the UAV operator to assess the risks. After all, the pilot and owner are the ones on the hook as they are assuming full responsibility. IF a UAV goes completely out of control, or flies away there is no free zone that will guarantee safety. No matter how far away you are from a crowd of people if something happens the UAV operator would be facing truck loads of trouble if someone gets seriously hurt. That's the risks that we all assume when flying. Being away a certain distance is not going to resolve anyone from responsibility.

    What you are doing is lumping what happened in this thread with complete irresponsible actions such as flying a drone into a 15,000 crowd stadium or flying a drone flying at 1000 feet at an airport near planes. These guys don't rope off areas with caution tape, use safety coordinators, call the police, or get local permission. They don't have insurance in case something happens, Steve does all of this.

    Below you will find a picture of one of Steve's typical on site locations where he flies in public. Does this look like a guy that is irresponsible or someone that doesn't have safety at the top of his priority list? I think Steve could teach classes on UAV safety.

    IMG_8391.jpg
     
  12. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    807
    Thank you for your kind words, Dave. I appreciate all the support and community that we have here. Those who join, support and learn from this community are the better for it. I deeply appreciate all that I've learned here, and try as much as I can to pay it forward.
     
  13. Wayne Mann

    Wayne Mann Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    12
    Hi Andy,

    No, I have not started paperwork for an exemption yet as there are other things in the mix right now that I can't talk about and I am waiting to see how that plays out.

    Hi Dave,

    The Gold Standard, the one that really counts is common sense. I applaud the 20 to 30 minutes that it took to set up a safety area for an LZ, but that will only help safety wise when taking off and landing. Once you take off if you go ripping off over a crowd of unsuspecting people common sense just lost out to the mighty dollar. It doesn't matter whether it is 50, a 100 or 15,000 people in a stadium it is still irresponsible and the fact that you don't have each individuals consent to fly over them opens you up to civil and criminal prosecution for reckless endangerment and the DA is going to file charges of negligent homicide. I have been over this with lawyers and the Sara Jones case just proves my point. It does not matter if you have permission from the President himself, if the worst happens and you did not have permission from everyone you flew over, you are in deep crap. I think that that is where I went wrong with my response to this thread. I think that you guys think that because your company is an LLC or an INC.,you have insurance and everyone running the event has given approval for the UAV operator to fly and film the event that your arse is covered. You couldn't be more wrong. Sit down with a criminal lawyer or prosecutor and explain to them what you are doing at the event and let them tell you how protected you are in the event of an accident.

    I have been doing this for a very long time and you can't imagine how much money that I have walked away from for safety reasons on different types of shoots, not just event stuff. We have shot in just about every major city in the US and we always have city and police support, but it is always a closed set type environment and I never just go ripping out over the city or communities unless it has been cleared by everyone.

    I am sure that there are quite a few people now reading this thread and if I only get through to one of them and it prevents the unimaginable from happening then I succeeded.


    Wayne Mann
     
  14. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    2,711
    Likes Received:
    311
    I do agree that it doesn't matter how many people are at an event whether its 2 or 2000. if something goes wrong, that operator will most likely be on the hook no matter what the details are. That's the risks all UAV owners and operators face regardless of how much safety is taken into account. As far as letting every single bystander know that's not practical and to be honest would do nothing to help protect anyone. Even if every bystander signed a document that says they acknowledge the risks and absolve the UAV owner of anything it doesn't matter. They very well could be facing criminal and civil charges. That's about where the things we agree on end in this debate. I don't think anyone here is trying to hide behind an LLC or an insurance premium as you suggest.

    If you are using common sense as the gold standard then Steve would win first prize. According to you I guess I should also be made an example of because I filmed the opening of a skateboard park this past late summer with hundreds of people in attendance. I did it in a very responsible way with clearances from the park organizer, chief of police and mayor of the township all there next to me with their blessing as I was flying. Everyone there saw my big copter and if they didn't they certainly heard it as it sounds like 5 million angry bees. I didn't ask for or receive a penny for it I did it as a favor for the woman who's name is dedicated after the park after she lost 2 children due to a swimming tragedy as she wanted aerial coverage of the event. This lady's story really hit me hard so I did it for her as a favor. I knew the risks, didn't think I was hiding behind a LLC or insurance if something went wrong. So I guess my so called "greed" got the best of me too right? Wrong! So as you can see, its not good to make assumptions for people you don't know, on situations you don't know the story about. Steve's very brave for posting the story on the net, he did it to make people aware. I don't think there's another person on this board that has been more helpful to others than Steve. If you take the time to read his posts you will find where he always recommends safety practices to others. Yes there are a lot of people reading this thread, if anyone is going to teach anything about safety, Steve would be the professor.

    That's all I am saying on this matter. Not going to get into a back and forth debate any further.
     
  15. Wayne Mann

    Wayne Mann Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2012
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    12
    No problem Dave,

    I understand your perspective and I also think Steve is a great guy. I read this forum quite a bit and I see how much help he is to others. Back in the day when a lot of the top operators were on these forums we would have asked the original poster to pull the video. New guys will see people doing event coverage and get the idea that it is ok to fly over crowds and with very little experience away they go. The video was not needed here as you have the log files from the MK. The details of the shoot other than the weather (fog issues) were not important. We, the professionals have to always remember that newbies are reading and learning on these forums.

    I saw you skate park video unless I am thinking about someone else's. If I remember there was also a news crew involved or in some of your shots. That would be a case of "No good deed goes unpunished" if something were to go wrong. If I remember correctly it seemed like there was plenty of room off to the sides of the skate park to film from eliminating the need to fly directly over the park, but I see things a little different I suppose. I am all for doing good deeds and helping people out. I do a ton of it, but I also gauge the risk versus reward and in this particular case you were helping with a very good cause and the fact is they would have been just as thrilled with shots cruising around the outside of the park. There was no Director there screaming at you telling you he had to have a straight down shot over the park.

    Sorry for using your skate park as another example, I am also assuming that the video I remember seeing was yours, but it is another way to help educate people on how to handle situations like that. It is a crying shame that blimps don't perform well outside in reasonable winds as I would switch to one in a heartbeat for safety reasons. I stopped using my 800 plus sized R/C helicopters that Tabb and I worked together on developing years ago and went to multirotors because they are so much safer in the event of a loss of control.

    Everyone have a great weekend. I am off to do yard work.


    Wayne Mann
     

Share This Page