Just a reminder, registration is still open (after a brief oops on our part) for the NH Techfest USDRA Race on October 24th. Got a rig you want to fly? Bring it along! Want to see others take their turn out on the turf? Sign up!
If you are attending, please register, it’s important we have an accurate count of pilots and spectators!
This article on Petapixel is a great reminder to all drone pilots that there are many out there who misunderstand what we’re doing, and classify all drones as either weapons of death and destruction, or tools to invade the privacy of others.
Throughout the entire confrontation, Hair deals with what he calls “drone paranoia” in a safe and respectable manner. Luckily, the altercation did not break out into any violence, but it is a reminder that people can get very concerned with new technology that threatens to invade their privacy – even if it is at a local public field.
“Model aircraft are not a crime. This is a public field,” says Hair. “I was testing my camera and gimbal settings on my quad and hexacopter. I fly here often, as do many others. It is a safe and wide open area to fly.”
The California House of Representatives has just voted to amend the Civil Code to make it illegal to fly “Unmanned Aircraft” over private property to an altitude of 350′ without permission of the owner:
(a) A person wrongfully occupies real property and is liable for damages pursuant to Section 3334 if, without express permission of the person or entity with the legal authority to grant access or without legal authority, he or she operates an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system less than 350 feet above ground level within the airspace overlaying the real property.
As of this writing, the bill has passed to the senate after passing in the house. It is not yet law.
It’s unsurprising this sort of legislation is coming through the pipeline, in the wake of certain incidents involving shotguns. This particular legislation is aiming to clarify the ambiguity regarding “Below 400′ AGL” airspace. The FAA provides guidelines to safe operation, but are unclear on how low an operator can legally fly…
Fly below 400 feet and remain clear of surrounding obstacles
Keep the aircraft within visual line of sight at all times
Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations
Don’t fly within 5 miles of an airport unless you contact the airport and control tower before flying
Don’t fly near people or stadiums
Don’t fly an aircraft that weighs more than 55 lbs
Don’t be careless or reckless with your unmanned aircraft – you could be fined for endangering people or other aircraft
Individuals who fly within the scope of these parameters do not require permission to operate their UAS; any flight outside these parameters (including any non-hobby, non-recreational operation) requires FAA authorization.
Jim Moore, associate editor at AOPA, came out to NAFPV2015 and chatted with the specwing and drone pilots there, including a nice long chat with the USDRA…
Pilots who stick to manned aircraft need not worry much about this crowd. With hundreds of hours and hundreds or thousands of dollars invested in their flying machines, the FPV race pilots were well-briefed and careful to avoid exceeding the 400-foot altitude limit (most stay very close to the ground), or allow their drones to stray out of sight. Drones operated carelessly or in ignorance of airspace regulations, or by those who just don’t care, have drawn the ire of the FAA, and conflict prevention remains a major concern of AOPA and other organizations.
Last week the USDRA was happy to attend the North American FPV Meet in Stephentown, New York. I have to tip my hat to the NEFPV team for putting on a great event. The timeslots were managed well, the tag system for making sure FPV video channels were not being trodden upon, and the wonderful site and course made those days in the hills enjoyable, nighttime and day.
Did we have rain? Sure! But that just upped the silliness. Were there some destroyed rigs? Absolutely (including one dramatic LiPo fire!). Was there great racing? Definitely!
Looking forward to flying with these guys more in the months ahead!
We’ll be live-tweeting on @usdroneracing throughout the weekend as the USDRA goes to the NAFPV2015 event in Stephentown, New York. Make sure you follow us on Twitter for all the best pics, videos, and chatter from the big event!
Check out Mochaboy’s video giving a heads up for for how the event will be running…