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FAA AGL 400' but what if you are on a ridge at 850', fly at 1250'?

Gordon

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Hey Mavic owners or soon to be! I live on a ridge in Hawaii at 850' above sea level. Under the FAA rules, can I fly my drone at 1250' (850' + 400' AGL)? What if I fly over a valley that is at sea level no more than 150 yards from my house, do I have to bring the drone down to 400'? Last question, if I use the RTH feature, what altitude would I use?
Thanks-Mahalo!
Gordon
 

Logger

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Looks like a rule to me....
FAA SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT RULE (PART 107)

https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf

  • Maximum altitude of 400 feet above ground level (AGL) or, if higher than 400 feet AGL, remain within 400 feet of a structure.
 

Bernard Partridge

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400' is a "Rule" if you are FAA part 107 certified.
Yes, it's true that recreational pilots have interpreted FAA "Safety Guidelines" as only a guideline, but believe me if you guys continue to fly over 400', near emergency response efforts such as fires, fly out of line of sight and continue to ignore the "Guidelines", the FAA will eventually come down hard on our community.
Hope I don't come off as a killjoy on my first post, but I know the FAA.
My suggestion is to remain at or below 400' above ground level. So, in your case, as you approach the ridge (within 400' horizontally), you can climb to maintain your 400' ground clearance. And vice versa, when you come off the ridge, you need to descend to maintain your 400' ground clearance.
By the way, I live on Oahu.
~ALOHA~
Bernie
 

Tim the Nomad

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RTH works against a reference datum which is your take-off altitude. If you fly into the valley you will be flying at negative altitude (as far as Mavic is concerned). When you trigger RTH it will climb to RTH height above reference datum.
 

halley

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In general, once you're far enough away from the ridge that a full-scale helicopter might possibly pass through, you should drop down to the lower 400 ft AGL. Think of it as 400 ft from the nearest rock in any direction, maximum.

CqOdoFr.jpg
 
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jowens

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Hawaii folks - I will be in Hawaii next week and am looking for some good, safe places to fly..bringing my mavic!
 

Bernard Partridge

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Now you will really accuse me of being a killjoy. There will be a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) covering ALL of the island of Oahu from the surface to 17,999' until January 3. President Obama will be on the island for his annual vacation. If you fly, make sure it's indoor, otherwise, the secret Service will be confiscating your Mavic.
 
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msinger

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if I use the RTH feature, what altitude would I use?
RTH will be auto initiated in a case where the remote controller disconnects from the Mavic, so it's important to always set the proper RTH altitude prior to each flight.

As for the altitude, find the height of the tallest obstacle above the take off point (which is 0 feet) and add 50 feet. I'm suggesting you pad it by 50 feet since the current altitude is just an estimate.
 
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rmb

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400' is not a "Rule", it is a "guideline". Just fly safely and you're good.
It is absolutely a rule for all. Hobbyists and 107. Everything above 400 AGL if not otherwise specified is Class E and Controlled airspace. The only difference is that 107 pilots are allowed if they file a waiver. Hobbyists are never allowed.
 

rmb

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Now you will really accuse me of being a killjoy. There will be a TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) covering ALL of the island of Oahu from the surface to 17,999' until January 3. President Obama will be on the island for his annual vacation. If you fly, make sure it's indoor, otherwise, the secret Service will be confiscating your Mavic.
Great info. To every non-FAA licensed pilot, you don't need to be licensed to head of to skyvector.com and check your flying area or register with the FAA to receive TFRs like the one Bernard mentioned. Always nice to see an observant Pilot in the room Bernard.
Thanks!
 

F6Rider

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It is absolutely a rule for all. Hobbyists and 107. Everything above 400 AGL if not otherwise specified is Class E and Controlled airspace. The only difference is that 107 pilots are allowed if they file a waiver. Hobbyists are never allowed.
My area has a lot of helicopter traffic, and many times they are below 400', as a hobby flyer it is my responsibility to avoid them, which I do, but let just one pilot call in to say I was too close or flew in a dangerous manner and I would be getting the visit or call, even though he was in 'my' airspace. So don't think that just because you are below 400' you are all good, you must yield to all manned A/C, which I am sure you know. I have brought my quad down to ground effect hover to avoid any A/C within a mile of me, having spent the good part of my Army years as a crew chief I know for a fact just how hard is is to see something as small as a Mavic. Fly safe!
 

Andrew F

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In general, once you're far enough away from the ridge that a full-scale helicopter might possibly pass through, you should drop down to the lower 400 ft AGL. Think of it as 400 ft from the nearest rock in any direction, maximum.

CqOdoFr.jpg
As if helicopters in Hawaii stay above 500? They "average" their elevation in the valleys. If you hear one coming (they aren't quiet) dive down. Don't trust helicopter to tow the line on their own regulations.
 

Andrew F

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My area has a lot of helicopter traffic, and many times they are below 400', as a hobby flyer it is my responsibility to avoid them, which I do, but let just one pilot call in to say I was too close or flew in a dangerous manner and I would be getting the visit or call, even though he was in 'my' airspace. So don't think that just because you are below 400' you are all good, you must yield to all manned A/C, which I am sure you know. I have brought my quad down to ground effect hover to avoid any A/C within a mile of me, having spent the good part of my Army years as a crew chief I know for a fact just how hard is is to see something as small as a Mavic. Fly safe!
Good post and my experience as well.
 

Andrew F

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Great info. To every non-FAA licensed pilot, you don't need to be licensed to head of to skyvector.com and check your flying area or register with the FAA to receive TFRs like the one Bernard mentioned. Always nice to see an observant Pilot in the room Bernard.
Thanks!
It's a darn big Island . . . Can't wait to see the confiscation video - not sure how they'll manage that. Highly doubt they will be looking for your drone on the opposite side of the island to the POTUS. But I'd personally stick to the TFR as overreaching as it is.
 

F6Rider

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It's a darn big Island . . . Can't wait to see the confiscation video - not sure how they'll manage that. Highly doubt they will be looking for your drone on the opposite side of the island to the POTUS. But I'd personally stick to the TFR as overreaching as it is.
Yep, I understand the SS have no sense of humor at all!
 

Gordon

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Thanks all for the info! Bernie is right about POTUS being on the island for the next 3 weeks. I found the TFRs on the FAA TFR website.

56bb9910d12d3a376afde4525b601aad.jpg


Not sure if you can see the TFR but I live in the inner core so I'm out of luck flying at or near my house. It's unclear about flying the drone outside the inner core, Aka the outer ring. Your assistance is greatly appreciated!

6c821ec1b5625403b3479b68683b80e9.jpg


Mahalo.

Gotdon


Sent from my iPhone using MavicPilots
 

kaduken

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As far as I know, we're grounded till the 3rd, so no flying at all. Just got mine and not gonna be able to fly till next year now, unless indoors or large covered area
 

slr001

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It is absolutely a rule for all. Hobbyists and 107. Everything above 400 AGL if not otherwise specified is Class E and Controlled airspace. The only difference is that 107 pilots are allowed if they file a waiver. Hobbyists are never allowed.

rmb,

Can you explain the table on Getting Started

Specifically the "operating rules" and the difference between the Fly for Fun column and Fly for Work column. The Fly for Work column specifically states the 400' rule. Fly for Fun does not list a maximum flight ceiling.

If you are correct and the 400' "rule" applies for hobbyist, then perhaps someone at the FAA can update this chart. It is after all on the main "learn more" page when you go to register.
 
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