Hobbyist vs Commercial Flying in South Florida

Discussion in 'sUAV Rules & Regulations' started by RebelPro, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. RebelPro

    RebelPro Member

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    Greetings to all the members of the forum.

    I’m in the process of deciding where to buy my Mavic Pro from and as I trying to find all the information about registration, licenses, regulations, etc (hence how I came across this forum).

    Professionally I am a video editor for a TV Network, and when I’m not working I have a huge passion for nature and fitness, which is why I’m constantly taking photos of nature and riding my off-road bicycle.

    So, my questions are, there a difference to where and how a drone can be flown based on whether the pilot has a commercial or hobbyist registration? And if that’s the case, as a commercial pilot, if I am using the drone for non-commercial purposes, do I still have to abide to the same commercial regulations?

    What made me think of these questions is a post I saw here where someone traveling from Germany to South Florida was asking about regulations and it seems based on the answers he got, if you are hobbyist and you’re planning to fly within 5 miles of an airport, you have to notify the airport, but if you are flying for commercial purposes you can’t or need a C type license?

    Sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to give as much details as possible so it can be understood why I am asking all these questions.

    Thank you in advance for any information you guys can provide me with.

    Yass
     
  2. lisadoc

    lisadoc Well-Known Member

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  3. msinger

    msinger Well-Known Member
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    If you have a remote pilot certificate, then you must choose whether you're going to fly as a hobbyist (just for fun) or commercially (doing something that generates money for someone) before taking off. If flying as a hobbyist, you need to follow these rules. If flying commercially, you need to follow these rules.
     
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  4. lisadoc

    lisadoc Well-Known Member

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    No. You can follow the recreational guidelines.
     
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  5. RebelPro

    RebelPro Member

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    Thank you everyone for your responses and links.
     
  6. Dvanhoose

    Dvanhoose Member

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    What network? I also fly around here in Dade and Broward.
     
  7. RebelPro

    RebelPro Member

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    Univision. I’ve been wanting to get into aerial shooting for the longest but now I can finally get into it.
     
  8. RebelPro

    RebelPro Member

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    As I read more here in the forum, read on the FAA page, and watch videos on Youtube it seems to me things become more complicated than they should be.

    While some aspects of the law are pretty clear and obvious, other aspects are hard to interpret or find anywhere. Here's what I mean with that (and again, this has been debated here in the forums)

    Flying near airports:
    • If you fly as a hobbyist and flying within 5 miles of an airport, you must call the airport to notify them.
    • If you are licensed under the part 107 you don't need to notify the airport, as you already took a test showing you know the laws, regulations and safety procedures.
    • If you are licensed under the part 107 you still have to call the airport and notify them.

    Flying during the day/night:
    • You cannot fly at night whether you're licensed or a hobbyist.
    • You can fly at night if you are a hobbyist but you can't if you are licensed under part 107.

    Flying national parks:
    • You cannot fly in national parks.
    • You can fly in national parks as long as you take off / land the UAS outside the national park border.
    • You cannot fly in a national park even if you take off / land the UAS outside the national park border unless you're flying at a minimum of 1200' AGL.

    Flying with a commercial registered UAS:
    • You cannot fly a commercial registered UAS as a hobbyist because (in case it is true) if you decide to fly at night as a hobbyist and you crash your UAS, since it is registered commercially, and since you can't fly at night under the part 107, you'd be breaking the law.

    Besides the fact most have their own opinions and interpretations of the laws and regulations, what becomes a little frustrating is the lack of sense in some of these arguments, especially in cases like... a hobbyist can fly at night but a licensed pilot can't? Or that a licensed pilot has or doesn't have to call the airport to notify them?

    I guess getting to know how regulations work when it comes to UASs is a little harder than I thought.
     
  9. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Well-Known Member

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    Part of the "confusion" is that in 2012 Congress mandated that the FAA can not make any rules/laws specifically for Hobby/Recreational Operators. So this is why a hobbyist can "currently" fly higher at night without needing special approval from the FAA.

    A Commercially Registered aircraft CAN fly in a hobby capacity but an unregistered or hobby registered aircraft can NOT fly as a commercial capacity.

    Part 107 Operators "Commercial UAS Certificate" can operate at night IF they have obtained an FAA 107.29 Waiver. This Daytime Waiver allows the Part 107 Operator to fly outside of "just" daytime hours.

    There are LOTS of other confusing "scenarios" and it takes time to learn to navigate and learn what's "Fact" and what's regurgitated and diluted fact.
     
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  10. vtcats

    vtcats Active Member

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    A Commercially Registered aircraft CAN fly in a hobby capacity but an unregistered or hobby registered aircraft can NOT fly as a commercial capacity.

    I hadn't heard this one before. So if I registered my drone initially as a hobbiest then get my part 107 license later, I would have to RE-register the drone as a commercial aircraft if I was to use it for a paid job?
     
  11. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Well-Known Member

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    Yes. A commercial UAS is registered by the aircraft. A hobby/recreational registration is registering the Operator/Pilot.

    As a hobbyist you would use the same registration # for all of your hobby aircraft.

    The commercial registration is aircraft specific and that # is only used on that one specific aircraft.

    I have commercial aircraft that each have a unique Commercial Reg #'s on them. I also have hobby aircraft and they all have the same hobby registration # on them.

    The Commercially Registered aircraft can (and frequently are) be flown for hobby/recreation. My hobby registered aircraft can NOT be used in a commercial/civil endeavor.
     
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  12. vtcats

    vtcats Active Member

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    Any particular reason you wouldn't register all your aircraft commercially given you have the option to fly both ways (commercial or hobby)? Unless it's a money thing?
     
  13. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Well-Known Member

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    Well it's pointless paperwork for one thing. It's a waste of $$ although not much. Also it's a hassle to unregister a commercial UAS when you destroy or sell it. It's better than it was (we had to get N# like full sized aircraft before last year) for sure but still unnecessary steps for dedicated hobby UAS.

    I've got several that are useless for any commercial endeavor so it would serve no benefit to register them. I've got stunt planes, helicopters, sea planes, trainer aircraft etc and none of these will be used in any commercial capacity.
     
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  14. drive3r

    drive3r Member

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    If you make a youtube video and monetize it, does it mean commercial usage. So does it mean 107 has to be done?
    What if you fly for youtube only when not in USA. I guess then FAA does not count.
     
  15. beachcombing

    beachcombing Well-Known Member

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    In the past, the FAA has considered making money on YouTube with your drone flights to be commercial use. Obviously, this only applies for flights that occur within the United States. Flights outside the US would be subject to the laws in those respective countries.

    Whether the FAA would "come after" any individual YouTube user is unknown.
     
  16. TheoMatthias

    TheoMatthias Well-Known Member

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    Not to be too pedantic, but...

    When flying near airports, a Part 107 pilot DOES NOT need to notify the tower as long as they are in Class G airspace. It used to be that most of Class G airspace extended from the surface to 14,500 ft MSL. Now, most of Class G ends at 1200 ft (thanks sar104!). Class G can also lie under Class E airspace, extending from the surface up to 700 ft or 1200 ft depending on how the location is represented on a sectional chart. However, not all Class E airspace has an underlying Class G airspace layer; "Class E Surface" airspace extends down to the surface with no underlying Class G layer. This is how Class E Surface airspace looks on a sectional chart:


    KMPV (Knapp State) is in Class E airspace that has a "floor" of 700 ft. We know that because of the shaded (graduated) magenta border. On the "soft" side of the border is the Class E airspace with a 700 ft floor; under 700 ft, the airspace becomes Class G. On the "hard" side of the border is Class E airspace with a 1200 ft floor; under 1200 ft, the airspace becomes Class G.

    Now, look a the dashed magenta line encircling the airport and extending rectangularly toward the northwest and southeast. This dashed magenta line is where the Class E airspace extends down to the surface, hence, Class E Surface airspace. Class E Surface airspace is usually established at non-towered Class E airports that have instrument landing system equipment. The rectangular portions of the dashed magenta line align with the instrument approaches to an ILS-equipped runway; in this case, Rwy 17/35.

    So, what does all this mean for a Part 107 and Part 101 pilot? Stay out of the Class E Surface airspace because there may be aircraft transiting the area below 500 ft! Also, because a Part 107 pilot cannot fly above 400 ft (without a waiver), they are able to conduct operations in any other underlying Class G airspace in the airport vicinity without notification.

    A Part 107 pilot can fly during daytime AND during civil twilight (about 30-minutes before/after sunrise/sunset), but if flying during civil twilight, the AC must be equipped with anti-collision lighting that can be seen from a 3-mile distance. Also, Part 107 pilots can file with the FAA for a waiver that will allow them to fly at night (with said lighting).

    HTH
     
    #16 TheoMatthias, Nov 10, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  17. sar104

    sar104 Well-Known Member

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    Good explanation, with one small error. Most Class G airspace does not go to 14,500 MSL. In fact almost all Class G airspace in the US now ends at 1200 ft AGL outside the 700 ft Class E areas - there is virtually no high altitude Class G any more.
     
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  18. TheoMatthias

    TheoMatthias Well-Known Member

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    @sar104

    Oh my! Sorry about that; I guess I'm showing my age!

    I just checked the Great Falls and Billings sectional charts quickly; I couldn't find any Class G. Seems to me that I remember that area to have a great deal of Class G. Now, I can't find any magenta borders with the phrase "Class G" on their hard side. Oh well, I'm not planning to get my Mavic up to 14,500 ft anyway.

    Thanks for the correction! Previous post now reflects it.
     
    #18 TheoMatthias, Nov 10, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
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  19. sar104

    sar104 Well-Known Member

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    It's still default Class G on the hard side of the borders, but now it's all 1200 ft AGL and not marked explicitly. It's really hard to find higher Class G although it still exists in a few places around the Rockies.
     
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