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Idea: Drone Photographers Rights Card

ckoerner

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About a decade ago photography blog PetaPixel created a Photographers Rights Gray Card Set. The small, pocket-sized cards outlined at a high level the rights you have as a photographer, while also acting as easily accessible white balance reference cards.

Introducing the Photographers Rights Gray Card Set

This got me thinking. Would it be useful to the community of drone pilots to create something like this and include specific rights/rules for drone photographers? Something you could put in your gear bag as a refresher for you the pilot and if you need to inform a curious passerby of what you’re legally allowed to do.

I’m doing this to help the drone community and our reputation as knowledgeable and responsible pilots. I’m not seeking to profit from this endeavor. That said, if this is an idea folks are interested in I would be happy to figure out how to produce a few of these and sell them at-cost. This would, unfortunately, be specific to the US, so apologies in advance. In order to make this accessible to more folks I would like to release this creation under a Creative Commons license so others could adapt and reuse for their locality.

I’m still new to flying UAVs, so bear with me. Here’s a few things I’ve picked up that I think might be useful to include. Warning: I may have some of this wrong! :)
  1. UAV pilots must fly within line of sight of the drone.
  2. FAA regulations allow UAV pilots to fly 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
  3. You do not need a license to fly a UAV where the takeoff weight is under .55 lbs. UAV over .55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.
  4. UAVs must weigh less than 55 pounds, including payload, at takeoff.
  5. UAV pilots, licensed or not, can not takeoff or land in National Parks, military bases, over stadiums or sporting events, temporary flight restrictions zones, or over emergency response efforts.
  6. Do not fly a UAV near other aircraft, especially near airports unless you have a waiver.
  7. Max elevation above ground level is 400ft. If near a structure such as a building, pilots can fly an additional 400 ft above the structure in a space 400 ft in the circumference of the structure.
  8. Max speed of a UAV is 100mph.
  9. Part 107 licensed pilots can use a drone for commercial purposes.
  10. Airspace is regulated by the FAA. UAV pilots can fly in Class G airspace. Flight in other airspaces require LAANC authorization from the FAA.
  11. Private property owners can restrict takeoff and landing from their land.
  12. UAV pilots can not fly from a moving vehicle, unless in a sparsely populated area.
  13. Without a waiver you can not fly over groups people or traffic, unless in transition to another location.
  14. UAV pilots must not fly under the influence.

What do you think about this idea? What do you think should be included? How could the wording be improved? I'm open to feedback and guidance.
 
A flight Check list is always a good idea but trying to use this to prove point of intertest to a passerby of what is legal is not... likely to change there minds once they have decided that you should not be flying.

Your thinking of putting this on a business card or post cards size is that the idea.?

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly your Mavic in the Rain and land on Water.
 
The list is a good idea... but much of the list you provided could be misconstrued or used against someone when confronted..... I would stick to a card that could be handed out that outlines your basic rights and lets the person confronting you know that you will be bringing the drone to a safe landing so that you can talk without danger to the drone, other people, or property. There have been a number of posts that include samples of what people hand out.
 
The list is a good idea... but much of the list you provided could be misconstrued or used against someone when confronted..... I would stick to a card that could be handed out that outlines your basic rights and lets the person confronting you know that you will be bringing the drone to a safe landing so that you can talk without danger to the drone, other people, or property. There have been a number of posts that include samples of what people hand out.
That is true , the visual line of sight can really get you into trouble when passerby look and do not see what you see among other back fires. Good Call

My go to that has never failed me is that i am practicing for Search and Rescue and testing the signal in the area.
Works wonders. It does help immensely if your done looks like a Search and Rescue Type...

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly your Mavic in the Rain.
 
With all due respect you're mixing Part 107 and ~44809 regulations. If you're going to note regulations you must note exactly which set because as written many of those are not accurate.

  1. You do not need a license to fly a UAV where the takeoff weight is under .55 lbs. UAV over .55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.
  • Any weight of UAS requires a License for Commercial (nonRecreation) flight regardless of weight.
  • UAS flown strictly for Recreational Flights that weight less than .55lbs (all up take off weight) do not require FAA registration.
  • Any UAS flown for Commercial Operations requires FAA Registration as a Commercial UAS regardless of weight.
  • Recreational Flight (~44809) can only fly up to 400'AGL (no allowances)
  • Commercial Flights (Part 107) can fly up to 400' if in unControlled Airspace. If they are within 400' of a structure they can fly up to 400' over the structure so long as they are not entering into Controlled Airspace.


LAANC Grid Heights are not "automatic/default" heights for flight. Any flight in Controlled Airspace must get LAANC/DroneZone Approval prior to lifting off.

LAANC/DroneBase Approved Altitudes are ABSOLUTE and can NOT be deviated unless it's an emergency or your waiver/authorization makes allowances. If it say 200'AGL that means 200'AGL regardless of what else is in that sector.
 
With all due respect you're mixing Part 107 and ~44809 regulations. If you're going to note regulations you must note exactly which set because as written many of those are not accurate.

  1. You do not need a license to fly a UAV where the takeoff weight is under .55 lbs. UAV over .55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.
  • Any weight of UAS requires a License for Commercial (nonRecreation) flight regardless of weight.
  • UAS flown strictly for Recreational Flights that weight less than .55lbs (all up take off weight) do not require FAA registration.
  • Any UAS flown for Commercial Operations requires FAA Registration as a Commercial UAS regardless of weight.
  • Recreational Flight (~44809) can only fly up to 400'AGL (no allowances)
  • Commercial Flights (Part 107) can fly up to 400' if in unControlled Airspace. If they are within 400' of a structure they can fly up to 400' over the structure so long as they are not entering into Controlled Airspace.


LAANC Grid Heights are not "automatic/default" heights for flight. Any flight in Controlled Airspace must get LAANC/DroneZone Approval prior to lifting off.

LAANC/DroneBase Approved Altitudes are ABSOLUTE and can NOT be deviated unless it's an emergency or your waiver/authorization makes allowances. If it say 200'AGL that means 200'AGL regardless of what else is in that sector.
Have the rules changed for hobbyist flying above 400' if, say flying over a tower that is above 400'? I thought you could as long as it wasn't in controlled airspace?
 
Have the rules changed for hobbyist flying above 400' if, say flying over a tower that is above 400'? I thought you could as long as it wasn't in controlled airspace?
No, rules haven't changed. Only part 107 allows exceeding 400 ft AGL near structures. 44809 simply limits altitude to 400 ft AGL.
 
Have the rules changed for hobbyist flying above 400' if, say flying over a tower that is above 400'? I thought you could as long as it wasn't in controlled airspace?


Recreational Operations have no "allowance" for going over 400' AGL at all. That is an allowance for "Survey/Inspections" of structures which there is no need for in Recreational operations so only allowed under Part 107.
 
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3. You do not need a license to fly a UAV where the takeoff weight is under .55 lbs. UAV over .55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.
You don't need a licence to recreationally fly any drone up to 55 pounds
 
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Summarizing the rules while maintaining accuracy may be quite a challenge, particularly since there are two sets of rules, 44809 for strictly recreational flight and Part 107 for all other types of flights.

I'd be tempted just to reprint the 44809 rules, since they're fairly concise and understandable. But they require operating under the FAA-approved rules of a community based organization, and no such sets of rules have been approved by the FAA yet. They also require passing an aeronautical knowledge test which isn't yet available, and carrying proof of having passed that unavailable test. See 44809 (a)(2) and 44809 (a)(7).

The FAA is clear in its terminology that the term "pilot" is only used to describe a person holding a pilot certificate. In 44809, they use the term "operator". You may (or may not) want to use those terms like the FAA uses them.

Here are some specific points about your items:

  • UAV pilots must fly within line of sight of the drone.
UAV pilots stay on the ground. Their drone is flying, but it's meaningless to talk about whether their drone is flying within line of sight of the drone. I think you mean "UAV pilots must keep their drone within visual line of sight or use a visual observer who maintains sight of the drone.
  • FAA regulations allow UAV pilots to fly 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
Only Part 107 operations are restricted to daylight (waivers are available for nighttime operations). 44809 contains no prohibition against night flight.
  • You do not need a license to fly a UAV where the takeoff weight is under .55 lbs. UAV over .55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.
The need for a license has nothing to do with the 0.55 lb weight. You don't need a license to operate under 44809. 44809 applies to strictly recreational flight of UAVs weighing under 55 lbs. If your flight is not strictly recreational, then you need a license, regardless of weight.

The 0.55 weight limit only affects the requirement for registration. UAVs weighing under 0.55 lbs. do not require registration if they are flown under 44809 (which requires that the flight be for strictly recreational purposes).
  • UAVs must weigh less than 55 pounds, including payload, at takeoff.
That generally applies to Part 107 and 44809, but larger UAVs may be flown under 44809 if operated from a fixed site under 44809 (c)(2). Other types of operations of UAVs weighing more than 55 lbs are possible under various rules and waivers.
  • Do not fly a UAV near other aircraft, especially near airports unless you have a waiver.
Grammatical nitpick: the above is written as a command to the operator. But other items on the list are written as statements. Be consistent.

The part about "especially near airports unless you have a waiver" is troubling. You must have authorization to enter controlled airspace. Many, but not all, airports are inside controlled airspace. An airport that is in uncontrolled airspace does not require a waiver to fly nearby, so therefore no waiver is available. Of course one must always use caution to see and avoid other aircraft, and aircraft are frequently found flying near airports.
  • Max elevation above ground level is 400ft. If near a structure such as a building, pilots can fly an additional 400 ft above the structure in a space 400 ft in the circumference of the structure.
That's for Part 107 only. Furthermore, that rule doesn't allow one to enter controlled airspace without authorization.
  • Max speed of a UAV is 100mph.
That's groundspeed, and that rule is only in Part 107.
  • Part 107 licensed pilots can use a drone for commercial purposes.
As well as for other non-recreational purposes (volunteer search and rescue, for one of many examples). There is sometimes a misperception that Part 107 is for commercial flight. Actually, it's for all flight that doesn't fit under 44809. 44809 requires that a UAV be flown "strictly for recreational purposes".
  • Private property owners can restrict takeoff and landing from their land.
As can public property owners in some jurisdictions. Many city, county, and state parks can prohibit drones, though some states prohibit their local authorities from doing so.
 
Thanks all for the feedback. I've been dealing with some health issues and wanted to give a proper reply so sorry for the delay in responding. I’ll get back to y’all soon.
 
That is true , the visual line of sight can really get you into trouble when passerby look and do not see what you see among other back fires. Good Call

My go to that has never failed me is that i am practicing for Search and Rescue and testing the signal in the area.
Works wonders. It does help immensely if your done looks like a Search and Rescue Type...

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly your Mavic in the Rain.
I love the search and rescue idea. It could surely change the mind of the uninformed.
 
That is true , the visual line of sight can really get you into trouble when passerby look and do not see what you see among other back fires. Good Call

My go to that has never failed me is that i am practicing for Search and Rescue and testing the signal in the area.
Works wonders. It does help immensely if your done looks like a Search and Rescue Type...

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly your Mavic in the Rain.
Mines wrapped in a florescent orange skin so that might work...
 
Isn't the rule about sporting events, stadiums, etc. only applied during games, events, etc?
You can fly over stadiums fields, etc. when empty of people, I think. Experts-please correct me or expand the info.
 
Isn't the rule about sporting events, stadiums, etc. only applied during games, events, etc?
You can fly over stadiums fields, etc. when empty of people, I think. Experts-please correct me or expand the info.
In Boston the stadium there is a permanent TFR which Is temporary but it's always on the sectionals as restricted airspace over and around the stadium.
It will probably depend on the stadium but it just means you need to know your charts (not apps but actual charts).
 
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I’ve also got one of those PetaPixel cards from long ago. As other have pointed out, we don’t need to mislead anyone. A card that says “I can legally fly here” is nice but where does it go? I guess I’m lucky that I’ve never been challenged, despite flying in public for a few hundred hours. I guess if someone every challenged me I’d tell them I have a commercial license and clearance from the FAA (if applicable).
 
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