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Is it worth it to fly overseas?

Photobobhunt

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Is flying a drone overseas worth it?

I’m in my 4 th year as a 107 qualified remote pilot and I just returned from a month outside of the US.
A few years ago, as a photographer with over 60 years’ experience, I decided I needed a new perspective for some of my images. So, I decided to get a drone.
So, we had scheduled a month abroad to visit our daughter in the UK, take a river cruise in the south of France and top it off with a Nile cruise in Egypt.
I had done some research in 2022 when we started planning these adventures and found flying in the UK and EU wasn’t a big deal for recreational flyers. With the rules similar to the US . So I purchased my Mini 2 to stay under 250 grams and have the most latitude and general ability to fly.
A month before our trip I reviewed my research and found most everything has changed in the UK and EU. In both jurisdictions drones and operators had to be registered with the authorities. In some cases the pilots also had to be registered. Most of the rules are the similar to the US, but there are some that are very different like no night flying and distances from people.
In both the UK & EU there were fees and test to get your numbers that needed to be affixed. The test and Course were different but not much. The good news if you are 107 Qualified you can take the test without taking the course and pass. I t is taken in sections, and you can review like a open book and fortunately no aviation skills needed. . In my case it was France through a app called Alpha Tango I took the required test through them (83out of 100) …I think it cost me 20 British Pounds UK for registration. The EU cost was different depending on which country you registered in. You can generally avoid registration if you have a sub 250 grm drone………. without a camera. Lots of those around (lol).
As a visitor you are supposed to register in the first country you enter. In my case it was France … but any EU country will work I found it easier to register in Austria even though I. wasn’t going there.

Our daughter lived in the middle of nowhere in Collyweston , near Stamford, but more important near a RAF base in its airspace. It also rained most every day with 20= Mph winds.
I had downloaded the local Apps and attempted to get clearance like LAANC approval in the US, but never got through. The base was basically inactive, and I never saw any activity. So, I did do a flight in the vicinity of her property not above 150 feet and situational awareness with my son in law as a extra visual observer. I flew less than 20 minuets’, just enough to get a few stills of the property and local village.
On to the cruising in the south of France. It rained most every day. Not enough to ruin the trip but enough that I never put the drone up.
Prior to leaving the US I checked with Egypt and found you needed permission to fly there…….and it could take some time. I applied but never got a return contact . Without permission your drone would likely be confiscated at the airport upon entry or exit. I never got permission, so I shipped the drone home before traveling to Egypt since we were returning to the US from there.
I was skeptical about the info about confiscation until we spent a week in Cairo and on the Nile and I had my whole carry on dumped at Cairo airport security because I had nail clippers (without a file). There was a great police presence and lots of check points. Most with automatic weapons in use.

So, in conclusion, we had a few great tours even though the weather wasn’t the best, but I only flew the drone for 20 minutes.
We had some freedom and mobility in the UK, but weather and restrictions were a complication. For the rest of our journey, we were on guided tours with limited free time in the best locations, not to mention the rain.
As on our last trip to South Africa, (Cape-town) last fall, many places you would want to fly are restricted. I was able to fly more there but still not as much as I planned.

Mexico, Hawaii, and Iceland are on the schedule for the rest of the year. All but Iceland are less structured visits and we planned more free time in Iceland, our second visit….. the Mini 2 will be packed and ready…..conditions permitting.
 
Thanks for your interesting story. Re: Mexico. I've read that it is legal to fly only if you are a Mexican citizen. Is that not your understanding? (Of course lots of Americans fly in Mexico anyway, but I'd rather not fly illegally.)
 
Is flying a drone overseas worth it?

I’m in my 4 th year as a 107 qualified remote pilot and I just returned from a month outside of the US.
A few years ago, as a photographer with over 60 years’ experience, I decided I needed a new perspective for some of my images. So, I decided to get a drone.
So, we had scheduled a month abroad to visit our daughter in the UK, take a river cruise in the south of France and top it off with a Nile cruise in Egypt.
I had done some research in 2022 when we started planning these adventures and found flying in the UK and EU wasn’t a big deal for recreational flyers. With the rules similar to the US . So I purchased my Mini 2 to stay under 250 grams and have the most latitude and general ability to fly.
A month before our trip I reviewed my research and found most everything has changed in the UK and EU. In both jurisdictions drones and operators had to be registered with the authorities. In some cases the pilots also had to be registered. Most of the rules are the similar to the US, but there are some that are very different like no night flying and distances from people.
In both the UK & EU there were fees and test to get your numbers that needed to be affixed. The test and Course were different but not much. The good news if you are 107 Qualified you can take the test without taking the course and pass. I t is taken in sections, and you can review like a open book and fortunately no aviation skills needed. . In my case it was France through a app called Alpha Tango I took the required test through them (83out of 100) …I think it cost me 20 British Pounds UK for registration. The EU cost was different depending on which country you registered in. You can generally avoid registration if you have a sub 250 grm drone………. without a camera. Lots of those around (lol).
As a visitor you are supposed to register in the first country you enter. In my case it was France … but any EU country will work I found it easier to register in Austria even though I. wasn’t going there.

Our daughter lived in the middle of nowhere in Collyweston , near Stamford, but more important near a RAF base in its airspace. It also rained most every day with 20= Mph winds.
I had downloaded the local Apps and attempted to get clearance like LAANC approval in the US, but never got through. The base was basically inactive, and I never saw any activity. So, I did do a flight in the vicinity of her property not above 150 feet and situational awareness with my son in law as a extra visual observer. I flew less than 20 minuets’, just enough to get a few stills of the property and local village.
On to the cruising in the south of France. It rained most every day. Not enough to ruin the trip but enough that I never put the drone up.
Prior to leaving the US I checked with Egypt and found you needed permission to fly there…….and it could take some time. I applied but never got a return contact . Without permission your drone would likely be confiscated at the airport upon entry or exit. I never got permission, so I shipped the drone home before traveling to Egypt since we were returning to the US from there.
I was skeptical about the info about confiscation until we spent a week in Cairo and on the Nile and I had my whole carry on dumped at Cairo airport security because I had nail clippers (without a file). There was a great police presence and lots of check points. Most with automatic weapons in use.

So, in conclusion, we had a few great tours even though the weather wasn’t the best, but I only flew the drone for 20 minutes.
We had some freedom and mobility in the UK, but weather and restrictions were a complication. For the rest of our journey, we were on guided tours with limited free time in the best locations, not to mention the rain.
As on our last trip to South Africa, (Cape-town) last fall, many places you would want to fly are restricted. I was able to fly more there but still not as much as I planned.

Mexico, Hawaii, and Iceland are on the schedule for the rest of the year. All but Iceland are less structured visits and we planned more free time in Iceland, our second visit….. the Mini 2 will be packed and ready…..conditions permitting.
Photobobhunt:

Sadly the world is becoming drone-phobic. I have had my share of grief, as I have detailed here on the forum. On a long awaited and planned trip to Kenya (for a safari) I had my Mini 2 CONFISCATED at Nairobi customs. To re-claim it upon departure from the country I had to get to the airport 3 hours earlier. The terminal where my drone was confiscated was different than the terminal of my departure! So I had to (1) first get my boarding pass (to prove I was leaving the country) at departure terminal. Next, I had to drive to the terminal where my Mini 2 was stored. To go into that terminal, we first had to get a police pass at yet another (3rd) terminal!!!! Then back to drone terminal to wait in line, pay a storage fee!!! and then back to the terminal where the police pass was returned, and finally back to our departure terminal. It was a nightmare.!!!

I now find that I plan all of my travel on whether or not they allow drones! That explains my upcoming trip to Kyrgystan, where there is no problem flying a drone.

The cause of this phobia is in plain sight! Terrorists, Ukraine, Israel, Russia, Hamas, Houtie rebels, etc. are all using drones for warfare. I was going to plan a trip to the South Seas islands but no drones allowed so I canceled that trip.

Dale
Miami
 
Is flying a drone overseas worth it?

I’m in my 4 th year as a 107 qualified remote pilot and I just returned from a month outside of the US.
A few years ago, as a photographer with over 60 years’ experience, I decided I needed a new perspective for some of my images. So, I decided to get a drone.
So, we had scheduled a month abroad to visit our daughter in the UK, take a river cruise in the south of France and top it off with a Nile cruise in Egypt.
I had done some research in 2022 when we started planning these adventures and found flying in the UK and EU wasn’t a big deal for recreational flyers. With the rules similar to the US . So I purchased my Mini 2 to stay under 250 grams and have the most latitude and general ability to fly.
A month before our trip I reviewed my research and found most everything has changed in the UK and EU. In both jurisdictions drones and operators had to be registered with the authorities. In some cases the pilots also had to be registered. Most of the rules are the similar to the US, but there are some that are very different like no night flying and distances from people.
In both the UK & EU there were fees and test to get your numbers that needed to be affixed. The test and Course were different but not much. The good news if you are 107 Qualified you can take the test without taking the course and pass. I t is taken in sections, and you can review like a open book and fortunately no aviation skills needed. . In my case it was France through a app called Alpha Tango I took the required test through them (83out of 100) …I think it cost me 20 British Pounds UK for registration. The EU cost was different depending on which country you registered in. You can generally avoid registration if you have a sub 250 grm drone………. without a camera. Lots of those around (lol).
As a visitor you are supposed to register in the first country you enter. In my case it was France … but any EU country will work I found it easier to register in Austria even though I. wasn’t going there.

Our daughter lived in the middle of nowhere in Collyweston , near Stamford, but more important near a RAF base in its airspace. It also rained most every day with 20= Mph winds.
I had downloaded the local Apps and attempted to get clearance like LAANC approval in the US, but never got through. The base was basically inactive, and I never saw any activity. So, I did do a flight in the vicinity of her property not above 150 feet and situational awareness with my son in law as a extra visual observer. I flew less than 20 minuets’, just enough to get a few stills of the property and local village.
On to the cruising in the south of France. It rained most every day. Not enough to ruin the trip but enough that I never put the drone up.
Prior to leaving the US I checked with Egypt and found you needed permission to fly there…….and it could take some time. I applied but never got a return contact . Without permission your drone would likely be confiscated at the airport upon entry or exit. I never got permission, so I shipped the drone home before traveling to Egypt since we were returning to the US from there.
I was skeptical about the info about confiscation until we spent a week in Cairo and on the Nile and I had my whole carry on dumped at Cairo airport security because I had nail clippers (without a file). There was a great police presence and lots of check points. Most with automatic weapons in use.

So, in conclusion, we had a few great tours even though the weather wasn’t the best, but I only flew the drone for 20 minutes.
We had some freedom and mobility in the UK, but weather and restrictions were a complication. For the rest of our journey, we were on guided tours with limited free time in the best locations, not to mention the rain.
As on our last trip to South Africa, (Cape-town) last fall, many places you would want to fly are restricted. I was able to fly more there but still not as much as I planned.

Mexico, Hawaii, and Iceland are on the schedule for the rest of the year. All but Iceland are less structured visits and we planned more free time in Iceland, our second visit….. the Mini 2 will be packed and ready…..conditions permitting.
Come to Australia - we’re more accommodating! 😎🇦🇺
 
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Reactions: Michael Ainsworth
Dale hit the nail on the head.
One problem is a combination of the technology improving and the access to the technology being open to anyone.
Also, a lack of foresight in the regulations and manufacturing.
Simply it's like when automobiles were invented there was no need for anyone to get a license.
My dad would tell me how 10-year-olds in North Carolina routinely drove from the farm to the store. But as the technology improved all states required a driver to follow rules and get a license.
In the "Twenty teens "when consumer drones were first produced, they had limited range and VLOS was really the only safe and reliable way to fly. The marketing was basically as toys and the early adopters were free to do anything since there were virtually no regulations.
These things are no longer just toys but have amazing ability.
But since anyone can buy them of course there will be people that won't follow rules and many that chose to remain ignorant.
So, countries & municipalities are playing catch-up with the rules and regulations are being written by people who have had mixed experiences with drones. Usually negative. The FAA and like agencies are usually the final authority and are mostly concerned with safe airspace.
While most people who violate rules are just ignorant of the complications and others just don't give a ****.
We're not too far into this marvelous technology to make some changes. But they would need to be universal and it's hard to get people, much less countries, to agree. And compliance will always be an issue.
Some Ideas will include mandatory international registration. As in the EU.
Remote ID is a good thing as long as you follow the rules.
limiting range for recreational operators and devices (Altitude & Distance) That can be unlocked by certified pilots.
Hard GEO zones for recreational pilots with no ability for LAANC authorization.
Require the 107 certification or equivalent to fly commercially or for recreation in other countries.
(A licensed driver can easily get an international permit in any country we have ever visited, even places that drive on the left side).
These are a just a few "top of the head" ideas, and it would not be too complicated or late to implement some major changes.
Otherwise, the myriads of restrictions will make traveling with a drone a waste of luggage space and just frustration.
And for now, expect more and more restrictions.

Not trying to be a downer, just saying what I'm seeing.
 
Dale hit the nail on the head.
One problem is a combination of the technology improving and the access to the technology being open to anyone.
Also, a lack of foresight in the regulations and manufacturing.
Simply it's like when automobiles were invented there was no need for anyone to get a license.
My dad would tell me how 10-year-olds in North Carolina routinely drove from the farm to the store. But as the technology improved all states required a driver to follow rules and get a license.
In the "Twenty teens "when consumer drones were first produced, they had limited range and VLOS was really the only safe and reliable way to fly. The marketing was basically as toys and the early adopters were free to do anything since there were virtually no regulations.
These things are no longer just toys but have amazing ability.
But since anyone can buy them of course there will be people that won't follow rules and many that chose to remain ignorant.
So, countries & municipalities are playing catch-up with the rules and regulations are being written by people who have had mixed experiences with drones. Usually negative. The FAA and like agencies are usually the final authority and are mostly concerned with safe airspace.
While most people who violate rules are just ignorant of the complications and others just don't give a ****.
We're not too far into this marvelous technology to make some changes. But they would need to be universal and it's hard to get people, much less countries, to agree. And compliance will always be an issue.
Some Ideas will include mandatory international registration. As in the EU.
Remote ID is a good thing as long as you follow the rules.
limiting range for recreational operators and devices (Altitude & Distance) That can be unlocked by certified pilots.
Hard GEO zones for recreational pilots with no ability for LAANC authorization.
Require the 107 certification or equivalent to fly commercially or for recreation in other countries.
(A licensed driver can easily get an international permit in any country we have ever visited, even places that drive on the left side).
These are a just a few "top of the head" ideas, and it would not be too complicated or late to implement some major changes.
Otherwise, the myriads of restrictions will make traveling with a drone a waste of luggage space and just frustration.
And for now, expect more and more restrictions.

Not trying to be a downer, just saying what I'm seeing.
Whoa! Slow down there Photobobhunt! Your statement, "Require the 107 certification or equivalent to fly commercially or for recreation in other countries." would just about wipe me out. I have absolutely NO intention of going through another study session and examination in my life. Why on earth would I pay for, study for and take the 107 exam at my age of nearly 86? I went through college (Pharmacy School) and then Medical School, and then Illinois and California, and Florida Medical Boards with plenty of exams up the wazoo. I vowed to never have to take another exam. It it totally unneccescery for recreational and hobbiest flying and tourism. Before doing that I would give up drones. For some of my exam history, see below.

Dale Davis, M.D.
Past president South Florida American College of Surgeons.
Board Certified in Ophthalmalogical Disease and Surgery of the Eye
Registered Pharmacist, State of Illinois
Licensed Medical Doctor in State of Illinois (inactive)
Licensed Medical Doctor, State of California (inactive)
Licensed Medical Doctor, State of Florida (active)
 
I'm right behind you Dale , turned 80 on the 3rd,
But I do understand where you're coming from. And the 107 does have a lot of unnecessary information.
But my point is, the 107 certificate qualifies you as a remote aviator with the privileges and responsibilities associated with it.
My suggestion to require certification for international flying should have been worded differently and did not intend to suggest that US flyers should be required to have107 certification for recreational flying. My intention was that the qualifications to fly should be universal like a driver's license which is recognized for visitors in most countries.
Registration in most countries makes sense but testing does not, since most rules are similar.
My use of a drone is an extension of photography and many places I would want to photograph have local restrictions. But I have been given some flexibility when I apply as a 107 certified pilot.
I have and still do some commercial flying. It's nice to have a hobby pay for itself.
My neighbor (Retired Air force Flight Surgeon) and I give demonstrations in our community (55+) to show our neighbors what the drone can do and explain the restrictions. People have a lot of misconceptions.
It does appear that most of the local restrictions are made to address privacy & safety. in that order.
I have followed your post and you seem to be knowledgeable and responsible, but many flyers are not and eventually they may cause the hobby to be so restricted that only a few will pursue it.
Just Sayin'
 
I'm right behind you Dale , turned 80 on the 3rd,
But I do understand where you're coming from. And the 107 does have a lot of unnecessary information.
But my point is, the 107 certificate qualifies you as a remote aviator with the privileges and responsibilities associated with it.
My suggestion to require certification for international flying should have been worded differently and did not intend to suggest that US flyers should be required to have107 certification for recreational flying. My intention was that the qualifications to fly should be universal like a driver's license which is recognized for visitors in most countries.
Registration in most countries makes sense but testing does not, since most rules are similar.
My use of a drone is an extension of photography and many places I would want to photograph have local restrictions. But I have been given some flexibility when I apply as a 107 certified pilot.
I have and still do some commercial flying. It's nice to have a hobby pay for itself.
My neighbor (Retired Air force Flight Surgeon) and I give demonstrations in our community (55+) to show our neighbors what the drone can do and explain the restrictions. People have a lot of misconceptions.
It does appear that most of the local restrictions are made to address privacy & safety. in that order.
I have followed your post and you seem to be knowledgeable and responsible, but many flyers are not and eventually they may cause the hobby to be so restricted that only a few will pursue it.
Just Sayin'
Photobobhunt:
Wish you were right but I'm afraid the cat is already out of the bag. I have been totally unsuccessful in even getting a response from the civil aviation authorities to even answer my e-mail in UAE- United Arab Republic (my visit to Dubai, Abu Dhabi) never replied despite repeated e mails and even a phone call (cost me over $20). Same result from the CAA (Civil Aviation Auth) in Kenya. Just crickets. Writing these agencies is a worthless exercise in futility and frustration. Penalties in the UAE are over $10,000 and a year in jail. I kid you not. I had to take test for Canada even though I was only bringing in my stupid little Mini 2. (and leave my big M3 home). As mentioned, we were planning a luxe rip to Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti, etc. But drones are forbidden so I cancelled that one.

By the way, I was the only ophthalmologist in the USAF to cover 4 bases during the Viet Nam era (Langley- my home base, Ft. East's Army, Norfolk Naval Weapons Station, Ft. Monroe, Newport News, VA. Lots of Genera'ls wives and practice fixing their baggy eye lids at tax payer expense.

As you can imagine, my drone flying days are coming to an end soon. I love the special aspect that a drone gives to my lifelong photography hobby, and now my love of video and video editing. It is such a shame. Instead of looking for my drone, I am hiding in the shade, or looking for police and Karens.

Dale
 
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