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Line of Sight?

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dmanthree

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Recently I posted, on another forum, a pic I took while flying offshore in NH (USA). Clearly, the drone was miles away so some posters warned me about potential FAA intervention since the drone was possibly beyond visual. But I did have "line of sight" to the drone. So...my question is this: how many of you actually keep the drone visible when flying? Naked eyesight, no visual aids, and in view?
 
It's not just "Clear Line Of Sight" but being able to see the drone and determine it's direction of flight, altitude, and orientation. If you can't do ALL of those the aircraft is BVLOS and you are violating FAA regulations for commercial and hobby flights.

Seeing a small speck on the far horizon is not VLOS and is not operating under the See & Avoid concept which is fundamental for UAS safety.
 
But I did have "line of sight" to the drone.
Not really. I see a lot of folks use that phrase (line of sight) and suggest it means that this is achieved when there is nothing between you and the drone except clear sky; and therefore - legal? It's not.

It is when you add "Visual" in front of those other three words that the meaning of the regulation (VLOS), becomes clear. As said above, you have to be able to see and be able to determine attitude, direction and have SA of your drone.

Proof of this is the fact that flying in, near and/or above clouds is also prohibited - because even though there is nothing between you and the drone - you can't achieve see and avoid, if you can't see your drone and it's surrounds or other aircraft.
 
I keep this as simple as I can, as I do fly to small Spec, however I have defined this specific small speck in the sky.
The First Small Speck is when its A Dot , but i can close my eyes and open them and still find the drone.

Than there is the small speck where I cannot find. my drone after closing my eyes which happens for me with good line of sight at 2000 ft at that time I hit the RTH and gain back eye control .

If i need to see the drone out further, I will attach our Rescue Jacket to the drone which will allow me to see the Speck now out to 3000 ft and the same rule applies for me.

If I add the Flashing light , I can go out further but only at Dusk , and again the same rule applies for me.

This way for me it does not matter what conditions are or what Drone I am flying , the rules I fly by stay the same.


Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain, Land on the Water, and dont fly past your open eye Speck check.
 
I keep this as simple as I can, as I do fly to small Spec, however I have defined this specific small speck in the sky.
The First Small Speck is when its A Dot , but i can close my eyes and open them and still find the drone.
...
Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain, Land on the Water, and dont fly past your open eye Speck check.

See post #2.
 
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See post #2.
The OP asked how I fly ?

After several calls to the FAA this is what I feel comfortable with but I was told that any flight under the there radar can be subjected to being flagged.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain. Land on the water ,
 
It's not just "Clear Line Of Sight" but being able to see the drone and determine it's direction of flight, altitude, and orientation. If you can't do ALL of those the aircraft is BVLOS and you are violating FAA regulations for commercial and hobby flights.

Seeing a small speck on the far horizon is not VLOS and is not operating under the See & Avoid concept which is fundamental for UAS safety.
Perhaps the FAA and other organisations would do better to change the wording to something like
the "The drone must not be flown beyond the range of the pilot's or spotter's unaided eyesight and must be kept in sight at all times whilst airborne."
I think that closes any misinterpretation loopholes.
 
I really like the way the FAA left the Interpretation open , as it leave room for commone sense , if the day comes that drones have to be tethered, than so be it.

I also belive that there has to be a slight push towards BVLOS and those that are stuck at 500 Ft Interpretation are not helping the Hobby or Companies move further ahead.

I also think that the Mavic 3 has made that push with the extra cameras , but were not quite there yet. Birds are still the greatest threat and a few more tweaks need to be made, but there is progess being made.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain. Land on the Water.
 
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What I posted in a previous conversation on this topic:

I know most of us won't admit it, and it is sort of a taboo conversation, but really, how many of us actually watch our drones directly with our eyes while flying, recording or photographing? At the risk of being arrested, I'll admit that I don't always watch it and I navigate by the controller monitor. How else can you tell what you're looking at or photographing? Why else would you fly a drone with a camera? VLOS is fine for takeoff and landing. Let's get real.
 
The question the OP asks often reveals those who oppose the FAA regulations or try to manipulate them to suit themselves and their own needs. When the dust settles, it doesn't matter how you try to manipulate the rules, even your understanding of them for that matter. If you're guilty of violating these rules, don't cry when you get caught.
I am no lawyer, but I find the wording of 4 CFR § 107.31 pretty easy to understand.

4 CFR § 107.31 - Visual line of sight aircraft operation.​


§ 107.31 Visual line of sight aircraft operation.
(a) With vision that is unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, the remote pilot in command, the visual observer (if one is used), and the person manipulating the flight control of the small unmanned aircraft system must be able to see the unmanned aircraft throughout the entire flight in order to:
(1) Know the unmanned aircraft's location;
(2) Determine the unmanned aircraft's attitude, altitude, and direction of flight;
(3) Observe the airspace for other air traffic or hazards; and
(4) Determine that the unmanned aircraft does not endanger the life or property of another.
(b) Throughout the entire flight of the small unmanned aircraft, the ability described in paragraph (a) of this section must be exercised by either:
(1) The remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small unmanned aircraft system; or
(2) A visual observer.

Furthermore, I don't think it to be very wise to "admit" to breaking them in an open forum.
 
What I posted in a previous conversation on this topic:

I know most of us won't admit it, and it is sort of a taboo conversation, but really, how many of us actually watch our drones directly with our eyes while flying, recording or photographing? At the risk of being arrested, I'll admit that I don't always watch it and I navigate by the controller monitor. How else can you tell what you're looking at or photographing? Why else would you fly a drone with a camera? VLOS is fine for takeoff and landing. Let's get real.

I take it you've never read an Advisory Circular in regards to the VLOS rule as defined by the FAA? I've posted the entire section regarding VLOS as it is written below but; I have separated and underlined specific sections and sentences that address your remarks.

Basically, yes - you can (of course) look at the controller to perform checks of equipment or camera operation. The length of time you can do this is NOT specified because each circumstance may be different. However, the PIC always has the responsibility of see-and-avoid. And those who fly their entire mission starring at a screen cannot fulfill that requirement. Thats getting real.

5.9 VLOS Aircraft Operation.

The remote PIC and person manipulating the controls must be able to see the small unmanned aircraft at all times during flight (§ 107.31). The small unmanned aircraft must be operated closely enough to ensure visibility requirements are met during small UAS operations. This requirement also applies to the VO, if used, during the aircraft operation.

The person maintaining VLOS may have brief moments in which he or she is not looking directly at or cannot see the small unmanned aircraft, but still retains the capability to see the small unmanned aircraft or quickly maneuver it back to VLOS. These moments may be necessary for the remote PIC to look at the controller to determine remaining battery life or for operational awareness.

Should the remote PIC or person manipulating the controls lose VLOS of the small unmanned aircraft, he or she must regain VLOS as soon as practicable.

Even though the remote PIC may briefly lose sight of the small unmanned aircraft, the remote PIC always has the see-and-avoid responsibilities set out in §§ 107.31 and 107.37. The circumstances that may prevent a remote PIC from fulfilling those responsibilities will vary, depending on factors such as the type of small UAS, the operational environment, and distance between the remote PIC and the small unmanned aircraft.

For this reason, no specific time interval exists in which interruption of VLOS is permissible, as it would have the effect of potentially allowing a hazardous interruption of the operation.

If the remote PIC cannot regain VLOS, the remote PIC or person manipulating the controls should follow pre-determined procedures for the loss of VLOS. The capabilities of the small UAS will govern the remote PIC’s determination as to the appropriate course of action. For example, the remote PIC may need to land the small unmanned aircraft immediately, enter hover mode, or employ a return-to-home sequence. The VLOS requirement does not prohibit actions such as scanning the airspace or briefly looking down at the small unmanned aircraft CS
 
What I posted in a previous conversation on this topic:

I know most of us won't admit it, and it is sort of a taboo conversation, but really, how many of us actually watch our drones directly with our eyes while flying, recording or photographing? At the risk of being arrested, I'll admit that I don't always watch it and I navigate by the controller monitor. How else can you tell what you're looking at or photographing? Why else would you fly a drone with a camera? VLOS is fine for takeoff and landing. Let's get real.

@JeffreyS , I usually try and cut you some slack when you go off on your "Regulations" tangent but the "Let's get real" comment really pushed the buttons. So I think we should definitely "get real" and discuss this one . . .

First off, if you're going to try and quote/discuss regulations it's advised to have a fairly strong and deep understanding of exactly what they say and what they mean. Especially on such a large forum as this one with a very large and wide stretching audience.

Our good friend @Ty Pilot did a very good and accurate job trying to enlighten you but I'm going to take it just a bit DEEPER for those who aren't as familiar with FAA jargon etc.

In simplest of terms:

The FAA states that the RPIC, and the person controlling the aircraft if it's not the RPIC, must BE ABLE to see the aircraft at all times. BE ABLE TO SEE but NOT ALWAYS LOOKING AT are the KEY factors here!! This allows the RPIC or Controller the ability to look away from the aircraft to perform other functions (looking at onscreen data, framing a picture etc etc) but always be ABLE to look up and see the aircraft.

So yes even those who follow the rules/regulations to a TEE still do our job SAFELY and look at the viewing device when needed and when it's safe to do so. In fact, keeping an eye on the viewing device occasionally is PARAMOUNT in increasing UAS Safety due to telemetry coming from the aircraft to the viewing device.

To think or insinuate that someone, in this day and time, does this type of work without looking at the viewing device is condescending and insanity at it's finest. We utilize a combination of Eyes on the aircraft and Eyes on the viewing device. Keep in mind I'm not advocating for flying with your head stuffed in the screen flying 100% via the Live Video Feed.... It's about a balance of Flying, SAFETY, and knowing what you're doing. Some never do find this balance though.

Side Note: When we started putting cameras on our R/C Planes and Helicopters back in 2009-ish we did this type of work without the aide of today's live video feed, telemetry, or anything. We did it ALL through Trial & Error with a dose of luck mixed in as well. We didn't even know battery levels. We knew approximately how long the battery SHOULD last in the aircraft and then tried to land with some % left in the "tank".
 
It's not just "Clear Line Of Sight" but being able to see the drone and determine it's direction of flight, altitude, and orientation. If you can't do ALL of those the aircraft is BVLOS and you are violating FAA regulations for commercial and hobby flights.

Seeing a small speck on the far horizon is not VLOS and is not operating under the See & Avoid concept which is fundamental for UAS safety.
So...when you're flying, what are you looking at? The controller or the drone? Honestly, it's not possible to do both.
 
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So...when you're flying, what are you looking at? The controller or the drone? Honestly, it's not possible to do both.


Seriously? You can't switch back and forth between the two? SERIOUSLY? If you can't, this may not be the right industry to dabble in.
 
Recently I posted, on another forum, a pic I took while flying offshore in NH (USA). Clearly, the drone was miles away so some posters warned me about potential FAA intervention since the drone was possibly beyond visual. But I did have "line of sight" to the drone. So...my question is this: how many of you actually keep the drone visible when flying? Naked eyesight, no visual aids, and in view?

All of us usually keep the drone visible. All of us occasionally - and intentionally - fly the drone out of sight, if only for a brief time. I can point to several posts where people who are sticklers for the rules admit to breaking them.

I push the limits of the rules all the time but even I would consider "miles away" to be dangerous.
 
Seriously? You can't switch back and forth between the two? SERIOUSLY? If you can't, this may not be the right industry to dabble in.
I'm a hobbyist, not in any "industry." And taking my eyes off the drone, even when close, can cause me to lose it in a bright sky. Honestly, I don't contest anything that's been said here, but I think the regulation is ludicrous.
 
All of us usually keep the drone visible. All of us occasionally - and intentionally - fly the drone out of sight, if only for a brief time. I can point to several posts where people who are sticklers for the rules admit to breaking them.

I push the limits of the rules all the time but even I would consider "miles away" to be dangerous.
It was miles away, but nowhere near anything, really. Open ocean, no aircraft in the area, no altitude restriction, near zero chance of interfering with anything. And you seem so have made my point: many do it from time to time. I'm betting most do it more often than not.
 
I'm a hobbyist, not in any "industry." And taking my eyes off the drone, even when close, can cause me to lose it in a bright sky. Honestly, I don't contest anything that's been said here, but I think the regulation is ludicrous.

Hobby or Commercial you're still "in the UAS Industry" regardless if you want to label it or not.

It's absolutely possible to "lose it" in certain circumstances but it's up to each one of us, as the Operator of the Aircraft, to do everything we can to avoid and minimize those occurrences. Sometimes it's adding a strobe on the bottom (which I do), sometimes it's utilizing a trained VO (which I do), and sometimes it's knowing you can't perform the desired task in a SAFE and LEGAL manner and you call it off out of an abundance of caution. If we do "lose sight of it" it's our responsibility to do whatever needed to regain VLOS immediately even if that means flying the aircraft closer than desired in order to maintain VLOS.

You are allowed your opinion but I am curious... if you don't keep your drone "within sight" how are you able to See & Avoid which is the basic premise for Aviation Safety and has been for many many decades now.
 
It was miles away, but nowhere near anything, really. Open ocean, no aircraft in the area, no altitude restriction, near zero chance of interfering with anything. And you seem so have made my point: many do it from time to time. I'm betting most do it more often than not.


I'd be VERY careful posting anything showing you were flying "Miles Away" online. The wrong person sees it, takes an interest in it, makes an email or phone call, and you'll be getting an "Informational Meeting" with the FAA.

By the way, have you taken the time to take and get your TRUST yet? It's not an option but a Federal Requirement to fly UAS in the USA under ~44809 (The Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft)

It's FREE, ONLINE and only takes a few minutes. Like I said, it's a Federal Requirement so you should go take it and put that one behind you...

 
Hobby or Commercial you're still "in the UAS Industry" regardless if you want to label it or not.

It's absolutely possible to "lose it" in certain circumstances but it's up to each one of us, as the Operator of the Aircraft, to do everything we can to avoid and minimize those occurrences. Sometimes it's adding a strobe on the bottom (which I do), sometimes it's utilizing a trained VO (which I do), and sometimes it's knowing you can't perform the desired task in a SAFE and LEGAL manner and you call it off out of an abundance of caution. If we do "lose sight of it" it's our responsibility to do whatever needed to regain VLOS immediately even if that means flying the aircraft closer than desired in order to maintain VLOS.

You are allowed your opinion but I am curious... if you don't keep your drone "within sight" how are you able to See & Avoid which is the basic premise for Aviation Safety and has been for many many decades now.
In this particular case, well, the skies were empty. I don't fly at risk, ever. Another example: I flew over a golf course under construction near my condo in Naples. The drone was out of site due to trees, but there was zero chance of any interference in that area.
 
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