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low flying helicopters or small planes suddenly appearing in airspace?

ariburling

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On occasion I feel like helicopters or small planes appear under 400ft. I'm 107 compliant and am always studying the rules for airspaces- but is there a away to know how to better predict random traffic? Aside from having a visual observer? Or in everyone's opinion are they over 400 AGL and I'm just can't tell.
 
Will never not recommend a subscription to FlightRadar24. It won't catch all aircraft, particularly older and military aircraft, but IME it shows just about everything and serves as a good reality check for your eyes and ears. Also, many of DJI's newer drones have ADS-B sensors and will tell you when an ADS-B enabled aircraft is nearby.
 
Will never not recommend a subscription to FlightRadar24. It won't catch all aircraft, particularly older and military aircraft, but IME it shows just about everything and serves as a good reality check for your eyes and ears. Also, many of DJI's newer drones have ADS-B sensors and will tell you when an ADS-B enabled aircraft is nearby.
thank you very much I will look into that!
 
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Where is your Airport
Do You own A VFR low Altitude Sectional chart for where you are Flying?
I', always travelling as a photographer and now use a drone as well to augment my business. So I am diff places all the time. Will research what you said and I thank you for taking the time to comment
 
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Doubtful that a sectional chart will include information on the fixed wing or rotor wing pilot that’s doing something that may be slightly unsafe.
 
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I think most of these aircraft are over 400 feet or (200 feet if you are in that grid, etc). Of course, there are those low flying aircraft on occasion but personally, I used to underestimate how low they were flying until I got use to them being around. A helicopter here or there is the exception but you can usually hear those coming if not ADS-B. I try not to worry any longer because I have VLOS and I try to do my best to avoid even being in the area (don't want to be reported as a "near miss") so I always have the ability to quickly descend to 50 feet where no manned aircraft could possibly fly. So much fear goes away when you fly the smaller Avatar/Mini rather than a Mavic/Evo. DJI FPV has the speed and maneuverability, sometimes I feel like I can easily escape and evade.
 
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I think most of these aircraft are over 400 feet or (200 feet if you are in that grid, etc). Of course, there are those low flying aircraft on occasion but personally, I used to underestimate how low they were flying until I got use to them being around. A helicopter here or there is the exception but you can usually hear those coming if not ADS-B. I try not to worry any longer because I have VLOS and I try to do my best to avoid even being in the area (don't want to be reported as a "near miss") so I always have the ability to quickly descend to 50 feet where no manned aircraft could possibly fly. So much fear goes away when you fly the smaller Avatar/Mini rather than a Mavic/Evo. DJI FPV has the speed and maneuverability, sometimes I feel like I can easily escape and evade.
Agree. I was in Philly a few weeks back and this helicopter kept doing big loops over the city pretty much right over me. So every few minutes I was having to reduce my altitude. It seemed REALLY low, but FlightRadar24 said it was at 650ft. But even with my drone right overhead, it was still really hard to tell how much separation was actually there, so I just kept descending every time he came around, but I at least felt like I didn't have to do some emergency evasion or go super low to avoid him.
 
Will never not recommend a subscription to FlightRadar24. It won't catch all aircraft, particularly older and military aircraft, but IME it shows just about everything and serves as a good reality check for your eyes and ears. Also, many of DJI's newer drones have ADS-B sensors and will tell you when an ADS-B enabled aircraft is nearby.
If you're near an airport broadcasting ADS-B Out, you'll see aircraft that are not equipped with ADS-B that are being tracked by radar too.
 
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Will never not recommend a subscription to FlightRadar24. It won't catch all aircraft, particularly older and military aircraft, but IME it shows just about everything and serves as a good reality check for your eyes and ears. Also, many of DJI's newer drones have ADS-B sensors and will tell you when an ADS-B enabled aircraft is nearby.
Agreed, FlightRadar24 helps a lot...
 
There are a number of grass strips in our county. I was just finished flying in a partially wooded area when some hot dog in a small plane dove below the tree tops into the field where I had been flying 20 minutes before. He flew up and down over the trees and fields going as low as 50 feet. I thought aviators were worried about drones in their airspace - I didn't think as a drone operator I'd have to worry about pilots hot dogging it in our space.
 
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Flight Tracing Apps

FlightRadar24 and other ADS-B tracking apps are interesting, but they do not come close to showing all manned aircraft traffic. Don't count on them to show you all the traffic you need to be aware of.

Airplanes operating under VFR rules aren't required to have ADS-B and they constitute most of the local, low-level traffic that drone pilots are most affected by. Military aircraft frequently don't broadcast ADS-B. In my area, only about 60% of the aircraft I can see or hear appear on FlightRadar 24.

I tinkered with using FlightRadar24 while flying drones, but no longer do that. The DJI AirSense feature does a pretty good job on aircraft broadcasting ADS-B. For me, trying to watch another app on a cellphone while flying a drone is a distraction without much value.

Sectional Charts

Information on airports is readily available on B4YouFly. I don't find sectional charts to be of much use for drone operations, but they are certainly interesting. There are online versions available. Here's one.

 
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I just had another close fly-by the other day. Mind you I'm flying off a private runway, but heard a noise and looked up to see a small plane about 150 AGL heading right for me and a few other friends. One of my buddies was still in the air. I heard the plane when he was about 800 feet away where the runway ended. Now this pilot might have been someone we knew swinging by to say hi, but it was another example of disproving the thinking that you will always hear them coming. With his landing lights on, we thought the plane was landing, but instead he just flew over top of us and all our vehicles. This runway is closed to all but those who have authorization to use it, but seems to attract small aircraft. However, I also fly off other active public runways as well, and you just need to embrace the see and avoid concept. If I were flying my drone a few thousand feet away, generally I'd simply move away from the planes flight path. But I'd better have good eye contact with my drone and (absolutely) know where it is located. I know there is a group here that will say, "well I don't fly in places like that" but what really matters is if you're lucky enough to clip a full size aircraft. I mean sometimes people win the lotto. It seems to bother me more when I know where my drone is and all of a sudden a full size aircraft appears close to my drone's location. I've had that happen when flying in the middle of nowhere. But I also realize how hard it would be to intentionally try to hit a manned aircraft. We use cheap drones to fly combat where the intent is to take out your buddy. A strike is more rare than you would think. Just be careful and adjust your flights to how you assess the risks. Bottom line is if you hit a plane it will probably be considered your fault.
 
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I was at a small-town, Main Street USA parade a couple weeks ago, a parade I've attended numerous times. Usually before or during the parade I'll see at least one drone flying about. I've had my drone there too but not this time. Just as the parade started a helicopter buzzed the parade route, I'm guessing at 200-300 feet. First time I've ever seen a helicopter there, made me glad I didn't have my drone up.
 
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On occasion I feel like helicopters or small planes appear under 400ft. I'm 107 compliant and am always studying the rules for airspaces- but is there a away to know how to better predict random traffic? Aside from having a visual observer? Or in everyone's opinion are they over 400 AGL and I'm just can't tell.
While teaching a 5 day, Hands-On flight course for sUAS in Western NY this past week, we noticed an increase in helicopters and small manned aircraft in our area of outdoor flight. Almost by a factor of 10, it was quite noticeable. We ended up finding out they were dropping baited packets of rabies vaccines all over the local areas, from very low altitudes.

This was happening in 13 different states, from Maine to Alabama.
 
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Will never not recommend a subscription to FlightRadar24. It won't catch all aircraft, particularly older and military aircraft, but IME it shows just about everything and serves as a good reality check for your eyes and ears. Also, many of DJI's newer drones have ADS-B sensors and will tell you when an ADS-B enabled aircraft is nearby.
On the same topic. I was flying in the back yard the other day and was alerted of aircraft close to me. I'm wondering if they can see me also.
 
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