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Safely park MPP and leave unattended for 10 minutes?

MAvic_South_Oz

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An observer and control of the remote is all that’s needed.

That was the key issue here in the original post, both of those conditions not being in place.

He'll be doing the safety camera (D5) and audio recording near the sound booth and I'll be roving around w/ a D850 on a Ronin-S grabbing misc b roll. At the beginning I'd like to park the MPP in a position a bit away from the wedding party to capture everyone coming down the aisle from that perspective, then grab close-ups of them w/ the D850 and then go back and land the MPP.

Both photographers doing other tasks, not watching (constantly) or on the controller to take over.
 
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SethB

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Lots of surprising vitriol to reply to and I'm a bit under the gun with deadlines but did want to respond.

First, note that the very first word in my title question is 'Safely'...

A simple statement like "that would be illegal because...", along with an explanation would suffice. I totally don't get the need for writing "NO NO NO NO" or "NO" in giant red letters or "It’s past time for you and your son to learn about what’s legal and what’s safe."

On the latter note that I was indeed asking a question which for those not familiar is specifically for the purpose of learning. When someone asks a question it is usually because they want to learn and in asking a question are opening themselves up like a sponge for information. A firehose of vitriol does not a good learning environment make...
I personally do appreciate that the OP is asking questions to learn the answers, to figure out best approaches to this wedding.

One of the reasons that moderators or (ahem) other Pt. 107 pilots may seem a tad stern is that the first proposal was terrible, yes terrible, towards unsafe directions that have been clearly identified and regulated by the FAA for Pt. 107 pilots *and* for recreational pilots.

To break that down:
1) A recreational or pt. 107 pilot is required to have eyes-on a drone that they are piloting (except for brief periods of observing control stations) and have immediate situational awareness and access to the controls. A Visual Observer can help with (only) the eyes-on in many circumstances.

2) Flying over assemblies of people is highly regulated through a regs waiver process that requires one to file a safety plan. (That will change with new regulations by which manufacturers will certify some of their drone configurations per FAA regs.) In short, Operation Over People is effectively illegal for most of us.

3) A remote pilot is the person that is responsible and liable for all aspects of safety of people and property.

These are the basics.

This information is in all FAA’s publicly available information, training & reference resources, their various landing pages for recreational as well as Pt. 107 pilots, and in all the informal and formal knowledge exams. All FAA’s outreach. Every single source. Every time you visit an FAA web page to register a drone or seek any information at all.

Visit and read dronezone.faa.gov. Visit and read faa.gov/uas. That’s going to help, perhaps even more than this forum.

The initial proposal of an unmonitored aircraft near or over an assembly of people rings so many alarms for those of us who’ve studied this stuff. Immediate high alert. (Over the wedding I say? Even if that isn’t where the drone was initially parked, it could easily become “over people” if unmonitored!)

This isn’t the same case at all of a follow-me flight in a remote area, or a fully monitored flight near a wedding. This particular combo is very bad!

I stand by what I shared earlier: it is past time that you/your son click on some of the FAA resources and understand more about safety. While you’re at it, try a google image search for drone injury images, and imagine that occurring at the wedding. To be blunt: Most property can be replaced. Slicing into a toddler is something you can’t take back.

I suppose some look at flying drones and think: “Accidents happen. Always have, always will.” There are common hazardous attitudes in flying, and that’s one of them. Most “accidents” are completely avoidable by developing an understanding of the risks and and using safe practices that reduces or eliminates them.

By the way, by offering or agreeing to provide this service for your niece, even unpaid, you’ve departed from the recreational exemption. To the letter of the regulations this is a Pt. 107 job. Not that that’s a big deal to me, but you should know this.
 
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BigAl07

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Lots of surprising vitriol to reply to and I'm a bit under the gun with deadlines but did want to respond.

First, note that the very first word in my title question is 'Safely' and I repeated that in my first sentence. I did not ask how to do it regardless of safety nor did I ask how to do it illegally nor did I in any way imply that I wanted to do something that was unsafe or illegal. Having been on this forum for a few years I was quite surprised by the self-righteous indignation of the replies that jumped to the conclusion that I wanted to do something unsafe or illegal and then proceeded to jump down my throat. It's like everyone was waiting with baited breath for the thinnest excuse to exhibit their knowledge (or lack of knowledge) and give a self-aggrandizing lecture.
........
Dude/Dudette, chill. I was asking a question. Unattended flight is quite common as DHL and Fedex having been doing it for a several years as have security drones that autonomously launch when there's an alert on someone's property. Follow-me drone capabilities that are present in almost all consumer drones available today is similar.
Your "Dude/Dudette chill" comment pretty much sealed your fate for any type of reasonable response. Just because you THINK (and incorrectly so) someone else might be doing something similar in NO WAY makes it Safe, Legal, Ethical for you to blatantly bust the regulations.

IF you've been around drones professionally/amateur for many years you'd know well and good what you proposed is NOT safe or legal. Hopefully you'd also know enough about the Regulations Frame Work in the USA and how they work to know that even the Big Dogs (DHL/FedEx etc) have not been able to "Do This" yet. There are some "modifications" to the FARs that will take place to allow those Big Dogs autonomous flights over people etc but we aren't there yet other than extensive testing and Proof of Concept. Also it's key to note they aren't really doing those types of things with a DJI Mavic off the shelf from Best Buy. They are purpose built aircraft with multiple levels of redundancy on flight controls, power, and Guidance systems and very heavily monitored for errors/problems by a carbon unit not doing two other highly intense tasks at the same time.

I understand how/why you got upset with the replies but the vast majority of them were 100% spot on and justified.

Allen
 
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Repaid1

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I followed this thread for a bit and said nothing, but to answer your question on how to do it safe? Simply tether the drone and anchor it so that if anything happens it cannot fly into anyone or harm "much" of anything. As to legality having a 107 cert. and a tethered drone, that could fall into several areas perhaps of gray area of in control and having a tethered cam such as on a balloon...not researched it. But yeah... just tether it with enough slack for minute adjustments is my call on the safety side. :) Sounds like your flying/hovering area will allow that, which would then make those who commented scratch their head and say..."why didn't I think of that" :p

Of note: Add small lead sinkers (Or other such weights) to the line in about 6" increments to about 2 foot down to aid in keeping line taught and clear of props on landing. Hover to first sinker and slowly edge forward to land.

Edit: just looked, tethered drones are NOT exempt from 107 operations. But one could easily argue from your posts that your not doing it for gain nor intend for video to be used as such...but that is another whole can of worms for people to define 107 op's. As the saying goes...let he who have not sinned, cast the first stone ;)
 
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BigAl07

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I followed this thread for a bit and said nothing, but to answer your question on how to do it safe? Simply tether the drone and anchor it so that if anything happens it cannot fly into anyone or harm "much" of anything. As to legality having a 107 cert. and a tethered drone, that could fall into several areas perhaps of gray area of in control and having a tethered cam such as on a balloon...not researched it. But yeah... just tether it with enough slack for minute adjustments is my call on the safety side. :) Sounds like your flying/hovering area will allow that, which would then make those who commented scratch their head and say..."why didn't I think of that" :p

Of note: Add small lead sinkers (Or other such weights) to the line in about 6" increments to about 2 foot down to aid in keeping line taught and clear of props on landing. Hover to first sinker and slowly edge forward to land.

Edit: just looked, tethered drones are NOT exempt from 107 operations. But one could easily argue from your posts that your not doing it for gain nor intend for video to be used as such...but that is another whole can of worms for people to define 107 op's. As the saying goes...let he who have not sinned, cast the first stone ;)

Good morning @Repaid1

In his first post he clearly rules out Recreational Intent with one statement:
"This is for an outdoor wedding in a large field that my son and I are doing video for. He'll be doing the safety camera (D5) and audio recording near the sound booth and I'll be roving around w/ a D850 on a Ronin-S grabbing misc b roll."

If they are shooting aerials, ground video, ground stills, audio & sound booth, and grabbing b roll.... ummm they are shooting this venue "For Someone" which is clearly outside of ~44809 operations and falls under Part 107. Zero arguments to be made sir. He did everything but mention their hourly rate for this job LOL :)
 

RoboticTundra

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Good morning @Repaid1

In his first post he clearly rules out Recreational Intent with one statement:
"This is for an outdoor wedding in a large field that my son and I are doing video for. He'll be doing the safety camera (D5) and audio recording near the sound booth and I'll be roving around w/ a D850 on a Ronin-S grabbing misc b roll."

If they are shooting aerials, ground video, ground stills, audio & sound booth, and grabbing b roll.... ummm they are shooting this venue "For Someone" which is clearly outside of ~44809 operations and falls under Part 107. Zero arguments to be made sir. He did everything but mention their hourly rate for this job LOL :)
Get a bunch of lawyers together and there's nothing better than a debate on a gov't rule. From a legal standpoint it sounds like for this to come under 107 this would have to meet one of:

- Flight was for a business, commercial enterprise, NPO/NGO or for educational purposes.
- Flight was for compensation including monetary, in-kind or good-will.
- Pilot states that they received no enjoyment from the endeavor (or never states that they did enjoy doing it).

Compensation can be a bit of a grey area and so will depend on a variety of nuances, who the judge is and what kind of mood the judge is in that day. However, lacking the involvement of a business, commercial enterprise, NPO/NGO or it being for clearly stated educational purposes and lacking fairly clear compensation then it sounds like extremely few judges at any level would lean towards there having been compensation.

If the pilot states that they did it purely for enjoyment, there is no compensation involved and it was not for a business, commercial enterprise, NPO/NGO or for educational purposes then it will be very difficult in most courts to win an argument that something comes under 107.

People frequently do 'commercial type' activities purely for their own enjoyment. So, simply stating "If they are shooting aerials, ground video, ground stills, audio & sound booth, and grabbing b roll.... ummm they are shooting this venue "For Someone" which is clearly outside of ~44809 operations and falls under Part 107." is not going to get many judges (outside of the 9th circuit) to qualify this as coming under 107 without some clear proof of overt compensation. A judge's reasoning will be where can you draw a line? Beginning with someone in the audience with an iPhone, then an iPhone with a separate mic attached, then on a little boom, then a personally owned DSLR and on and on. The higher up the appeals chain you go the less likely something is likely to be classified as meeting the standard to be 107 or perhaps more accurately as not meeting the standard to fall within a carve out - 44809.

This really has no bearing on my OP or how safe or legal it would be but I thought it interesting.
 

MavicAir2Marc

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44809 isn't a "carve out," it's an exception. Anything that is not purely for your own enjoyment (i.e. not flying for anyone else) by default, falls under Part 107 regardless if there is any compensation involved. It's not about the money, It's purely about the intent of the flight when it occurs. How the courts see it is another thing entirely.
 

RoboticTundra

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It sounds like it ultimately will come down to compensation. If there is no identified organized entity then that element isn't met. If the pilot says they did it for enjoyment then few courts will want to argue that.

FOR can be a critical word from a legal standpoint and how it relates to compensation beyond the pilot being compensated with enjoyment? Compensation is what triggers something as being at least partially FOR someone or some entity and thus beyond pure enjoyment.

I think you can call it a carve-out or exception or whatever but courts are going to be cautious about entering in to defining what is or is not enjoyment and perhaps especially in this case where congress ordered the FAA to create the exception. I've not read the language of the order from congress but it sounds like it will give fairly wide latitude to any attorney trying to say that something is 44809 rather than 107.
 

SethB

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…Compensation can be a bit of a grey area and so will depend on a variety of nuances, who the judge is and what kind of mood the judge is in that day. …
It sounds like it ultimately will come down to compensation. If there is no identified organized entity then that element isn't met. If the pilot says they did it for enjoyment then few courts will want to argue that…
To my understanding, it doesn’t come down only to compensation, though a compensated job would be pretty clear. Again, my understanding, the exception is for recreation, only for recreation. Wedding photography/videography would not be seen as recreational in nature. It’s an activity that is typically performed by people who are compensated. Imagery is typically distributed to others. In other words, I’m suggesting that it’s the activity that is non-recreational.

A judge’s mood and ruling in court? What an attorney may be able to argue? I feel this is very speculative, and to be avoided: Who wants to a) suffer the FAA’s administrative process, b) take it to litigation, and c) be the test case?

Not me! Informed by a career in media production, I say that court is the last place you want to be. Do everything you can to avoid it. Make clear agreements with good people. Avoid perceived violations of FAA regs. Avoid court!

References:
United States Code 44809 (link)
14 CFR Part 107 (link)
FAA’s UAS Policy Document Library, includes summaries of Pt. 107 (link)

Back to the topic at hand, rec or non-rec, a “parked” drone is contrary to regulations and is not safe, particularly near an assembly of people.
 
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RoboticTundra

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To my understanding, it doesn’t come down only to compensation, though a compensated job would be pretty clear.
Yes. If an entity (Business, NGO, ...) is involved then compensation is not necessarily a critical element though lack of comp will create a higher hurdle for it to be 107. If between individuals then compensation will be critical.

You'd be hard pressed to find a judge anywhere who'd deny anyone's shooting an individual's wedding purely for enjoyment regardless of how many cameras or how much equipment is involved. People routinely spend tens or hundreds of thousands of $'s on hobby endeavors.

Making it more difficult is years of case law of people trying to claim that their hobby is NOT for enjoyment but for business so that they can get tax benefits and this includes a lot of photographers and videographers.

My guess is that the FAA will not want any such case to go against them because of the downstream ramifications so they'll be fairly cautious with how they apply the rules.
 

RoboticTundra

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Back to the topic at hand, rec or non-rec, a “parked” drone is contrary to regulations and is not safe, particularly near an assembly of people.
If, as suggested prior, I park a drone and have a VO next to me (or next to whomever is controlling the drone) then I would be within regs and safe? @MavicAir2Marc gets cred for what I believe is the most correct and mature response in simply recommending that as the best way to remain safe & legal.
 
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MavicAir2Marc

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If, as suggested prior, I park a drone and have a VO next to me (or next to whomever is controlling the drone) then I would be within regs and safe? @MavicAir2Marc gets cred for what I believe is the most correct and mature response in simply recommending that as the best way to remain safe & legal.
Thanks, I try to be helpful. There's plenty of useless bashing on the Facebook groups. That's why I defer to Vic or Big Al for the legalities for sure. They have a lot more experience at this than I do.
 
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SethB

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If, as suggested prior, I park a drone and have a VO next to me (or next to whomever is controlling the drone) then I would be within regs and safe? @MavicAir2Marc gets cred for what I believe is the most correct and mature response in simply recommending that as the best way to remain safe & legal.
It’s pretty hard to know at this distance, it *could* be within regs and it *could* be safe, but really it comes down to the exact situation. Using a VO is certainly a big step towards safety, however… a pilot has to make judgements informed by what’s actually happening around them.

The OP never stated whether the plan was to fly distantly, near, or over people.
Would a VO be someone who actually kept eyes on the drone all of the time?
Would they accompany the roaming photog/pilot wherever they went? Would they recognize a problem? Would they disrupt the ceremony to inform the pilot of a problem if they weren’t within nudging distance?

Our primary concern should be with safety. The regs support safety, but the pilot is responsible for safe flying regardless of regulation. A VO is good, but are they enough for regs & safety? It depends.
 
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Riteguy

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Will the drone stay in "Station Keeping?" Probably. I did something similar for a friends wedding. You should have someone familiar with the drone who can take charge should something happen unexpectantly. Asking such a question here draws out the "Drone Police" to berrate you for even asking.
 

MAvic_South_Oz

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You should have someone familiar with the drone who can take charge should something happen unexpectantly. Asking such a question here draws out the "Drone Police" to berrate you for even asking.

That's similar to the advice given by the majority of replies.
"someone familiar with the drone" though, would need to be a part 107 pilot.

As far a people trying to police the OP, he came here asking for advice, and got a lot of helpful replies.
Very little policing as you call it.

The OP was flying commercially in intent, and assumed holding part 107 qualification, should not have had to post this thread.
It should be known a qualified pilot needs to be able be in control at all times, or be ready to take control if flying autonomous at any time.
 

BigAl07

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Will the drone stay in "Station Keeping?" Probably. I did something similar for a friends wedding. You should have someone familiar with the drone who can take charge should something happen unexpectantly. Asking such a question here draws out the "Drone Police" to berrate you for even asking.


Sometimes we NEED the Drone Police in order to give good and defensible advice on an open forum such as this. It's good to have accurate advice to help combat the myriad of horrible advice we see offered day in and day out.

Some of us are gong this more than just for "kicks & grins". Some of us are paying our mortgage and putting food on the tables. With people constantly making very poor decisions with this technology that has us ALL in a microscope waiting for an incident it's in ALL of our best interest to do things as legal and safely as we can.
 

Rich QR

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It sounds like it ultimately will come down to compensation. If there is no identified organized entity then that element isn't met. If the pilot says they did it for enjoyment then few courts will want to argue that.

FOR can be a critical word from a legal standpoint and how it relates to compensation beyond the pilot being compensated with enjoyment? Compensation is what triggers something as being at least partially FOR someone or some entity and thus beyond pure enjoyment.

I think you can call it a carve-out or exception or whatever but courts are going to be cautious about entering in to defining what is or is not enjoyment and perhaps especially in this case where congress ordered the FAA to create the exception. I've not read the language of the order from congress but it sounds like it will give fairly wide latitude to any attorney trying to say that something is 44809 rather than 107.
Clearly you've not read the language of the order from Congress. It does not mention commercial use or compensation. Where in the WORLD are you getting the requirement to identify an organizational entity in order to meet some "element". Here's the language directly from the mouth of Congress:

49 USC 44809 - Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft

My extraction of the relevant parts:

§ 44809.
Exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft
(a) In General.—
Except as provided in subsection (e), and notwithstanding chapter 447 of title 49, United States Code, a person may operate a small unmanned aircraft without specific certification or operating authority from the Federal Aviation Administration if the operation adheres to all of the following limitations:
(1) The aircraft is flown strictly for recreational purposes.


... Congress wrote other limitations which I've omitted here. Check the link for details ...

(b) Other Operations.—
Unmanned aircraft operations that do not conform to the limitations in subsection (a) must comply with all statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.


There you have it. If the aircraft is not "flown strictly for recreational purposes", then the operation does not conform to the limitations in subsection (a), and so subsection (b) says it must comply with all statutes and regulations generally applicable to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems. That would mean flying under Part 107 (or another part that allows the flight) and conforming to its requirements regarding licensing and other matters.

I would say that, assuming you're flying "strictly for recreational purposes", then during the time you're too busy with other activities to enjoy watching the drone, you can simply land it and keep it on the ground. You can take off again when you're ready to resume your personal recreation.
 

Rich QR

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That's similar to the advice given by the majority of replies.
"someone familiar with the drone" though, would need to be a part 107 pilot.
Perhaps so, but maybe not. Notice that part 107 identifies three distinct roles of people involved in the flight: The remote pilot in command, the person manipulating the flight controls, and the visual observer. That's especially evident in 107.31 and 107.33, but it's also indirectly referred to in 107.17. And that concept of having a person manipulating the flight controls who is distinct from the pilot in command is well-entrenched in regulations concerning human-carrying aircraft (flight instruction involves a student manipulating controls under the supervision of a licensed instructor, for example).

It's not entirely clear to me, but I think it might be possible for a licensed part 107 remote pilot in command to supervise an unlicensed person who manipulates the controls. Whether the supervision is adequate in the circumstances described here is open to question, naturally. It seems to me that a primary issue is the fact that the remote pilot in command would presumably be busy with activities not related to the flight, and might be too far away or too otherwise occupied to supervise. But the level of supervision required seems pretty minimal if the goal is merely to keep the aircraft hovering or to bring it down safely if hovering is impossible.
 

MAvic_South_Oz

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It's not entirely clear to me, but I think it might be possible for a licensed part 107 remote pilot in command to supervise an unlicensed person who manipulates the controls.

That would perhaps be ok to part 107 rules (not THAT familiar with them) if the qualified pilot was actually standing right there ready to take over.
If so, it would be far better for the pilot to just be in charge of the autonomous flight in the first place.

It seems to me that a primary issue is the fact that the remote pilot in command would presumably be busy with activities not related to the flight, and might be too far away or too otherwise occupied to supervise.

That is generally why all the advice against the suggested plan was forthcoming I feel.
The regular pilot would be on another camera, perhaps buzzing around taking photos or video here and there as they do, with his mind on those functions.

Anyway, the whole scenario may have been done by now, no news anywhere about any wedding drone incident ?? :)
 
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