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Visual Observer...

Droning on and on...

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...is a bigger fable than The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

Discuss.
 
Can you give us some more details?

What do you mean by it being a big fable? Are you thinking people aren't actually using VOs? Or maybe you think VOs aren't beneficial?
 
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I'll start.

No one wants to be your VO:
  • 5 minutes after the first time they volunteered
  • Twice
  • Any old random day/time you want to fly
  • And really do, with discipline, what the role requires
  • Without a turn for themselves
  • Without a favor you don't want to do
  • Spend precious weekend time on it
 
Can you give us some more details?

What do you mean by it being a big fable? Are you thinking people aren't actually using VOs? Or maybe you think VOs aren't beneficial?
I have no data other than my own direct observation of others, and the "sense of the community" over the years.

In my estimate, 99.999% of FPV flights occur without a VO.

I don't think a single Mavic 3 or Mini 3(P) FPV flight that has occurred among the members here has had a VO.

Emphasize that this is my opinion.
 
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No one wants to be your VO
I'm thinking most people would agree here. However, that doesn't make VOs useless and/or make it okay for pilots not to use one when required.
 
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I'm thinking most people would agree here. However, that doesn't make VOs useless

Agreed. Has some made that claim?

and/or make it okay for pilots not to use one when required.

Again, agreed. Again, has someone made that claim?

What I am claiming is they are unnecessary, and because of this and the logistical difficulty in practice, the rule is almost universally ignored.

Further that it should be relaxed, as we should not be making criminals out of people for doing something that isn't wrong.

That's totalitarian. Brush your teeth this way, not that way, or pay a fine. Why? Because we said so.
 
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Agreed. Has some made that claim?
Nobody that I've talked to. But, those who know they need a VO and don't use one are probably making such claims.

Again, agreed. Again, has someone made that claim?
Again, nobody I know of, but pilots not following the rules are likely justifying their actions with such claims.

What I am claiming is they are unnecessary
Like always unnecessary? Only unnecessary in certain cases? There must be at least some flying scenarios where not being able to see your drone with your eyes could potentially be unsafe.

I guess it's kind of like following the speed limit when driving a car. In many cases, travelling faster than the speed limit causes no potential issues.
 
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I agree with what mightypilot2000 is saying. In my security work I must have a V.O.( So I can watch the iPad for long periods of time). BUT He is a Trained and Paid Employee and thats what gets him in the truck.
I fly FPV as a hobby and most times we go as a group so its usually no problem getting someone to go with you. EXCEPT when I want to take the Camera drone out and take some pictures with my goggles on, Then they always have something to do. After all Who wants to watch someone fly around a GPS Camera drone for more than a few min. Especially when they know they aren't getting a turn.
 
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Nobody that I've talked to. But, those who know they need a VO and don't use one are probably making such claims.

Like you, I've yet to meet one. However, I'm as certain there are dozens at least, just as I'm sure there are people that truly believe the world is flat. The fringe is really not the point of, or the interesting space, of this discussion.

Again, nobody I know of, but pilots not following the rules are likely justifying their actions with such claims.

Again, me too, so your speculation that pilots not following the rules justify it by claiming VOs useless is puzzling. Never heard that from an FPV pilot.

I hear it said in myriad ways all the time that they aren't necessary.

Like always unnecessary? Only unnecessary in certain cases? There must be at least some flying scenarios where not being able to see your drone with your eyes could potentially be unsafe.

Of course there are scenarios where a VO is necessary. One should be used in those cases. The point is for the vast majority of flights it's completely unnecessary, and shouldn't be required.

The Avata, for example, can go all sorts of places only another drone can go (in a forest, for example), and sometimes only another drone.

A direct question for you @msinger: Should an Avata pilot be cited and punished when found leisurely weaving around in the woods behind her house, never going further away than 500ft? This is rugged, unimproved wilderness that is difficult to hike through.

She's breaking the law.

I guess it's kind of like following the speed limit when driving a car. In many cases, travelling faster than the speed limit causes no potential issues.
Yup, and a good LEO will ignore it, contributing to a free society, which is far, far more important than strict enforcement of rules for rules' sake.

Not implying you're like this, but we do have far too many people among humanity that see rules as a means to control others and impose their will on everyone else, rather than a means to create civil order between people. Power can take this to the extreme. History is filled with tyrannical despots.

Cops do let people that are strictly breaking the law slide. Judges do dismiss cases where the law was unambiguously violated. They do this because to enforce it would be unjust, in the situation before them.
 
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Like you, I've yet to meet one
I'll be honest though. Most people I know or have met don't fly drones. And almost none that I know fly drones also fly FPV drones.

I'm sure there are people that truly believe the world is flat
Indeed. There are always going to be people who question things they cannot see with their own eyes. And it doesn't help when you have leaders of that field claiming we don't remember how to get back to the moon.

Again, me too, so your speculation that pilots not following the rules justify it by claiming VOs useless is puzzling. Never heard that from an FPV pilot.

I hear it said in myriad ways all the time that they aren't necessary.
Is there a large difference between being useless and [not] necessary? Or are you saying you feel most pilots think a VO is useful, but not useful enough to always be necessary? And then maybe we are being a bit pedantic here too.

The point is for the vast majority of flights it's completely unnecessary, and shouldn't be required.
Unfortunately, that's not usually how rules/laws work. And that's likely because it would make it very tricky to figure out when one needs to follow them and/or when/how to enforce them.

A direct question for you @msinger: Should an Avata pilot be cited and punished when found leisurely weaving around in the woods behind her house, never going further away than 500ft? This is rugged, unimproved wilderness that is difficult to hike through.

She's breaking the law.
Anyone who breaks the law should be punished.

Yup, and a good LEO will ignore it, contributing to a free society, which is far, far more important than strict enforcement of rules for rules' sake.
The same would likely happen in cases where that Avata pilot is flying in their backyard.

we do have far too many people among humanity that see rules as a means to control others and impose their will on everyone else, rather than a means to create civil order between people. Power can take this to the extreme. History is filled with tyrannical despots.
If we did some research, we'd likely find a good reason for the FAA creating this rule. And it probably has nothing to do with them wanting to impose their will on the people.

Cops do let people that are strictly breaking the law slide. Judges do dismiss cases where the law was unambiguously violated. They do this because to enforce it would be unjust, in the situation before them.
Sure. And then if you had enough money and power, you wouldn't have to follow any rules. People would look the other way and pretend it wasn't happening.
 
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Is there a large difference between being useless and [not] necessary?
Oh yes, huge. Without giving it much thought car Cruise Control came to mind.

Necessary? Obviously not. Many cars don't have it.

Useless? Hardly.
 
Okay. I'll bite.

Cruise Control is most definitely not necessary since I can safely drive my car without it. Can you explain how I can ensure I'm flying my drone safely when my eyes are completely covered?
 
Sure. And then if you had enough money and power, you wouldn't have to follow any rules. People would look the other way and pretend it wasn't happening.

Discretion is a critical part of our justice system, without which our laws would be far more unjust. Discretion is practiced by LEOs in deciding whether to cite or arrest someone, by prosecutors in whether and what to charge, and judges in what to allow into the process or even if the process is to go forward at all.

While this discretion is abused, often and regularly, at every level, it it far more often exercised to further justice than to block it.

A man jaywalking to get to a heart attack victim and administer CPR will never be cited by a witnessing LEO. In fact, the officer will assist, calling EMS and managing the crowd while the perp does chest compressions. He won't even mention his scofflaw behavior.

If some LEO were to make a mistake and cite the guy, the D.A. wouldn't charge the case. If some DA was idiotic enough to, the judge would dismiss it immediately.

That's because that's justice, not slavish adherence to an imperfect code of conduct. It's why Mens Rea is such an important concept in how the law is applied and enforced, not just the literal text.
 
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Okay. I'll bite.

Cruise Control is most definitely not necessary since I can safely drive my car without it. Can you explain how I can ensure I'm flying my drone safely when my eyes are completely covered?
Sure. You can see a wide field of view in front of the drone through a camera, and you are flying where it is impossible for a manned aircraft, or another human being to be present.

I do not include in "safely" risk to the drone.

Was just doing it yesterday. Up a creek (didn't need a paddle 😉) through rugged inaccessible wild tree-covered wilderness.

1/2 mile (guess) from my house in the opposite direction from Seacliff State Beach, in the hills. Soquel Creek. Flew the Avata. Would not try it with any open prop drone.
 
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Mid June I bought the white goggles for my P4P and Mavic Pro. Have yet to fly with them due to not having anyone to be my VO. The people I know are just not interested in doing such a thing. Not even my wife. I haven't asked, so maybe I should. Might be surprised.
 
When I fly anywhere in public with goggles, I have a VO. Never had an issue finding a VO, but maybe I have more friends with Avatas and part 107 and respect for the laws? We take turns acting as VO while the other one of us flies.
When flying the Avata in my fully enclosed (ringed by dense 20 ft Thujas) back yard, I fly alone. Occasionally when I'll fly in the rural foothills or the National Forest around Mt. Rainier, where I am totally isolated I will fly alone, but with my dogs to alert me of anyone approaching. Necessary? Absolutely, 90% of the time depending on where you're flying.
I think the FAA should allow FPV flights without a VO if certain criteria are met, i.e. altitude below 50 ft, flight within xx distance of controller, and safe conditions (no pedestrians, cars, hazards, etc).

Addendum: I've never had a VO when flying the Mini 3 pro or Mavic 3 with goggles. Why? Because I flew in my yard for less than a battery on each drone. It was a novelty to fly my camera drones with goggles, but not something I intend to do with any regularity. If I did, I'd make sure to have a visual observer.
 
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I'm in central Illinois and no one around has a drone that I can find. Would be easy to find a VO if other droners or RC people were around. There is an RC field about 10 miles away, but I won't go to an RC field to fly. Don't want to get hit by a fixed wing. I should try in my backyard. Maybe I can pay someone to be a VO! :)
 
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Well, usually paid jobs may require a VO. For example: when you do a visual examination of an exterior of a building, you can't be running around chasing the drone, so you'll put someone on the other side of the building just to make sure you'll don't crash it when the pattern you designed is run by the app. I think most of the VO will be paid people for jobs where you'll need to protect your gear...
 
What I am claiming is they are unnecessary,
There was a drone-plane collision up here that could have been avoided if the visual observer was actually doing their job instead of looking at the screen (along with the pilot and other officers).

The officer who was acting as the visual observer was observing the TV display for much of the time that the RPA was airborne and did not see or hear any airborne traffic, nor could he recall hearing any radio calls over the RPA pilot’s portable VHF radio.


There were other mistakes that led to the collision, but having a visual observer not actually doing their job was one hole in the cheese.

 
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