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sporte77

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I wanted to post this experience, since there aren't any others for my area. We are camping at Cape Disappointment near Long Beach & Ilwaco, Washington. It's located at the mouth of the Columbia River. I'll edit - or add to the post after we complete our trip that starts April 2. I've seen the youtube videos of remote control aircraft flying over the park illegally. Thought I'd try doing it using the established channels and see what happens.

The whole area is a Washington State Park. When I inquired about flying as a recreational drone/uas operator, they said they would have me apply using the same application as a commercial user. The difference is that the fee is only $25 for hobbyist. The application is the same one as a commercial photographer would have to fill out if shooting film there - with the addition of questions about the drone & insurance.

The Washington State Parks requires that you send the application to the specific Park Manager for the location you will fly. At Cape Disappointment - it's Evan Roberts. They require that you have $1 Million in insurance with "Washington State Parks" on the insurance rider. That's the tricky part, because I use Verifly. So, I went into the app, put the WA Parks on as an additional insured - then bought $2.5 mil insurance for the area I would be flying ($15). I got the rider from Verifly in my e-mail. I submitted that to the Parks and explained that I'd obtain that same insurance for every time I take off (a pain, yes - but how else could I do it?). I don't have an $800 a year policy.

On the application, they wanted a description of flight location and flight plan including, location of pilot, take off/landing location(s), elevation, time of day, and maximum speed. So, I printed a google earth map of the park and plotted 3 locations that I thought would be good as a landing zone. Also, plotted my flight path. While doing that - I ensured I wouldn't fly directly over the campsites (I knew that wouldn't fly! literally). Remember, they have to approve your application.

Yesterday, a ranger called and said it was approved. HOWEVER, they must monitor each flight! To me, that's a huge burden. But I'm going to do it. I'm the first, I have to do it right. So, now before I fly (weather dependent) - I'll have to go 2 miles to the ranger office; ask if someone can accompany me; hope they have someone; if so, buy the Verifly insurance; have the ranger follow me to the zone; and fly. If it wasn't for the historically crappy weather here - it wouldn't be a big deal. But our sun breaks - or non-rain breaks are brief. So, by the time I secure a ranger - it could be raining again.

It's kind of a pain to go though this for possibly three 10 minute, harmless flights with a really small non-commercial drone. But I knew that the Parks had never been through the process and I could be the first to present a professional & well-planned first impression. If we can suffer through the infancy of our rules evolution - there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. But, that's only if we do it right. If we abuse the system now, they'll just flat out ban us. Frankly, based on the spotty communication I experienced before the "approval" - I'm surprised it's approved. Of course, with a ranger-monitor, it makes sense. Either they are there out of curiosity because this is new, or big-brother. We'll see. I'll update when we get back from camping... After April 7.
 
I wanted to post this experience, since there aren't any others for my area. We are camping at Cape Disappointment near Long Beach & Ilwaco, Washington. It's located at the mouth of the Columbia River. I'll edit - or add to the post after we complete our trip that starts April 2. I've seen the youtube videos of remote control aircraft flying over the park illegally. Thought I'd try doing it using the established channels and see what happens.

The whole area is a Washington State Park. When I inquired about flying as a recreational drone/uas operator, they said they would have me apply using the same application as a commercial user. The difference is that the fee is only $25 for hobbyist. The application is the same one as a commercial photographer would have to fill out if shooting film there - with the addition of questions about the drone & insurance.

The Washington State Parks requires that you send the application to the specific Park Manager for the location you will fly. At Cape Disappointment - it's Evan Roberts. They require that you have $1 Million in insurance with "Washington State Parks" on the insurance rider. That's the tricky part, because I use Verifly. So, I went into the app, put the WA Parks on as an additional insured - then bought $2.5 mil insurance for the area I would be flying ($15). I got the rider from Verifly in my e-mail. I submitted that to the Parks and explained that I'd obtain that same insurance for every time I take off (a pain, yes - but how else could I do it?). I don't have an $800 a year policy.

On the application, they wanted a description of flight location and flight plan including, location of pilot, take off/landing location(s), elevation, time of day, and maximum speed. So, I printed a google earth map of the park and plotted 3 locations that I thought would be good as a landing zone. Also, plotted my flight path. While doing that - I ensured I wouldn't fly directly over the campsites (I knew that wouldn't fly! literally). Remember, they have to approve your application.

Yesterday, a ranger called and said it was approved. HOWEVER, they must monitor each flight! To me, that's a huge burden. But I'm going to do it. I'm the first, I have to do it right. So, now before I fly (weather dependent) - I'll have to go 2 miles to the ranger office; ask if someone can accompany me; hope they have someone; if so, buy the Verifly insurance; have the ranger follow me to the zone; and fly. If it wasn't for the historically crappy weather here - it wouldn't be a big deal. But our sun breaks - or non-rain breaks are brief. So, by the time I secure a ranger - it could be raining again.

It's kind of a pain to go though this for possibly three 10 minute, harmless flights with a really small non-commercial drone. But I knew that the Parks had never been through the process and I could be the first to present a professional & well-planned first impression. If we can suffer through the infancy of our rules evolution - there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. But, that's only if we do it right. If we abuse the system now, they'll just flat out ban us. Frankly, based on the spotty communication I experienced before the "approval" - I'm surprised it's approved. Of course, with a ranger-monitor, it makes sense. Either they are there out of curiosity because this is new, or big-brother. We'll see. I'll update when we get back from camping... After April 7.

Returned home today from Cape Disappointment. Had 2 beautiful days and 2 very wet days. Overall, the process with the Park Rangers was easy & went well. I checked in on Sunday, they handed me the completed and approved application. Later that day, I went to the office and told them I'd like to fly at one of the planned spots. Nick & Rebecca (sp?) were very friendly. Nick said to go get set up and he'd come by. I didn't feel like I was being bothered at all & the monitoring was very low key. I think they were most concerned about me sticking to my plans that were in the application - which is what I did. I called the one heliport & one local field for notification. They had no idea what I was talking about - so I educated them as well. The next day, I flew again at a different spot. It went well with no probs either. But the wind was blowing 20 mph up high though and I kept getting a wind warning and a compass warning. So, I kept it a bit short and didn't go very far. Due to the time of day and LOS issues, I didn't get great shots of the lighthouses. But I got some good video in the park. I showed Nick and Rebecca the Mavic, all the apps, the proof of insurance - even though they didn't ask to see any of it.

As I checked out, Nick thanked me for the experience & being the first one to do an application within WA state parks. The application was actually signed by some higher-ups in Olympia. But the local manager, Evan Roberts, had the final say. Then the rangers were tasked with monitoring. It went very well - so I won't hesitate to do it again somewhere else. By following the rules, I spent $25 on the application & $24 per flight for the higher Verifly amount and larger radius. Since it's probably the only time I'd shoot video there - I didn't feel bad about paying.

I'll put together some video later.
 
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What a pathetic set of restrictions.

Those rules wouldn't make sense even in National Parks.

And no, flying over parks from the outside is NOT illegal. Ever.

I don't "like" the rules either. The rules are there because people who don't fly drones don't really understand them. It's a bit of a witch hunt mentality in some locations. I didn't find that to be the case at Cape D. They were very friendly and treated me just like any other user (aside from the monitoring). I feel they will loosen up a bit and become more streamlined in the future. It's what we've got for now. With that said, it's our responsibility to get out there and act as stewards to help bring down some of the barriers. Mountain biking faced the same thing a long time ago (still does at Cape D.). We in the mtn bike community were only able to gain respect by giving it and becoming active in the trail system (maintaining trails, etc.). My video could have been a lot more special/cinematic if there weren't any restrictions. But I wanted to go through the process to show the parks that this is pretty harmless; that responsible people out there exist; and are just enjoying it. I accomplished that. Everyone involved came away with respect. So, although it's quite a process - especially for a recreational flight - I believe it progressed the suas community forward. We can comment our real feelings all we want - but unless we get out there and live it - we will gain nothing.
 
Well good on you for having a good attitude about it, and good on them for being friendly to you, but if we aren't careful these kinds of absurd rules are going to start popping up everywhere.
 
For me personally, there is no way I am going to be babysat and go through all of those restrictions like some kind of criminal.

I'd rather film the park from outside the boundaries, if need be. It's still legal, and probably a lot less hassle. And I'm not harming anyone by filming the scenery without their permission.
 
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For me personally, there is no way I am going to be babysat and go through all of those restrictions like some kind of criminal.

I'd rather film the park from outside the boundaries, if need be. It's still legal, and probably a lot less hassle. And I'm not harming anyone by filming the scenery without their permission.

I thought about that. But the topography and weather just doesn't allow you access. If you google earth it - you can see how isolated it is. Also, state parks don't have the same rules as national parks. They don't specifically say land & takeoff. They can interpret an overflight as possibly harassing animals - whatever. So your not necessarily going to avoid trouble using the "not landing / taking off" inside plan. I agree with your sentiment. But for me it's not worth getting nailed.
 
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I wanted to post this experience, since there aren't any others for my area. We are camping at Cape Disappointment near Long Beach & Ilwaco, Washington. It's located at the mouth of the Columbia River. I'll edit - or add to the post after we complete our trip that starts April 2. I've seen the youtube videos of remote control aircraft flying over the park illegally. Thought I'd try doing it using the established channels and see what happens.

The whole area is a Washington State Park. When I inquired about flying as a recreational drone/uas operator, they said they would have me apply using the same application as a commercial user. The difference is that the fee is only $25 for hobbyist. The application is the same one as a commercial photographer would have to fill out if shooting film there - with the addition of questions about the drone & insurance.

The Washington State Parks requires that you send the application to the specific Park Manager for the location you will fly. At Cape Disappointment - it's Evan Roberts. They require that you have $1 Million in insurance with "Washington State Parks" on the insurance rider. That's the tricky part, because I use Verifly. So, I went into the app, put the WA Parks on as an additional insured - then bought $2.5 mil insurance for the area I would be flying ($15). I got the rider from Verifly in my e-mail. I submitted that to the Parks and explained that I'd obtain that same insurance for every time I take off (a pain, yes - but how else could I do it?). I don't have an $800 a year policy.

On the application, they wanted a description of flight location and flight plan including, location of pilot, take off/landing location(s), elevation, time of day, and maximum speed. So, I printed a google earth map of the park and plotted 3 locations that I thought would be good as a landing zone. Also, plotted my flight path. While doing that - I ensured I wouldn't fly directly over the campsites (I knew that wouldn't fly! literally). Remember, they have to approve your application.

Yesterday, a ranger called and said it was approved. HOWEVER, they must monitor each flight! To me, that's a huge burden. But I'm going to do it. I'm the first, I have to do it right. So, now before I fly (weather dependent) - I'll have to go 2 miles to the ranger office; ask if someone can accompany me; hope they have someone; if so, buy the Verifly insurance; have the ranger follow me to the zone; and fly. If it wasn't for the historically crappy weather here - it wouldn't be a big deal. But our sun breaks - or non-rain breaks are brief. So, by the time I secure a ranger - it could be raining again.

It's kind of a pain to go though this for possibly three 10 minute, harmless flights with a really small non-commercial drone. But I knew that the Parks had never been through the process and I could be the first to present a professional & well-planned first impression. If we can suffer through the infancy of our rules evolution - there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. But, that's only if we do it right. If we abuse the system now, they'll just flat out ban us. Frankly, based on the spotty communication I experienced before the "approval" - I'm surprised it's approved. Of course, with a ranger-monitor, it makes sense. Either they are there out of curiosity because this is new, or big-brother. We'll see. I'll update when we get back from camping... After April 7.

It's so great so see that you went through the steps required. I would like to get some drone footage of the Enchantments in Washington and would like to do it through the proper channels. How would I go about doing that exactly? I've been searching the internet and I can't find an application for a permit to fly. Please help!
 
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I don't "like" the rules either. The rules are there because people who don't fly drones don't really understand them. It's a bit of a witch hunt mentality in some locations. I didn't find that to be the case at Cape D. They were very friendly and treated me just like any other user (aside from the monitoring). I feel they will loosen up a bit and become more streamlined in the future. It's what we've got for now. With that said, it's our responsibility to get out there and act as stewards to help bring down some of the barriers. Mountain biking faced the same thing a long time ago (still does at Cape D.). We in the mtn bike community were only able to gain respect by giving it and becoming active in the trail system (maintaining trails, etc.). My video could have been a lot more special/cinematic if there weren't any restrictions. But I wanted to go through the process to show the parks that this is pretty harmless; that responsible people out there exist; and are just enjoying it. I accomplished that. Everyone involved came away with respect. So, although it's quite a process - especially for a recreational flight - I believe it progressed the suas community forward. We can comment our real feelings all we want - but unless we get out there and live it - we will gain nothing.

Good job and follow up. Surly you left a good droner image and all the better for the next droner.
 
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I flew up there and none of the rangers gave a crap as long as I paid their ridiculous parking fees.
 
I flew up there and none of the rangers gave a crap as long as I paid their ridiculous parking fees.
Yeah it's really up to the individual ranger. Problem is that you can get a nice one that recognizes you're not a problem- but the next one will be the opposite. Depends on behavior(s) of the pilot they've experienced in the past.
 
Yeah it's really up to the individual ranger. Problem is that you can get a nice one that recognizes you're not a problem- but the next one will be the opposite. Depends on behavior(s) of the pilot they've experienced in the past.

Thank you for going through the process. Its people like you that will make us look a LOT better in teh eyes of the FAA and other government agencies.

I saw that the AMA membership also has insurance associated with the yearly dues. I havent done much yet other than getting my FAA registration. Im the proud owner of the Mavic Pro Platinum. Im also looking for places to fly legally. Id llike to try deception pass as thats a really nice place. Maybe Ill have to find out how to get the forms like you did.

Thanks again.
 
I wanted to post this experience, since there aren't any others for my area. We are camping at Cape Disappointment near Long Beach & Ilwaco, Washington. It's located at the mouth of the Columbia River. I'll edit - or add to the post after we complete our trip that starts April 2. I've seen the youtube videos of remote control aircraft flying over the park illegally. Thought I'd try doing it using the established channels and see what happens.

The whole area is a Washington State Park. When I inquired about flying as a recreational drone/uas operator, they said they would have me apply using the same application as a commercial user. The difference is that the fee is only $25 for hobbyist. The application is the same one as a commercial photographer would have to fill out if shooting film there - with the addition of questions about the drone & insurance.

The Washington State Parks requires that you send the application to the specific Park Manager for the location you will fly. At Cape Disappointment - it's Evan Roberts. They require that you have $1 Million in insurance with "Washington State Parks" on the insurance rider. That's the tricky part, because I use Verifly. So, I went into the app, put the WA Parks on as an additional insured - then bought $2.5 mil insurance for the area I would be flying ($15). I got the rider from Verifly in my e-mail. I submitted that to the Parks and explained that I'd obtain that same insurance for every time I take off (a pain, yes - but how else could I do it?). I don't have an $800 a year policy.

On the application, they wanted a description of flight location and flight plan including, location of pilot, take off/landing location(s), elevation, time of day, and maximum speed. So, I printed a google earth map of the park and plotted 3 locations that I thought would be good as a landing zone. Also, plotted my flight path. While doing that - I ensured I wouldn't fly directly over the campsites (I knew that wouldn't fly! literally). Remember, they have to approve your application.

Yesterday, a ranger called and said it was approved. HOWEVER, they must monitor each flight! To me, that's a huge burden. But I'm going to do it. I'm the first, I have to do it right. So, now before I fly (weather dependent) - I'll have to go 2 miles to the ranger office; ask if someone can accompany me; hope they have someone; if so, buy the Verifly insurance; have the ranger follow me to the zone; and fly. If it wasn't for the historically crappy weather here - it wouldn't be a big deal. But our sun breaks - or non-rain breaks are brief. So, by the time I secure a ranger - it could be raining again.

It's kind of a pain to go though this for possibly three 10 minute, harmless flights with a really small non-commercial drone. But I knew that the Parks had never been through the process and I could be the first to present a professional & well-planned first impression. If we can suffer through the infancy of our rules evolution - there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. But, that's only if we do it right. If we abuse the system now, they'll just flat out ban us. Frankly, based on the spotty communication I experienced before the "approval" - I'm surprised it's approved. Of course, with a ranger-monitor, it makes sense. Either they are there out of curiosity because this is new, or big-brother. We'll see. I'll update when we get back from camping... After April 7.
 
Thanks for this useful info. Have you also inquire for Oregon parks? I was hoping to fly near Multnomah Falls in August. I have seen videos from there and thought there must be a permit process.
 
Thanks for this useful info. Have you also inquire for Oregon parks? I was hoping to fly near Multnomah Falls in August. I have seen videos from there and thought there must be a permit process.

Hey there JoelP. I had similar hopes in February '19, but upon arriving at Multnomah Falls Visitor Center, it became immediately apparent that there's to be no drone flights at Multnomah Falls.

Posted on their main message board is a large page addressed specifically to UAV Pilots. Multnomah Falls has been given a special exemption by the FAA forbidding all flight in the area surrounding the falls.

However, they do list a number of adjacent parks and falls where you are welcomed/encouraged to fly your drone.

So, all in all, it's a bummer to not get such a beautiful subject, but they're at least upfront and helpful about it.
 
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