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FPV Max Altitude 1,000ft
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 Posted: 18 April 2016 10:05 pm
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DannyThompson

 

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Mana: 
At the field the other week (Easter week as I recall) I had a discussion with a couple of the lads about the maximum altitude for FPV flight.  The common belief is that it is 400ft in common with regular LOS flight.  But that understanding/belief appears to be incorrect and I just wanted to put it out there for others to digest.
The FPV maximum altitude is 1,000 feet. 

The specific CAA document relating to FPV flight rules is here (PDF) http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/1108.pdf
Renewable annually, ANO 2009 - General Exemption E4049 - No. 1108 - Published 06 May 2015 is the document in point. 
Section 4 (c) states The person in charge must not fly the SUA:at a height of more than 1,000 feet above the surface (see Note 3);
Where Note 3 statesThis does not remove the requirement (in paragraph 3(b)) for the competent observer to maintain direct unaided visual contact with the SUA throughout the flight. Therefore, the SUA can only be flown up to 1,000 ft if it can still be seen sufficiently for collision avoidance purposes.

My own view is that the actual practicalities are doubtful of flying to 1,000 while the "competent observer" (spotter in regular parlance) is able to maintain unaided sight of the aircraft.  Nevertheless, clearly we can fly over the 400ft LOS ceiling without necessarily being out of compliance. 
Thoughts? Opinions?



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 Posted: 19 April 2016 09:26 am
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Phil F
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Hello Danny . My thought are similar . As you say that to actually see a small SUA at 1000ft is unrealistic  and above 500 feet would be difficult at times . One point to remember though is that The  "competent observer" IS legally responsible for and in charge of the flight , Not The pilot. This is I believe is not stressed enough and should focus the mind of the observer. 
One thing to be aware of is that recent changes to flight paths over the local village of Iwade and surrounding area for approaches to London City airport and Stanstead Airport will make our airspace busier : due to this we have seen some commercial aircraft occasionally very low over the area as well as some dubious flying by light aircraft pilots . On two occasions that I have been at the field we have had a  powered glider fly between a model and the ground ! It's worth checking the surrounding area for any  approaching aircraft ,not just those  above 1000 ft.  As far as I am aware we are still in an unrestricted  space but I will get that checked out.
As an aside . Did you see the report of an airliner being hit by a quad copter at Heathrow  a couple of days ago ? 



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 Posted: 19 April 2016 12:12 pm
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Jon

 

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Hi Chaps, it looks like this new "Dronecode" will restrict flying to 400 ft: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36072039

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 Posted: 20 April 2016 10:30 am
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DannyThompson

 

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Hi Phil.  On at least one occasion we have been "buzzed" by a Police helicopter flying in a straight line across the field coming in from the Thames (Sheppy) direction and heading off westwards into Kent as if for Rochester direction ...  Had we been flying even at 400ft we'd have been on an equivalent altitude.
The 1,000 ft ceiling comes from the FPV exemption rules that override the "Dronecode" rules for all other flight.  So as long as what you're doing satisfies the requirements of General Exemption E4049, and that it is still in effect - renewed annually so it could simply not renew in May 2016 - then you're good to go.     
And yes, absolutely essential FPV fliers and their "competent observer" are aware of their individual responsibilities. 
I have been watching the reporting shenanigans on that incident referencing a BA passenger airliner being hit by a multirotor.  There are inconsistencies that warrant deeper investigation.  The pilot reports the collision occurred over Richmond Park yet Flighttracker shows that they were not over the park at all (see https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/ba727#972ed88 - the data for 18th April).   The aircraft is  at 1,925ft descending. It's flightpath falls a few hundred meters north of Richmond tube station.  
We'll need to await the CAA's findings - but sensationalist reporting has already done [further] damage to the community and hobby.  The public backlash and any consequential legislation will cover all UAV, not just multi-rotor.  
I'm not depressed, rather fairly irritated at low-quality reporting and sensatiionalism fanning the fires of the Ban Everything Brigade. 

Last edited on 20 April 2016 10:32 am by DannyThompson



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 Posted: 20 April 2016 04:27 pm
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Phil F
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Hi Danny . Its a sign of the times now .Sensationalist  reporters should I think be re-named Exageraters and in some cases "Down Right Liars "00psIv'e just fallen off my soap box !
Phil



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 Posted: 21 April 2016 08:34 pm
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DannyThompson

 

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Cripes, reasoned response from a government minister!!! :shock:

'Don't overreact,' says transport minister as he dismisses concerns that a drone hit a BA jet and says it could have been a plastic bag Robert Goodwill plays down fears and said authorities had not yet confirmed whether it was a drone  He says it would be much easier for terrorists to attack airports on the ground with rucksacks or car bombs He insists current rules governing drone use are strong enough  

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3551870/Don-t-overreact-says-transport-minister-dismisses-concerns-drone-hit-BA-jet-says-plastic-bag.html#ixzz46UWaN1jf  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook



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