The Pasadena City Hall - Check!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pdmike, May 7, 2018.

  1. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    Well, I did it. Yesterday, I decided to go up to the Rose Bowl for the first time to do a little flying up there. There is a large, grassy area just to the east of the Rose Bowl where people often fly quads and other RC aircraft. I drove by, but didn't like it, so I kept moving.

    Where to go now. It was around 1:00 p.m. on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. Do I dare? The Pasadena City Hall (located right next to the Pasadena Police Dept.) was nearby. Why not? So I went over and began scouting the area out. In front of the city hall there is a large, concrete area. In one part of this concrete area there are two large, sculptured heads that stand about 8 feet tall. Next to them are a few benches. I parked the car, got the quad out and parked myself on one of the benches. Excellent view of city hall, looming in front of me.

    Not a cop in sight. I turned her on, let her hover for a bit and then it was up, up and away, toward city hall itself! Constantly looking around for black and whites, I took her up above the topmost portion of CH and positioned her directly over the dome. I then put her into POI mode, backed her off, adjusted the camera and let her begin circling.

    Long story short - I got a great video, brought the quad down without incident and got out of Dodge as quickly as possible without ever even seeing a cop anywhere.

    A few comments: first off, the Pasadena City Hall is a VERY tall building. By the time the quad was up and circling the building, it was so high up that it was difficult to see and impossible to hear. I will be going back to do this again and I'm sure there will be no problem with the police, simply because no one really notices the quad while it is taking the video.

    Secondly, I was a little concerned about the possible danger of a police helicopter getting too near the quad or, God forbid, colliding with it. I have seen police helicopters flying at just about the same height as I had the quad - or even lower. No helicopter even came into sight while I was taking this video, but I was ready to bring her down the second I saw one, no matter how far off.

    I am writing this note from the office, so am unable to post my video, but will do so as soon as I have a chance to edit it and get it up.
     
  2. LoneRCRanger

    LoneRCRanger Well-Known Member

    According to FAA Flight Rules, a 'manned aircraft" cannot fly lower than 500 feet above the highest structure in LOS. PD Chopper or not, Federal Law supersedes Local Law. Also, an "unmanned aircraft (UAS)" cannot fly higher than 400 feet regardless of structure height. If the structure is at or higher than 400 feet, you have to go around it. So to collide with a PD chopper meant that you or the chopper was not operating at altitude requirements. Before anyone wants to contradict this, I got this from a seasoned, licensed manned aircraft pilot and the FAA web site.
     
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  3. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    I'll take a shot at, not contradicting, but questioning, what you say here. According to Ken Heron on this YouTube video: , FAA regulations provide that the altitude of a quad cannot be more than 400 feet AGL EXCEPT when the quad is being flown within a 400-foot radius of a structure and does not fly higher than 400 feet above the structure's immediate, uppermost limit. Hence, if you want to use the top of a 600-foot structure as your POI, and you keep your quad within a 400-foot radius of the structure, you can fly it up to 400 feet above the uppermost limit of the structure, i.e., 1,000 feet AGL.

    You say that a chopper, PD or not, cannot fly lower than 500 feet above my mythical, 600-foot structure. How far out from the 600-foot structure does this 500-foot limit apply? Your post doesn't mention that. Reason I bring that up is this - we all have seen PD helicopters flying very low over urban areas, much lower than 1,100 feet. Suppose a PD chopper is
    flying at 900 feet in the same city where my mythical 600-foot structure is located. Surely, the PD helicopter is OK when it is two miles away from the 600-foot structure. How close to the 600-foot structure must the PD helicopter be in order for it to have to go up to 1,100 feet? You mention LOS. What if the building is 10 miles away and it is a very clear day? The helicopter pilot can see the building from 10 miles off. He needs to get down to 600 feet to monitor a crime in progress. He can't do it? I don't believe that.

    All I know is this - when my quad was up there, circling the city hall, it was flying at a height I know I have seen PD helicopters at, even lower.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2018
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  4. BL Swagger

    BL Swagger Well-Known Member

    Do you guys register all your quads with the FAA? Should we be doing this for our racing/acro quads as well? I believe it states that aircraft over 250g need to be registered, so just looking for some clarification.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
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  5. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    I think most of us register with the FAA. It doesn't cost much - I think it's only five bucks. Not sure why we do it or what happens if we don't, but I did it. I, of course, paid $29.00 to get it done because I fell for some scam Internet outfit that conned me into thinking they were doing something over and above in registering it for me. They weren't. Oh well, live and learn.
     
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  6. LoneRCRanger

    LoneRCRanger Well-Known Member

    Do as you wish until the cops stop you. Then you can find out first hand about it all. I like to verify my facts by looking in the horse's mouth, AKA FAA Web Site before I ASSUME anything. Also check out the AMA Guidelines, See: www.modelaircraft.org.
     
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  7. LoneRCRanger

    LoneRCRanger Well-Known Member

    I heard that the road to Hell is paved with many golden opportunities.
     
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  8. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    The cops have no jurisdiction over airspace in the state of California. None. FAA has jurisdiction, but not the local police. Now, having said that, I realize that if some officious cop thinks he has jurisdiction over someone flying a drone around City Hall, and he tells me to bring it down, I'll bring it down because I know all too well what happens to folks who don't obey a cop's command, regardless of whether or not it is a legal command.
     
  9. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    Let's take another look at this. I will assume you are correct that FAA rules prohibit a manned aircraft from flying lower than 500 feet above a building. The video I posted says that FAA rules will allow an unmanned aircraft (a drone) to fly as high as 400 feet above a building, regardless of how high that puts the drone above ground level. Soooo .... if all of this is true, you are correct. Assuming drone and helicopter are both obeying FAA rules, the closest they would ever get would be 100 feet from each other in a vertical direction and there could never be a collision. So you are correct.

    However, I think that if I was circling my quad around City Hall, and a PD helicopter were to fly by and see it, I probably would be visited by a black and white, not because I was flying a quad around City Hall, but solely because the helicopter pilot would consider it a flight risk to him, regardless of the relative heights of quad and copter.
     
  10. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    I want to see the video! I remember when you first broached the City Hall venue. It's a spectacular structure.

    Forget closing arguments Counselor -:)

    Send Video!
     
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  11. LoneRCRanger

    LoneRCRanger Well-Known Member

    Just saying...
     
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  12. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    OK, OK .... I have to edit it first, and I am just learning how to edit videos. But I want to post it as well. Give me a bit.
     
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  13. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    Just busting on.you Mike.

    Looking forward to it.

    Bill
     
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  14. KentA

    KentA Well-Known Member

    Is it ready yet?
     
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  15. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    No pressure Mike:cool:
     
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  16. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    Relax, boys. Tomorrow, I'm getting yet another toy installed - a dash cam. I am easily distracted by shiny objects, as you can probably tell.
     
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  17. ArmyVet

    ArmyVet Well-Known Member

    Dash Cam..... Got one!
     
  18. KentA

    KentA Well-Known Member

    My dash cam is sitting next to my desk. I've been waiting until it warmed up to install it. Now I need to find another excuse.
     
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  19. LoneRCRanger

    LoneRCRanger Well-Known Member

    I want a 5 Megawatt White Noise Generator; the kind that kills the Boombox noise in asswipe driven cars and can fry the engine computer of the tailgating drivers. That would be a dream come true.
     
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  20. pdmike

    pdmike Extremely Popular Member

    But enough of this dash cam trivia - here it is boys! Apologies for the jerking around a bit. That was my clumsy attempt at editing. The unedited video was smooth as glass, but 14 minutes long, so I tried to crop it. Needless to say, I'm going back as soon as I can to do a better job.
     
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