US FAA Guidelines for Multi-rotors?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mm, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. mm

    mm Administrator Staff Member

    So are the kinds of multi-rotors we're building considered "Model Aircraft" or "Small Unmanned Aircraft"?

    If it's the latter, I think we're all breaking the law in the US.

    From:

    http://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=14153

    Also (not updated since 1981):

     
  2. mm

    mm Administrator Staff Member

    Okay, I did some more research and found out that it is generally understood that recreational use of quadcopters is legal in the US, but any commercial use is technically not?

     
  3. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ New Member

    (c) Model Aircraft Defined.--In this section, the term ``model aircraft'' means an unmanned
    aircraft that is--
    (1) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
    (2) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
    (3) flown for hobby or recreational purposes.

    See this - http://www.uavcommercial.com/faa-hobby-ruling.html
     
  4. mm

    mm Administrator Staff Member

    That clears it up regarding commercial vs. recreational, but #2 still might be a gray area depending on the FPV system being used. If you use a long range system, is it still legal?
     
  5. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ New Member

    Line of sight is line of sight. Basicly if you can't see it anymore, you're breaking the rules. Most FPV flyers are out of sight from the launch area.
     
  6. mm

    mm Administrator Staff Member

    Either way, I think it would be a hard case to prove one way or another - unless you have a long range system and you're flying a mile+ away.
     
  7. Long Range RC

    Long Range RC Member

    I have called the FAA in Ohio and found it is ok to fly them for hobby and you do have to be able to see it. I am not granted permission to sell the photos I take from my quadcopter because that would mean I was doing it for profit. If you apply for an experimental license you can fly them above the 400 foot level but you still can't sell your photos. The laws they are try to pass aren't trying to take away our hobby for the most part. They are trying to pass laws to allow us to make money from or small flying models as long as we get licensed and prove we can control them responsibly and safely.
     
  8. mm

    mm Administrator Staff Member

    Great info LRRC. I am both for and against some regulation. On one hand, in the wrong hands, our quads could be pretty dangerous, so it would weed out some idiots. On the other hand, requiring licenses and flight readiness checks on our copters will just about kill the hobby. It will take more time to get flying and would be be way more expensive to get into the hobby. And because less people will get into the hobby, the parts will likely go up in price as well as a lot of places/sites that manufacture and/ or sell parts will probably close up shop. With this guy cutting half his head off with his RC helicopter a couple weeks ago, I'm sure the topic will get even more attention from the government now.
     
  9. Long Range RC

    Long Range RC Member

    Ooh, good point. I think if you are going to make money from these things and fly them in populated areas you should have to pass an inspection to show you can fly. I don't want a 5 pound weight hitting me. lol. Hobbyist shouldn't be regulated who fly in good flying areas. Heck, I just saw a video of a dude following a rollercoaster with people on it and he almost hit when it turned fast. Not cool.
     
  10. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ New Member

  11. Long Range RC

    Long Range RC Member

    Banning them? I don't think so and here is why. Regulations, maybe but banning no. A few people kill people with guns. Are they banned? A few people violate peoples rights with video camcorders a bazillion times more than with aerial units. It isn't illegal to video anyone in public or take their picture from a plane or helicopter no matter what height your at as long as you don't record the audio of their conversation. People kill people with baseball bats but they aren't banned. People invade others privacy with bionic ears but they aren't banned. See, the devices aren't what is being banned it is a law that is passed to make what you do with it illegal. If they were to ban video taping from the skies against the law they would have to shut down millions of public access satellite imagery websites and we know that wont happen. If someone hurts someone else because of their negligence in taking precautions to safeguard all of those on the ground underneath their flying model they are open for civil law suit and negligent assault or manslaughter charges just as if they were negligent in the operation of a plane or automobile.
    We all know that the feds are under strict notice to start allowing domestic drones and flying aerial photography models into the sky by 2015 so I really think we are safe with our quads. We just might have to be restricted on flights over cities and highly populated areas.
     
  12. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ New Member

    Guns banned? Not yet, but if some people get their way they will be. They use media hype to drive their agenda. While I did say that the public will want to ban them, I did not say that they would, but I did say that there will be more restrictions on the hobby. I personally welcome the chance to use aerial photography as a money making venture and I am fully expecting some sort of registration or licensing. This is a positive thing in my opinion for the for-profit segment of the hobby, but I hope that the civilian side of the hobby stays relatively regulation free. I suppose the publics actions will dictate what happens. If drones outfitted with firearms keep popping up on youtube it will most certainly make it tough to continue without heavy regulations.
     
  13. Long Range RC

    Long Range RC Member

    Good point
     

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