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Fined for FPV flight

DejaD

ARG=almost ready to glue
#1
I saw on XJET's youtube channel that Trappy from Team Blacksheep has been fined by the FAA for doing an FPV flight for which he was paid by the institutin that he was flying over...
The video said he is going to fight it in court. Just wondering what people are thinking about this. Bruce raises some good points in his video about how there seems to be no differentiation between the different types of FPV vehicles.
 

RoyBro

Senior Member
Mentor
#2
Understanding what we are talking about.

Emerging technologies are often given extremely ambiguous names. Two immediately come to mind in our hobby. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, and First Person View. Of course we immediately use an acronym to make them easier to use in conversation, so we use UAV and FPV. Often newcomers to the hobby glean their meaning from forums or Internet searches and come up with inaccurate definitions. For instance, FPV could mean either First Person View, or First Person Video, because FPV is often associated with videos posted on YouTube. Further, FPV has evolved from simply slapping a small camera on a plane so we see what the pilot would see, to controlling the plane or copter using the on-board camera.

Now if you watched Bruce's video, You'll notice that he uses the term Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) instead of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). I've noticed that several organizations have started using this term which even further broadens the category. A "System" doesn't have to be a vehicle, but could be the electronics added to an aircraft to make it capable of unmanned flight.

Matters are made even worse, when "The Media" becomes interested. Now we have "Drone" which could mean anything including a male, non-non working bee, to a Predator aircraft, to what I seem to be doing here (as in "droning on and on". :rolleyes: Just look what they've done with the term "assault weapon". But I won't go into that here.

I've mentioned before in my posts that I'm kind of a stickler for semantics (partially because I'm surrounded by it, working for a newspaper), but also because I often see misunderstandings arise because of lack of understanding in communications.

So until clear, unambiguous terminology is developed for the different classes and functions of these technologies, we are going to have misunderstanding after misunderstanding, and people trying to enforce rules and policies in areas they simply don't belong.

I also applaud Trappy for forcing the issue so that we may get some real definition in this area. I just hope it doesn't backfire.
 
#3
They made a HUGE deal about it, going to the District Attorney to get their money and SD card back, arguing (correctly) that the law prohibiting non-permit aircraft operations in the Grand Canyon did not apply to toy R/C airplanes, which are harmless. The park rangers weren't too nice and weren't terribly pleased about the pushback, of course.
 
#4
A little rant from a FPV noob….. Sorry :)

The "Media" always blows things way out! I personally don't have cable TV anymore because the news and the media are way out of control. Too many people out there think that their opinion is the final word and just love telling people what’s right and wrong. My tolerance for the intolerant is really running thin these days ya know? What happened to the days of opinion was someone’s opinion and that’s it?

I'm new to the world of FPV and I think it's a great way to gain interest from people to the hobby. FPV has always been what I wanted to do since I was a kid just starting out in this hobby. Flite Test was my first introduction to affordable FPV and now that I’m into this all the “FUN GOVENORS” out there wants to regulate FPV. I want my son to enjoy this hobby and all that it offers and not worry about what will happen in the future for our hobby.

This is cool stuff too... Does not have much to do with this topic but it does go with the people that cry "invasion of privacy" when talking about why FPV needs to regulated. Will this be regulated and watch dogged too?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-8k8GEGZPM

Zoom in, have a look.
http://www.gigapixel.com/mobile/?id=79995


Ok I’m done LOL.. Sorry for the little rant :rolleyes:
 
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#5
This is a really interesting legal issue.
On one hand, everyone wants to be free to enjoy their hobby. Since I moved from OK to TX a few months ago, I found out that there is a new "drone law" here (actually called the Texas Privacy Act, or something like that), with is very vague, and very punitive. There is a several thousand dollar fine per picture taken of private property. If I wanted to fly in my neighborhood, I would basically have to send out flyers to all my neighbors asking permission to film their houses… just guess how well that would go! :rolleyes:
Also, this lovely law does nothing to restrict law enforcement or media from using unmanned choppers with high-power cameras to snoop on citizens all day long.

On the other hand, lawmakers naturally want to protect public safety. As much as I love his videos, if Trappy flew an EDF within 10 feet of me, I would be really steamed. I know he's a super-experienced pilot, but that kind of of risk-taking is completely unjustifiable.

I would rather have the entire hobby fly under legal radar than have uninformed, corporate-payrolled* lawmakers start figuring out what to do with it. But when people get cocky and start pushing the envelope, we all suffer for it, like in Texas.

*Beyond the issue of campaign finance is the issue that most politicians go work for financial companies or lobbying firms after their time in office is up. So when you think about it, they are almost all time-shifted corporate employees. :(
 

RoyBro

Senior Member
Mentor
#7
I meant flying while recording pictures or video.
What if you don't RECORD pictures or video? What if you simply fly FPV, streaming live video to your goggles, but it isn't "recorded" anywhere. I wonder if the news media is similarly constrained when videoing a news story in your neighborhood, because they are in fact recording video of private property.
 
#8
What if you don't RECORD pictures or video? What if you simply fly FPV, streaming live video to your goggles, but it isn't "recorded" anywhere. I wonder if the news media is similarly constrained when videoing a news story in your neighborhood, because they are in fact recording video of private property.
Really good question, and I've been pondering it myself. I read through the law recently. It isn't very long, but it is quite vague.
I'm thinking that non-recording FPV flight is ok, and could be justified as just telemetry ;)
BUT "IANAL, YMMV, etc." ;)
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#9
What if you don't RECORD pictures or video? What if you simply fly FPV, streaming live video to your goggles, but it isn't "recorded" anywhere. I wonder if the news media is similarly constrained when videoing a news story in your neighborhood, because they are in fact recording video of private property.
They can do what they want, because they do what the government wants them to do. Lie to the people :D

Ok just sayin, don't have any basis for that LOL
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#10
Plus, most people don't mind being on TV, but for some reason, being caught on camera by your neighbor is cause for complete paranoia...
 
#11
They can do what they want, because they do what the government wants them to do. Lie to the people :D

Ok just sayin, don't have any basis for that LOL
The Texas law specifically exempts Law enforcement and news media!! :mad:

So, flying for fun = evil, flying to snoop on people (if you're in media or law enforcement) = good.

I'm actually taking Texas Government in college right now, and it's pretty depressing. All government is, really.

I grew up here, and loved it here, but the government is really married to big business here, especially in DFW.
 
#12
Well its obvious, they control the media and law enforcment. But they cannot control the fpv flyers, and worry that their dirty secrets might leak out.
 
#13
Plus, most people don't mind being on TV, but for some reason, being caught on camera by your neighbor is cause for complete paranoia...
I'd say the media hype was very successful. :(
If your neighbor is snooping on you with a drone, you are well within your rights (especially if it is ON your land) to start throwing stones at it, shoot at it, whatever.
If a law enforcement drone starts snooping on you, no such luck. I'm sure you'd be arrested and charged with damaging city property, or interfering in an investigation, or both.
Ugh.

I really try not to join in on the tinfoil beanie crowd, but sometimes it's hard not to notice the world around you creeping towards 1984.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#14
I get where you are coming from but I don't think a toy is cause for the alarm people are giving them. I know it's being simplistic calling our multi's "toys", but lets face it. That's what they are to us. A source of enjoyment. Not the evil eye of big brother! And since the ever so wise bureaucrats have dictated that we can't do it for money, that will remain what they are to us for the foreseeable future. I don't want to have to put it on, but I'm beginning to think I need to at least have my tin foil hat ready to go....
 
#15
Agreed. My tinfoil beanie is getting way too big for my own good.
A *small dose of skepticism and paranoia are good for you, though.

*For varying definitions of small :)

I was watching some FPV video I took when I lived in oklahoma (no FPV TX/RX, just an 808 cam velcroed to my old Hawk Sky). It is SUCH a pity that filming a simple flight (with a resolution and camera angle so poor you couldn't spy on someone if you wanted to) could get you slapped with a multi-grand lawsuit. Really stupid law.

Where are you at in Texas, xuzme?