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8/1/2017 at 2:42:12 PM GMT
Posts: 7
UAV Experiences
What experiences have you had with UAV's that you would like to share so that others may be forewarned about the not so good, and advised of the "that worked great"?

8/1/2017 at 2:54:17 PM GMT
Posts: 7
Recently, I had to fly a city park. I knew there was a pool, so I made every effort to advise patrons of the flight and to avoid flying when people would be in the pool. The park manager said that the pool did not get active until 9:30 am. I arrived at 8:00am. I put up "Drone In Use" signs at the only entrance to the park and at the only entrance to the pool area. I quickly flew the site. By 8:35, I was packing up the UAV, when a patron stopped me as she drove through the pool parking lot. She was disgruntled at the lack of privacy, exclaiming, "You just can't have privacy anymore!" I apologized and informed her that I made a reasonable effort to advise all patrons of the flight. Unknown to me, the park manager's assertion that the pool did not get active until 9:30 did not include the important phrase, "but it opens at 6:30am". The patron was in the pool before my arrival.

Although I am not happy that the patron was upset, I do wonder what is a reasonable expectation of privacy when you are swimming in a public pool in a public park?

8/2/2017 at 2:04:05 PM GMT
Posts: -6
How do you get a waiver for the "•Must NOT fly over people*" operating rule?

8/2/2017 at 2:04:28 PM GMT
Posts: -6
How do you get a waiver for the "•Must NOT fly over people*" operating rule?

8/2/2017 at 2:27:45 PM GMT
Posts: 0

Part 107

Respecting Privacy
Although the new rule does not specifically deal with privacy issues in the use of drones, and the FAA does not regulate how UAS gather data on people or property, the FAA is acting to address privacy considerations in this area. The FAA strongly encourages all UAS pilots to check local and state laws before gathering information through remote sensing technology or photography.

As part of a privacy education campaign, the agency will provide all drone users with recommended privacy guidelines as part of the UAS registration process and through the FAA’s B4UFly mobile app. The FAA also will educate all commercial drone pilots on privacy during their pilot certification process; and will issue new guidance to local and state governments on drone privacy issues. The FAA’s effort builds on the privacy “best practices” (PDF) the National Telecommunications and Information Administration published last month as the result of a year-long outreach initiative with privacy advocates and industry. 

8/2/2017 at 3:47:45 PM GMT
Posts: -6
With web cameras, security cameras and cell phone cameras in all of our pockets I don't think anyone should have an expectation of privacy in a public space. That being said, as a commercial UAS pilot, I would not want to be the one to anger the public in any way.

I'm more concerned with the FAA's interpretation of the AC_107, 5.11 requirement that "prohibits a person from flying a small UA directly over a person who is not under a safe cover, such as a protective structure or a stationary vehicle."

Does "directly" mean "nadir" or does it mean "approximately nadir" and if so by what horizontal distance would a UA be allowed to pass "over" people?

My guess is that FAA will clarify this point after an incident or after enough people press them for clarification.

8/3/2017 at 1:47:45 PM GMT
Posts: 7
You can apply for a waiver to fly over people at:

Good luck with that. Also be aware that the waiver request will take weeks to process.

8/3/2017 at 1:56:04 PM GMT
Posts: 7
In the current FAA Reauthorization bill, the FAA is charged with maintaining a national database that contains information about imagery acquisition, imagery retention, and imagery disposal. Of course this only applies to the 40,000 commercial drone pilots, not to the hobbyists.

So there is a movement towards FAA regulations about the imagery acquisition process.

Flying over people seems to be an ever moving target. At first we could not fly over anyone in a car. Now we can fly over people in a stationary car. FAA is considering more flexibility, especially if you are using a microDrone (<4.4 lbs). I think the FAA knee jerk reaction to using drones over people is beginning to relax. I think it is moving to allow some flights over people, but not over dense crowds of people, such as an arena.

8/3/2017 at 5:53:21 PM GMT
Posts: 2
The expectation of privacy is a difficult one to address. Google's Street View didn't always blur faces, license plates, and addresses. They now do so because they were sued for invasion of privacy. It could be argued that even in a public pool, there is a reasonable expectation to have a greater deal of privacy than if you were walking down a sidewalk. 

As far as flying over people or moving vehicles, the FAA had to paint a broad brush, at least initially, because of the quickly developing technology. With that said, I fully expect to see updated rulings.  There is precedent for restricting UAVs over people: last summer, a woman in Canada was knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion from a malfunctioning UAV that fell from the sky and struck her. Link: Quebec Woman Struck by Drone 
In our interpretation, we use overhead as "during an equipment failure, the area where a UAV would land." We will employ additional personnel to keep the ground clear of any pedestrian or vehicular traffic. 

One thing I want to add, is hostile landowners. We had an incident where an individual claimed we were stalking him while conducting flights. He threatened our sUAS Pilot. Upon consulting the local PD, they advised we not fly over his property any longer. The best part? We were within 20' of his boundary, but never over his property. The location illusion of a drone at 200' is easy to confuse. Public education and keeping them informed is key, but this particular individual hopped a 6' wall to confront us. That is difficult to address.

Last edited Thursday, August 3, 2017
12/4/2017 at 5:49:44 PM GMT
Posts: -6
Hi Ray,

Just re-read your post from August. My reply is based on lengthy task force committee discussions on both topics you mentioned. Keep in mind that the committee included multiple representatives from various law enforcement agencies.

Invasion of privacy is more than taking a picture of someone without their permission. That happens all the time. It is the intent and use of the picture that constitutes invasion of privacy. There are certainly precautions that we should take to minimize any potential litigation. For example, flying over a beach would best be done when the beach would be expected to have few if any beach-goers. Flying over a backyard pool party for the express purpose of photographing the pool party could be invasion of privacy. Flying over multiple properties for the purpose of mapping, and inadvertently catching imagery of a pool party would not be invasion of privacy. However, we would be wise to edit the imagery and remove anything that could be offensive if we intend to sell the imagery to a client or others.

Trespass is a murky issue. We debated trespass during each meeting. The basic premise is that trespass ONLY occurs when you personally and physically enter someone's property. Flying a drone over someone's property is not trespassing. Similar to road rights of way, the property owner may own the airspace, but the FAA regulates that airspace and allows any approved FAA aircraft to fly in that space. FAA regulates airspace above the "blades of grass". Therefore, flying a drone over someone's property cannot be construed as trespassing. If so, then all manned aircraft would have to seek permission.

We considered all sorts of legislative procedures, but soon realized that drones do not create an exhaustive need for revisions to current legislation. For example, it is illegal to smuggle drugs into a prison. Just because someone might use a drone to do this, that does not make it legal. We don't need a law to say that it is illegal to smuggle drugs with drones. If it is illegal without a drone, it is illegal with a drone.

The laws that we do need are laws to enable law enforcement to enforce FAA regulations. Currently, the FAA says that we cannot, amongst other things, fly over people. However, state and local police agencies have no authority to enforce the FAA regulations, and FAA does not have the manpower to police the activities within a state.

We also realized that the key for law enforcement is not to consider the FAA regulation violations, but to look to other non-airspace laws. For example, hovering over someone's backyard is not illegal as far as FAA airspace is concerned. but if it could be construed that nuisance, stalking or harassment laws were being violated, then there may be an avenue for local law enforcement.

There are many changes still on the horizon. They are even going as far a considering Unmanned Traffic Management systems that would monitor all UAV activity. Interesting.

Stay tuned......

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