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Old 01-28-2015, 02:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigbassloyd View Post
Property owners have air rights below and to LSALT (Lowest Safe Altitude), US Government dictates everything above it. Generally LSALT is 1000 feet above highest terrain (mountains, antennae, buildings, etc.).
Hi Loyd,

The minimum altitude regulation in your post is for operations conducted by fixed-wing aircraft over populated areas (cities, towns, settlements, open-air assemblies of people (such as a sporting event). The Federal Air Regulations (FAR) are somewhat looser when fixed-wing operations are conducted over sparsely populated areas, where 500 ft is the minimum separation from people, structures and vessels. Over water, you can essentially fly as low as you dare, as long as you stay that far from any boats. Crop dusting operations are a good example of fixed-wing flight ops over land.

Helicopters and powered parachutes have even lower fact, the FARs don't specify a minimum for those. They just say that the operation must be conducted without hazard to persons or property on the ground.

These rules have been in effect for many years. The reason you don't hear about a lot of problems with manned aircraft is because they are operated by people who require a certain amount of training and a Federally-issued certificate. The Feds know who we are and will have our butts in a sling if we are found to have violated any of these rules. FAR violations are a lot bigger deal than a traffic ticket. The problem with UAVs is that they are largely unregulated, and in the last few years, the price of admission and the amount of skill required to operate has seriously come down. The result is that these things are now falling into the hands of folks who really don't know what they are doing, nor have they considered all of the ramifications of their operations.

Ultimately, I expect that with perhaps some limited exceptions, some sort of certification will be required to operate UAVs. Without that, you will have an aerial free-for-all, and I don't think the public, or the politicians will put up with it.

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Last edited by KevinM; 01-28-2015 at 02:02 PM.
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