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Old 01-29-2015, 11:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by KevinM View Post
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.
As I told some folks on Facebook, at a minimum, one should have to carry professional liability insurance to own and operate one of these things. Requiring that much will turn away the average rock with lips at the checkout counter/page.

Telling people further that private property owners can restrict air rights over their property should further discourage people from flying them where they're not wanted.

As for the people that threaten to shoot them down... eh, whatever. Part of me hopes they do start doing exactly that, but the other part of me knows that the crop of people with that type of aim is miniscule at best, even with birdshot.
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