Tag: Laws

EASA Explanatory Note shows US RC model flight was saved, but sacrificed in the EU

EASA Explanatory Note shows US RC model flight was saved, but sacrificed in the EU

October 25, 2016 15:13 | By | Add a Comment

It is a sad day indeed when an explanatory note clarifies that while the new EASA restrictions include (and effectively kill) RC model flight as a hobby, AMA and FAA in the US apparently managed to come to a mutually acceptable compromise by excluding RC models from the harsh restrictions of “drones”, which typically are flown outside AMA-sanctioned RC flying sites.

FAA and EASA keep each other informed on their activities. Part 107 is the recently adopted FAA regulation for small unmanned aircraft systems below 25kg. It will create a process that will replace their present exemption process (around 3000 delivered). It corresponds broadly to our ‘open’ category.
Some common points: MTOM 25kg, operation VLOS; maximum altitude 400ft (we propose 500ft); competence requirements for the pilot;
Some differences: it does not apply to model aircraft when our prototype regulation does, it does not require geofencing or identification, no sub-categories, no essential requirements for design.

And again, there have been voices claiming that the Prototype Regulations don’t apply to RC models. This is not true:

Article 15 provides the transitional provisions for recreational operations of UA in the frame of associations or clubs (‘model aircraft’ operations).It is proposed that they can continue to operate as of today in accordance with National regulations or practices. After 3 years after the entry into force of the regulation an authorisation shall be issued by the national authorities to associations or clubs taking into account their safety record and defining limitations and deviations to the subpart B.

…and…

Excluding ‘model aircraft’ from these prototype rules would allow operators to declare their UA as a model and escape to the requirements, therefore opening a safety gap. It must be kept in mind that a significant number of incidents are caused by UA operated non-commercially.

If RC models were exempt from these regulations and the requirements to feature hard-wired geofencing with autopilot, redundant systems etc., then there would be no need for a transition period. As it stands, the proposal envisions the creation of “revenue” for compliance-businesses, meaning you are supposed to pay a company to certify your RC model. That is, after you equipped it with a GPS-driven autopilot that enforces geofencing, prevents climbing higher than 150 meters or accelerating faster than 50kph.

How could this be fixed? Simple, create a separate category for RC models flown at registered RC airfields and/or under supervision of a recognied, national RC association. At the same time, flight altitude limits at such sites could be lifted, enabling F3A competitions to be held without constantly violating an arbitrary 150m altitude limit. Registered RC flying fields should be entered into digital and traditional NOTAM databases, similarly to skyjumping sites for example.

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Sweden passes restrictive rules for “camera drones”

Sweden passes restrictive rules for “camera drones”

October 25, 2016 14:58 | By | Add a Comment

The use of camera-carrying RC models, multicopters and drones has been ruled illegal by the Supreme Administrative Court in Sweden. In addition to requiring a license, they are now classified as “surveillance cameras”, requiring them to adhere to the same rules regarding privacy protection as a camera that’s set up for 24/7 monitoring. Interestingly enough, mobile phones equipped with cameras are not classified as surveillance cameras, neither are cameras mounted overhead swedish highways.

Overnight, FPV flying has been ruled illegal in Sweden.

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EASA Prototype Regulations would put an end to RC model flight as we know it

EASA Prototype Regulations would put an end to RC model flight as we know it

October 9, 2016 19:02 | By | Add a Comment

For some months now, EASA has been at work trying to fix a perceived loophole in previous legislation drafts: Hobbyists and tinkerers who “hack their drones” to “fly further, higher, faster”. This is seen in Brussels as a great risk, so EASA was asked to come up with a regulation that would form the grounds for anti-modification legislation.

Enter the “EASA Prototype Regulations”. These regulations define four categories (A0, A1, A2 and A3) with increasing capabilities and restrictions. For example, A0 allows you to fly without registration, but you are limited to 250 grams takeoff weight, and you can’t fly higher than 50 meters. Category A3 allows you to fly up to 150 meters but your RC model needs to be equipped with a GPS geofencing function that cannot be turned off. This means that if you have an old wooden glow engine model or a scale jet, it needs to have a GPS and an autopilot on board. And you can’t fly higher than 150 meters. And you need to be at least 50 meters away from spectators (20m for rotor craft).

Don’t like this? Write EASA, todayUASPrototypeRule@easa.europa.eu

Check the detailed regulations after the break.

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FAA Reauthorization Act 2016 proposal includes FAA exams for RC pilots

FAA Reauthorization Act 2016 proposal includes FAA exams for RC pilots

March 16, 2016 9:49 | By | 1 Comment

The Proposal for the FAA Reauthorization Act 2016 contains several new rules and regulations that cover RC hobbyists and FPV pilots. Among other things, it proposes the introduction of an exam administered by the FAA, which will become a requirement for being allowed to fly any RC plane. This makes it look and feel a lot like how ham radio licenses work today.

While this may appear reasonable, what has to be kept in mind is that a single radio amateur transmitting something on the wrong frequency or with the wrong equipment can ruin parts of the spectrum for everyone, including people on the other side of the globe. That’s why entering the hobby of ham radio requires such a detailed exam. The safety rules for RC planes are much simpler and common sense, their ramnifications restricted to the immediate vincinity of the pilot, thus making the FAA administer exams is pure overkill.

Another juicy detail is the proposed requirement for manufacturers to prevent tampering or modification. This would rule out self-build models and is so detached from reality, it’s not even funny anymore.

Expect things to get worse, not better.

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FAA proposes new rules for small UAS

FAA proposes new rules for small UAS

February 15, 2015 18:34 | By | Add a Comment

The FAA has posted a proposed set of rules for allowing small UAS operation within the US.

Among those rules:

  • Unmanned aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs. (25 kg).
  • First-person view camera cannot satisfy “see-and-avoid” requirement but can be used as long as requirement is satisfied in other ways.
  • Maximum airspeed of 100 mph (87 knots).
  • Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level.
  • Minimum weather visibility of 3 miles from control station.
Under the proposed rules, small UAS will require registrations and markings, just like regular airplanes. Operators will also have to…
  • Obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating (like existing pilot airman certificates, never expires).
  • Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
  • Be at least 17 years old.
  • Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any a ssociated documents/records required to be kept under the proposed rule.
  • Report an accident to the F AA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage.
  • Conduct a preflight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation
These rules do not apply to RC models. However, the FAA is adamant to state that any RC model not flown purely for recreation is to be considered a small UAS.
Full PDF proposal can be found here.

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Eric Schmidt calls for state to take “mini drones” out of civilian hands

Eric Schmidt calls for state to take “mini drones” out of civilian hands

April 15, 2013 9:28 | By | Add a Comment

Google’s head honcho, Eric Schmidt, recently gave an interview for the Guardian, in which he urged lawmakers to regulate what he called “mini-drones”.

“How would you feel if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their backyard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?”

He also mentioned the alleged risk of terrorist attacks using homemade drones, saying “it’s got to be regulated”.

What we are seeing is a typical call for a ban of the tool. Invasion of privacy and attacking other people is already well covered in most country’s law. The problem is that such calls for regulation contain two grave errors in reasoning: One, the assumption that powerful tools should only be in the hand of the state instead of the individual is a flawed one, since states aren’t immune to misuse of power, and have in fact always been biggest mis-user of weapons, for example. Two, regulation of “mini-drones” will kill RC model flight, while potential terrorists and other lawbreakers will… break these laws.

To hear such simple-minded arguments and calls for bans from Eric Schmidt of all people is pretty alarming.

Source: Slashgear

(Photography: Guillaume Paumier / Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-3.0)

RC flying threatened by laws across the globe

RC flying threatened by laws across the globe

February 25, 2013 15:19 | By | 4 Comments

FPV and RC model flying as a hobby are under attack by new legislation which is being introduced around the globe right now. Read up on some examples and draft proposals after the break.

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