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Drone law enforcement in California, now it begins

Old 01-22-2016, 03:14 PM
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Rabbitcreekok
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Default Drone law enforcement in California, now it begins

Well, here we go. This is how the California drone law is being enforced:

First Criminal Charges Filed Under Los Angeles, CA Drone Law

Two Men Accused Of Flying A UAV Near A Hospital

The office of Los Angeles (CA) City Attorney Mike Feuer has filed two criminal cases against drone operators, the first under the City’s new ordinance restricting drone operation.
“Operating a drone near trafficked airspace places pilots and the public at serious risk,” said Feuer. “We'll continue to use our new City law to hold drone operators accountable and keep our residents safe.”

Michael Ponce, 20, and Arvel Chappell, 35, were each charged with two criminal counts stemming from two separate incidents including allegedly operating a drone within five miles of an airport without permission and allegedly operating the device in excess of 400 feet above ground level. Chappell was also charged with one additional count of operating a drone at a time other than during daylight. If convicted, Ponce and Chappell could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Arraignment for both defendants is scheduled for February 22, 2016 in Department 48.

On December 9, 2015, Ponce was allegedly observed by an LAPD airship operating a drone in excess of 400 feet over Griffith Park and within three miles of a number of hospital heliports. The drone was seized and Ponce was cited.

On December 12, 2015, Chappell was cited by police for allegedly operating a drone in excess of 400 feet and within one-quarter mile of Hooper Heliport, the LAPD Air Support Division’s base at Piper Tech in downtown Los Angeles. An air unit coming in to land allegedly had to alter its path in order to avoid the device. Ground units were notified and the device was seized.

In October, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the new ordinance restricting the operation of drone devices. The City Attorney’s office has previously prosecuted drone operators under existing laws including trespassing for flying over certain areas and obstructing police activity.

"While people may think that flying a drone is a minor or victimless crime, the results could be devastating," said Councilmember Mitchell Englander, Chair of the Public Safety Committee. "We saw firsthand what happened during a major brush fire where drones grounded firefighting helicopters. A single drone can take down a helicopter or an airplane. If drones fly, first responders can't."






Can the FAA be just behind this? Notice one dude was flying three miles from a heliport. Just how is one to know where the heliports are in LA? There must be hundreds of them so the fabulous people don't have to mingle with the unwashed public.


It is interesting that when this happens, they always say "drones" can bring down helicopters and airplanes, but that has never happened yet.


I'll bet these guys were not registered with the FAA and they could make it a Federal case.



Oh well, I guess we will just wait and see.
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Old 01-22-2016, 05:27 PM
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hayofstacks
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They have called off forest fighting operations because of drones in the area. I think that is what it referred to.
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Old 01-22-2016, 06:05 PM
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I don't think you can be charged with speeding if an officer just says "I think he was doing 35 in a 30 zone" I believe they need radar gun proof, and the gun must have been calibrated properly.

So what kind of proof do they need to say someone is over 400'?

Most people can't correctly guess the height of a tree, and it's standing still, so how can they be certain that a moving object is above 400'? If an aircraft took a picture of a "drone" that shows relative position, and altitude at the same time, I would accept that, but not just an observation.

I worked construction all my life, and have a better than average ability to estimate height, but I can't look at my plane and know just when I hit 400'. Next they will require height limiting devices on our motor control. (they are available now)

Are we in violation, if we are testing a quad in our driveway, at 20' within 3 miles?

There are so many loose ends in this law that it gives me a headache.
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Old 01-22-2016, 06:11 PM
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I never fly over 399'

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Old 01-22-2016, 06:36 PM
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I push mine to 399.9' but never never any higher than that....lol
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Old 01-22-2016, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildflyer View Post

Are we in violation, if we are testing a quad in our driveway, at 20' within 3 miles?
I don't think at 20 feet, I think the violation starts the second it is in the air. The new "law" has me annoyed beyond belief also because it is poorly thought out.
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:03 PM
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crxmanpat
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I've said it before and I'll say it again. So glad I don't live in Commiefornia.
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by crxmanpat View Post
I've said it before and I'll say it again. So glad I don't live in Commiefornia.

Wish I didn't.
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:13 PM
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Brner
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Rest assured Pat, it'll make it's way to your doorstep and to other doorsteps as well. Most likely sooner than later, unless this "Rule" is shut down in Court!
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Old 01-22-2016, 08:42 PM
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I visited Los Angeles with my Dad back in 1981... Last I checked I didn't leave anything there....
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Old 01-22-2016, 11:14 PM
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I recall somebody linking an app on this site at one time that showed the NFZs. Might be worth looking in to for some of our pilots.
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Old 01-23-2016, 01:12 AM
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Drone near miss with helicopter

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c5a_1453504784
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by birdDog View Post
Drone near miss with helicopter

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=c5a_1453504784
Reading through the comments, some people act like the drone pilot is at fault lol
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ooOoo View Post
Reading through the comments, some people act like the drone pilot is at fault lol
In case of a conflict between drone/RC model and full scale with a person in it...
You smash that drone/RC model if that is what it takes to keep it away from the full scale.

No good indication of where the operator is in relation to that quad... so no indication as to if he was flying in compliance to the definition of a model or not.
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Old 01-23-2016, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by fhhuber View Post
In case of a conflict between drone/RC model and full scale with a person in it...
You smash that drone/RC model if that is what it takes to keep it away from the full scale.

No good indication of where the operator is in relation to that quad... so no indication as to if he was flying in compliance to the definition of a model or not.
I understand that the RC needs to land fast even if it means a crash landing, I would just think the heli pilot would not be flying where he was.

What I was saying about the comments however is that some people act like the drone pilot was at fault, as if he was doing something wrong, when to me it appears he was just flying around well under 400' and then from nowhere a helicopter comes flying by.

So how does FPV flying work? Is it legally possibly or completely forbidden? Can we fly by line of sight only? Are there any "guidleines" for helicopter flight? For example, are they allowed to just buzz treetops all day long? I'm not trying to be argumentative here, I'm just a noob trying to learn how things work and how RC and full size aircraft share the airspace.
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Old 01-23-2016, 03:10 AM
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Simplistically

Full scale minimum altitude unpopulated area... 500 ft AGL
Populated they are supposed to maintain 1500 ft above nearest structure (within 2000 ft of aircraft)
Always, altitude allowing for emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the ground.

Hard to tell how high the cliff was... if its 500 ft+ he can be below the top but be in compliance due to being over the beach.
And that could make the drone/RC well above the 400 ft rule, because its ground level directly below the drone... not where the pilot is standing.

But...

REGARDLESS of any other consideration... the drone/RC model MUST give way.

By the section 336 rules.. FPV must be kept within line of sight of the operator or a person standing beside the operator, or its no longer within the definition of a model aircraft.
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Old 01-23-2016, 03:59 AM
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That clears things up, thanks for the information

Edit: It appears many of the FPV videos on YouTube are far beyond the 336 rules. I don't care much for drones or have any interest in FPV, but its still good to know the rules.
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Old 01-23-2016, 04:10 AM
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Another thing somewhat difficult to grasp as a new guy is how high something really is. For example I know how high the St. Louis Arch looks to me and it is 660 feet tall. I can see how a new RC pilot could fly higher than 400' without knowing it, and also if I saw a full size aircraft at 500' I'd think he is way too low, when he is actually still within his limits.

Ive thought about buying an inexpensive altimeter like the one from Eagle Tree to help me learn where my limit is.
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Old 01-23-2016, 04:44 AM
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I use a FrSky Altimeter/vario. It is brilliant and if you can afford similar then it is well worth while.
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ooOoo View Post
I understand that the RC needs to land fast even if it means a crash landing, I would just think the heli pilot would not be flying where he was.

What I was saying about the comments however is that some people act like the drone pilot was at fault, as if he was doing something wrong, when to me it appears he was just flying around well under 400' and then from nowhere a helicopter comes flying by.
So it's the full scale helicopter pilot's fault he couldn't see a small multicopter (probably white in color, like most of them are) shooting aerial video in broad daylight? Perhaps the full scale pilot was doing his job and flying a regular flight path? Sorry, but I don't think it's fair to assume someone screwing around with a multicopter shooting video for attention on the internet has any sort of entitlement to fly a model through a known flight path, especially considering the safety of the heli pilot and whatever passengers are aboard.

Last I checked, full scale aircraft always has the right away and model aircraft operators are always required to yield to full scale. It's the entitlement attitude these multirotor folks have that's the cause of all these current problems and forced registration by the FAA. Just my opinion on it.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mogg2112 View Post
So it's the full scale helicopter pilot's fault he couldn't see a small multicopter (probably white in color, like most of them are) shooting aerial video in broad daylight? Perhaps the full scale pilot was doing his job and flying a regular flight path? Sorry, but I don't think it's fair to assume someone screwing around with a multicopter shooting video for attention on the internet has any sort of entitlement to fly a model through a known flight path, especially considering the safety of the heli pilot and whatever passengers are aboard.

Last I checked, full scale aircraft always has the right away and model aircraft operators are always required to yield to full scale. It's the entitlement attitude these multirotor folks have that's the cause of all these current problems and forced registration by the FAA. Just my opinion on it.
Yeah, you're right.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by birdDog View Post
I recall somebody linking an app on this site at one time that showed the NFZs. Might be worth looking in to for some of our pilots.
The app is called HOVER, look for the one that says Drone, UAV, & Quadcopter

I have it one my phone and I think it is pretty good. It shows an orange circle around the airports, and if you tap the circle, it will give you the phone number to call for that area.
It shows 13 airports in th LA area, but not any helipads, maybe later. Also show the National park boundrys, and TFR's.

I live close to Joint Base Lewis McCord, really close to the Army base Fort Lewis, but more than 5 mile from the designated airfield called Gray AAF. I have military helicopters fly over my house many times a week. Sometimes I am doubtful that they are 500' AGL.
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Old 01-23-2016, 07:50 AM
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Do helipads count as airports?

This would limit you from 5 miles from even small communities with a hospital or fire department/ambulance station.
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Old 01-23-2016, 12:15 PM
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I purchased one of these for a Spektrum telemetry capable TX for $45. 400'agl is actually closer than a lot of people think.
http://www.lemon-rx.com/shop/index.p...product_id=124
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:35 PM
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So far, at least as much as I can figure out, only LA (Los Angeles, CA) has a law concerning helipads. I believe that would mean you can't fly in LA at all, there must be a 100 or more around there.

That may grow, as more cities think they want to jump on the bandwagon.

I would think that if a helicopter is coming close enough to you to be a concern for the pilot of it, you should have heard it and landed. I have not had one sneak up on me, of course I haven't heard a stealth one yet.
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