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Police: Man sent up drone to view fatal crash scene

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Connecticut police say the FAA is investigating a drone equipped with a camera that appeared over the scene of a car crash. Was it being used for commercial or even journalistic purposes? (news.cnet.com) עוד...

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Moviela
Ric Wernicke 8
"The FAA regulations against commercial use cover the usage of drones for journalistic purposes."

There may be a regulation, but it is wholly unconstitutional. The first words of the 1st Amendment that say "Congress shall make no law..." means no one else can prevent the press from using remote cameras either. The current FAA would have us believe there is some over-riding reason allowing them prior restraint of the press. Case law would argue against that position. There can certainly be a prohibition against interference with licensed aircraft, but model aircraft are seldom operated very high off the ground.
"
randomguy
randomguy 1
I am not a lawyer, but I believe the first amendment press freedoms covers publishing information that they have. It would concern me greatly if it became interpreted that they had carte blanche to do whatever they please in order to gain that information.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 3
They should immediately approve 2 categories of drone usage, in addition to current approves recreational use.

1. Use over private property* up to 400 ft for any private use (recreational, commercial, photography, etc.)
* not in the immediate vicinity of an airport approach

2. Use over public land up to 400 ft for journalistic usage (with a permit). No access to private land without prior express written permission.

In addition, experimentation should not have to wait until the FAA bureaucracy get their butts into gear and issues rules. While it makes sense to continue wait for Domino's, beer and Amazon deliveries to populated areas, until proper rules are stipulated. In rural, undeveloped areas, it wouldn't hurt to experiment. Wouldn't be terrible to allow deliveries (food, drinks, supplies) to remote ice fishermen.

What is learned from remote experimentation can help in provision or regulation of future offerings in populated areas.
skyfly12
shawn white 2
randomguy
randomguy 1
I think we all know there are people out there with ahh, shall we say, "less common sense than the average person." As the technology improves and the cost continues to drop, I suspect people are going to do stupid things and cause a lot of issues that may hinder acceptance of the it. Over private property you say... their own private property I hope. I and many others will not be happy with their neighbors, say, overflying their backyards at 8' especially with photographic equipment. Or what about 6" off the ground? I bet fido won't be all that thrilled with it either. I bet people will be unhappy if 10' over their backyard becomes the thoroughfare for the Amazon and pizza. Right now, many people consider anything not visible from the street to be their "private" space. Anyone peeping over the fence is not going to be all that welcome. (See the hubbub about google street view and their cameras) Sure, someone could hire a helicopter or plane to overflight, but they'll have to be 1000' up and it's expensive to operate, and is far from stealthy. Like you said though, rural would be a great place for experimentation.

How high above other people's property should you have to be to maintain safety? What are the consequences of not doing so? Liability and right-of-way?

I think a lot of the discomfort with the technology comes from disconnect between the device and its owner/controller. Who's driving by my house? Well, I may not know, but I can read the plates on the car, or see the driver. Who's flying that drone circling my house? Neighbor? PI? Police? The NSA? The Amazon drone who's lose? Some guy casing my house to rob it?

What constitutes "journalistic usage?" Who's a "journalist?" I know this has been somewhat covered in government and the courts, and I'm sure all of them, you and I and everyone else have their own definition. So this will throw that into the courts for interpretation. I'm sure the paparazzi and the celebrities they follow would have different feelings about any proposal.

The current alternatives are expensive to operate, and new technology lowers the bar on the cost/experimentation/reward ratios. I think this has great potential, and I'd love to see what things people come up with. (I love the beer delivery idea) I just think that we need some minimal, basic regulations, and give people time to adjust to these new things.

Wow, that ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
I didn't realize until you presented your objections, how good my initial suggestion is.

Private property - what you do on your own property is your business. Period.

This would cover most uses. Farmers spraying their own fields. A company inspecting their own pipelines, thier own bridges, or other infrastructure which they own or are responsible for maintaining/ inspecting. Photographer or real estate agent taking photography of a property (with express prior written permission of property owner.)

Up to 400 ft on your own property shouldn't interfere with other aircraft, except in immediate vicinity of a runway.

No one else should ever have access to your property, ever, without your prior express written permission, or a specific court order, ever. Period.

Public property - journalist (only with a permit). I might add that a phone call to local police may be required as well, if permit is more than single use permit.

This would allow overflying of streets and highways in isolated situations, only when a newsworthy event that would otherwise require use of a news helicopter.

This would be an initial limited trial, that should be useful in the creation of more permanent rules.
Bernie20910
Bernie Behling 1
Fly one over my house below 1,000 feet and I'll consider it a skeet target.
preacher1
preacher1 1
preacher1
preacher1 1
There is no indication that this was for COMMERCIAL use. They don't even have proof there was camera on it and even if there was, they compare it to a cell phone camera and just general use. Now here's a new wrinkle for them to examine. LOL
linbb
linbb 1
Great not some pos has started spam here is there no end to these people.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I already reported it. That new feature is nice. Just click on the REPORT link under the post. It takes 3 clicks to report it and get back to your page.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Kudos to FA on that. Much more convenient that going to Contact and launching an email note with "SPAMMER IN..."
preacher1
preacher1 1
yeah, it's sweet. I just noticed it one day last week. Idk when they put it on there.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 2
It's been there a long time (at least since last year). Can't remember when I first noticed it, but it was so long ago, that I can't remember.

The only variable is how quickly FA responds to these spams. It's still taking way too long for spams to be removed.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
yeah, but at least with downvoting, we can bury them!
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
While 10 votes is fine for forum comments, it is way too long to wait for known spam.

Comments noted as 'Spam' should be removed (even if temporarily until staff review) with just 3 Reports of 'Spam', maybe less.

Anyone who abuses the 'Spam' notification could have their reporting abilities downgraded (needing confirmation of another user).

But I don't see why any reasonable frequent user (eg. yourself, preacher, etc.) to be able to delete spam with ONE 'Spam' Report.*

*not for use with comments with which one disagrees, just spam.

The 'Report' button should have categories: Spam, Abusive Language, etc.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
Good points, the current version is a start and better that previous solutions.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
10 is too long. Then, resulting in hide ratger than deletion.

The problem with nit dealing with the spam effectively means that you get more spam, (as we already know from our experience on FA).
bbabis
Bill Babis 1
I can't wait to read the story. "Paparazzi drones stage air-to-air combat to get best view of Bieber leaving courthouse." Yes it's new technology, but the problem is that we must rely on the government to make common sense regulations on its use. Governments and common sense just don't go together. Later on in the article it mentions the FAA getting involved with a Tennessee engineering firm using a drone to inspect a warehouse. What wasn't said is that it was the burned out shell of a warehouse and it was much safer to send a drone in than a person to inspect the damage and plan demolition. This is an excellent use for drones, but leave it to the government to call someone on the carpet for it. Like any other technology, or object for that matter, bad people using it in bad ways will cause severe limits in how good people can use it in good ways.

The current way drone regulations are being made is another example of how our government is fundamentally changing. Our country was founded on the freedom to prosper and do whatever you want unless a law specifically prevented it with certain God given freedoms being guaranteed by the "Bill of Rights." Now, with drones and other new technologies, all uses are deemed illegal and being prevented until specifically allowed. We'll see how this plays out.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Your one line about "Governments and common sense just don't go together" speaks bunches. It will be VERY INTERESTING to see how it all plays out but I can guarantee that the there will be so many "Thou Shalt Nots" that it won't be practical for some. Sad part is, for line of sight, private use, except in an approach path or runway proximity, there ought not to be many restrictions.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
"for line of sight, private use, except in an approach path or runway proximity, there ought not to be many restrictions."

Exactly!

It is like outlawing use of mustangs in the old days of the wild west (even on private cattle ranches), until the 'govamint' back in DC created horse rules for the road.

What you do on your land or in the air space immediately above it, is your business.
preacher1
preacher1 1
I agree. A lot of Airports have had the foresight to do height restrictions on building on their approach/departure paths. If there are no such restrictions, it ought to be open. On that note, it is a shame that more airports have not done that, i.e. San Diego and that parking garage.
preacher1
preacher1 1
That is one that has just gained National prominence over the last few years, but there are many more examples all over the country. A nice long, clear approach is becoming a scarce commodity. Not to say there aren't any but you are only finding them where a community gives a damn about it's airport and doesn't treat it like a stepchild.
PhotoFinish
PhotoFinish 1
Yes.

But exception aside,

"for line of sight, private use, there ought not to be many restrictions."

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