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Can a hobbyist fly FPV at a home course?

Discussion in 'Drone Safety & Regulations - Know Before You Fly' started by Catacyst, Feb 27, 2016.

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  1. Catacyst

    Catacyst Member

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    Feb 27, 2016
    Boise, Idaho
    Posted by Catacyst, Feb 27, 2016 #1
    This sounds like a ridiculously simple question which I feel should have an equally simple solution. Nonetheless, with all the FAA regulations in place I would like to know if whether or not what I plan to do is legal.

    Essentially, when I'm at home I would like to be able to practice FPV racing using a small course I want to construct. I don't use goggles and have a set of monitors that I use for redundancy's sake, so I can maintain visual sight of the craft when it's near, and because I often have a co-pilot. I also have an amateur HAM radio license for the operation of my equipment. However, at some point in flying around my front and back yard I will not be able to see the craft personally, which is my biggest concern for legality.

    Provided I'm following all other AMA and FAA rules and regulations, including registering the craft, not operating near an airport, and only doing this for recreation, is it legal for me to practice in this way?

    Since this whole FAA commotion started I've had a phobia of getting fined and losing the ability to fly over something as trivial as flying around a corner, and I figured I'd ask here since I can't be the only person who Google'd something like this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
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  2. Catacyst

    Catacyst Member

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    Feb 27, 2016
    Boise, Idaho
    Posted by Catacyst, Feb 27, 2016 #2
    The AMA allows its members to fly FPV on their courses in a controlled manner using a trained spotter: https://www.modelaircraft.org/files/550.pdf .

    From what I seem to gather the whole sport of FPV racing, even with a trained spotter, seems to hardly be legal, so really I can't say this makes me any less confused. In order for me to race my spotter and I have to always be in VLOS?
     
  3. Petr Hejl

    Petr Hejl Staff Member Moderator

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    Jan 29, 2016
    USA
    Posted by Petr Hejl, Feb 29, 2016 #3
    @Catacyst@Catacyst , you make some really good points, however, FPV racing on a closed course/private property would be very difficult to prosecute, as it is technically not really illegal (at least I am not aware of any actual law against it). I think there are a few lawyers just waiting for the FAA to try something like this, so they can tear them to shreds and reveal they really don't have the authority to regulate hobby drone racing.
    With that said, I don't think you have anything to worry about, especially on your own property (my opinion).
     
    Catacyst likes this.
  4. Catacyst

    Catacyst Member

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    Feb 27, 2016
    Boise, Idaho
    Posted by Catacyst, Apr 11, 2016 #4
    Hey Petr!

    I really appreciate the shoutout in episode 75! I was really assured by your reply here on the forums, and after hearing the show I decided to make a little follow-up post to say thanks.

    So far I've been flying almost every day since I made the first post, and there hasn't been one incident that has made me think I shouldn't continue. After a few days all of my neighbors were well aware of what I was doing and if anything thought that it was interesting. One family asked if I wouldn't fly over their house, of course, but I assured them I only race around my property and that was more than enough to satisfy them.

    I haven't had any letters from the FAA or police try to convince me otherwise, so I don't see any reason to think practicing at home is frowned upon. On a safety note, however, folks should definitely have their machines set to cut the throttle in case it loses connection with the transmitter if they try to do this sort of thing. That way you don't have to worry about flying into neighbors, cars, pedestrians, etc., and it's generally a safe practice for racing/freestyle anyway.

    Also, you guys are mostly correct about a HAM license being unnecessary. Folks using 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz FCC-approved equipment (99% of us?) don't need such a thing.

    I love the show guys and have really enjoyed the segments where you answer our questions! Keep it up!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
    austinc2099 and nathan like this.
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