Sign in to follow this  
eColumbia99

Flying over a crowd at a private event

Recommended Posts

eColumbia99    8

I've an opportunity to film a large private event in a mid-size city. The purpose is to fly over the crowd to show the crowd size - people shots, etc...

Has anyone received permission from the FAA and a city government to fly these types of missions under part 107? To me, at first glance, the mission seems a definite no go - flying over a crowd is specifically not allowed under 107. I'd seek permission from the city government just so they are aware of the flight regardless if the FAA requires it.

I'm wondering if by setting up the shots correctly, that the drone will not be directly over people then it is possible to fly the mission.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ed O'Grady    153

As best as I can tell, the only 107.39 waiver issued so far was to CNN and it was granted on 8/29, the first day that Part 107 took effect.  That, however, was granted for a Fotokite which is a tethered system.  The FAA no longer posts info re waivers granted since 1/23/17 so can't be sure about any others.  One thing you can bet on is that they will want to see training manuals, emergency contingency plans, specifics about the location and numbers involved, etc.  And as you pointed out, you may need local approval depending on your local regulations.  Of course "over" is one thing and "along side" is another - just sayin'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uaviator53    272

Ed is absolutely correct. I too haven't seem any approved other than CNN's (I stumbled across a link for waivers)  Keep in mind that great crowd shots can be filmed from an offset position, not directly over people. The rule does not define "over"...

"§ 107.39 Operation over human beings
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft over a human being unless that human being is:
(a) Directly participating in the operation of the small unmanned aircraft; or
(b) Located under a covered structure or inside a stationary vehicle that can provide reasonable protection from a falling small unmanned aircraft."
 
IMHO, the trouble will come if you bird drops on a person and causes injury, or if the "drone falls on child" story makes the local paper...The feds will be all over you. The use of a quad, versus am hexa or octo, increases the single point failure.
Check out this video of a 6 motor UAV throwing a prop and staying in the air (at :56) I had a Phantom 3 Pro motor freeze and dropped like a rock. I never fly directly over persons unless we are wearing hard hats.
 
Does your city has a drone ordinance?
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Steve Bennett    137

One thing to consider is if you want to show the crowd size, you would have to be at a distance form the crowd and not directly over them to give perspective to your camera shot. One thing I've been contemplating is having some sort of tether anchor that would prevent the drone from sailing away in a control failure. However if it just drop straight down a tether anchor wouldn't help...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Up Sonder    15

@eColumbia99@Uaviator53 is right, first check to see if your city has a drone ordinance (here is a good site to look).

Right now the FAA does not allow flight over people without an exemption. If you want more clarification about what constitutes a "flight over a person" you can check out this video from Drone U. They go into quite a bit of detail on it (go to minute mark 7:35)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ed O'Grady    153

And here's the actual text of all that taken from the Federal Register 

The term “over” refers to the flight of the small unmanned aircraft directly over any part of a person. For example, a small UAS that hovers directly over a person's head, shoulders, or extended arms or legs would be an operation over people. Similarly, if a person is lying down, for example at a beach, an operation over that person's torso or toes would also constitute an operation over people. An operation during which a small UAS flies over any part of any person, regardless of the dwell time, if any, over the person, would be an operation over people.

The remote pilot needs to take into account the small unmanned aircraft's course, speed, and trajectory, including the possibility of a catastrophic failure, to determine if the small unmanned aircraft would go over or strike a person not directly involved in the flight operation (non-participant). In addition, the remote pilot must take steps using a safety risk-based approach to ensure that: (1) The small unmanned aircraft does not operate over non-participants who are not under a covered structure or in a stationary covered vehicle; (2) the small unmanned aircraft will pose no undue hazard to other aircraft, people, or property in the event of a loss of control of the aircraft for any reason (§107.19); and (3) the small UAS is not operated in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another (§107.23). If the remote pilot cannot comply with these requirements, then the flight must not take place or the flight must be immediately and safely terminated.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uaviator53    272
9 hours ago, Up Sonder said:

@eColumbia99@Uaviator53 is right, first check to see if your city has a drone ordinance (here is a good site to look).

Right now the FAA does not allow flight over people without an exemption. If you want more clarification about what constitutes a "flight over a person" you can check out this video from Drone U. They go into quite a bit of detail on it (go to minute mark 7:35)

 

 

Thanks, the most annoying video ever, (not blaming you):D. 21 minutes to define the word "over." I always thought the concept of not flying over people was clear, but I'm a dumb cop with a masters degree in education :S.

BTW, the FAA is really hot to trot on these drone violations (insert sarcasm here), have you noticed all the videos on the web of flights directly over people? I tried to report a particularly dangerous one, gave them the video link, the commercial operator's website link and their response was they could only investigate if I provided the date/time of the flight and pilot's identity. WTF?

All the police burglary investigations I could have avoided when I was a rookie. Mam, can you tell me the identity of the burglars? No? Have a nice day. IMHO the FAA is not going to devote their precious manned aircraft activities time to chase after drones (read somewhere they only have 3600 field inspectors for the US) unless you flaunt the rules and the media plasters it all over the TV. Heaven forbid you injure someone and it makes the papers. Your last colonoscopy will feel like a trip to Disneyland. The feds will look bad and be forced to get from behind their desks and investigate.

Don't get me wrong, I'm anal about safety and following the rules but have very little faith in the FAA's drone enforcement efforts (unless you make them look bad).

Edited by Uaviator53

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eColumbia99    8

I appreciate all the responses and I think the answer is no - it is not possible to receive the waivers necessary to fly over people at events without resorting to efforts such as using a tether, a drone with redundancies such as a hexacopter, and/or implementing emergency procedure policies - all things that I will not have in place by this summer for this event.

Just as an example is this video of a night event attended by 50,000+ people: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A86.J3bN6PhY9koAKxknnIlQ?p=drone+video+events+parades&fr=yhs-mozilla-002&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002#id=2&vid=c59c86992c9b10be ac8914a29ff0da9a&action=view

I realize that this video was shot in 2015 prior to part 107 being implemented. However do folks here think this video could be shot under a part 107 even if the event took place in the day and there were no airspace concerns?  While some of the shots were filmed to the side of people at the parade - other shots took place over cars, roads, and people.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
R Martin    72
1 hour ago, eColumbia99 said:

However do folks here think this video could be shot under a part 107 even if the event took place in the day and there were no airspace concerns?  While some of the shots were filmed to the side of people at the parade - other shots took place over cars, roads, and people.

With the proper flight planning and an adequate number of trained observers anything is possible. The shots could be taken in the greenspace area between the walkways which would allow you to avoid flying over people. Even airspace concerns could be addressed with enough time in the planning phase but we are talking months ahead of time. For a large event, that should be entirely possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uaviator53    272
2 hours ago, eColumbia99 said:

I appreciate all the responses and I think the answer is no - it is not possible to receive the waivers necessary to fly over people at events without resorting to efforts such as using a tether, a drone with redundancies such as a hexacopter, and/or implementing emergency procedure policies - all things that I will not have in place by this summer for this event.

Just as an example is this video of a night event attended by 50,000+ people: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A86.J3bN6PhY9koAKxknnIlQ?p=drone+video+events+parades&fr=yhs-mozilla-002&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002#id=2&vid=c59c86992c9b10be ac8914a29ff0da9a&action=view

I realize that this video was shot in 2015 prior to part 107 being implemented. However do folks here think this video could be shot under a part 107 even if the event took place in the day and there were no airspace concerns?  While some of the shots were filmed to the side of people at the parade - other shots took place over cars, roads, and people.

 

 

There appears to be people moving under the drone, but like I stated above, the feds don't seem to care about any operators blatantly violating the rules...unless someone gets hurt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ed O'Grady    153

I couldn't agree more with @Uaviator53.  Not only the web videos but TV shows as well.  File a report, a file number is assigned, and rarely does anything go from there - or at least so it seems.  If they were to bust a couple of little guys and make a big deal about it then it might just open a few eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Up Sonder    15

@eColumbia99 @Uaviator53 Yes, you cannot fly over people. However, as others have mentioned, if you plan correctly you can get shots near people without actually flying over them.

Never use videos online as a starting point to understand what is legal and what is not legal.

If you see obvious violations, the FAA does have an online reporting form, but I doubt they will ever address it without full info of the violator, which in most cases is impossible to get. If you you can at least get a name and tail # of the drone (if it has one) you could also try your local FAA office.

But in the end the FAA's regulations are administrative and their punishments would be administrative too (like taking away a license). Any actual confiscation of a drone or such actions would have be to carried out by local law enforcement...if like the city of San Diego that have basically taken the FAA regulations and made them part of the city code.

That's how I understand it. If anyone knows anything else, let us all know!

 

Edited by Up Sonder
incomplete answer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uaviator53    272
1 hour ago, Up Sonder said:

@eColumbia99 @Uaviator53 Yes, you cannot fly over people. However, as others have mentioned, if you plan correctly you can get shots near people without actually flying over them.

Never use videos online as a starting point to understand what is legal and what is not legal.

If you see obvious violations, the FAA does have an online reporting form, but I doubt they will ever address it without full info of the violator, which in most cases is impossible to get. If you you can at least get a name and tail # of the drone (if it has one) you could also try your local FAA office.

But in the end the FAA's regulations are administrative and their punishments would be administrative too (like taking away a license). Any actual confiscation of a drone or such actions would have be to carried out by local law enforcement...if like the city of San Diego that have basically taken the FAA regulations and made them part of the city code.

That's how I understand it. If anyone knows anything else, let us all know!

"Never use videos online as a starting point to understand what is legal and what is not legal."

------------------------

Hardly, I hold a commercial pilot's certificate(since 1976)  and am a retired cop and professor of criminal justice at a college. Well aware of FAA's authority and limitations, and law enforcement's. And it is obvious to me reporting to the FAA is pretty useless, unless you've done the investigation for them in advance so they can get the credit. :D

 

Edited by Uaviator53

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Up Sonder    15

@Uaviator53 Ya, to me that reporting form looks exactly like that...you do all the work. And in reality there is no way your average person will have the time or ability to do this.

Although the FAA did go after SkyPan, but this was also outside of Part 107 rules! Drone regulation is still very murky.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Av8Chuck    134

This is kind of a stupid debate, not that the people debating it are stupid, but I've been flying multirotors since about 2008, [doesn't make me an expert] and have crashed many a drone.  Not once do I recall the drone falling straight down.

It appeared to me that the guy flying in the video did a pretty good job of not flying directly over people.  I'd hardly consider that safe.  With that density of people if he had lost control the odds are pretty good he would have struck someone.  Which also doesn't make it that dangerous either.

If I were interested in something like that I might fly it, but I probably wouldn't fly it for hire.  Can't imagine it paid well enough to take the risk.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  



  • Welcome to UCCF.

    The UAV Coach Community Forum is actively moderated by the UAV Coach team and offered to help serve those in the UAV industry. Use this space to meet and greet, to ask and answer questions, to share what you're working on, etc. Have fun, play nice, and fly safe! :)

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      2,099
    • Total Posts
      10,470