Mark V. Fusco

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Everything posted by Mark V. Fusco

  1. I just returned from the Willamette Valley in Oregon where I interview winemakers. I bought a drone to give my podcast some extra aerial footage for the episodes. Because I only did aerial footage in the mornings and I was at various elevations of 400-800' there was a good possibility of inversion layers. Luckily I only had to reschedule aerial footage for one winery due to low clouds and it was a beautiful day on the 2nd day. But it got me thinking about situations where I might go to a higher altitude winery/vineyard that sits about the fog layer. It seems like the regs only say being at least 500' below clouds (and the 2000' horizontal rule), but what about above? If I'm at a vineyard that's at 3000' elevation and it is 1000' above the inversion layer, can I legally fly my drone commercially?
  2. I am traveling to Oregon next month and I've instructed all the wineries that I've reserved the morning appointments for those that would like me to shoot drone footage. Since any wine tasting takes place at the end of my appointments, I won't have to worry about any real or perceived issues with the bottle to throttle rule. In my profession, alcohol is definitely prominent. We taste wines at all times of day. I taste, as in spit, wine almost every day at work. I'm actually part of a tasting group that meets every Monday morning at 9am. And we definitely spit when trying a lot of different wines at industry tastings. It's nothing to go to an industry tasting with hundreds of wines and actually taste a good 50+ wines. You have no choice but to spit. Are there times when we'll enjoy (i.e. not spit) a couple ounces of a rare, old, or, expensive wine during an interview? Yep. Are there lunches that happen with wine? Sometimes. I can easily spit every single time if it meant the difference between flying a drone or not, but since that isn't enough, I'll remove any question and only shoot in the mornings and before the actual interview/tasting. Side note - I passed my Part 107 today. A little more difficult of a test than I expected, but overall it wasn't terribly difficult. Some questions I missed weren't as critical to drone piloting as it was to normal piloting. I reviewed all of the ones I missed and figured out where I went wrong.
  3. Totally understand. thank you so much for clarifying! I really appreciate it! Cheers!
  4. Wow. I've been nothing but professional here. I'm not making anything out of nothing. Are you a lawyer? Will you represent me if I had to appear before a judge or some other governmental body? I'm not being facetious. I really don't know. If so, then I'll definitely consider your advice as being something to take seriously. Again, I'm not being a jerk about this. The whole issue is the bottle to throttle rule and what the regs say ingestion means. Does that include absorption via mucus membranes in the mouth? Maybe not, but it's a scientific fact it happens and a judge or commissioner or whatever you want to call some kind of official could rule against me. I could go out and get wasted, but as long as it's been 8 hours since my last drink AND my BAC is below 0.04 I'm good. BAC alone isn't good enough. Can't have a beer during lunch and then go fly a drone, plane, anything. Of course tasting and spitting won't even get me close to 0.04 BAC. Even if I tasted 10 wines during the interview. Unfortunately many people can't fathom spitting alcohol. I get strange looks all the time. I even spit when I review wines at home. Countless times a judge's, jury's, official's, perception or interpretation of a law can get skewed. Av8Chuck has said as much. Yes, the FAA's answer was vague, which I was mostly expecting. However if anyone has seen something like this, hopefully they had. I also inquired with doctors elsewhere that deal with testing pilots medically for a living. Their answer was essentially the same as the FAA's. So I don't think I'm being overly cautious. I'm not sure about you, but I don't have a spare $32k (I know that's the max) for a fine and want to risk losing a cert barely after I get it. Especially if I plan on dong other commercial drone footage not related to wineries. As far as a public forum. Since I'm already out there in the public doing these videos where I visit wineries it's not like asking a legitimate question in a public forum, or even asking the FAA the same question is going to matter. I do not feel like I've put a target on my back and larger than already happens being in the alcohol business. I take it very seriously even when I'm having fun with it. My use of a drone most likely is a unique case so I need clarification from people who either have experience with this or can interpret the regs with some kind of official legal standing. If I'm completely misinterpreting your response as anything other than being 100% professional, I apologize. Text can be taken completely out of context when you can't see body language and hear vocal inflections.
  5. I’m fine going to the source on this. I get not bringing added attention to me, but unless I can get a definitive legal answer rather than speculation I’ll never know. Besides, I produce a lot of videos and I’m very active on Instagram so it’s very obvious that I’m in the beverage industry. Since my video descriptions will very likely mention drones it would only be a matter of time before I would show up on the FAA’s radar, and from what I’ve seen they can come at you well after the fact. As long as I stick to a policy that any drone footage comes from my first appointment of the day and is recorded prior to the video interview they can come at me. I’ll have time stamps to prove I tasted after piloting. It also adds value to a winery to be the first appointment of the day. If they want the footage then I’ll give it to them for free whereas as a winery that only wants footage would have to pay.
  6. Well, straight from the horse's mouth. While they're not saying I'm breaking the letter of the law, they are saying that I would have a good chance of losing if something happened: Thank you for contacting the FAA's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Support Center. Sometimes, perception is reality. Imagine you have an accident with drone after a wine tasting (spitting out notwithstanding). Even if the accident is totally not your fault, there will be multiple witness who saw you raise a glass of alcohol to your mouth. Will there be residual alcohol on your breath, in your bloodstream? Would you be considered a responsible operator by law the National Transportation Safety Board? I'll refer you to the governing regulations... 14 CFR Part 107.23 Hazardous Operation 14 CFR Part 107.27 Alcohol or Drugs 14 CFR Part 107.57 Offenses Involving Alcohol or Drugs 14 CFR Part 107.59 Refusal to Submit to an Alcohol Test Penalties are severe (up to $32,666 per violation and loss of certification). Is it worth it?
  7. I'm a pretty unique case drone or not. There are maybe a handful of people that do anything like what I do and pretty sure no one does exactly the scope of programming I do on the 'net. The safe thing to do is to restrict any drone use to my first appointment prior to doing the interview. While it's highly unlikely the FAA would even catch me in the act, it's afterwards. It's pretty easy to figure out looking at my various social media feeds and YouTube if I had a second appointment on a day and used the drone for both. But it all depends on someone there noticing. I know people have gotten letters well after the fact inquiring about other violations because someone (FAA or not) reported them. I did ask them directly and I am waiting for an official reply. Until then, I'll let any potential interviews know that if they want drone footage, then the'll need to book a morning appointment. Here is my site video wine review site: 1337wine
  8. I will be using a drone mostly to take aerial footage of wineries and vineyards. During my visits, I also conduct interviews with my hosts and we typically taste wine. This involves spitting the wine so I am not ingesting it. From all accounts in the FAA, I only see them say ingest meaning swallowing. Am I to infer that my normal practice will still be in compliance? While I would most likely take footage at a morning appointment prior to doing any tasting, it is my afternoon appointment that concerns me. I only typically do two appointments per day.