Marcel Graham

Recreational Night flying and Part 107

Recommended Posts

I have been searching and if I am interpreting my data correctly I found that If I am a recreational user I “can” fly at night and if I have my P107 I can not unless I get a wavier and have anti-collision lighting system visible up to 3SM. 

I see nothing on the FAA website that prohibits flying at night except under the Part 107 section. I went through the special rule for model aircraft and found nothing pertaining to this.

How can the FAA not let trained UAS pilots fly at night but little jimmy can do whatever he wants? 

The AMA mentions a lighting system but that is strictly to see the aircraft in the dark. Not for anti-collision. 

Can I fly at night if it is for fun and not for profit?

Any insight would be appreciated. 


Marcel

 

Edited by Marcel Graham
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think for that FAA bit itself in the foot. At the beginning labeling that  hobbyist doesn't fall under the 107 and the 107 is the only rule placing the restrictions of night flying.

Hobbyist has been flying RC's at night for years. With the various lights/leds.

Example from the manual ACADEMY OF MODEL AERONAUTICS "AMA"

8. RC night flying requires a lighting system providing the pilot with a clear view of the model’s attitude and orientation at all times. Hand-held illumination systems are inadequate for night flying operations.

However that is a slippery slope I call a grey area. If you do not ever pursue the 107 and not a UAV Pilot but stay a hobbyist you would be more covered under the AMA rules. But once a pilot you would have to have extreme proof to the FAA that you were flying as a hobbyist and not as a pilot. That would be a strong LEGAL question the experts would have to answer. I think there are few examples out there under the same circumstances some that was fined due actions of pilot vs hobbyist. 

 

Edited by olesailor
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, that is my exact interpretation on the situation. I just needed clarification that I wasn't missing something. So what i am thinking, take the test next week, file for the waiver to fly at night with anti-collision lights and don't complain about it. 

I am concerned that in the FAA eyes, once you are a commercial pilot, you are always one and need to operate as one... even recreationally. You know, to cover our butts. Sure does beat getting caught and fined without one. 

Thanks again, if anyone else has anything to add I would appreciate your thoughts. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The FAA painted itself into a corner. I have a night flying exemption in to them which I expect I will not see for months. All I was asking for was an exemption under my 333 for a one time night demo flight for law enforcement agency heads, no higher than 200 feet, inside a secure training facility, well outside any airport-5 mi radius. After I sent the exemption in, I thought why not just call it a hobbyist flight, since I was no charging for my services? Here's the answer from the UAS Integration Office:

"Thank you for your inquiry. No, because a demonstration for law enforcement would not constitute a hobby or recreational operation. However, if the law enforcement agency has a COA, they may have the option for nighttime flights themselves. "

WTF? The FAA gets to decide if a flight is as a hobbyst or else.  What if I am just flying and the chiefs just "happen" to stop by to watch? This is the kind of circle jerk rules interpretation that drives people to violate the rules.  I have a commercial pilot certificate and I'd never put it in jeopardy, but this BS drives one nuts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of a wavier. Can I apply for one in a particular area for the month of June for example or specify good weather Saturdays for the month of June or do I have to put in one waiver for every date I wish to fly at night?

Uaviator, thoughts?   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL. Sorry, I just find it humorous, when dealing with the feds; is more like this year? or next? The exemptions are for 333 operators at this point. After 8/29 the feds say they will have a system to apply for waivers online (right side of page).

Anyway, the exemptions request do not require dates/time, only the nature of the operation. I am still waiting on mine (filed July 16)) so am no expert on the topic.

 

Edited by Uaviator53

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Marcel,

Came across your post which is probably too late now but I'll share what I understand from the rules. I myself have a 14 CFR 107.29 Daylight Operation Waiver which allows me to fly at night. From my understanding you cannot do any sort of flying at night if you're a hobbyist or commercial drone pilot. A commercial drone pilot with A Remote Pilot Certificate or hobbyist may operate at civil twilight provided you have an appropriate anti-collision system. Any flying before sunrise or after sunset if considered illegal unless you have a waiver from the FAA. If I'm not sharing the information correctly please let me know. Hope that helps.

Edited by ArchLenz Photography
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Marcel Graham said:

@ArchLenz Photography

Thanks for the info. I have a couple questions. First what are you using for a anti-collision lighting system? Next is your waiver for a day, year or life of your P107 certificate? Last, what are you flying?

 

Thanks again!

Hi @Marcel Graham,

Once you have applied for the 14 CFR 107.29 Daylight Operation Waiver the waiver will be good for 4 years, after that I assume you will have to re-apply or renew. The sUAS I fly with is the DJI Inspire 1 Pro Black Edition which as you know comes with builtin lights that can be used as anti-collision lights. I hope those answers could help you. 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ArchLenz Photography said:

Hi @Marcel Graham,

Once you have applied for the 14 CFR 107.29 Daylight Operation Waiver the waiver will be good for 4 years, after that I assume you will have to re-apply or renew. The sUAS I fly with is the DJI Inspire 1 Pro Black Edition which as you know comes with builtin lights that can be used as anti-collision lights. I hope those answers could help you. 

 

excellent! Thank for the info!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just resurrecting this thread to add some info. I've been doing a lot of research on the night flying issue (it's how I found this thread) :).   I think flying at night with the proper lighting system is much safer than flying during the day -- other AC can see you and you can see them much better than in the bright of day. You just need to be aware of your surroundings (ie how high the trees, wires and other obstructions are).

I'm designing a full centralized system I can turn on and off remotely, but for now I've been using these: Fully self-contained, rechargeable and visible up to three miles. White, red and green: $20 at https://www.phantomhelp.com/StrobonCreeStrobeLight/

 1s.jpg

 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Jerry Leffen Your certainly right about it being easier for drone operators to see manned aircraft at night, but looking down on a lit city from a mann d aircraft would still make it very difficult to see a drone unless it's a well lit drone over a sparclely populated area.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use Flytron Strobon Standalone lights velcroed to A/C They are $13.97 each from ReadyMadeRC.

Don't be overcharged by other vendors. I've seen some wild pricing out there.

They also now have Cree lights and Three string sets if that's your thing, but the normal lights will satisfy anti-collision light requirement.

Also use the PGY tech search lights with strobe. Could be stronger in my opinion as a search light but as strobes, they are great for your orientation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Av8Chuck said:

@Jerry Leffen Your certainly right about it being easier for drone operators to see manned aircraft at night, but looking down on a lit city from a mann d aircraft would still make it very difficult to see a drone unless it's a well lit drone over a sparclely populated area.  

You would still be much more visible than in the day time if the lights are properly placed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.