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So I'm really pushing to get some good shots for my website this week for my site but am wondering where I'm able to shoot. I know of course how to check air space but am still nervous about throwing my drone up say over a cool bridge near by...maybe it's the first time jitters. Do I need permission from the city at all or need to do anything in public places or is their certain places to watch out for, areas to avoid, etc.?
 
Am I able to fly over moving cars and near buildings? Do I need permission for that? I know you can't fly over people but I guess I'm just trying to figure out where to go to get some good shots. 
 
Am I able to fly near parks? Just not over? I'm trying to remember back from the training. Perhaps you could refresh my memory on that...
 
Sorry to bombard you with all these questions. I guess you could say I'm a little stressed/nervous about going out flying publicly for the first time. It's always been in my back yard! Basically all I'm wondering is where you think some typical sweet spots are that are safe to fly to get some good shots. 
Edited by CDS
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You are welcome. Basic international rules:

1) 150 meters (500 ft.) from buildings.

2) 120 metres (400 ft) maximum altitude

3) NO FLYING OUT OF SITE (binoculars NOT INCLUDED).

4) 30 metres (100 ft) from any person or animal.

5) NO FLYING ABOVE TRAFFIC.

6) NO FLYING WITHIN 5,500 METRES (3.4 miles) FROM AN AIRPORT OR AIRFIED.

I am, as you are, a passionate videographers and I follow the rules. I live in Melbourne, Australia and we had so many accidents created by absolute morons that you woyuld not imagine. I am at present collaborating with and advising the civil aviation authority (CASA) about these matters. I hope the effort will lead to safe drone flying.

Cheers from Bruno

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Welcome @CDS to the site here.  While Bruno's info above is well intended, it does not apply here in the States.  Right off the bat, since you are going to place this on your website, it is almost certainly going to be considered commercial.  From your questions, I am assuming that you do not currently have a Part 107 Certificate but ANY commercial operations will require that.  I would suggest you visit the FAA website where you can find all things UAV!  And if you are not operating commercially, then you will find answers there as well.  Hope this is of some help to you.

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@Steve Bennett I am located in Appleton Wisconsin.

 

Thank you all for the responses. I'm getting some mixed messages. A lot of areas that I'd like to shoot does require flying over moving vehicles. I'm going to assume I can't which is why I'm here to confirm. Vehicles must be stationary correct? Reason I ask is because I see so many people out there taking footage that I don't think is legal. I'm here to clear the air basically of what you can and can't do along with providing some examples like picture attached. I do fly commercially and do have my Part 107 Certificate but of course with being new to the field it is literally impossible to remember and learn every scenario right off the bat. 

I am just looking at trying to find some good places to fly that are legal. I'm looking for some recommendations from people of where they go to take good footage in there city...?

IMG_0185.jpeg

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Well, its not local to me, but rather to you. So you know all the spots that might look good in a demo video. I would start to loosen your nerves by flying at different local parks. Find a part of the park away from people. You may find that people approach you anyways, even at a park. If they do and your drone is in the air and they start asking your questions, ask them to wait a moment while you land your drone to answer their questions. This happened to me a few times when going to a park. People will watch you. People might ask you questions - being prepared with this in mind in advance should help alleviate some nerves, but only multiple flights outside your comfort zone will help in the long run.

Once you've calmed down for different sites, go visit the spots you think would be cool to film in downtown. Are there parks you can launch from in the area that give good perspective? Launch from there and just do a real slow pan to record - it would keep you in a single spot and avoid having to zoom around over cars and people. 

Another thing to consider is when you get close to buildings, concrete parking structures (think of all the rebar in that concrete) and other things with metal, you will likely get a compass error due to the metal content nearby. Flat asphalt parking lots are better, however you might need to get approval from the attendant on duty to launch. 

Let's say you did have a compass error while launching from a sidewalk and your drone drifted into traffic before you could correct course, how would you handle that situation? What if a passerby walked up next you after you launched and now your drone is hovering over them? These are some of the things you should consider prior to launching in a city area. hope this helps...

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Steve, if you're in Class G uncontrolled airspace and following the other operating limitations / parameters of Part 107, and there are no specific local ordinances like there are in certain cities around the U.S. (I'm not aware of any in Appleton), then you're good to go provided you have strong situational awareness.

Other than the Class D airspace surrounding ATW, it looks like most of Appleton is clear:

vfrmap---digital-aeronautical-charts.thumb.png.2f9c2d9e3388f522d760c2133f8e1fa2.png

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5 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

That's incorrect. You can fly over moving vehicles...

@Alan Perlman Then why does the 4th bullet point here https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf state:

Quote

Small unmanned aircraft may not operate over any persons
not directly participating in the operation, not under a
covered structure, and not inside a covered stationary
vehicle.

To me, that implies you cannot fly over moving vehicles. How do you interpret otherwise? I would love to know so I can make my flights less constrained. =)

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@Alan Perlman Thanks Alan! I guess you could say all I'm looking for are some ideas. Places that people have gone. Most cities have the main part of town, lakes, parks, etc. I'm curious where people go to get comfortable. I'm not asking for where to fly around my area necessary, unless your from around where I live of course, but where people fly in their city...chances are, where they fly would give me a better feel of areas that relate to where I could fly. Like if they've flown over an attractive bridge, I have one in my town. You get the idea.

 

@Steve Bennett You answered it perfectly! Thank you that helps me A LOT! I'd enjoy hearing some other peoples perspectives on where they think are some good areas to go. Places that you went or like to go to, things that you've experienced, etc. I'm all ears!

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Whoa, I stand corrected. This is why I'm not an aviation attorney. Here's the actual rule. Thanks @Steve Bennett for pointing this out. Will edit the above message to reflect:

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.

Why should it matter if the vehicle is moving or not? This is silly.

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@CDS Yah, makes sense, thanks for clarifying.

Ultimately, it depends on what your goals are as a pilot. At first, if you're still mastering basic flight proficiency and getting to know your system, it's good to start out with lots of space. Wide parks. Plots of land. Farms. Bodies of water. Over time, it can be fun to experiment with specific city icons, like buildings, structures, neighborhoods, other subjects that are a little more focused.

If you're doing mapping / modeling, practice that. If you're doing high-end cinematography, practice that. There's no shortage of fun things to shoot, I think the challenge is taking a step back and thinking about your goals and what kind of flight ops you should be doing to hit those goals.

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@Alan Perlman, I just thought of a possible explanation for the "stationary vehicle" issue here.  The issue that was addressed by FAA in that section is safety of non participants on the ground.  The covered structure provides "reasonable protection from a falling small unmanned aircraft" as does the "stationary vehicle".  But a moving vehicle provides it also but presents another safety issue.  The operator of that vehicle. if it were struck by "a falling small unmanned aircraft", might potentially lose control of the vehicle and have or cause an accident.  I would bet that that was the intent of the phrasing.  And if I am correct, then I would agree with @Steve Bennett's interpretation above that we are not permitted to fly over moving vehicles and that would include boats as well.  However, since the rulemaking does not specifically state that, then I doubt that it's enforceable.

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35 minutes ago, Alan Perlman said:

Why should it matter if the vehicle is moving or not? This is silly.

Thanks, was buried at work today and couldn't think long enough to pull the actual regulation code. I too agree it seems a silly point and would prefer it didn't state stationary vehicles.

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6 minutes ago, Ed O'Grady said:

But a moving vehicle provides it also but presents another safety issue.  The operator of that vehicle. if it were struck by "a falling small unmanned aircraft", might potentially lose control of the vehicle and have or cause an accident.  I would bet that that was the intent of the phrasing. 

Im thinking of another safety issue, say flying over a very busy freeway to inspect the side of an overpass. People love to gawk, and looking UP at a drone and not at the road is the last thing we need. Worse yet, the drone bounces off the bridge or somehow loses control and crashes onto freeway would cause an accident anyways.

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  • 2 weeks later...

All good stuff! I'm still a bit confused on this subject. I understand from everything that was previously just said that we are not allowed to fly over people unless they are involved and that we can not fly over moving vehicles. 

But why is it that just about every video I watch on YouTube, they're either flying over people or moving vehicles? If you say want to get footage of a nice iconic building, it's almost impossible not to fly over moving cars or people. Guess the people I see flying on YouTube they're just risking it then, and they all are in fact flying illegally?

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On 3/26/2017 at 0:24 AM, CDS said:

Guess the people I see flying on YouTube they're just risking it then, and they all are in fact flying illegally?

Could be they are flying as a hobbyist and not required to abide by part 107. Unless the camera is looking straight down, hard to say whether they were actually over people or not. Others out there may indeed not care.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A while back we discussed the "flying over moving vehicle prohibition" and I specualted why above.  Just happened to come across the reasoning by FAA from the original rollout written by an FAA attorney.

This rule will not, however, allow operation of a small unmanned aircraft over a moving vehicle because the moving vehicle operating environment is dynamic (not directly controlled by the remote pilot in command) and the potential impact forces when an unmanned aircraft impacts a moving road vehicle pose unacceptable risks due to head-on closure speeds. Additionally, impact with a small unmanned aircraft may distract the driver of a moving vehicle and result in an accident.

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