Matt Nuernberg

Filming aircraft with UAV

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Can anyone point me towards regulations regarding flying a sUAS in close proximity (200-1000 yards) to flying manned aircraft for filming/documenting purposes? Pilots of the manned aircraft would obviously be aware of the sUAS and flight patterns, boundaries and safety elevations would be established. Does anyone have experience with this? 

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Hi Matt, @Alan Perlman is the goto for regulations, I’m more someone who just figures things out and uses common sense as a guide.  That’s not to say Alan doesn’t have any common sense...

whether it’s manned or unmanned, the FAA has only one prime directive: DON’T RUN INTO ANYTHING!  That means two things, an inch is as good as a mile and your responsibility as the operator is to mitigate risk.  

UAV operators seem to be under the impression that if there’s a manned acft in the area that you somehow have to immediately land, you don’t, you have to yield right of way to the manned aircraft.  As long as your in communications with the manned aircraft and coordinating flight, you can get as close to each other as you both agree is safe.  

There are some caveats: all the rules still apply to both acft, the manned acft cannot fly any closer than 500’ to people on the ground or man made structures and the UAV must still remain below 400’ AGL, within LOS, have appropriate airspace clearance etc..

The common sense answer is the FAA doesn’t really care if you kill yourself, they just don’t want you injuring anyone else.  If your in the desert the manned acft can fly 1’ off the ground within inches of the UAV in class G and your (probably) not breaking any rules.  But common sense is that the closer to the ground and each other the more dangerous the flight and therefore your not complying with the prime directive of mitigating risk.  

If the UAV operator and the pilot are in constant communication and coordinating the flight between the two acft, if the UAV operator, the pilot and the UAV are in LOS of each other and both are in an area where it’s legal for them to fly then you can get as close to each other as is practicable.  


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Yep, has been done before. Just requires a lot of communication and risk mitigation. From my understanding, nothing in the Part 107 rules prohibits this kind of proximity flying w/ manned aircraft.

Would love to see the footage when you're done! :)

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Thanks for the input guys. I couldn’t find anything stating it was necessarily prohibited but wanted to double check. 

I should have some good footage in a couple weeks, I’ll be sure to share. 

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