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Came across someone flying a phantom in downtown San Francisco.  Flew over the street (pretty busy) and then over the Giant's stadium out of site.  Asked if he had a 107 qual and if he had a waiver to fly over people.  He said yes to both, then that he wasn't flying over people.  He was rude and just said he was working and to leave him alone.  Didn't want to push the matter since he was flying, but was left with the impression that this wasn't an FAA sanctioned flight for over people or beyond visual line of sight.  Am I wrong and this was above board or someone giving drone pilots a bad name?  Seems like if you are flying a job over the stadium you should be in a position to see the drone the whole time and not just fly off the controller.

IMG_1027 (1) (1).JPG

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He's lying,  If he were doing this as part 107 he would have an observer.  He might not be flying over people, shouldn't fly over the street and apparently flying beyond line of sight.  So you are right,

However, do you work for law enforcement or the FAA?  Unfortunately you probably tarnish the reputation of UAV operators as much as he does by posting this online.  I know its hard to imagine anyone breaking the law in San Francisco. 

California is the ultimate nanny-state.

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Sorry, don’t get me wrong, this is a good place to debate this.  This type of discussion comes up all the time and it’s easy to see how I feel about it, but what the hell do I know...

I don’t really expect people to agree with my perspective, however, if everyone agrees with the obvious the discussion is not very interesting.

 

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I did represent the FAA for years. They'd rather have the input and be able to discard it rather than suffer something untoward happening. Especially in a large city.

This is, "if you see something, say something."

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I think it's legit to have these discussions in open public forums. Sometimes compliance isn't cut and dried, or we're still just learning the ropes, and it's helpful to talk through our questions and thought processes. Plus, violators can screw it up for all of us.

In my experience, if we jumped through the hoops to get special approvals (like BVLOS, flying over people, flying at night, LAANC authorizations, etc), and someone asks, we take the time to tell them that because we want people to know we are complying with the rules and flying safely and legally. Public perception matters and can influence rulemaking. It's not always convenient, but that's not the point.

Personally though if someone tries to talk to me while I am flying solo, I'll generally tell them I would be happy to answer their questions after I land, but that I can't field questions during flights for safety reasons. Sometimes I even post a sign to this fact.

For me looking at this photo, there is no way to know if they have a VO. If they were in radio contact with a VO to maintain constant communication, a VO could be stationed at another location in the survey area in order to maintain unaided line of sight when the drone passes out of the RPIC's direct line of vision or to watch for other safety issues in the intended flight zone. For example, I've had VOs on the other side of a river from when I was flying 1) so they could alert me to hikers passing through that part of the survey zone so I could avoid flying over them, and 2) to respond quickly if there was a malfunction and the aircraft went down on that side of the river; someone walking up to me would have been unlikely to see that VO or know they were involved in drone operations.

So far I never have never called the cops on someone, and I see people violating basic 107 rules all the time in the SF Bay Area. I asked Oakland PD about this once at a street festival where there were phantoms hovering directly over large crowds, and they claimed it was a "grey area" about whether it was allowed -- in other words, they don't care because they have bigger issues to deal with. But if I thought someone's activities posed an immediate threat to people or wildlife, I would call local law enforcement.

And people do call the cops about drones. I fly in different places around the US, and in some places we contact the local law enforcement in advance just as a courtesy in case they get any calls. Some don't care, others have asked us to call them with daily updates so that they know what's going and can better field public calls.

YMMV...

 

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Sounds to me like the very type of bad behavior that gives drones a bad name.  I like CBD's suggestion: 

Personally though if someone tries to talk to me while I am flying solo, I'll generally tell them I would be happy to answer their questions after I land, but that I can't field questions during flights for safety reasons. Sometimes I even post a sign to this fact.

 

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