Mark V. Fusco

Flying Above the Cloudline

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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?

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As long as it’s within line of site in class G.  

For manned VFR pilots cloud clearances are different in controlled airspace but I’m not sure those differences mean anything to UAV operators.  

 

 

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