New Pilot

Drone Taking Aerial Video Of Moving Train

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Question: Is there any prohibition for following a moving freight train at a reasonable altitude (100 feet) and shooting video? I ask this question because there are several dozen you tube videos showing drone footage of freight trains being followed in rail yards, trains followed on rails, etc.

One video I have not yet made is catching a moving freight train near my home, crossing near the Ogeechee River Swamp.

I wonder if flying over a train or hovering over it and recording video is in any way a federal "no-no."

Jim, Intermediate Pilot

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I don't think there are any issues with this as long as you're following all other airspace / safety rules. Nothing specific about a moving train in any of the regulatory documents. Perhaps I'm missing something, though.

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Alan,

Thanks for the update on the myriad points in the FAA regulations. I could spend hours or days reading the brain-numbing government sentences on every page and might miss something.

If I get a shot at this footage, I'll put it up on YouTube.  I appreciate the info.

Fly Safe,

Jim

 

 

 

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I would reply to @New Pilot, but I think he took his ball and went home. 

For those interested in trains, be aware there is usually a 50-100 foot "right of way" for trains and tracks (each side of centerline). They do have official police that can and do get called for violating this area. I don't know what the rules are for being above the tracks, but just make sure you research it so we don't get any more bad press. 

Safe flying, and I hope New Pilot isn't really that guy that takes his ball and goes home. Best of luck, no matter what he chooses. 

Edit to add: this place is very refreshing compared to a ton of forums. Try reading some of the pro pilot forums like flightinfo.com or airlinepilotcentral.com. Those sites get brutal when talking about contracts or union issues. 

Edited by Txpilot
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On 6/27/2016 at 6:17 PM, New Pilot said:

Question: Is there any prohibition for following a moving freight train at a reasonable altitude (100 feet) and shooting video? I ask this question because there are several dozen you tube videos showing drone footage of freight trains being followed in rail yards, trains followed on rails, etc.

One video I have not yet made is catching a moving freight train near my home, crossing near the Ogeechee River Swamp.

I wonder if flying over a train or hovering over it and recording video is in any way a federal "no-no."

Jim, Intermediate Pilot

http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/prelim@title18/part1/chapter97&edition=prelim

Here's an interesting United States Code, 18 USC 97 1992. There may be more but don't have time to look:

"(6) with intent to endanger the safety of any person, or with a reckless disregard for the safety of human life, interferes with, disables, or incapacitates any dispatcher, driver, captain, locomotive engineer, railroad conductor, or other person while the person is employed in dispatching, operating, controlling, or maintaining railroad on-track equipment or a mass transportation vehicle; "

Of course doubtful a hobbyist trying to get a train video would be considered to have the intent as a prerequisite element of the offense. But you never know, stay away from the locomotive . As Alan and TxPilot mentioned be careful with launching from railroad right of way. Railroad police don't like that...

Edited by Uaviator53
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