Using beyond line of sight flying for good


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Hello,

I am trying to understand the limitation of flying a done out of line of sight. What needs to be considered, and can anything be done to increase the range is forest cover. This is regarding using drones for search and rescue, but needing to fly the drones under the canopy and getting a closer look at the ground.

What are the ranges available to pilots if they bunker down and fly a drone into the bush, one person flying, one person scanning the screen for clues.

How far can a reasonably priced drone fly before it losses connection?

Is there any way to increase this range, possibly by flying a drone that has a repeater attached and landing it, so that 2 or 3 other drones can have increased range in a given search area?

With losing LOS and flying into the bush, is it possible to have gps on the drone recording its flight path, so that way if the pilot gets lost he can reverse their steps to get the drone out?

What other concerns with this method can you come up with and that need addressing? 

 

Thank you all for your help, I understand that there are laws, but lets imagine this wasn't a concern and permission was given for the purpose of search and rescue.  

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Welcome to the forum.

Unfortunately aviation is probably the most regulated industry on the planet so starting out a discussion  by saying let's imagine this isn't the case will get you nowhere.  

There are a lot of good reasons that BVLOS is restricted (and some not so good ones).  First, in order for a UAV to be capable of BVLOS is has to be self aware.  I'm not talking about collision avoidance so it doesn't run into a tree or a mountain, but aware enough that when there's an emergency it can land itself without hurting anyone.  When you stop and think what that entails you realize that there really isn't anything available that most people can afford that can accomplish that.  Closest consumer drone would be the Skydio2 but aside from all of their hype it can't do it either.  

BVLOS has little to do with the control signal because the drone is pretty much flying itself anyway.  That's the reason for point one.  However BVLOS will never be "fire-n-forget," you will need real time telemetry to know the status of the UAV so you can take appropriate action in case of an anticipated failure.  That action can and probably will be pre-programmed. 

Another shortcoming is video signal.  You can't depend on FPV because if your BVLOS and lose video your screwed.  The FAA does allow for operators to hand off the UAV from one to the other but each have to be with LOS of the UAV for their leg.

When you consider that 787 Dreamliner has an auto that can takeoff and land the aircraft but still requires a pilot to be onboard that's partly because even as sophisticated as that FC is it still lacks the self awareness necessary to deal with an emergency. Plus if your thinking that your smarter than everyone else and can develop a ground-controller capable of long distant control, something analogous to a Predator, keep in mind they are not autonomous, they are RC.  

So what is the UAV going to do when it's 10 miles down range and encounters inclement weather or a battery starts to fail?  How will you be made aware of it?         

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