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CAA prosecutes flyer

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Alan Gorham_02/04/2014 18:55:18
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**LINK**

No comments on my choice of newspaper, please, but note the attitude of the CAA...Seems pretty uncompromising. The man involved could have chosen a less sensitive place to fly his drone though.

PatMc02/04/2014 19:21:15
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If the drone "nearly misses" the Jubilee Bridge does that mean it hit it ?

Edited By PatMc on 02/04/2014 19:26:50

Alan Gorham_02/04/2014 19:23:47
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There were links to the man's you tube vids, including the near miss incident, but they've been made private.

Would the fine have been higher had there been actual material damage as well as the infringements though?

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator02/04/2014 19:27:56
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I'm afraid I have little sympathy.

The CAA lay down the rules specifically covering UAV and FPV flying very clearly - the BMFA reiterate those rules. Being ignorant of those rules is no more a defence here than it would be in any other walk of life.

The rules clearly state that you cannot fly within 50m of any structure. It appears he broke that rule - he has to accept the penalty.

Now some will say "but the drone was out of his control, it wasn't his fault". Well it shouldn't have been able to fly outside of his control. Where was his failsafe?

Outside of the specific regulations covering FPV he is also subject to the ANO - as are we all. Under that regulation he is required to be satisfied that the flight could be completed safely. But he had no provision for loss of signal. I think the prosecution was entirely justified. I hope it is widely publicised and makes some of the less responsible members of the FPV community sit up and take notice - the law applies to them just like everyone else.

I know and I fully acknowledge that there are many FPV flyers who operate fully within the regulations - but even the most fervent supporter of FPV cannot deny that this community does seem to have more than its fair share of people who think all regulation is negotiable, circumventable or ignorable. I know the organising bodies are doing what they can to get the message across - but I think they need to do even more. They must get FPV under full control and compliant with CAA regulations and the law. If not, there will be more of these instances and that will not help their cause at all, and most worryingly for the rest of us might even have knock on consequences for the wider hobby.

Before anyone says so - I'm not at all anti-FPV. I fully support our friends and fellow flyers that want to do this aspect of our hobby. Its great. But it has to be within the law 100% of the time.

BEB

Alan Gorham_02/04/2014 19:33:15
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The reason that I thought it was interesting to post is that my perception of some FPV quadcopter flyers is that it is quite clever to see how far they can push things with regard to flying a huge distance away, or close to "sensitive premises" or what have you.

I've observed this on many youtube vids, read about their exploits on forums and overheard chats boasting of such exploits. I think that the CAA have sent the right message; perhaps the media coverage of this case will help to spread the message of just what is and isn't legal...

Chris Jones 702/04/2014 19:45:58
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So, considering all radio controlled aircraft could be termed as a drone would the CAA have taken the same action if someone's 40 sized trainer had flown the same route with its throttle stuck open? Failsafes could fail on anyone. The problem I have is that BEBs right in that it does seem to be FPV that is pushing the regulations but that it may be everyone that suffers.

And yes, I do fly FPV - responsibly, I don't want to be the one to blame!

Pete B - Moderator02/04/2014 20:27:49
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Posted by Chris Jones 7 on 02/04/2014 19:45:58:

would the CAA have taken the same action if someone's 40 sized trainer had flown the same route with its throttle stuck open? Failsafes could fail on anyone.

I very much doubt it, Chris. Reading between the lines here, they were probably prompted by a combination of economy with the truth (does anyone really believe him?) and self-provided evidence from his Youtube channel, which is easy enough to find, that he flies without much regard for the FPV rules such as having no observer, flying in a built-up area etc.

He chose to push the envelope from the security aspect as well, so he really has only himself to blame......disgust

Pete

Area 5102/04/2014 20:37:30
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"within 50 metres of a structure – the Jubilee Bridge on the Walney channel – and flying over a nuclear installation, the BAE System submarine-testing facility".

Enough said, silly man... ample warnings about any activities near the latter two.... I expect an internal call from the nuclear installation and BAE to the CAA were enough deal with this chap to fullest extent of the law.. Why even think these two locations were okay to fly near..

Further unwelcome attention for the hobby....thumbs down

Phil 902/04/2014 20:39:17
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Posted by Chris Jones 7 on 02/04/2014 19:45:58:

So, considering all radio controlled aircraft could be termed as a drone would the CAA have taken the same action if someone's 40 sized trainer had flown the same route with its throttle stuck open? Failsafes could fail on anyone. The problem I have is that BEBs right in that it does seem to be FPV that is pushing the regulations but that it may be everyone that suffers.

And yes, I do fly FPV - responsibly, I don't want to be the one to blame!

yes

Chris Jones 702/04/2014 21:15:55
282 forum posts

So reading between the lines, do we think the book was thrown at him because of past indiscretions which were easily proven on YouTube etc rather than for this flight? Is it a case of "mr X you are a habitual breaker of rules put there in place for everyone's safety and I therefore throw the book at you? Seems fair enough to me in that case. But if it's in isolation for a failsafe that didn't then it seems a bit harsh....?

Mr.B.02/04/2014 21:33:26
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Where does the story say the fail safe failed? A fail safe should do just that - fail safe. His quote is that return to home did not work. A fail safe should be set to cut the throttle to idle, which would result in a, er, rapid decent. It is not clear if his aircraft was set to return to home on loss of signal or if RTH had to be activated (which if there was a loss of signal would be a bit late). RTH is not fail safe.

Pete B - Moderator02/04/2014 21:49:21
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No Chris, he was only prosecuted in respect of that one incident and the magistrates seem to have chosen not to accept his version of events - that it was completely accidental and beyond his control.

Before any prosecution is commenced by the CAA, Police or whoever, decisions are taken based on many factors such as whether there was a clear intent or recklessness; whether a prosecution would be in the public interest, based on safety or security (in this instance); and the likelihood of conviction, amongst others.

The prosecuting authority would also look at the background of the offender too. Has he previously come to notice for similar incidents? His account of events and attitude when interviewed would be taken into account. Was he contrite about the incident? Would he be likely to continue his activities if no action was taken?

If there was ever any doubt about whether the prosecution should take place, I'm sure his Youtube channel provided enough evidence of his disregard of the rules to make the CAA determined to pursue the matter.

IMHO.....smile

Pete

Bearair02/04/2014 22:34:55
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What every FPV flyer in the country should make themselves aware of is exactly what this man was guilty of.

Flying a unmanned surveillance aircraft within 50 metres of a structure.

If he had not been recording it the aircraft would of been a small unmanned aircraft and not a small unmanned surveillance aircraft. In the ANO if any of you bother to read it there is a big difference.

It would be nice to think that those who have criticised FPV here actually knew what was legal and what was not!!

Personally I think that it is obvious that it is the surveillance aspect that the government through the C.A.A are worried about.

I can happily relate many instances where the "established" modelling community turn a blind I to contraventions of the ANO. Take a look at the free flight nationals for a start. And as an ex-examiner I can tell you that at least 40% of fails on A and B test's I took were because people had not set their failsafe when one was fitted in direct contravention of the A.N.O.

Pete B - Moderator02/04/2014 23:23:40
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Posted by Bearair on 02/04/2014 22:34:55:

It would be nice to think that those who have criticised FPV here actually knew what was legal and what was not!!

Ir Mr Knowles had read the very clear explanation of the law on the FPVUK website, so would he!.....smile

Taken from that page:

"At first it would appear that FPV flying would fall under article 167 for small unmanned surveillance aircraft because the ANO definition of an unmanned surveillance aircraft is as above in 167(5). However in situations where a camera is used for the sole purpose of controlling the aircraft the flight is not considered surveillance or data acquisition. CAP 722 article 3.4 in Section 3 Chapter 1 page 2 refers to this, copied here: “The provision of image or other data solely for the use of controlling or monitoring the aircraft is not considered to be applicable to the meaning of ‘Surveillance or Data Acquisition’ covered at Article 167 for SUSA.”

However if the video is captured in some way and used for other purposes the CAA considers the flight to have been for data acquisition and article 167 does apply." (my bold)

So he made three four mistakes:

1. He flew where he should not have.

2. He recorded the flight.

3. He published it on Youtube.

4. He got caught....

I'll not comment on the 'Spooks' aspect - we're all entitled to our fantasies...wink 2

Pete

Bearair02/04/2014 23:42:59
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Posted by Pete B - Moderator on 02/04/2014 23:23:40:
Posted by Bearair on 02/04/2014 22:34:55:

It would be nice to think that those who have criticised FPV here actually knew what was legal and what was not!!

Ir Mr Knowles had read the very clear explanation of the law on the FPVUK website, so would he!.....smile

Taken from that page:

"At first it would appear that FPV flying would fall under article 167 for small unmanned surveillance aircraft because the ANO definition of an unmanned surveillance aircraft is as above in 167(5). However in situations where a camera is used for the sole purpose of controlling the aircraft the flight is not considered surveillance or data acquisition. CAP 722 article 3.4 in Section 3 Chapter 1 page 2 refers to this, copied here: “The provision of image or other data solely for the use of controlling or monitoring the aircraft is not considered to be applicable to the meaning of ‘Surveillance or Data Acquisition’ covered at Article 167 for SUSA.”

However if the video is captured in some way and used for other purposes the CAA considers the flight to have been for data acquisition and article 167 does apply." (my bold)

So he made three four mistakes:

1. He flew where he should not have.

2. He recorded the flight.

3. He published it on Youtube.

4. He got caught....

I'll not comment on the 'Spooks' aspect - we're all entitled to our fantasies...wink 2

Pete

Exactly he could of been flying a normal line of site aircraft equipped with a video camera, the fact he was flying FPV had nothing to do with it! It is clear from the wording of the A.N.O. that the concern is with SURVEILLANCE not with FPV.

Where do I mention "spooks"?

I think it might well be your imagination running away with youangry

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator02/04/2014 23:46:52
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Not flying within 50m of a structure is an FPV rule in the framework agreed between the CAA and BMFA - nothing to do with whether the flight is classed as survailance. You are not to fly within 50m of a structure - period.

Regarding the failsafe - I agree RTH is not a failsafe, especially if he had to activate it manually. Automatically cutting the power is a failsafe.

I agree with the point that a failsafe can "fail" - but let's consider the probability that both his primary control mechanism and his failsafe both failed despite that fact the aircraft still clearly had power. Well it could happen, but is that very likely? I think not.

I'm confident that if he really could show that this was an "unfortunate accident" that his failsafe had fail to operate then his lawyer would have made that case for him with great enthusiasm.

 

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 02/04/2014 23:48:49

Bearair03/04/2014 00:11:23
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Small unmanned aircraft
166 (1) A person must not cause or permit any article or animal (whether or not attached to a
parachute) to be dropped from a small unmanned aircraft so as to endanger persons or
property.
(2) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fl y the aircraft if reasonably
satisfi ed that the fl ight can safely be made.
(3) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual
contact with the aircraft suffi cient to monitor its fl ight path in relation to other aircraft,
persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.
(4) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft which has a mass of more than 7kg
excluding its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the
aircraft at the commencement of its fl ight, must not fl y the aircraft:
(a) in Class A, C, D or E airspace unless the permission of the appropriate air traffi c
control unit has been obtained;
(b) within an aerodrome traffi c zone during the notifi ed hours of watch of the air traffi c
control unit (if any) at that aerodrome unless the permission of any such air traffi c
control unit has been obtained; or
14 April 2010CAP 393 Air Navigation: The Order and the Regulations
Section 1 Part 22 Page 6
(c) at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is fl ying in airspace
described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) and in accordance with the requirements for
that airspace.
(5) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must not fl y the aircraft for the
purposes of aerial work except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA

Where does the ANO state 50m of a structure with relation to Small unmanned aircraft?

Are you suggesting that someone flying in their back garden with a helicopter is breaking the ANO unless their house is very detached?

Edited By Bearair on 03/04/2014 00:12:54

Bearair03/04/2014 00:16:35
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Where as the rules A.N.O deals specifically with Small unmanned surveillance aircraft.

Small unmanned surveillance aircraft
167 (1) The person in charge of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fl y the aircraft
in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2) except in accordance with a
permission issued by the CAA.
(2) The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are:
(a) over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
(b) over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000
persons;
(c) within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control
of the person in charge of the aircraft; or
(d) subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance
aircraft must not be fl own within 30 metres of any person.
(4) Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the person in charge of the small unmanned
surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.
(5) In this article ‘a small unmanned surveillance aircraft’ means a small unmanned aircraft
which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

Dave Miller03/04/2014 07:56:48
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I was pleased to read that the CAA is doing it's job and thought the fine and costs awarded to be on the low side.

Peter Miller03/04/2014 08:44:58
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A few weeks ago we were approached by a local farmer. He had been flying gthe quardacopter that he uses for filming his crops. IT cost £1000

Apparently it flew away and didn't return to base.. He had looked every where down wind.

Trouble was that he was flying it in a strong wind.

He had replaced the thing but still wanted to find it.

I reckon it could easily be 8 miles away at least.

Anyway, it sems that farmers use them on a regular basis but of course they are not close to buildings etc.

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