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Allow max altitude (in USA)

Tom Z

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I have my part 107 certification and according to that we are not allowed to fly over 400 feet, unless we are inspecting something like a tower and/or building than it's 400 feet above that structure .

However, I have had a hard time figuring out how that applies to flying as part 101 aka hobby or recreational. (one should follow the AMA Safety Code)

It appears that flying higher than 400 feet is actually allowed. As AMA Safety Code says, "

“Model aircraft pilots will [n]ot fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator.”

Does anyone here have some clear answers in ref. to max altitudes etc.?

thanks,
Tom
 
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Tom Z

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The FAA on the website says : (but there are only guidelines not rules or laws)

Fly for Fun

Safety Guidelines
  • Fly at or below 400 feet
  • Keep your UAS within sight
  • Never fly near other aircraft, especially near airports
  • Never fly over groups of people
  • Never fly over stadiums or sports events
  • Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires
  • Never fly under the influence
  • Be aware of airspace requirements
 

Russty

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Aircrafts are not allowed to fly below 500 ft unless they have special approval. There for drones aren't allowed to fly over 400 to prevent collisions.
 

Tom Z

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Russty,

thanks for the comment, but I am not interested to know what is allowed or not allowed. I need some definite answers possibly with links or sources etc. The 'drones aren't allowed to fly over 400' isn't really accurate and/or reasonable. As according to AMA rules and regulations model aircraft are allowed to fly over 400' and drones are considered a model aircraft.
 

Barry

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Tom,
A little rational thought here....
Who has the authority and enforcement of the US airspace?
Yep , The FAA...not the AMA,FDA, FCC etc.
I for one, am glad the FAA is regulating UASs, The press is salivating for the story about some 17-year-old pimply faced ******* bringing down to airliner with his Xmas drone...Think of all the local, state, nation lawmakers that will enact laws to restrict "the evil drone menace"... We are very easy targets at this point in time.... Do you want to be guy that brings down an airliner with 150 souls on board.... cause you don't think it' "reasonable"... really?
Barry

thanks for the comment, but I am not interested to know what is allowed or not allowed. I need some definite answers possibly with links or sources etc. The 'drones aren't allowed to fly over 400' isn't really accurate and/or reasonable. As according to AMA rules and regulations model aircraft are allowed to fly over 400' and drones are considered a model aircraft.[/QUOTE]
 

Tom Z

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Barry,

I get your point and I am not one to carelessly fly at over 1000' for example. However, point me to any document on the FAA site that states that over 400' is NOT allowed for non-commercial flying.

At best all FAA literature I have seen says "Guidelines" to fly below 400' not law etc.

You can read the Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, specifically the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

Also remember that the FAA does acknowledge AMA as a community based organization and the safety rules that the AMA must operate by.

I have finally found some documents which make this 400' thing a little clearer.

The AMA has sent a letter asking for explanation of the 400' rule to the FAA a few months ago:

The FAA responded : " As stated in the FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, and in historical references below, the 400 foot altitude limit is RECOMMENDED and NOT a requirement of Section 336. Model aircraft may be flown consistently with Section 336 and agency guidance at altutidues above 400 when following a community based organization's safety guidelines. "

You can read the whole document here:

http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/files/2016/07/FAA-400feet.pdf


Therefore, does that mean that I will take out my drone to 500 feet tomorrow? No, of course not, but if safe to do so will will I if I need to, yes I may fly higher than 400'.

Tom
 

Barry

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Tom,
Thanks for your reply.
A couple of points to consider:
1) As per cited FAA response "Although such safety guidelines may provide for flight above 400 feet AGL, Section 336 also protects the safety of manned aircraft operations by requiring that model aircraft not interfere with and give way to manned aircraft. 8. The statute also explicitly affirms that the FAA may pursue enforcement action against model aircraft operators who endanger the safety of the NAS.9"..... Pretty strong language from FAA...Do you think they are going to make an example of an AMA flyer who causes an accident or close call above 400 ft.?
2) If you are reported by another aircraft ( local Helio pilot, ultra light, sport pilot ) or just some yahoo that reads too much right wing done spying BS on internet....
3) The cops show up take your Autel quad.... then turn it over to FAA who then reads your
flight log code and finds that you were flying beyond 400ft.... so what you do think happens next? AMA exception to 400 ft rule? Ha Ha Ha... lawyer time!
Look at past cases where they have fined people...FAA is looking to make headlines... They want to scare the crap out of sUAS flyers....
4) For me it is ALL about risk-reward.... Have been flying quads and shooting photos and video since 2013 ... When the FAA started fining people, I quite flying altogether until I got my 107 certs....Now that the FAA stepped in with some rational rules I feel good about flying and shooting again....So now I'm trying to add a legal aerial component to my Photography/video business.... Is a 500ft aerial photo better than a 400ft.... not in my book! If a client wants something different then I will go the COA route.
4)Tom, you sound like a rational guy that's a little miffed about being told what they can for can not do with their new Autel quad.... again two words...risk-reward!
Cheers and Happy New Year,
Barry,

I get your point and I am not one to carelessly fly at over 1000' for example. However, point me to any document on the FAA site that states that over 400' is NOT allowed for non-commercial flying.

At best all FAA literature I have seen says "Guidelines" to fly below 400' not law etc.

You can read the Section 336 of the 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, specifically the Special Rule for Model Aircraft.

Also remember that the FAA does acknowledge AMA as a community based organization and the safety rules that the AMA must operate by.

I have finally found some documents which make this 400' thing a little clearer.

The AMA has sent a letter asking for explanation of the 400' rule to the FAA a few months ago:

The FAA responded : " As stated in the FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, and in historical references below, the 400 foot altitude limit is RECOMMENDED and NOT a requirement of Section 336. Model aircraft may be flown consistently with Section 336 and agency guidance at altutidues above 400 when following a community based organization's safety guidelines. "

You can read the whole document here:

http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/files/2016/07/FAA-400feet.pdf


Therefore, does that mean that I will take out my drone to 500 feet tomorrow? No, of course not, but if safe to do so will will I if I need to, yes I may fly higher than 400'.

Tom[/QUOTE]
 

Tom Z

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Barry..

No worries, I am not going to fly over 400 feet just to prove a point. And no need to screw this hobby up for other people.

My main issues was, is the 400 feet limit a law or recommendation by the FAA, and would I really get in trouble if I flew a little higher if it was necessary .. if I ever decided to fly higher I would make sure it's done safely and not put someone or an aircraft in danger..

Got my 107 cert recently and want to play by the rules..
 

DanKearney

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OK, so let's break it down:

1. FAA states: "As stated in the FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, and in historical references below, the 400 foot altitude limit is RECOMMENDED and NOT a requirement of Section 336. Model aircraft may be flown consistently with Section 336 and agency guidance at altitudes above 400 when following a community based organization's safety guidelines. " (Italics added - Dan K.)

2. FAA recognizes the AMA as a "community based organization"

3. The AMA does have published safety guidelines which state:

Section A, Paragraph 2, Sub-paragraph (c) "Model aircraft pilots will not fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator. (Italics added - Dan K.)

Therefore, logically proceeding:

1. Anyone can fly a model aircraft higher than 400'

2. Within 3 miles of an airport you can fly higher than 400' so long as you notify the airport operator.

Of course, AMA rules Section A, Paragraph 2, sub-paragraph (a) states: "Model aircraft pilots will yield the right of way to all human-carrying aircraft". This trumps A2(c), so if you're going to fly higher than 400', you'd better keep an eye out for human-carrying aircraft.

Seems straightforward to me. Common sense should apply in all situations.

Cheers,

Dan K.
 

Barry

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Dan,
Thanks for your comments...
Your number one point was an FAA directive some four or five years ago, long before 107 was enacted....

I, for one am a little confused about what you were trying to get across ....that there could be a loop hole for AMA flyers who want to go higher than 400 ft? Is this something you intend to do?
Human pilots are not allowed to fly lower that 500 ft except in an emergency or landing sequence.
Why would I ever higher than 400 ft unless there was special need ( or project ) If I do have a real need then, I will apply for a COA.
I can not imagine being responsible for the death and destruction of a human pilot ,his/her passengers and aircraft....All because I wanted to push the 400ft boundary.
Please enlighten me....I am a little dense somtimes.
Cheers,
Barry
PS...
Do you really think there is time to get out of the way of a corporate jet or twin engine Cessna traveling 200 plus knots at 500 ft?

OK, so let's break it down:

1. FAA states: "As stated in the FAA's Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, and in historical references below, the 400 foot altitude limit is RECOMMENDED and NOT a requirement of Section 336. Model aircraft may be flown consistently with Section 336 and agency guidance at altitudes above 400 when following a community based organization's safety guidelines. " (Italics added - Dan K.)

2. FAA recognizes the AMA as a "community based organization"

3. The AMA does have published safety guidelines which state:

Section A, Paragraph 2, Sub-paragraph (c) "Model aircraft pilots will not fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator. (Italics added - Dan K.)

Therefore, logically proceeding:

1. Anyone can fly a model aircraft higher than 400'

2. Within 3 miles of an airport you can fly higher than 400' so long as you notify the airport operator.

Of course, AMA rules Section A, Paragraph 2, sub-paragraph (a) states: "Model aircraft pilots will yield the right of way to all human-carrying aircraft". This trumps A2(c), so if you're going to fly higher than 400', you'd better keep an eye out for human-carrying aircraft.

Seems straightforward to me. Common sense should apply in all situations.

Cheers,

Dan K.
 

DanKearney

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What am I trying to get across? That the known information says you can fly higher than 400'.
Is it something I intend to do? Who knows. If conditions are correct, possibly.
I can't enlighten you. Not my forte'.
No I do not think there is time to get out of the way of a corporate jet. Why would I ever put myself in a postion that makes that scenario a possibility?

Cheers,

Dan K.
 

DHunt

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I have my part 107 certification and according to that we are not allowed to fly over 400 feet, unless we are inspecting something like a tower and/or building than it's 400 feet above that structure .

However, I have had a hard time figuring out how that applies to flying as part 101 aka hobby or recreational. (one should follow the AMA Safety Code)

It appears that flying higher than 400 feet is actually allowed. As AMA Safety Code says, "

“Model aircraft pilots will [n]ot fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator.”

Does anyone here have some clear answers in ref. to max altitudes etc.?

thanks,
Tom
Tom,
I'm not sure what state you are in, but I know in Texas they have state laws that prohibit the flight of any UAS above critical infrastructure below 400ft. I find this strange as the FAA guidelines state not to fly above 400ft, so I guess in essence you cannot fly above any critical infrastructure at all in Texas.

Texas Drone Laws (2017) -

GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 423. USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

You may check with your state laws, or local municipal ordinances, to see if they have passed any legislation that refers to this.

Below is a link to search all US states with drone laws:
State Legislation Map: Unmanned Systems

Here's another good link for the eCFR.
eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

Hope this info helps you out.
 

Delta Blue

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Tom,
I'm not sure what state you are in, but I know in Texas they have state laws that prohibit the flight of any UAS above critical infrastructure below 400ft. I find this strange as the FAA guidelines state not to fly above 400ft, so I guess in essence you cannot fly above any critical infrastructure at all in Texas.

Texas Drone Laws (2017) -

GOVERNMENT CODE CHAPTER 423. USE OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

You may check with your state laws, or local municipal ordinances, to see if they have passed any legislation that refers to this.

Below is a link to search all US states with drone laws:
State Legislation Map: Unmanned Systems

Here's another good link for the eCFR.
eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations

Hope this info helps you out.
In that Texas law this section should be noted about flying a sUAV over properties and infrastructure:

"(c) This section does not apply to conduct described by Subsection (b) that is committed by:

(1) the federal government, the state, or a governmental entity;

(2) a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the federal government, the state, or a governmental entity;

(3) a law enforcement agency;

(4) a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of a law enforcement agency;

(5) an owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility;

(6) a person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of an owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility;

(7) a person who has the prior written consent of the owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility;

(8) the owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility is located or a person who has the prior written consent of the owner or occupant of that property; or

(9) an operator of an unmanned aircraft that is being used for a commercial purpose, if the operator is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct operations over that airspace."

FAA permits operators to fly within 400 feet of a structure no matter how high it is. It seems to me that after viewing different laws and proposals in the states coming up with new regulations, they are very similar to this Texas one, which is to preserve the airspace above properties and disallow any UAS operator to fly over unless the property owner wishes the airspace to be flown in. To do that, the operator must then be a legal FAA pilot. In other words, no invading airspace for fun or hobby, and only an authorized UAS pilot operator may be invited to fly into that airspace.
 

Tom Z

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(9) an operator of an unmanned aircraft that is being used for a commercial purpose, if the operator is authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct operations over that airspace."

So I am good to go at least in Taxes.. :cool:
 

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