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Going higher?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Old Bama Dude, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Old Bama Dude

    Old Bama Dude Well-Known Member

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    This may have been discussed somewhere on here already, but can you make the XSP exceed the maximum height setting?
     
  2. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    Why would you need to? Anything higher than the suggested 400' ceiling in the USA and you may as well be looking at Google Earth.
     
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  3. Old Bama Dude

    Old Bama Dude Well-Known Member

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    Oh I know, just curious. There's stuff on YouTube showing people going much higher, so I know it can be done. I get nervous when it gets too far away anyway. I've only had it a little over a week, still learning.
     
  4. DronerOwner

    DronerOwner Active Member

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    If it can go out a mile or so, why can't it go up a mile or so?

    I'm certainly not advocating that but just wondering...
     
  5. Old Bama Dude

    Old Bama Dude Well-Known Member

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    ATTI mode? Haven't played around with it yet.
     
  6. azpilot61

    azpilot61 Active Member

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    I have had mine up to 600' or a bit over that so far. Just increase the height settings in the configuration and off you go.
     
  7. Old Bama Dude

    Old Bama Dude Well-Known Member

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    There you go...just that simple.
     
  8. johnny

    johnny New Member

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    400 is the ceiling set by the FAA. It's there for a reason. Don't violate it and ruin the sport for the rest of us
     
  9. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    You said above maximum level... that would be higher than the settings allow. Honestly, I doubt anyone has needed to hack this as the X-Star will go 1000m (3281'), making it one of the highest flying drones out there in the prosumer class, that's double the height of the Phantom. I little bird told me this may change with the new firmware. We will have to wait & see.
    This could be useful in some situations and in some countries that don't limit them. As far as operators in North America there are strict guidelines limiting height. In the USA the FAA set the limit to 400'. Our friends to the north have Transport Canada regulations to follow, they are limited to 90m (295').
     
  10. Old Bama Dude

    Old Bama Dude Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I meant as it comes set from the factory, a little under 400, I think? I hadn't throughly checked out all the settings at the time I asked the question.
     
  11. AirmetTango

    AirmetTango Well-Known Member

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    It's important to note that the FAA limit for the USA is 400' AGL, or within 400' radius of a structure. [See 14 CFR 107.51(b)(1) & (b)(2)]. That means you can be 400' above the top of a 500' foot tall building or tower, for example, and still be both legal and arguably safe (assuming you are still within Class G airspace at that altitude).
     
  12. Delta Blue

    Delta Blue Well-Known Member

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    Manned aircraft are not allowed to fly below 500 feet AGL according to my pilot friend, thus the 100 foot cushion of space in case things get close from 400 feet. We are also supposed to keep a horizontal space of 2000 feet from clouds distant, 500 feet below the ceiling, and not fly when visibility is under three statute miles. I have seen plenty of videos where all those instances are ignored. If the ceiling, or cloud cover is 600 feet AGL for instance, that means we would only be able to fly up to 100 feet AGL. It was an overcast day a couple days ago and I happened to have my anti-collision light strobing on the drone's top dome, and a small airplane flew right over it. I was about maximum altitude and the plane must have been nearly to the 500 foot level. I bet the pilot noticed that strobe, and it came out of nowhere. If I had been over max who knows what might have happened. I have seen drone videos where the thing is actually flying through the clouds. Do any of these people read or remember the rules and agreement they signed while registering their drones? ... that does not seem likely. I am taking my X-Star to the mountains this summer to do some shooting. There I can fly up the side of the mountain within 400 feet horizontally of it all the way up, or if on top of it, I can let it fly over the edge and see the ground thousands of feet down within 400 feet horizontally...cannot wait!
     
  13. DroneDriver

    DroneDriver Well-Known Member

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    Well... that is mostly correct. As an Airline Transport Pilot, CFI, UAV, and FAA training center examiner with nearly 10,000 hours in a lot of different aircraft, I am going to cite the FAR's: but pay close attention to (c)
    § 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General.
    Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

    (a)Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

    (b)Over congested areas.Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

    (c)Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure. ()

    The point I want to make is that I could be out flying in a Cessna 172 in class G airspace, sparsely populated or in a Pawnee crop dusting a corn field, with what I think as nobody around descending as low as I am comfortable to go when out pops a drone.
    We has drone pilots should exercise caution and use discretion. Because fixed wing aircraft may go lower than 500 feet if they think there is no persons, vehicles, vessels, or structures around and may not see us until it's too late.

    IMG_7257.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. cb4017

    cb4017 Member

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    Good point. I've seen military aircraft a heck of a lot lower in remote areas of Nevada.
     
  15. Delta Blue

    Delta Blue Well-Known Member

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    Great information! Like I tell my pilot friend...I think I learned all about the air spaces, flight patterns, etc., of manned aircraft in my sUAV training in order to completely avoid it. The point about sparsely populated areas is a good one. That is why it is recommended that visual observers work with the drone PIC to give him extra spotting eyes.
     
  16. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Member

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    High altitude views are indeed less exciting. As was well said, Google Earth photos are already available, and DroneDriver makes the vital point that opposing aircraft can appear virtually anywhere.

    The 400-foot maximum height recommendations purposes are well apparent, but those mature enough to not endanger others should be informed that this FAA ceiling, so far as recreational use is concerned, is only a recommendation and not law. Like most federal regulation, its application is as clear as muddy water.

    Here's recent clarification of the Rule from the FAA's UAS director:
    amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/files/2016/07/FAA-400feet.pdf
     
    #16 Trainmaster, Mar 25, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  17. AirmetTango

    AirmetTango Well-Known Member

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    Very true, Trainmaster - compliance with federal regulation, especially from the FAA, is often about as clear as mud, even with "clarification". The devil is always in the details with FAA regulation, and as any manned aircraft pilot knows, in the event of an accident the regulations are always slanted towards the operator bearing responsibility. This tends to hold true for drone operators as well, regardless of whether you are flying the drone for recreation or commercial purposes.

    In the case of recreational drone flight, I see a couple of big caveats with flying above the "recommended" 400' ceiling.

    First, Section 336 states that the aircraft must be "operated in accordance with a community-
    based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization". If you are operating above 400' for recreation, you need to be very well versed in whichever organization's safety guidelines you are performing the operation under. If someone is going out in their backyard and launching to 1000' on a whim because "the regs don't apply to recreational use", they are both illegal and causing a safety issue.

    Second, Section 336 stipulates that the aircraft needs to be "operated in a manner that does not interfere with and gives way to any manned aircraft". If someone were to cause an aircraft to change course, or worse, collide with the drone, the drone operator is almost automatically in violation of this section.

    Third, Section 336 contains a similar "catch all" that manned aircraft operators are used to seeing in their regulations: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue
    enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system". For manned aircraft and Part 107 operators, the regulation says "no person may operate a(n) aircraft/small unmanned aircraft system in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another". The wording is different, but this is the standard FAA speak for "if you cause an issue, then you were careless or negligent and therefore in violation."

    To beat the dead horse even further, keep in mind that the FAA has a very long precedent setting history of treating recommendations as almost regulatory. In the FAA's eyes, "recommendations" are usually also considered "established best practices", and ignoring them gets the operator caught in the ambiguity of the "careless/reckless/negligent" clause. For example, if a problem results from exceeding the 400 foot "recommended" ceiling during a recreational flight, the FAA will definitely pursue enforcement from the perspective that the operator was careless or reckless, because he was not following the "established best practices" established by FAA recommendation. This happens on a routine basis with manned aircraft pilots - the procedures laid out in the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) are not regulatory, but countless pilots have been found "careless and reckless" for not following the AIM "recommendations".

    Sorry for the long post - but I feel strongly that too many drone operators don't take the safety aspects of integrating with the National Airspace System seriously enough. Sort of like texting and driving...it's not a problem until it causes a problem, but the consequences can be catastrophic. As the chief pilot for a corporate flight department for my day job, I am acutely aware of the potential issues that drone operations present, especially from a recreational drone pilot who either doesn't know the regulations, or doesn't think they apply to him. Meanwhile, I get a face full of his drone while I fly the traffic pattern around the local county or regional airport at 1000' AGL, at 200 knots.
     
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  18. Trainmaster

    Trainmaster Member

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    A very valuable clarification, AirmetT! There's wisdom in every word.

    Before taking any liberties with any FAA "recommendation," an operator must understand the potential danger, ramifications and liabilities of his actions. America is a great place, and professional regulatory agencies entrust us to exercise great personal responsibility for our behavior.

    This is big-boy stuff, and we're expected to behave like responsible adults with potentially dangerous tools. Sometimes these posts can be outright scary.
     
    #18 Trainmaster, Mar 25, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
  19. AirmetTango

    AirmetTango Well-Known Member

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    Perfect summary to my novel! :D
     
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  20. Delta Blue

    Delta Blue Well-Known Member

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    Since this document was mentioned nowhere in my remote pilot training, I will pretend I never saw it. No such thing as UFOs either...just swamp gas...