Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.


Old 26th Oct 2013, 19:01
  #1 (permalink)  
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I'm guessing a few people on here are familiar with a product called a Parrot AR Drone. For those who aren't, it's a four prop drone which you can control with a smart phone or tablet which has a range of around 150ft. They're made from foam and seem pretty harmless.

I recently came across some details which allows you to modify the drone to have a range of around 1500 meters and some photographs like this:

[800 x 600 max. size, please]

This got me wondering; what are the regulations regarding radio controlled aircraft like this? An unmodified AR Drone seems pretty harmless as it's made from foam and has limited range, but I've come across some which are far more substantial in construction and seem to have a far greater range.

I know the likelihood is probably pretty small, but having a collision with something like this seems like it could cause a fair bit of damage to a light aircraft. Surely it's not that good an idea to be flying these things around at great height?
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 20:00
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Last time I saw someone trying to play with one of those it lost battery and/or radio comms and ceased responding to control inputs and ended up in a tree. But that was a couple of years ago and the technology is, one assumes, moving quite fast.
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 20:16
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CAP 658 should provide you with the relevant information

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Old 26th Oct 2013, 22:29
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CAP 658 should provide you with the relevant information
Yeahbut, how many kids who buy these things on ebay have read that??
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Old 26th Oct 2013, 23:11
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Sir George Cayley
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Being a member of Drones and having had a super time with my chums tonight, I'm somewhat confused by this thread.

Does the committee know of these proposed changes?

Old 27th Oct 2013, 12:43
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Radio -control model aircraft have been aroundsince early1950's when a single-channel, one-valve transmitter and a clockwork escapement were the norm.

Many huge models about, perfectly capable of lifting the weight (if not the bulk!) of a human.....over a certain size, they do, indeed, fall under the control of the CAA.

Ordinary-size models are pretty well unregulated and modern transmitters/ recievers will still operate effectively long after the aircraft has flown out of sight.

A model controlled by a phone, is, IMHO, just another (inferior) R/C concept.. again, many have equipped model planks and heli's with video and still cameras, real-time links etc and sucessfully flown them "remotely" ...plenty of stuff on youtube for those interested.

UAV's entirely flown by computer are also old-news. the cost puts them firmly in the "professional use" league.
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Old 27th Oct 2013, 19:32
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These things clever can depart and return to sender by gps, wonder how long before one used for their unintended purpose?

Last edited by BigEndBob; 27th Oct 2013 at 19:33.
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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 00:35
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It's really country dependent. It's different below some weight (eg 5 kg, 25 kg, 150 kg etc). Height matters (eg 500 ft). So does line of sight or distance (eg 800 m). There are also privacy issues. Some of the regulation changes or additions categorize these things into tens of different classes based on the criteria above. Based on that I've seen official suggestion for forbidden zones like a few miles parallel or tens of miles in distance from airfield runways. From some point you do need an VRF or IFR license, CAA approval etc as proposed.

For example here in Estonia the flight rules say that you can fly unmanned flight systems below 500 feet, after that it's under ATC rules. But like almost anywhere in Europe it is mostly unregulated and vague, if it's outside Regulation (EC) No 216/2008.

That said, I agree it is easy to fly these things dangerously either on purpose or accidentally. A friend just had a quadcopter fly away yesterday to disappear. Most quadcopters are pretty dangerous when the propellers hit a person (cuts fles like a knife), or when it falls down on you (being a few kg in weight). Better not to thing if one wonders into an airfield traffic zone or gets sucked into a jet engine.

The official EC page seems pretty outdated:
European unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) - Transport
and here's another one:
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) - Aeronautic industries - Enterprise and Industry

Here's another take on it listing some EU countries:
Drones: Privacy implications across the EU
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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 01:28
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UAV's entirely flown by computer are also old-news. the cost puts them firmly in the "professional use" league.
There are some open-source efforts I believe.
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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 20:11
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UAV's entirely flown by computer are also old-news. the cost puts them firmly in the "professional use" league.
A GPS-controlled Ardupilot quadcopter that is autonomous or computer controlled via a radio link costs around $500 self-made or a bit more if bought ready-made. Many kids buy them, definitely not professional or prohibitive cost wise.

Just a couple of clicks to define waypoints coordinates, height and timing and off they fly. Should try flying one that way shooting video of your plane or flying just in parallel next to you.

You can find the mission planner software for them here:
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Old 3rd Nov 2013, 03:01
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Coming soon to a school near you

Depends on the size - Predator type stuff will always be rare, the small ones are the greatest problem

This is worth a look

Australian startups plan on using UAVs to deliver textbooks

I'm not too fussed about them - the obvious thing is to have these things zipping along below 100ft AGL - they are GPS and computer controlled so presumably they can be inhibited from going near airfields etc - so no take away deliveries for hungey pilots (think I have seen one that delivers pizza in a report and also one that took beer to concert/festival goers, it homed in on the customer's iPhone and dropped the beer can from a few feet up).

I'm sure that when they become common that there will be great sport to be had trying to knock them down potato cannons and the good old Y shaped catapult of yesteryear.

As they become cheaper and more capable of carrying load - lets say a 10lb cargo and cost $2,000 for the whole thing, it will be interesting to see the next generation of urban terrorists with their own fleet of quasi-cruise missiles for less that the price of a decent second hand car. Come to think of it four ounces of high grade plastic explosive and ball bearings detonated (via the hand 'drop' command) 6ft above a crowd - oh, yes, they get a cluster bomblette too; could probably do that now with a Parrott or certainly with one of the hobbyist quads - hope someone at MI something is watching who is buying up the kit.

The risk with these things is less likely to be their accidental misuse but their deliberate misuse - if they become integrated into our everyday lives would they then be banned from flying if there was an even like the 2012 Olympics - I doubt it - whenever anything is invented someone will find a way to weaponize it, scary to think it can be done ion a budget.

Anyone want to run a sweepstakes on the date that the first sub-$2,000 drone is used to "deliver" a bomb in an urban location? I'll take some day May 2015 at $10 a day - proceeds eventually to the fund for the victims!
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Old 3rd Nov 2013, 08:43
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The official EC page seems pretty outdated:
This page is more recent.
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Old 3rd Nov 2013, 10:50
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A drone doesn't even have to be launched from nearby. Back in 2003, Maynard Hill and his team flew a model aeroplane (defined as having an under 10cc engine and weighing under 5Kg) across the Atlantic using GPS guidance for the majority of the flight.

Atlantic crossing by TAM 5

By getting enough height and using a long final glide, you wouldn't even know it was coming.

Last edited by Mechta; 3rd Nov 2013 at 10:52.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 00:34
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I've seen a few drones before, a research group I was involved with got one of those German Oktokopters. It was an amazing bit of kit considering the cost and how easily avaiable it was.

I watched 60 minutes last night and they did a peice on drones, part of it was what this guy in Europe was developing.

All I can say F#$k me! and that doesn't even begin to cover it. If you can get hold of the sixty minutes story I highly recommend watching it. Having this little drone hovering in a room waiting for you throw a ball so it can catch it, or balancing a long stick on its end is pretty cool.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 02:44
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...By getting enough height and using a long final glide, you wouldn't even know it was coming...
Poor mans cruise missile...
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 07:59
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Try one of these

Last edited by Jonzarno; 16th Jun 2014 at 08:23.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 08:25
  #17 (permalink)  
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Sorry to "shoot down" your video but the guy with the "Russian" accent is in fact an American called Kyle Myers, he's a video game developer and CGI expert.

Nothing to see here but a trailer for his game app - FPS Russia: The Game
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 09:39
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In the UK, if you wish to operate commercially, it is regulated. Undertake some on-line learning ( principles of flight, Meteorology, Map reading ) then attend ground school for 3 days ( air law, air safety, aircraft knowledge, human factors deployment procedures in accordance with your ops manual and flight reference cards ) and then finally complete a flight assessment on type. On successful completion you can then apply to the CAA for "permission for Aerial work". You maintain a log book ( to prove currency ), keep records ( locations, times etc where you have undertaken flights ) and have an annual assessment of your flying ability and maintenance review of the drones. Does this all sound familiar?

The rules are essentially operate up to 400' and line of sight 500 metres, no closer than 50 metres to people or buildings not under your control and no overflight of crowds or built up areas without permission. Complete a sight recce, risk assessment and have a spotter with you and the camera operator. It is all pretty H&S orientated. Operating outside these parameters is on a case by case basis after applying to the CAA. Night ops can be undertaken when you have passed a suitable course.

The UAV ( unmanned aerial system ) or RPA ( remotely piloted aircraft ) are pretty sophisticated. Flight controllers for manual or autonomous flight, GPS, FPV ( first person viewing - you see what the camera sees ) and ground control stations ( flight planning via computer of course, height and speed ). Loss of signal and the drone will return to the take off point and land. Low and reducing power will result in an auto landing.

The privacy aspect is a potential issue as always but if engaged in commercial filming/photography then the company hiring your service will have that reasonably covered.

Third party liability is essential.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 10:34
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Re post #17. Just what we don't need! Imagine a prison-break with a couple of those being flown by some "accomplices" on the outside of HMP Wandsworth or wherever.

I don't expect the prison guards, or for that matter the boys in blue, have anti-aircraft/anti-drone weaponary that could shoot one of those drones down. Imagine the risk of collateral damage when spraying bullets up in the air especially in a built-up area .

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Old 16th Jun 2014, 11:06
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I say again - it's a fake. Calm down please...
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