Well thought out flight with a video posted where anyone can see it. If anyone at the FAA was interested there are blatant violations provided as evidence for prosecution. Crossing over the freeway allows careless and reckless operation of an aircraft to be applied twice.
It’s a personal decision to fly BLOS but at least have enough sense to avoid providing incontrovertible evidence of your activities for prosecutors to use in filing a federal case. They have no problems obtaining your identity from social media sites.
Personally, I’ve never flown much over 120 miles out BVLOS but that was done with highly sophisticated military grade equipment tested over closed ranges for hundreds of flight hours spanning a wide range of conditions before they were released for use in a non testing environment. Even with all that there were instances where GPS and/or communications were lost and pre programmed return to home flight plans failed to deliver. That’s exactly how Iran got their hands on several of our UAV designs and partially why our little drones were suddenly able to do as much as they do.
If there’s anyone out there that believes our little drones are anywhere close to matching the reliability of military drones they need to smack their Mama’s up side the head for giving birth to such a stupid person and allowing it to survive. What you are flying is high risk, subject to very simple jamming, and is made with zero equipment certification standards. You have nothing to assure you it won’t fall out of the sky or void the C2 link to go anywhere it could end up. That covers pretty much every drone available that isn’t produced under a military application design standard, standards that were created to assure safety and reliability.
If the only risk posed was to the person operating the aircraft, BLOS ops would be no big deal but that’s not the case at all. Persons and property on the ground, and people flying in our airspace are put at risk, not to mention losing the ability to fly RC at all because some self centered, narcissistic fool caused an incident (not an accident as the flight would be intentional) that provided the impetus for new legislation banning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles by the general public. Having the ability to do something carries the responsibility to understand and recognize when and where that something would be safe to do. The video at the start of this thread clearly demonstrates the operator falls woefully short in that. You may think you have a right to test your equipment, which although doubtful might be true but you have no right to place persons and property belonging to others at risk.
With commonly available drones I’ve flown out a little over a mile, just once, in an area where no other people, cell phones, or WiFi could be present. That was with an H using a stock, two antenna ST-16. But that was only done once, with every flight before and after performed LOS at distances of 2200’ or less. Only larger drones have been flown further out than 1,800’ because with only 20/15 vision I could not see smaller ones like the H well enough to control them.
Not when the information is posted to encourage illegal and unsafe flight operations.
It’s bad enough that irresponsible multirotor operators have caused creation of laws that have pretty much wiped out several classes of fixed wing RC; turbines, thermal duration gliders, giant scale aerobatics, leaving the participants holding tens of thousands of $$ in equipment they can no longer use along with loss of the enjoyment they had experienced for decades. I have over $50k in planes and equipment I can no longer fly in the manner they were designed to be flown because of them.
Those same irresponsible, selfish, self centered multirotor operators are also placing the entire hobby at risk because they feel they should be able to fly BLOS without restrictions or certification, not to mention the safety of the public in general. Making the situation a little more irritating is that without a computer to perform the stabilization, GPS for guidance, and RTH to get back 95% of those flying multirotors couldn’t fly at all. They lack the talent and flight skills.
From my point of view anyone that makes videos that demonstrates and encourages BLOS ops without FAA approvals should be tracked down and prosecuted. A few publicized examples of people being arrested, having their equipment confiscated, and being levied with fines exceeding $100k would get the message across. That’s already happened with an east coast professional advertising outfit so it can be done again.
People that refuse to recognize the risk and dangers of illegal flight ops should do everyone in the hobby a favor and not fly at all. The damage they are causing the hobby by showing people what they can do and how to do it is irreparable, providing governments reasons to impose more and more legislation to further restrict us. Every BLOS video provides that much more ammunition to justify closure of the RC hobby entirely.
I’ve flown under FAA CoA and BLOS waivers and well understand what’s involved with obtaining such authorizations. The linked article massively understates what’s involved, and the direct costs of generating the documentation that has to be submitted for review and qualification.
I agree that BVLOS flight with the equipment available to us at the present time is fool hardy and dangerous to the hobby/business. On the other hand we also need to have reliable control and video links while operating within VLOS and that is not always happening.
I can see there being a maximum allowed distance being built into the system that is based on 20/20 vision that the orientation of the craft at that distance can be determined. If the craft is still within that distance from the telemetry readings and the control signal or video link drops to an unacceptable level the power would be increased to maintain minimally acceptable links. This is especially true for those using the sUAS in environments where these signals compete with clutter.
If that’s what we want we need to stop buying systems that employ WiFi for any type of radio transmission. WiFi is range limited by design to permit user saturation in urban environments. There are numerous other methods that provide greater reliability, although the radiated power has to be restricted to limit range.
Any system that provided a power boost for improved transmission/reception provides the excuse for everyone to run them at max power. We’ve seen many times over that people would do so else they would not buy and use range extending antennas. Too many people buy stuff thinking that because they can, they should. What they are in fact demonstrating is their near total ignorance or their contempt for everyone else.
What is needed is a means to prevent consumer aircraft from being flown further than “X” distance. They would either achieve that distance and stop going further, auto RTH, hover in place with only lateral or return commands being effective, or auto land in place. If anyone absolutely needed to go further they could get certified and buy more expensive or wildcat and build their stuff. Everything needed is available for those with the know how but it costs more $$ and requires personal effort which by themselves stops many from doing it. Amazing how much stuff never gets done when instant gratification is taken off the table.
That is why I was saying that it should be built into the system. The physical size should limit the distance the craft could be flown based on 20/20 vision (natural or with corrective lenses) to be VLOS compliant. For instance an H920 would be able to be flown almost twice as far as a Typhoon H and have the same visibility.
I also agree that WiFi is not the best solution for video feed to the controller. At least not on the 5.8 GHz WiFi channels. If WiFi is used it should probably be down in the 1.3 GHz band where attenuation is less of a problem. I believe a lot of FPV racing drones use RF video feeds to reduce lag in comparison to WiFi.
The last part is that the power level would not be user selectable but change according to the RSSI telemetry data.