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Re: [Paparazzi-devel] FAA Memo + need for new autopilot features

From: Chris Gough
Subject: Re: [Paparazzi-devel] FAA Memo + need for new autopilot features
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2014 12:39:25 +1000

In Australia, the regulations differentiate "pilot at controls" from "pilot in command". As I understand it, if pilot in command has VLOS etc, nobody cares much what pilot at controls is doing, they can be a 5 year old flying FPV while high on red cordial. Pilot in command is (by definition) the legally responsible person. Safe and legal, amateur over the horizon flight is possible here, but requires a lot of organizational effort (e.g. 2-3 months lead time). Licensed commercial operations require even more up front work, but much less lead time on individual flights.

Good procedures, documentation and review have a bigger impact on operational safety than new features. Defined "safety pilot" role (with eyes on the vehicle and transmitter in hand) seems to be standard practice for most people in this community and seems to cover most situations adequately.

Chris Gough

On 25/06/2014, at 10:25 AM, Paolo Bernasconi <address@hidden> wrote:

New FAA memo came out today:
"By definition, a model aircraft must be “flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft.” P.L. 112-95, section 336(c)(2).1 Based on the plain language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model."

My personal take: this has been coming for a while now... 
I would suggest, let embrace the FAA needs for safety and find a way to be a partner, and not an adversary,  We all know that if the FAA did shut down FPV flying, it is likely that every other aviation administration in the world will follow the same path. From there to ban autopilot based RC model flying, which is what empowers FPV anyway, is a short step. 

I would say, lets integrate sense and avoid technology, as well as  traffic awareness technology into the autopilot system so that at least we can say, we as a community of hobbyists takes safety seriously,

Any better ideas? 

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