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Last Post 15 Apr 2016 12:20 PM by  gidtup
Drone rules
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New Member

New Member

05 Mar 2016 11:26 AM
    Good morning folks,

    My name is Michael Carter and I will be joining the autocross in STL again this year. My last time autocrossing was in 2008, 2009 season with my 2005 C55 AMG Mercedes in Class SS (Had it supercharged, suspension, brakes, and more) done on it.

    I am returning this year with a project car, lightly modified 2004 BMW 330xi. I am wondering what the rules are regarding Drone usage as I my wife and I are licensed drone pilots for video capture.

    FAA UAS Certificate Number: FA3NMLF9CC | Expires: 12/26/2018 | 220h flight exp.
    Drone used: DJI Phantom 3 (4k @ 30fps and 1080p @ 60fps)

    Bottom line, I would like to get multiple runs captured from many angles during 13 Mar event. The normal ground rules that will be followed by us would be:

    No direct flight for extended periods of time over populated area's (such as pits/observation areas)
    Low level flying only in chase mode behind my particular run's with the car (10-15ft off ground, 20 ft back following course)
    High level flight will not exceed 400ft, FAA regulation for area
    All flights will include a spotter for spacial awareness

    At the end of the captures, later in the week we will publish professionally edited video of the event. Thanks again and looking forward to Sunday!

    New Member

    New Member

    05 Mar 2016 02:03 PM

    New Member

    New Member

    05 Mar 2016 04:19 PM
    I have a General Liability Insurance on the drone, which does cover any potential damages to itself and anyone/property. That being said, from that memo it is not expressly forbidden as long as proof of insurance and certification are shown.

    Additionally I have talked to my insurance and can get a certificate for the Sunday event called out on a certified letter and show direct coverage for the event. That being said, this is normally only typical for commercial based situations (i.e. if i was charging, which I am not); pure recreation.

    Bottom line, it looks like it is up to the will of the event organizers if they will authorize its flight physically over the event. It is on me to show proof of license and insurance. Does event organizers look at these forums?

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    13 Mar 2016 10:15 PM
    Don't count on any administrator or organizer for a specific event to have looked here.

    DO read the Solo Matters statement that liability insurance should be for $10 Million as Primary Coverage. I'm not sure what that would cost for a couple of hours of flying time, but can't believe that it would be cheap.

    Advanced Member

    Advanced Member

    14 Mar 2016 10:41 AM
    One of our local members alerted me to this thread. He had mentioned it a couple weeks ago but didn't say where it was on the forums or that it was on this forum specifically. I can say with all certainty that as the organizer of the Mar 13 event at Gateway Motorsports Park I would not have allowed the drone usage for the OP's stated purpose or any other purpose for that matter. Despite the licenses and liability coverage I consider it a potential and significant safety issue. The OP references avoiding paddock and spectator areas but that in no way addresses course workers whose position is not fixed and is unpredictable. I'm pretty sure most people working course don't want or need the added distraction (threat?) of a drone 10-15 feet over their head. I'm also the Asst Solo Chair for the St Louis Region and pretty sure I speak for our entire SAC.

    I read the referenced Solo Matters article and the stipulations and recommendations. Of note, it states that for recreational purposes the use of drones should be prohibited. It also states that the SCCA liability coverage does not include drone accidents or incidents. I don't see any way under current guidelines and liability coverage that this would be permitted. In addition,I think that the owner or management of the venue would need to grant permission as well. Probably numerous other aspects to this that I/we haven't thought of that would come into play as well. All just my opinion of course but given I'm in the region in question I think I've answered the original question.
    Mike Kenney STL Region - Novice School Chair

    New Member

    New Member

    14 Mar 2016 03:13 PM
    The important thing here is the distraction to course workers. Last thing we need is for a worker to be involved in a dangerous situation because they are staring at that humming drone instead of the cars on course. We take the time to remind people not to look at their phones and take pictures while on course - introducing a new distraction is unnecessary.

    Veteran Member

    Veteran Member

    15 Apr 2016 12:10 PM
    I agree with Mike (FLYGUY).
    Plus The Insurance of the Drone Owner would need to be approved by SCCA's Insurance first, that is not something a region should take on to approve. Being that the Regions insurance is with the SCCA National Office, it should be submitted to them. When approved then the region can decide to allow it.
    One drone doesn't sound like a huge distraction but if it was open the thought of several of them is multiplied by an amount more than X2, X3, X4 Drones over the event.
    Sorry not to be able to embrace the use of Drone's at this time, but I think they are so new to most that there is still some concern that may go away after a while.

    Janice Rick
    Midwest Divisional Solo Safety Steward
    Member of the SCCA National Safety Committee

    Veteran Member

    Veteran Member

    15 Apr 2016 12:20 PM
    This is from the MotorsportReg.com website

    Regulating drones

    Date March 4, 2015 by Greg Cirillo

    We’re leaving this topic to the experts- so we brought in Greg Cirillo to guest blog for us. Greg is a Partner in the law firm Wiley Rein, LLP, and Chairman of the firm’s Aviation Group. He practices in their McLean, Virginia office and in addition to handling unmanned aircraft matters, he has a multinational practice representing owners and operators of private aircraft in purchase, sale, leasing, financing, regulatory and tax compliance matters. Greg also holds an SCCA National Competition License and races his #50 Spec Racer Ford on East Coast road courses.

    DroneYears ago, the auto racing community embraced the use of micro video cameras (GoPro, Contour, etc.) for entertainment and education. We now have the ability to capture that video from outside the car, on a remotely controlled aerial platform. Views that used to be captured by helicopters and blimps for tens of thousands of dollars, can now be had for hundreds of dollars, or less. A good, remotely controlled, unmanned aircraft (or drone) can cost under $500, and provide high definition footage suitable for broadcast.

    Unfortunately, for the near future, the vast majority of well-intended uses are technically illegal. And if you are hosting or sponsoring an event, you need to consider both the safety risks and privacy infringements posed by drones. What must a host know in order to remain in compliance with law? And what should a host do in order to minimize liability for drone usage?

    “Anything this good must be illegal”

    That statement is largely true for most uses of drones, at least for the next year or two. In a nutshell, the law on civilian drone use in the United States is as follows:
    •The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) considers a drone to be an aircraft, whether it weighs 15,000 lbs. or 3 lbs. As odd as this seems, it has been challenged legally and upheld by the NTSB.
    •Unless a specific exemption applies, to operate in our national airspace (which means outdoors and off the ground) the equipment needs to satisfy FAA airworthiness standards, the operator needs to meet FAA licensing requirements, and the operation must comport to the same airspace rules as a Cessna 172 or Airbus A380. Yes, really.
    • The FAA is developing rules to govern the airworthiness certification of drones, the licensure of operators (pilots) and proper use in U.S. airspace; but those rules are unlikely to become law until well into 2016.

    So then why are people are buying drones and flying them anywhere and everywhere, if it is mostly illegal? There are three explanations.
    •There is a long-standing exemption (meaning that the FAA looks the other way) for aircraft modelers. Long before the advent of lightweight cameras and quadcopters, you had hobbyists building and flying model aircraft – often replicas of actual aircraft. Applying the above FAA standards, these would otherwise be considered aircraft and would require airworthiness certifications, pilot licenses and airspace compliance. But in a nod to practicality, the FAA allows modelers to enjoy their hobby provided that they voluntarily comply with a written understanding restricting flight operations [1]. This modeler’s exemption is now applicable to modern quadcopters to the same extent as it applies to model aircraft operators. For operators that want to remain within the exemption, their operations are limited in a number of ways, including remaining within the operator’s line of sight, under 400 feet, away from other people and away from air traffic. Most importantly, the use of drones must be non-commercial, meaning that it is not done for profit or even for reimbursement or barter.
    •The second explanation for why you see so many drones in use (despite FAA restrictions) is that many operators have no concern or no idea that they are behaving illegally, and the FAA does not have the resources to stop them. This may change as the FAA very recently released guidelines to encourage local law enforcement officials to identify and prosecute illegal drone operations [2].
    •The third explanation for current drone uses is that, beginning in late 2014, the FAA started issuing one-off exemptions in response to specific petitions seeking limited use of drones, including commercial uses. There are only a handful of legal operators under this exemption process, but that will likely increase. As with the modeler’s code, operators will be severely restricted in their operating area and operator requirements.

    As an event host, here is what you MUST do

    Make an effort to prevent unlawful drone usage and protect yourself from illegal uses. Drones can be dangerous if they come in contact with visitors, participants or racing equipment. As a starting point, nobody should be operating a drone at your facility unless you are convinced that it is legal. For example, if a photographer offers to produce and sell video at your event, that photographer is going to need to show an FAA exemption permitting that use. If a race team wants to employ a drone to record driver practice at various sites on the track, you will need confirmation and acknowledgment that they are within the modeler’s exemption, or have an FAA exemption. Even an amateur blogger capturing video for his or her blog is going to need to show you an FAA exemption. In all cases, the drone operators need to attest to the legality of their operation, assume responsibility, and hold the host harmless from damage.

    This may require the facility to issue a restricted “drone permit” (with wrist band for the operator) in exchange for written assurances from the drone operator, including backup documentation and possibly proof of insurance.

    As an event host, here is what you SHOULD do

    Even if the intended drone usage is technically legal, as an event host you need to manage drone use in order to advance visitor safety and to keep yourself out of other legal matters involving privacy or illegal nuisance. The simplest approach is instituting a complete ban on drone usage. In the right context, this is the way to go since enforcement is easy.

    But commercial and popular forces will come into play and you will want to allow certain uses either by the media, race teams or even in support of your own operations (inspection or promotion). In that case, it is vital to understand what is legal (including knowing your local laws protecting the privacy of individuals, and prohibiting nuisance activities), and educating your staff so they can carry out your objectives. As above, you will need to build in new procedures and documentation to address the safety, privacy and liability risks of drone uses.

    Keep in mind that the law will change when the FAA issues its detailed, final rules, and whatever policies and procedures you adopt today will need to be reviewed and revised when the law changes

    Republished with permission from IFEA.

    Editor's note: Many racetracks now have drone-specific policies. Be sure to get a copy before your next track event.

    (1) The FAA has published a January 13, 2014 Memorandum of Understanding with the American Modelers Association, building on a long history of self-regulation by aircraft modelers.

    (2) January 8, 2015 FAA Press Release and Notice. http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=81244
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