CAUTION: Risk of Jail Time For FPV Flights in Los Angeles


Want to fly FPV in Los Angeles? There is a new proposed ruling by the LA city council would completely ban all FPV flights including those done with a VLOS spotter and even in AMA sanctioned flying fields. If you are found flying FPV in Los Angeles you risk a $1,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail. Brendan Schulman, the Drone Lawyer, explains what the proposal would mean below.

@CineDrones @ericgarcetti Criminalizes children playing in backyards, doesn’t actually track FAA regs, outlaws the new drone racing sport…
10/15/15, 11:34 PM

In the words of Mike Fortin, CEO of FAA Exempt filmmaking company Cinedrones, he states:

“While I believe there should be rules and laws in place I feel as though the City of Los Angeles has taken a misinformed approach to trying to regulate a technology they know little about. No public hearings or consultation was made in regards to the new ordinance and therefore leaves much to be desired by those of us who want regulation but want it the right way and by people that have all of the information.

Sadly an ordinance like this effectively disbands any and all FPV racing events being held in a sanctioned and approved location. Furthermore if the letter of the law is followed this essentially criminalizes kids playing with “toy drones” that may be flying in their back yard.”

Lets take a look at the bill which can be viewed here. The city has taken FAA suggested rules and added even more restrictive legislation on top of that to the SEC. 56.31. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS proposal. Below I am focused on section (b)3. Section (b)3 states:

11742648_10153541289549162_3987653498295120127_n3. No Person shall operate any Model Aircraft within the City of Los Angeles
beyond the visual line of sight of the person operating the Model Aircraft.
 The operator must use his or her own natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses) to observe the Model Aircraft. People other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Visual line of sight means that the operator has an unobstructed view of the Model Aircraft. The use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles or other devices designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model, do not constitute the visual line of sight of the person operating the Model Aircraft. 

The City of Los Angeles explicitly states that First Person View flying “with the assistance of goggles or other vision devices” is explicitly illegal and can result in a $1,000 fine and/or 6 months jail time.

S0480058_1The proposed law in Los Angeles completely disregards the American Modeler Association’s rules that have been able to self regulate safe model aircraft aviation for the last 79 years. The AMA Document #550 Section 3(b) states “All FPV flights require an AMA FPV pilot to have an AMA FPV spotter next to him/her maintaining VLOS with the FPV aircraft throughout its flight.” People in the community are happy to follow AMA rules. We all love the hobby and will do whatever it takes to preserve these new traditions for generations to come.

The racing organization IDRA, or the International Drone Racing Association, hosted their 1st race in Los Angeles and is one of a few organizations organizing FPV events in the greater Los Angeles area. This ban would in effect take their races to the surrounding counties. View the latest episode of That Drone Show that highlights the most recent IDRA race in Orange County.

Charles Zablan, COO of the IDRA explains it like this:

S0349186“New technology especially ones with such great potential should not be feared for the negative uses that it could bring, but we should embrace the good that it could do. Robotics of any kind could greatly enhance our everyday experience. Whether it’s aiding in search and rescue, building and agriculture inspection, to drone racing. Aerial robotics, and drone technology has so many useful applications. Institutions such as the AMA exist to keep the technology safe. The potential for growth is greatly stunted by unsubstantiated fear mongering.”


This is not only a set back for the FPV racing community, but for the advocation of STEAM education. FPV is by far the most immersive and inspiring way to get young people involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Every child who see’s an FPV racing quadcopter flying in the air is in complete awe and wants to learn more. FPV flying is commonly referred to being like a ‘real life video game’. This type of activity has the ability to get kids out of the house from behind the computer screen and out into the world. There are many bright young minds out there and we will be missing this opportunity to inspire the next generation of innovators.

The sustainable future of FPV and anyone who wants to fly a drone in Los Angeles depends on this bill being vetoed. Please join with the FPV community in contacting the Los Angeles Mayor’s office and address your concerns in a constructive, nice, and educated way.

Mayor Eric Garcetti
200 N. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

(213) 978-0600

Twitter: @ericgarcetti


The participants of the 1st IDRA FPV race in North Hills, Los Angeles, California

SOURCE: Quadcopter Guy – Read entire story here.

Tethered Drones, the right tool may NOT require batteries.

Drones – The Right Tool for the Job Can’t Just Rely on Batteries

By Dan Erdberg, COO of Drone Aviation Holding Corp. 



Technology is great because it helps us complete our tasks efficiently and effectively. Drones are no exception, however, given the global explosion of interest in drones, we must remember to use the right tools for the tasks we expect drones to complete.

What was first developed and used by the by the military for remote surveillance has been embraced by consumers for everything from personal amusement to professional photography and cinematography. Thanks to the lowered cost battery-powered drones, combined with GoPro cameras and the inspiring imagery they are creating, hobby-craft drones are popping up everywhere. The next logical path forward for drones is their use in commercial applications where industrial strength drones can be put to work for everything from agriculture monitoring to pipeline inspection, facility and event security to emergency response and disaster relief. But like any tool, having the right drone for the job is the best way to get the job done and in many cases, that drone cannot just rely on battery power alone.

watt teathered drone.

WATT Tethered Drone, Sustained/continuous operation at altitude up to 300′

Today, the vast majority of hobby grade drones are powered by LIPO batteries that provide the sole source of power they need to operate. While impressive, the < 30 minute duration limitation of simple battery power is just one of a number of significant issues limiting commercial adoption of today’s drones, issues including limited payload capacity, uncertain reliability and safety and the legality of simply flying a drone in the national airspace. While technology may eventually overcome some of these limitations, the tasks that commercial-grade drones must perform today and will be expected to complete in the near future require a long flight duration, high reliability and the ability to carry heavier payloads including stabilized cameras with stabilized zoom and day/night capabilities. This is why Drone Aviation Corp has focused on the development and commercialization of tethered drones. While conceptually not completely unlike moored balloons used in World War I, tethered drones, like Drone Aviation’s WATT launched earlier this month, can uniquely deliver the performance, flexibility and cost effectiveness required by commercial customers today.

Drone Aviation’s WATT launched earlier this month, can uniquely deliver the performance, flexibility and cost effectiveness required by commercial customers today.

WATT is a new line of commercial-grade electric tethered drones designed to provide secure and reliable aerial monitoring for extended durations while being tethered to the ground via a high strength armored tether. This makes it uniquely suited for a wide number of news gathering, industrial and emergency response applications where manned aircraft and even free-flying drones are unable to deliver the long flight duration and commercial grade real-time day/night video monitoring capabilities needed. WATT is a complete turnkey system that can be deployed within minutes from unpacking from standard cases stored in a host vehicle such as a news van or mapping base station. When launched, WATT is designed to hover in a stationary position directly above its launch site at one of several preset altitudes of up to 300 feet. Once airborne, a highly stabilized, broadcast quality HD video imager can provide a 360° live aerial monitoring feed transmitted through the tether to its host vehicle and wirelessly shared to whatever broadcast sytem or monitors are being used.

 When launched, WATT is designed to hover in a stationary position directly above its launch site at one of several preset altitudes of up to 300 feet.

One thing is for sure, drone developments will continue at a rapid pace as manufacturers creatively address the many challenges facing the commercialization of their drones. Regardless of the design approach taken – tethered or untethered – we have seen the future, a future where drones will become a vital commercial, journalistic, engineering and lifesaving tools.

seo: tethered drone, tethered drones, tethered uav, tethered uavs

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SOURCE: – Read entire story here.