Chemical spill coverage

Discussion in 'Aerial and Drone' started by jim_j|2, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. Just yesterday (Friday 10.21) we had a chemical spill at the MGP ingredients plant in Atchison Kansas.

    The best News coverage images were from an individuals Drone. (2.41 min video) here:

    In the Newscast I obsered yesterday, the Drone Pilot discussed how at one point he lost his drone in the plume cloud!

    It appears that he was at considerable altitude at times. I'm in no way complaining in any manner but, it seems I recall
    some FAA restrictions in licencing once operating above a certain altitude. I think it was 400 feet.

    I have now today noticed that his video has been removed from some reports.

    Has there been some firm licensing requirements or, altitude restrictions?
  2. It's a complicated topic. FAA guidelines request operations under 400' for recreational users. If he was operating commercially (commissioned to shoot that footage, or sold it after the fact, or monetized his YouTube channel, etc) he's subject to Part 107 rules, and is very naughty if he doesn't hold a Part 107 certification. And that WOULD require him to stay under 400' unless he got a waiver, which wouldn't happen quickly.

    That said, you'd be surprised how high 400' actually is if you're operating with a lens like those on the commonly-flown GoPro cameras. I've shown footage to commercial pilots who swore that they were seeing something I'd shot from close to 1000' ... and I was only at about 280' - so appearances can be very deceiving that way. When shooting an event like that chemical accident, 400' is plenty to get the big picture. The bigger concern would be whether or not the guy's operations were interfering with police or other low-level air traffic (say, news choppers, etc). The drone operator has to give way to that traffic.

    All that said, this is a great example of the use of a small unmanned machine to get images like this. Because human passengers onboard a normal helicopter might very much not want to breath in the contents of that plume, while the drone just doesn't care.
  3. Thanks Matt, I was hoping to get your thoughts and informed knowledge on some of the licensing requirements.

    And yes, this was a prime example of some small Drone use to obtain the footage.

    Regards, Jim j.

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