The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden has banned the use of camera-equipped drones without a permit, overturning a previous decision to not consider them surveillance equipment. Aerial footage and photography professionals and enthusiasts have been dealt a heavy blow in Sweden. The Supreme Administrative Court has established that drones equipped with cameras are now to be categorised surveillance equipment, whose use require a special license. Although a court had previously ruled against such categorisation of drones in the past, this decision has now been overruled. Users wishing to use camera drones in public spaces must now apply for a permit and pay a fee, just like with any other surveillance camera. Applying and paying does not, however, guarantee that the permit will be granted. Dashboard and helmet cameras are not affected by these restrictions, as they always remain within reach of the owner. In other words, the Swedish drone ban means you can put the new GoPro Hero5 on the Karma gimbal and you’re good to go. Mount THAT on the Karma drone, however, and things quickly become illegal. Unmanned Aerial Systems Sweden, an industry group, reports that around 5,000 jobs could be in danger due to the new restrictions. Drone Regulations in the US. Photo by Graham Sheldon Different countries have taken many different measures in response to the ever-increasing use of drones of both enthusiasts and professionals alike. For example, Dutch police were reported to have been training eagles to pick flying drones out of the sky around sensitive areas such as airports. In the US, the FAA recently released new regulations for drone operators (see our article here), and in Europe there still isn’t an overarching set of rules, as they vary greatly from country to country. But Sweden’s example sets a precedent with a particularly constraining set of rules. What do you think? Is Sweden’s drone ban well founded? Will other countries follow suit? Are you a drone operator in Sweden directly affected by the drone ban? Let us know in the comments below. via: PetaPixel, BBC News.Read more
Three years after the DJI Phantom 1 took to the skies and two years after they were banned from all national parks, the Federal Aviation Administration in the US has issued a new set of FAA rules on the piloting of “unmanned aerial systems” a.k.a “drones”. Find out below how you can get certified as a commercial operator. DJI Phantom 2 in Mongolia. Picture Credit: Graham Sheldon The new FAA rules are long. Very long. So, we did all the reading so you don’t have to. If you have a free hour to go through it all, though, you can review the new guidelines yourself HERE. For the most part, the rules are all good news for professional drone operators shooting video or photos. To begin flying commercially you will need to: Register Your Aircraft: HERE. The cost is $5.00. Affix your aircraft with the provided registration number. Pass a TEST with at least a 70% score at one of these FAA approved testing centers. You will need to take a refresher exam every two years to continue operating. The cost to take the exam is $150.00. Once you pass the test, you’ll need to fill out FAA Form 8710-13 for pilot certification HERE. Pass TSA security background check. This may take 48 hours. After several weeks, your new FAA UAS flight certificate will arrive in your mail clearing you for commercial operation. Some of the FAA Rules and In-Flight Operation Guidelines: Be at least 16 years old. Drone must be operating in class G airspace. 100 mph groundspeed limit. Aircraft cannot exceed 400 feet. You cannot operate two aircraft at the same time. Must maintain line of sight of aircraft during flight. Aircraft, with payload, must weigh less than 55lbs. No flying during nighttime. You may operate from a moving vehicle only in sparsely populated areas. Note: This list is not exhaustive and only covers key points. Check HERE for entire ruling. Drones, or unmanned aerial systems, have a sordid history of crashing according to YouTube, and there are now specific FAA rules for crashes that cause significant damage or injury: “Report to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in at least serious injury, loss of consciousness, or property damage of at least $500.” A designated “No Drone Zone” in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. Picture: Graham Sheldon “The FAA forecasts there could be as many as 600,000 unmanned aircraft used commercially during the first year after this rule is in place.” FAA Administrator – Michael Huerta While dodging 600,000 unmanned aircraft doesn’t sound appealing, this new ruling does finally gives professional operators the peace of mind knowing that they are operating within a defined legal set of boundaries while filming in the United States. Helpful for insurance reasons too, these rules also remove any ambiguity for producers looking to hire certified commercial drone operators for their next production. Do you fly only for fun? Then ignore the above and look HERE for rules that apply to hobbyist operators. What do you think of the new rules? Too strict, or not strict enough? Comment below.Read more
FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has released a smartphone app called B4UFLY, designed to show drone operators any restricted areas and to inform them of local rules. In an effort to educate drone users of flight restrictions, DJI has launched a public beta of their new geofencing system. Prices for drones are at a very competitive level and have therefore been available to the masses. This has caused some issues, with many hobby drone pilots not aware of restricted areas or not taking into account the safety aspect of flying drones near airports or busy areas. Despite the technological advances, drones are still susceptible to malfunction and could cause serious injury. Recently, during a live skiing event, Austrian skier Marcel Hirscher almost got hit by one of the TV channel’s drones. In order to combat reckless drone flying, many countries are implementing regulations for drone pilots to register their drones with the FAA or equivalent. In certain instances, drone operators even need to acquire a pilot licence. Here, various drone-specific laws are taught. It’s a lot to keep track of, which is why the FAA has released B4UFLY, a smartphone app designed to keep drone users informed. B4UFLY—an abbreviation of “before you fly”—allows users to pre-emptively plan out flight routes and check against local rules. If you’re in a city such as Washington D.C, for instance, the app will warn you that drone use is prohibited. If you’re near an airport, it will propagate restrictions and special rules. DJI’s Geofencing System DJI launched a public beta version of its new geofencing system in North America and Europe. Geospatial Environment Online (GEO) provides drone users with up-to-date guidance on locations where flight may be restricted by regulation, or raise safety or security concerns. This upgrade to DJI’s existing geofencing system will give users access to “live information about areas temporarily restricted from flight due to forest fires, major stadium events, VIP travel, and other changing circumstances. The GEO system will also show restricted areas around locations like prisons, power plants and other sensitive areas where drone flight would raise non-aviation security concerns.” GEO will allow drone operators with verified DJI accounts to self-authorize and temporarily unlock flight in some locations. Certain areas where drone flight is not allowed, such as Washington D.C., will remain as unlockable no-fly zones. Unlocking requires a DJI account verified with a credit card, debit card or mobile phone number. DJI will neither collect nor store the information, and the service is free. The verified account is required only if a user chooses to fly in a location that might raise aviation safety or security concerns. Use of GEO requires a drone firmware update and installation of a beta version of the DJI Go app. Android users can directly download the APK file at http://bit.ly/1PyIVIA. Users of iOS devices can request a download of the beta app by providing an email address to email@example.com. The GEO public beta will work with both DJI’s Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 drones, with specific versions available for download at http://www.dji.com/flysafe/geo-system. A final version will be available shortly after the beta stage.Read more
by Thomas Foster | 17th December 2015
This is a guest post by Thomas Foster who runs the website bestquadwithcamera.com – NL Recently the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration in USA) has announced that all drones and quadcopters which weigh more than 0.55 pounds (250grams) must be registered. The registration can be done on internet through a web form. This move was expected. They were trying to enforce drone registration and education for years. The reason for that is that there are a lot safety and privacy concerns from the FAA. Safety concerns There are more safety concerns. One is that drone airspace would interfere with the airspace of other aircrafts. Because of that, the FAA declared that drones are forbidden in the area 5 miles around airports and national parks. Besides that they also excluded them from certain areas for which they considered that flying drones there can pose a threat to security. All zones where you can or cannot fly are marked here. Furthermore, you are forbidden to fly a drone above the height of 400 feet and without the sight of operator. Other safety concerns are that you can attach literally everything on the drone. People were attaching guns and flamethrowers there. With registration it is easier to recognize the infringements. Privacy concerns Privacy concerns go mainly to smaller lawsuits of people who found themselves on internet and who did not like being recorded by drones. There are also some commercial videos which had been shooting at restricted territory. And finally, some newspapers use drones that make photos and videos of celebrities. All those concerns led to the change of rules. Penalties Everybody who owns a drone which has more than 0.55 pounds must register it. That means that even if you have owned a drone for a long time, you must still register it. The penalties can go up to $27,500 in civil fines and up to $250,000 and three years in prison for criminal penalties. Although those penalties are harsh, FAA said that it is trying to avoid punishing and just trying to make people register the drones. Filming – what can you do? At the moment, aerial filming and usage of drones and quadcopters with camera are both completely legal. All you need to do is to have your drone registered. Drones with camera in general weigh more than 0.55 pounds. The things that you need to take into account are fairly standard; No flying above 400 feet Fly away from pedestrians and from the people that might feel irritated by your drone Keep the aircraft in sight Do not fly on restricted zones Stay clear in the air and do not interfere with another aircraft’s operations Make sure you fly safely In case you want to use your videos or pictures commercially, you need to get a permit from the owners of the property for usage. If you do not use it commercially, you can share it (via youtube and other platforms for example) freely. This is currently allowed, but the drone legislation is changing, so it might not always stay like that. So for that, it is best to keep yourself updated with the news. Other countries around the world The important question that arises is, how is with other countries in the world? As USA is enforcing new rules, this will eventually become a new guideline for most law enforcers around the world. Some countries already have their own legislation which is different from the one in USA. It is best to check their own legislation when you plan to make a shooting in the country of your choosing. Below I will briefly describe the legislation of some of the countries. European Union European Union made some attempts to make a common legislation among all of its members. Unfortunately it did not work out (yet). So therefore every country has different legislation. It is best to research legislation for specific country. Below, the United Kingdom, Germany and France are described. United Kingdom The regulations in UK are the following (it holds for all aircrafts with weight below 100 kg).: You must not endanger anyone while flying. Keep the aircraft in sight – you can only fly on the distance less than 500 meters from your piloting place. Smaller aircrafts used for surveillance purposes are subject to tighter restrictions to the above rule – they must fly closer. Also you need permission for them. If you do aerial work and getting paid for it, you need the permission of CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). You have a responsibility to conduct the flight safely. You may not fly closer than 50 meters near vehicles, boats, buildings that are not your property unless you have the permission of the owner. You are not allowed to fly over large groups of people. Germany If your drone weigh does not exceed 5 kilograms and you do not use it for commercial purposes, you do not need to register it. In other case you have to register it. You also need to follow those rules: Maximum altitude above ground is 100m Operation is forbidden in crowd, misfortune locations, disaster areas and some other locations. This also applies for the flying above industrial plants, factories, and military installations. Within built-up areas (cities), the competent regulatory authorities / police departments must be informed in advance. Within protected areas the local regulations must be observed. France You need to register a drone there. Furthermore, Flight must not exceeding the height of 150 meters high. It is forbidden to fly over people or animals You must not fly 50 meters or closer to the roads It is forbidden to fly in restricted areas (near airports, etc.) It is forbidden to fly at night It is forbidden to fly in places where you pose danger to others. You need a permission of the property owner if you will make a commercial video on someone else’s property Australia The regulations in Australia are the following (it holds for all aircrafts with weight below 20 kg).: You must not endanger anyone while flying. You are not allowed to fly above 400 feet (120 meters). You are not allowed to fly closer than 10 meters from another person. You are not allowed to fly over large groups of people You are not allowed to fly in bad weather or at night. There are restricted areas – similar as in USA. You may not fly closer than 30m near vehicles, boats, buildings that are not your property unless you have the permission of the owner. You have a responsibility to conduct the flight safely. As you can see in most countries the rules are quite similar. There is also a gray area in many countries with filming property from distance. Also make sure that if you post something to internet and someone asks you to remove it, you should do it. Your chances of winning such battles on court are not clear. So it is better to be careful. Tips for safe and law-friendly shooting Shooting a video or photographs with a drone is still a great thing to get good and artistic videos and photos. The new drone legislation does not really change that. A good guide was already written about that here. But in order to also abide the laws in any country, it is highly recommended to use the common sense when filming different things. Do not film things where people might feel irritated. Also it is good to check the latest changes in rules. That is because the industry is growing rapidly and rules are changing fast because of that. That industry is getting regulated very fast. However that does not mean that aerial filming will lose popularity. Many video makers and photographers are now using it and it is also becoming increasingly popular in cinematography as well. This might actually be the future of filming. This was a guest post by Thomas Foster who runs the website bestquadwithcamera.com. — NLRead more
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