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Malcolm

Lost Or Checking Us Out

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An ocean flyer:

A grey whale's rare visit to the waters surrounding Vancouver's Stanley Park on Wednesday morning was captured in a video by a drone operator.

Lukas Zapata, who was visiting from Edmonton, managed to launch his drone with a video camera attached as the whale basked in the waters near the seawall, delighting visitors who were lucky enough to be passing by

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/grey-whale-drone-video-shows-rare-visit-to-vancouver-s-stanley-park-1.3188850?cmp=rss

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A friend of mine has started his drone business - very professional. The machines are a freaking fortune and the Insurance is ridiculous. Nevertheless, he mentioned he can't get a permit for a filming job on Lake Joseph in Muskoka in the fall. Something about Airport Airspace.

This guy is a former commercial pilot and everything is by the book. Where's the harm with him monitoring traffic and adjusting accordingly? It seems a bit of an over reaction.

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A friend of mine has started his drone business - very professional. The machines are a freaking fortune and the Insurance is ridiculous. Nevertheless, he mentioned he can't get a permit for a filming job on Lake Joseph in Muskoka in the fall. Something about Airport Airspace.This guy is a former commercial pilot and everything is by the book. Where's the harm with him monitoring traffic and adjusting accordingly? It seems a bit of an over reaction.

I assume he was applying to conduct the work under the regulatory exemption. If so, TC has to confirm that the proposed use will not be carried out within 5 miles of any aerodrome or built up area nor within 500 feet of any building, vehicle or people. It's black and white and discretion based on the person's experience or background is not considered. I applaud your friend for trying to do it right. It doesn't seem that many folks are being as considerate.

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Stupid rules are the root of anarchy.

I do agree that these things shouldn't be flown at any appreciable altitude close to airports, but a drone at 100 ft, 4 miles from an airport is not a hazard. A drone is the least of an aircraft's problems if it is in that position.

The application process should allow for reasonable exceptions, not just spout the rules.

And how do you get more than 500 ft from any person, vehicle or building?

It's impossible to follow he law and fly at all, so the answer is to break it.

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Canada's rules in this respect are reasonable and are being used as the the model for the world to follow. In the United States for example, they're simply prohibited for the most part so people operate them outside of regulation, which is intended to ensure safety.

At my airport, there are hundreds of SFOCs granted in controlled airspace every year so many exceptions are permitted.

Here is a good infographic that gives a high level overview of the regulations: http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/ca-standards/Infographic_Permission_to_fly_a_UAV_Print_English.pdf

Specs, the difference your friend should appreciate is that that he's not in control of the aircraft he's operating and he's not communicating with other traffic or ATC in real-time. Does it have a Mode C transponder? If something happens to the connection between the controller and the aircraft, what does it do? Return to the point of origin? Remain stationary until the battery is expended? Climb to 4000' in an attempt to reacquire the signal?

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Let's just say that I hope none of you has to find out the hard way. I'd also like to know who's willing to pony up the extra tax dollars it would take to properly review every exception to the stated rules because the minute you open that door, the flood would be enormous.

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Canada's rules in this respect are reasonable and are being used as the the model for the world to follow. In the United States for example, they're simply prohibited for the most part so people operate them outside of regulation, which is intended to ensure safety.

At my airport, there are hundreds of SFOCs granted in controlled airspace every year so many exceptions are permitted.

Here is a good infographic that gives a high level overview of the regulations: http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/ca-standards/Infographic_Permission_to_fly_a_UAV_Print_English.pdf

Specs, the difference your friend should appreciate is that that he's not in control of the aircraft he's operating and he's not communicating with other traffic or ATC in real-time. Does it have a Mode C transponder? If something happens to the connection between the controller and the aircraft, what does it do? Return to the point of origin? Remain stationary until the battery is expended? Climb to 4000' in an attempt to reacquire the signal?

Your first paragraph is my point exactly.

But the rest of the message seems to be a bit fork-tongued.

On one hand you suggest that hundreds of SFOC's are granted, then suggest that SPEC's buddy is not in control of their aircraft, infer that he would do something untoward to remedy a problem and ask questions about what he would do if he lost a signal. What do all of the fliers do that get the SFOC's? Do they have Mode C transponders?

If he complied like them, why would he not be granted an OC?

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Return to the point of origin? Remain stationary until the battery is expended? Climb to 4000' in an attempt to reacquire the signal?

Most of the ones I have seen return to their starting point in the case of lost signal or low batteries.

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Most of the ones I have seen return to their starting point in the case of lost signal or low batteries.

My point here is that there's no standard that the industry has adopted so mitigating the risk of autonomous drones is a bit of a dog's breakfast.

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Your first paragraph is my point exactly.

But the rest of the message seems to be a bit fork-tongued.

On one hand you suggest that hundreds of SFOC's are granted, then suggest that SPEC's buddy is not in control of their aircraft, infer that he would do something untoward to remedy a problem and ask questions about what he would do if he lost a signal. What do all of the fliers do that get the SFOC's? Do they have Mode C transponders?

If he complied like them, why would he not be granted an OC?

You're right. I didn't explain myself well. I think we're saying almost the same thing.

To clarify, I'm saying that the SFOCs are routinely granted where risk can be properly mitigated. In this case, unless someone holds a grudge against Spec's friend, there is probably some element of the proposed flight that presents risk that can't be mitigated.

I don't think it's simply a matter of compliance like checking boxes on a form. I think there's a bit of grey area in evaluating risk. For all we know, there may be an issue with drones flying close to aircraft around that airport.

What I do think is that Spec's friend is owed an explanation beyond "Airport Airspace" so that he can come up with an alternative solution to meet his commercial objectives. Saying no for the sake of saying no is in no one's interest because it drives behaviour outside of regulation, control and risk mitigation and defeats the purpose of SFOCs.

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Even the police need to get approvals to operate drones.

Canada's police forces take to the sky with drones
By: Ira Lamcja Metro, Published on Wed Mar 18 2015
Halton Regional Police have used their drone to search for missing persons, probe collisions, and investigate an armed robbery and homicide. In 2012, the drone even helped officers find about $744,000 worth of marijuana that was growing on a farmer’s field in Milton, Ont.
Halton police first purchased a drone (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, as they are known in the industry) to use in their investigations in 2009, when it was still a relatively new technology in law enforcement. Since then, it has been used in 50 police missions, according to now-retired operation manager Det. Dave Banks.
“We don’t just sort of fly over homes at random,” says Const. Andy Olesen. “Well, we can, and we don’t.”
Today, with many police forces in major cities in Canada now using drones, concerns have been growing over privacy and surveillance. Olesen says Halton police are very cautious about the use of its drone given those concerns.
“We’re very conscious of ... what people’s perception of it is, that it’s a surveillance tool,” he explains. “We don’t want to make that any worse than it is.”
Halton’s Aeryon Scout model is a black and white quadcopter remotely controlled with a tablet laptop using Google maps. It is relatively small in size, and comes equipped with video and photo capabilities.
Olesen says Transport Canada regulations limit where and how they can fly their UAV and the drone itself offers physical boundaries. It can only be flown in good weather conditions, and its battery life leaves much to be desired, averaging about 15 to 20 minutes per charge.
“On the list of things we use it for, surveillance isn’t even on our list, just because it’s not practical,” Olesen says.
“Down the road, (surveillance) might be possible,” he says. “I think that’ll happen.”
Halton police use its Scout drone to investigate accidents by recreating crash sites.
Who patrols the patrollers?
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has raised various concerns regarding drone use in law enforcement. Highlighted in a March 2013 report, the privacy watchdog has noted that “certain attributes can make (drones) a relatively covert form of surveillance.”
Tobi Cohen, spokeswoman for the agency, tells Metro that current regulations do not address the sometimes wide gap that results from “issues related to purpose and the privacy implications of (drone) use.”
“Current regulations governing drone operations have more to do with ensuring their safe flight, and do little to address the privacy implications of having Canadian skies filled with hovering data-collecting robots,” Cohen says.
When it comes to drones, people don’t always know who is watching or what data they’re collecting. This “can contribute to a lack of awareness and effective complaint mechanisms,” Cohen says.
To that end, Cohen says the OPC advises law enforcement to comply with their video surveillance guidelines. Among their recommendations, the OPC says law enforcement should use video surveillance in a way that minimizes invasion of privacy, hold public consultations, and assess privacy impacts beforehand.
Drones beyond the law
However, Halifax lawyer David Fraser says the public shouldn’t be worried, as long as the proper regulatory framework is put in place.
It’s a historical fact, Fraser says, that new technology will expand the collection of personal information, which can sometimes lead to what he calls a “technopanic.”
He says privacy laws should be updated to reflect new behaviours that society finds unacceptable.
“You criminalize the behaviour, and not the technology. Because it’s really about the behaviour.”
Fraser adds that drones do create a change in what’s possible in terms of encroachment on privacy. For example, when living in a tall building, there is a higher expectation of privacy on higher floors that with drones will now be accessible for viewing.
As Fraser points out: “The question then becomes: Does the introduction of drones change our expectations of privacy? Or should it?”
When drones are more intrusive on individual privacy, such as collecting information about individuals, “that’s when it’s worth having a good discussion about what our reasonable expectations are,” Fraser says.
“That discussion should always be much more than ‘Oh, well, that’s creepy,’ because a discussion about what’s creepy doesn’t help.”
Military
While the United States continues to make headlines for their use of armed drones, Canada currently has no such things, according to a Department of National Defence spokesman. But that might change.
“We neither operate nor lease armed UAVs,” says Daniel Blouin, a spokesman for the DND, but he added armed drones “are being examined for future international operations.”
“UAVs have unparalleled operating range and endurance,” Blouin says. “If the pilot gets tired you don’t have to return to base and land — you can just swap a new one into the seat.”
Blouin says the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have used unarmed drones in overseas operations since 2003, stressing that the CAF only uses drones in what is called an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capacity. He adds the current model is limited in that it can’t carry heavy loads, transport personnel, or conduct air-to-air combat. Only one model is in active use by the CAF: the Scan Eagle. Blouin says it is used by the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Navy frigates on international operations, most recently by HMCS Regina in an ISR capacity.
A Halton police officer flies the force's drone - Courtesy Aeryon Labs
A Halton police officer flies the force's drone - Courtesy Aeryon Labs
Police and drones from coast to coast
Toronto: The Toronto Police Department does not deploy drones, but they have had demonstrations from a manufacturer, but would not say which.
Ottawa: Although Ottawa police is not deploying drones right now, their Collisions Section is interested in its uses for aerial surveys of large collisions or investigative scenes as well as uses in missing persons searches.
Winnipeg: Winnipeg police do not use drones, and are not considering their use at this point.
Edmonton: The Edmonton Police Department does deploy a drone to take aerial photographs of accident scenes.
Vancouver: The Vancouver Police Department does not use drones, but they are considering it for the future.
RCMP: Various detachments nationwide have deployed drones for search-and rescue missions, as well as aerial photography of crash scenes.

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Drones have their place in law enforcement, but when they say; "We don’t just sort of fly over homes at random,” says Const. Andy Olesen. “Well, we can, and we don’t.”, BS has to be called, at least when it comes to their intentions.

The authorities will identify a need, the economic justification will follow and by letting everyone know how they should be in great fear of something, the concept will be enforced and just like security cameras, drones will become part of routine police patrols.

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Defcon: I have worked very closely with various police forces all over Canada and I call BS to your post. If they break the law then they lose the case etc etc etc. So no percentage in their going fishing as the laws of evidence etc would always be against them in court.

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Good discussion wrt drones. A few thoughts to add:

The advances with drone capabilities have introduced opportunity to a very large population, most of which do not understand all of the pitfalls. I equate this, roughly, to the home depot effect on Emergency room visits. Amateurs using tools they do not fully understand.

Drone flight path control relies on a lot of variables. When it all works, the appearance is of effortless precision, great images, and the inevitable, "what's the big deal" question.

Look a layer or two deeper and one starts to understand the sources of error, such as the 'fy away" behaviour that certain models are vulnerable to, loss or corruption of signal causes and , well, dramatic effects, and drawbacks when certain auto-recover feature are activated.

Take as an example the 'return to base' feature, an intended counter-measure to the aforementioned fly away and loss of signal cases. Consider that, for this to work safely, the drone has to have an accurate present position at the time of signal loss (not too likely if it is in a fly away process, as that is often caused by a diverging position solution) AND have a clear direct path between its current position and height, and home. Consider someone flying a perimeter tour of an airport and losing signal while on the far side of the field. You get the picture.

Similarly, partial loss of power (such a shedding a prop or, for multi units, a motor seizure) and your drone, and those below and around it, are in for a world of hurt. Some of the truly high end machines, coded specifically for recovery routes and altitudes by fully qualified operators with real time health telemetry from the unit, can handle this without creating bigger problems. This kind of equipment and capabilites rest with a relatively small professional community who, at least in my circle, welcome better regulation so they can actually get permits for the kind of work that they cannot do today, because permitting them would open the gates to others.

Holding a commercial pilots licence is a start as it attests to a baseline knowledge of airspace and aerodynamics. That said, the licence itself is not enough to deal with the corner cases a working drone will eventually encounter.

All just my opinion.

Vs

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All of the better units are flown with a GPS mode engaged. Perhaps a regulation that units can only be sold if they have some kind of a coded GPS, like a transponder code. This way an incident could be tracked back to the individual involved, it would also provide a deterrent to do dumb things with it.

I think we're all a little tired of the nanny state where we always seem to be forced into conforming to the lowest common denominator. Make the stupid accountable.

Just a thought

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Malcolm

What kind of glue are you sniffing out there?

If I fly a drone over your house and catch you and the wife doing it in the privacy of your back yard, you have just become a powerless to do anything about it victim.

If the cops fly a drone over your house and catch you murdering your wife in the privacy of your back yard, you are on your way to becoming a convict.

What law or rule of evidence was it that the police in your part of the world are worried about breaking?

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Malcolm

What kind of glue are you sniffing out there?

If I fly a drone over your house and catch you and the wife doing it in the privacy of your back yard, you have just become a powerless to do anything about it victim.

If the cops fly a drone over your house and catch you murdering your wife in the privacy of your back yard, you are on your way to becoming a convict.

What law or rule of evidence was it that the police in your part of the world are worried about breaking?

All I hearing is static. I would suggest you check the law and also court rulings on illegally obtained evidence. What you are describing is a crime in progress so yes the evidence would hold up but what you suggested in your original post seemed to be somewhat different.

If in the course of their normal duties they come across a criminal act that is one thing but to suggest they would use to drones to troll is quite unlikely. The drones would be used most likely in the same fashion as they presently use their other aerial aids.

What are you doing that you are worrying about them seeing???? :Grin-Nod:

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Sure hope they catch this **bleep** and make him / her pay for any damages attributed to the cessation of the fire fighting activity and of course lay charges.

Drone over Testalinden Creek fire halts air firefighting efforts
Capture By Justin McElroy
Web Producer Global News.
Fire aircraft have been grounded south of Oliver, B.C., due to a drone operating in the area.
Aircraft fighting the Testalinden Creek fire south of Oliver had to be grounded Sunday afternoon due to a drone operating in the area.
“It’s incredibly disconcerting. We’re in the midst of responding to this fire, and someone is putting our crew’s safety in jeopardy right now,” says Kevin Skrepnek, chief fire information officer for the BC Wildfire Service.
“It’s very frustrating.”
In total, eight helicopters and an air tanker have been pulled from service. The Testalinden Creek fire is currently 1,566 hectares and zero per cent contained.
READ MORE: Evacuation order lifted for one Oliver fire as conditions improve
It is illegal to operate drones near or over wildfires, but that hasn’t stopped people from doing so in B.C. this summer. Fire crews were forced to temporarily stop air operations on the Westside Road wildfire fight near Kelowna earlier this month because of drones flying overhead.
“Drones have proliferated recently, they’re cheaper to access, [and] people need to realize they might seem small, they might seem non-threatening, but they still do pose a safety issue to our aircraft, especially when they’re operating at low altitude,” says Skrepnek.
READ MORE: Some calling for crackdown on recreational drones
They’re hoping anyone who sees a drone in the area, or sees the person operating it, contacts police.
In the meantime, fire crews will sit – and wait.
“We’re hoping it clears the airspace and we can ascertain things are safe there, and have our aircraft over the fire,” says Skrepnek.

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Malcolm

You claimed; “I have worked very closely with various police forces all over Canada and I call BS to your post. If they break the law then they lose the case etc etc etc. So no percentage in their going fishing as the laws of evidence etc would always be against them in court.”

You called ‘BS’ on something I said. Accordingly, I continue to seek an explanation for your comment. The phrase, ‘if they break the law then they lose the case etc etc etc’ and the associated following ‘going fishing’ comments mean what exactly?

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Malcolm

You claimed; “I have worked very closely with various police forces all over Canada and I call BS to your post. If they break the law then they lose the case etc etc etc. So no percentage in their going fishing as the laws of evidence etc would always be against them in court.”

You called ‘BS’ on something I said. Accordingly, I continue to seek an explanation for your comment. The phrase, ‘if they break the law then they lose the case etc etc etc’ and the associated following ‘going fishing’ comments mean what exactly?

If evidence is considered to be illegally obtained the court (judge) then throws it out. ....... and the Crowns case goes all to hell

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Sure hope they catch this **bleep** and make him / her pay for any damages attributed to the cessation of the fire fighting activity and of course lay charges.

Drone over Testalinden Creek fire halts air firefighting efforts
Capture By Justin McElroy
Web Producer Global News.
Fire aircraft have been grounded south of Oliver, B.C., due to a drone operating in the area.
Aircraft fighting the Testalinden Creek fire south of Oliver had to be grounded Sunday afternoon due to a drone operating in the area.

Nobody got a shotgun in the Okanagan?

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