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Violating FAA rules with software hacks

daviwph

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I was shocked when I found so many demonstrations on YouTube of drones being flown as high as 1/2 mile using software out of Denmark. The combination of a "No Limit Dronez" or "NLD" software hack in combination with older firmware, (before DJI was aware of the hack) allows for unlimited altitude and speed. YouTube pilots state that the drone is out of sight and in many cases, on the verge of losing control due to the winds aloft.

As we all know, this is a blatant violation of FAA rules and could put an abrupt end to the flying privileges we now enjoy.

I'm very impressed with the LAANC system and the effort the FAA has put into allowing drones to safely share the airspace. If we all follow the rules, we will gain the respect of FAA and possibly enhanced privileges in the future.

One incident and we will all pay a high price. Drone manufactures may end production and apply the technology to photography products. (DJI Osmo or Ronin for example.) The FAA may ban all recreational flying.

For now, we will need to police ourselves. If you see a drone pilot breaking the law, please let them know how serious this is. A comment on YouTube videos showing FAA rules being broken might be helpful.

Breaking FAA rules is a serious crime!
 

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I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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So true, it's best if everyone abides by their nation's regulations. They're there for a reason. You can see how governments react when public safety is compromised as reported on the Gatwick airport drone incidents in London. This is no joke and cost tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars/pounds/euros, not to mention the anxiety of disrupting peoples' travel over safety concerns. If you want to see a how bad a crackdown can be, do something that may be seen as a potential act of terrorism.
 

Troy.Spark

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WHY? Is the first thing that comes to mind. Let’s go buy a drone that cost no less than a grand and let’s try to lose it. Or fly somewhere that I can’t see it. Is it a lack of respect or value of life and property or just plain ignorance of the repercussions. Does someone think that they are the only one thing in the sky. I can’t even believe that people can’t be this ignorant.
 

Roland

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Every one outside US who is flying FCC is illegal. Flying higher than 120 m and
out of sight is illegal. But I do.
But first of all, it is all about Common sense. I only do this in open spaces and out of sight. I always do a checklist before take off. Spark is so small, no one notice it. Only Fools fly their heavy and big drones near airfields and crowded places.
 

Hotwire

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Every one outside US who is flying FCC is illegal. Flying higher than 120 m and
out of sight is illegal. But I do.
But first of all, it is all about Common sense. I only do this in open spaces and out of sight. I always do a checklist before take off. Spark is so small, no one notice it. Only Fools fly their heavy and big drones near airfields and crowded places.
Incorrect FCC is legal in quite a few countries, although the intention was originally for other purposes.
 
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PhillyD

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Yes like here, because we are not in Europe, and is not covered by that system..so can ee put this way..anything not in the EU is governed by FCC in regards to this?
 

Mtntrogger

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For me learning how to fly where I couldn't see was the first step to becoming a better pilot. The spark is tiny, no one is gonna be able to see it at the distances it's capable of traveling ! I approached my flight progression on learning how to be comfortable being in different critical situations, which I took in baby steps. I did so almost exclusively in open remote areas, easy for me since I live in the mountains.
 

daviwph

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Mtntrogger, I understand what you're saying and it makes perfect sense. I'm a novice at drone flying but I've flown radio control airplanes since the 70's. It's been difficult learning that it's OK to take my eyes off the drone.

My concern is drone operation in airspace used by manned aircraft. The picture above depicts a worst case scenario. An object capable of causing an airliner crash that's several thousand feet in the air that no one can see.

I'm envious of the scenery that you must be enjoying in the mountains. Enjoy!
 

Mtntrogger

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Thanks ! I absolutely agree with you, I would be horrified to hear of any such incidents. Before one of my flights near a community I noticed a helicopter take off about a half Mile or so away from me. I was paranoid to take off for several minutes. I sure wouldn't want to contribute to any sort of mid air encounter with an actual aircraft. My max height from the ground is currently just under 700 feet which I achieved in a pretty remote area, the first time I was even near 200 feet I was freaking out !
 

Northwood Mediaworks

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Perhaps all retailers and vendors should slap a huge label on the drone packaging warning of the dire consequences of breaking any of our various countries' new restrictive rules... including the size of the fines.

Whilst I applaud the sentiment of the first post here, its preaching to the choir... we need this to be in the faces of the uninitiated potential buyers... who are not yet on these forums. That might lower the percentage of rule breakers a little. But, as we all know, there will always be rule benders, breakers, and complete a$$holes who are in it just for one adreneline rush, leaving the rest of us to look bad after their infraction(s). Sad but true. Get your flying time in as much as you can, ultimately this will become an outlaw pastime sooner or later as we will get legislated out of the sky.
 

floridabeachbum

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As with literally any aspect of society, these rules don't do much but aggravate the average person.

The jerks will continue to do stupid stuff, regardless of the rules and so-called "limitations".

They have a chilling effect on those who might want to try it, but won't commit to the paperwork and learning curve involved in attempting to follow the rules.

And it simply aggravates those of us who act appropriately (regardless of legalilty) but are restricted from deploying common sense.
 

Akuen_527

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Mtntrogger, I understand what you're saying and it makes perfect sense. I'm a novice at drone flying but I've flown radio control airplanes since the 70's. It's been difficult learning that it's OK to take my eyes off the drone.

My concern is drone operation in airspace used by manned aircraft. The picture above depicts a worst case scenario. An object capable of causing an airliner crash that's several thousand feet in the air that no one can see.

I'm envious of the scenery that you must be enjoying in the mountains. Enjoy!
Sorry but a spark hitting any large plane is not going to crash it(no more % chance than a bird). I think you may have seen the video put out a while back showing a high speed impact between a drone and plane, but this video was proven to be misleading at best and just plain wrong at worst. I think DJI even sued the people who made the video for false and misleading claims. And telling people about the rules is fine, but we certainly don't need anymore drone police on the interwebs.
 

Earthman

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Mar 30, 2019
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I was shocked when I found so many demonstrations on YouTube of drones being flown as high as 1/2 mile using software out of Denmark. The combination of a "No Limit Dronez" or "NLD" software hack in combination with older firmware, (before DJI was aware of the hack) allows for unlimited altitude and speed. YouTube pilots state that the drone is out of sight and in many cases, on the verge of losing control due to the winds aloft.

As we all know, this is a blatant violation of FAA rules and could put an abrupt end to the flying privileges we now enjoy.

I'm very impressed with the LAANC system and the effort the FAA has put into allowing drones to safely share the airspace. If we all follow the rules, we will gain the respect of FAA and possibly enhanced privileges in the future.

One incident and we will all pay a high price. Drone manufactures may end production and apply the technology to photography products. (DJI Osmo or Ronin for example.) The FAA may ban all recreational flying.

For now, we will need to police ourselves. If you see a drone pilot breaking the law, please let them know how serious this is. A comment on YouTube videos showing FAA rules being broken might be helpful.

Breaking FAA rules is a serious crime!
I agree.

Flying outside the rules and putting manned aircraft and human life at risk is criminally negligent and just stupid. Why risk prison?

If we want to keep our flying privileges (not rights), we need to do more self-policing and report violators.

Most “prosumer” drones already log the distance between the controller and drone and drone height AGL. They also have the ability and infrastructure to reduce or prevent FAA violations via firmware-imposed geo-fencing, automatic violation reporting via the internet, and flying privilege suspension by remote means. All it’s going to take to implement these “features” is more stupid people blatantly violating the rules and a firmware upgrade. The FAA doesn’t even need permission to require such changes. They already have permission and a mandate to do whatever it takes to keep the skies safe. How much would it take for the FAA to post a TFR banning drone flights indefinitely, or to prohibit the sale of noncompliant aircraft? They could do it tomorrow. It would be harder for them if everyone except the odd idiot was following the rules. As it is, I can’t believe how much evidence I see on YouTube and forums like these that the FAA could use to justify taking action like I describe above.

Sorry for the rant, but if you’re going to break the law at least don’t brag about it in public places.
 

I B Spectre

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Sorry but a spark hitting any large plane is not going to crash it(no more % chance than a bird). I think you may have seen the video put out a while back showing a high speed impact between a drone and plane, but this video was proven to be misleading at best and just plain wrong at worst. I think DJI even sued the people who made the video for false and misleading claims. And telling people about the rules is fine, but we certainly don't need anymore drone police on the interwebs.
The greatest danger wouldn't be to large planes. They are usually going to be commercial or military going for altitude far above drones. Small aircraft are very vulnerable to bird-sized objects. Light aircraft usually cruise at 100mph or more and getting hit by most anything moving at that velocity can do damage to plexiglass windscreens and structures made of thin aluminum. Then there are low altitude aircraft such as Life Flight, traffic control or other helicopters. We all share the same airspace, but if you don't want attention from the "drone police" and government regulators, we'd all be better off if every drone operator complied with the rules. We police ourselves or they'll do it for us.
 
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Earthman

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Sorry but a spark hitting any large plane is not going to crash it(no more % chance than a bird). I think you may have seen the video put out a while back showing a high speed impact between a drone and plane, but this video was proven to be misleading at best and just plain wrong at worst. I think DJI even sued the people who made the video for false and misleading claims. And telling people about the rules is fine, but we certainly don't need anymore drone police on the interwebs.
Even a drone the size of a Spark can cause significant damage to aircraft bodies, engines, propellers, main and tail rotors, etc. during a collision at the closing speeds involved.

A dent or hole on the leading edge of a wing, impeller, etc. caused by a collision with a small drone may not bring a general aviation, military, or commercial aircraft down but it would ground the aircraft, and need repaired and inspected before it would be allowed to fly or carry passengers again (all at significant cost). If the impacted aircraft’s pilot saw the impact, it is likely that he/she would find it prudent to divert to the nearest suitable airport to inspect for damage, also at significant cost.

The drone PIC would be responsible for such inconvenience, damage and financial loss to the owner and passengers, but what percentage of the drone scofflaws out there do you think would be willing to accept the responsibility, cover the financial losses, and/or do the prison time that may result from willfully ignoring the applicable laws? I would bet most haven’t given it any thought.

Any drone strike or near miss with a manned aircraft is bad news for drone enthusiasts.

Don’t screw it up for the rest of us. Read, know and obey the laws, or find something else to do.
 

daviwph

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Sorry but a spark hitting any large plane is not going to crash it(no more % chance than a bird). I think you may have seen the video put out a while back showing a high speed impact between a drone and plane, but this video was proven to be misleading at best and just plain wrong at worst. I think DJI even sued the people who made the video for false and misleading claims. And telling people about the rules is fine, but we certainly don't need anymore drone police on the interwebs.
If hail can shatter an airliner windshield, I think it's safe to say that it's possible a spark could do the same. As far as I know, jet engines are not tested by injecting them with DJI Sparks. Even without a crash, the impact of such an event would be devastating to drone activity.
 

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RotorWash

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If hail can shatter an airliner windshield, I think it's safe to say that it's possible a spark could do the same. As far as I know, jet engines are not tested by injecting them with DJI Sparks. Even without a crash, the impact of such an event would be devastating to drone activity.
My SIL is an aircraft turbine tech and tests engines daily. I'll run it by him next time I see him, I'm sure he hasn't thrown in any Sparks but probably had a few fried chickens come and go.
 

WingmanGoose

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Sep 12, 2019
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I have no doubts in the future there will be mandatory geo fences, real-time flight tracking, andautomatic airplane avoidance for new production drones. Perhaps even automatic violation reports.

The main concern I have is what will happen to “legacy” drones? Will the new mandates require software that manufacturers won’t offer on unsupported legacy models? Will legacy drones be grandfathered in and be desirable as “pre-ban” drones? Will legacy drones be limited to flying in few designated geographical areas?

The biggest violators currently are drone owners that just don’t know any better because they haven’t bothered to check what’s legal or not legal. I’d like to know how many drones are actually FAA registered compared to how many are sold. I bet it’s a low percentage for toy drones and entry level drones like Sparks.
 

I B Spectre

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I'm not an engineer, but I suspect adding a transponder is not something that can be done through software alone. The question concerning what becomes of legacy drones has been asked and I haven't seen any discussion by the FAA as yet. They're mandated to devise a test for recreational drone pilots, but haven't at this time. The FAA moves at a glacial pace and sometimes that's a good thing provided the time is used wisely to formulate policies with far reaching implications. The sUAS (small unmanned aircraft systems) classification pertains to drones between .55 lbs and 55 lbs, so the Spark at .66 lbs is within that range.
 

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