Quadcopter/Drone Thread

Rocco1

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2008
Messages
1,267
In theory manned aviation is meant to keep above 500ft AGL. The idea is that Drones keep below 400ft AGL and there is a 100ft seperation layer between the flight levels of manned vs unmanned.
now many planes fly illegally below this level and this is not policed, esp in more rural areas, and have always done so or gotten away with it.
Now drones have come into the picture and changed things. this space is occupied. It doesnt help that there are many drone pilots that have no ideas of the regulations and fly illegally at 500m or high altutudes or near airports etc.

Btw without an ROC (aka private use) you should only be flying below 150 ft AGL or not higher than the highest object within 300m (like if there was a 70m smoke stack you could fly to that level)
CAA see - http://www.caa.co.za/Documents/RPAS/K-12612 CAA RPAS Flyer Con_ V10.pdf
Also - do not fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft higher than 150 ft from the ground, unless approved by the Director of Civil Aviation of the SACA
CAA see- http://www.caa.co.za/Documents/RPAS/K-12369 CAA RPAS_roll-fold brochureV7_print.pdf
A.

Extract from the AIP - ENR 1 GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
1 Minimum Heights
1) Except when necessary for taking off or landing, or except with prior written approval
of the Director, no aircraft -
a) shall be flown over built-up areas or over an open-air assembly of persons at a
height less than 1 000 feet above the highest obstacle, within a radius of 2000 feet
from the aircraft;
b) when flown elsewhere than specified in paragraph (a), shall be flown at a height
less than 500 feet above the ground or water, unless the flight can be made without
hazard or nuisance to persons or property on the ground or water


So in summary:
So the Manned plane flying below 500ft AGL is flying harardously and can be reported, unless their is an airport and on approach etc.
So is there an airport near you? If so where is the flight path? If not, Have you confirmed this 100%?
Do you have an ROC or not, if not you legally are meant to be below 50m/150ft AGL) - remember 120m/ 400ft AGL is only for ROC licence holders (not just an RPL)
 
Last edited:

Puk

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Messages
212
In theory manned aviation is meant to keep above 500ft AGL. The idea is that Drones keep below 400ft AGL and there is a 100ft seperation layer between the flight levels of manned vs unmanned.
now many planes fly illegally below this level and this is not policed, esp in more rural areas, and have always done so or gotten away with it.
Now drones have come into the picture and changed things. this space is occupied. It doesnt help that there are many drone pilots that have no ideas of the regulations and fly illegally at 500m or high altutudes or near airports etc.

Btw without an ROC (aka private use) you should only be flying 150 ft AGL or not higher than the highest object within 300m (like if there was a 70m smoke stack you could fly to that level)
CAA see - http://www.caa.co.za/Documents/RPAS/K-12612 CAA RPAS Flyer Con_ V10.pdf
Do not fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft higher than 150 ft from the ground, unless approved by the Director of Civil Aviation of the SACA
CAA see- http://www.caa.co.za/Documents/RPAS/K-12369 CAA RPAS_roll-fold brochureV7_print.pdf
A.

Extract from the AIP - ENR 1 GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
1 Minimum Heights
1) Except when necessary for taking off or landing, or except with prior written approval
of the Director, no aircraft -
a) shall be flown over built-up areas or over an open-air assembly of persons at a
height less than 1 000 feet above the highest obstacle, within a radius of 2000 feet
from the aircraft;
b) when flown elsewhere than specified in paragraph (a), shall be flown at a height
less than 500 feet above the ground or water, unless the flight can be made without
hazard or nuisance to persons or property on the ground or water


So in summary:
So the Manned plane flying below 500ft AGL is flying illegally and can be reported, unless their is an airport and on approach etc.
So is there an airport near you? If so where is the flight path? If not, Have you confirmed this 100%?
Do you have an ROC or not, if not you legally are meant to be below 50m/150ft AGL) - remember 120m/ 400ft AGL is only for ROC licence holders (not just an RPL)
Thank you for this thorough analysis.

The area in question is an open piece of parkland / veld next to Hartbeespoort Dam.

The closest airports / airfields is Brits airfield, Lanseria Intl. or Wonderboom. I was not within 10km of any known airport / airfield.

What these small aircraft pilots do is they get tourists to fly with them over the dam. They swoop down very low (for the views, and the thrill, I suppose) that it has actually become extremely annoying to residents. The same goes with choppers / micro light aircraft / motorised paragliders etc. There are so many "things" flying around here on weekends, it's crazy!

Being at the shoreline of a dam, it is relatively easy to keep a good eye on your drone - so I prefer going there, not only for the joy of flying safely, but also for the splendid 4k video opportunities. I deliberately try to avoid "crowded" air space around the dam in fear of causing an accident or losing my drone.

The area in question is very close to a high cliff paralell to the shoreline. I rgularly fly my drone up to that height in order to capture footage of the drone coming over the cliff and then panning over the dam. Would that count as flying at the height of the nearest obstacle?

I noticed said pilot many times before and I don't know which time I was in his "way" or how many times it happened before. I kind of took my kit and left. Didn't feel like fighting when I went there to enjoy the day.

He will regularly swoop down lower than the mountain and fly along the shoreline or over the dam. I see him criss crossing over the area, so I'm also really not sure if he has a single registered flight path.

I'm willing to accept if I was wrong by flying too high or in a no-fly zone for drones (like at Pelindaba), but I really don't think I was in the wrong.

It's the 21st century. Isn't it amazing how far tech has come? I don't have to fork out millions of Rands and pay for expensive flying lessons in order to capture aerial imagery anymore. I get the idea that pilots of aircraft are annoyed by this.

I know there are lots of irresponsible drone pilots out there and that needs to be dealt with. But giving me crap for flying my little 249g drone in my own area legally (as far as I could tell)... Give me a break!

This kind of behaviour is making me wonder what the consequences are if someone shoots down your drone. How would you even tell who it was? I'm starting to think people's pettiness will ruin drone flying for Joe Public in the end.
 

Segg

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,367
In theory manned aviation is meant to keep above 500ft AGL. The idea is that Drones keep below 400ft AGL and there is a 100ft seperation layer between the flight levels of manned vs unmanned.
now many planes fly illegally below this level and this is not policed, esp in more rural areas, and have always done so or gotten away with it.
Now drones have come into the picture and changed things. this space is occupied. It doesnt help that there are many drone pilots that have no ideas of the regulations and fly illegally at 500m or high altutudes or near airports etc.

Btw without an ROC (aka private use) you should only be flying below 150 ft AGL or not higher than the highest object within 300m (like if there was a 70m smoke stack you could fly to that level)
CAA see - http://www.caa.co.za/Documents/RPAS/K-12612 CAA RPAS Flyer Con_ V10.pdf
Also - do not fly/operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or toy aircraft higher than 150 ft from the ground, unless approved by the Director of Civil Aviation of the SACA
CAA see- http://www.caa.co.za/Documents/RPAS/K-12369 CAA RPAS_roll-fold brochureV7_print.pdf
A.

Extract from the AIP - ENR 1 GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
1 Minimum Heights
1) Except when necessary for taking off or landing, or except with prior written approval
of the Director, no aircraft -
a) shall be flown over built-up areas or over an open-air assembly of persons at a
height less than 1 000 feet above the highest obstacle, within a radius of 2000 feet
from the aircraft;
b) when flown elsewhere than specified in paragraph (a), shall be flown at a height
less than 500 feet above the ground or water, unless the flight can be made without
hazard or nuisance to persons or property on the ground or water


So in summary:
So the Manned plane flying below 500ft AGL is flying illegally and can be reported, unless their is an airport and on approach etc.
So is there an airport near you? If so where is the flight path? If not, Have you confirmed this 100%?
Do you have an ROC or not, if not you legally are meant to be below 50m/150ft AGL) - remember 120m/ 400ft AGL is only for ROC licence holders (not just an RPL)

No - manned aircraft are allowed between GND and 500ft. This is well established in GA. Hence the Harvard's water skiing, and people landing on the banks of the vaal dam etc.

The key phrase there is unless the flight can be made withouta hazard or nuisance to persons or property on the ground or water. So far there has not been a successful complaint against low flying aircraft due to nuisance.

@Puk if you can post some pins on Google maps or something where you were that would help

It sounds like you encountered someone talking rubbish in my opinion....

EDIT: It sounds like you may have been close to the coves or aviators paradise

Capture.jpg
 
Last edited:

Rocco1

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2008
Messages
1,267
No - manned aircraft are allowed between GND and 500ft. This is well established in GA. Hence the Harvard's water skiing, and people landing on the banks of the vaal dam etc.

The key phrase there is unless the flight can be made withouta hazard or nuisance to persons or property on the ground or water. So far there has not been a successful complaint against low flying aircraft due to nuisance.

@Puk if you can post some pins on Google maps or something where you were that would help

It sounds like you encountered someone talking rubbish in my opinion....

EDIT: It sounds like you may have been close to the coves or aviators paradise

View attachment 1145796
Does built up areas count as GA too?
I thought the whole point of 400ft drones vs 500ft aircraft was to have seperation heights ("FLs").
If drones become more popular or get to a point of autonymous flight (prob need active transponders- btw isnt manned aviation meant to have that, incl all small aircraft soon?). the airspace below 500ft will become more and more hazardous and chances of an incident will increase.
 

Rocco1

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2008
Messages
1,267
sounds more like Kosmos middle red or next to the dam wall top red (cliff there)
theres an unmanned airstrip at bottom left red


1631393075634.png
 

Attachments

  • 1631392965546.png
    1631392965546.png
    589.9 KB · Views: 7

Segg

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
4,367
Does built up areas count as GA too?
I thought the whole point of 400ft drones vs 500ft aircraft was to have seperation heights ("FLs").
If drones become more popular or get to a point of autonymous flight (prob need active transponders- btw isnt manned aviation meant to have that, incl all small aircraft soon?). the airspace below 500ft will become more and more hazardous and chances of an incident will increase.

In aviation law there is a hierarchy of law (my example will be very oversimplified)

Part 91- Rules of the Air - everybody complies with this

Part 135 - Charter Ops/Aircraft with 19 seats or less operated commercially

Part 121 - Large Charter Ops/Aircraft with 20 seats or more operated commercially

Part 101 - RPAS (Drones)

In the major cities in South Africa there are Special Rules Areas where the rules of the air are changed slightly, in Gauteng the semi-circular rule is essentially rotated by 90 degrees where

Aircraft on a northerly heading must be at 7500ft
Aircraft on a southerly heading must be at 7000ft


Aircraft that cannot comply with those "lanes" must remain 6500ft or below

All aircraft must have their altimeters set to OR Tambo's QNH.

The thing about these rules, and the height of the TMA vs ground level, is that we cannot always remain within those height limits for "built up areas" etc.

Harties is not fully classified as a built up area, hence why people prune the trees with their RV's when screwing around.

EDIT: To answer your question about transponders, most small aircraft have "Mode C" transponders which only ATC can see, and on larger aircraft, can be used for TCAS. In the USA ADS-B out was mandated by 2019, but to see other aircraft you need ADS-B in as well. The avionics capable of doing this are prohibitively expensive.

In 2016 I was quoted R1.1m for a G1000 upgrade - needless to say I stuck with steam gauges and the Mk. 1 eyeball.

sounds more like Kosmos middle red or next to the dam wall top red (cliff there)
theres an unmanned airstrip at bottom left red

That would be the coves - its a private airstrip where a lot of the pilots and airplanes we see at airshows live.
 
Last edited:

sandwitch

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
471
In theory manned aviation is meant to keep above 500ft AGL. The idea is that Drones keep below 400ft AGL and there is a 100ft seperation layer between the flight levels of manned vs unmanned.
now many planes fly illegally below this level and this is not policed, esp in more rural areas, and have always done so or gotten away with it.
Now drones have come into the picture and changed things. this space is occupied. It doesnt help that there are many drone pilots that have no ideas of the regulations and fly illegally at 500m or high altutudes or near airports etc.

Extract from the AIP - ENR 1 GENERAL RULES AND PROCEDURES
1 Minimum Heights
1) Except when necessary for taking off or landing, or except with prior written approval
of the Director, no aircraft -
a) shall be flown over built-up areas or over an open-air assembly of persons at a
height less than 1 000 feet above the highest obstacle, within a radius of 2000 feet
from the aircraft;
b) when flown elsewhere than specified in paragraph (a), shall be flown at a height
less than 500 feet above the ground or water, unless the flight can be made without
hazard or nuisance to persons or property on the ground or water
Do you know who you can report drone usage to? The neighbours keep hovering their drone above my house.
 

Rocco1

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2008
Messages
1,267
Do you know who you can report drone usage to? The neighbours keep hovering their drone above my house.
can report them to law enforcement/police in your area and see if they can have a chat to your neighbor. A visit by law enforcement will usually get them to stop. eg in CoCT it would work, but perhaps you live in a non-functioning municipality.
can try enforcement(at)caa.co.za, though not sure if they will do much for recreational use, they more likely to get involved if an operator, and they might not have resources to follow up on every toy drone etc.
 
Top