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  1. #1
    eddieC's Avatar
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    Post RC Pilot Fined &10,000 !!

    This courtesy of Aero-News.net:

    R/C Aircraft Pilot Fined $10,000 By The FAA


    Agency Said Raphael Pirker Illegally And Recklessly Operated A UAV In Virginia


    The FAA has fined the pilot of an R/C airplane, which it classifies as a UAS, $10,000 for what the agency says is the reckless and careless operation of a Ritewing Zephyr powered glider aircraft in the vicinity of the University of Virginia (UVA), Charlottesville, Virginia.


    According to the FAA, the operator... whose name is Raphael Pirker but who is known as "Trappy" ... was the pilot in command of the aircraft, and that he does not "possess a Federal Aviation Administration pilot certificate."


    The Order of Assessment (Docket No. 2012EA210009) charges that Trappy operated the aircraft with a camera aboard that sent real-time video to the ground; that the flight was performed for compensation; and that he operated the aircraft at altitudes of approximately 10 feet to approximately 400 feet over the University of Virginia in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.

    Specifically, the FAA charges that the pilot:


    Operated the aircraft directly towards an individual standing on a UVA sidewalk causing the individual to take immediate evasive maneuvers so as to avoid being struck by your aircraft.
    Operated the aircraft through a UVA tunnel containing moving vehicles.
    Operated the aircraft under a crane.
    Operated the aircraft below tree top level over a tree lined walkway.
    Operated the aircraft within approximately 15 feet of a UVA statue,
    Operated the aircraft within approximately 50 feet of railway tracks.
    Operated the aircraft within approximately 50 feet of numerous individuals.
    Operated the aircraft within approximately 20 feet of a UVA active street containing numerous pedestrians and cars.
    Operated the aircraft within approximately 25 feet of numerous UVA buildings.
    Operated the aircraft on at least three occasions under an elevated pedestrian walkway and above an active street.
    Operated the aircraft directly towards a two story UVA building below rooftop level and made an abrupt climb in order to avoid hitting the building.
    Operated the aircraft within approximately 100 feet of an active heliport at UVA.
    "Additionally, in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another, you operated the above-described aircraft at altitudes between 10 and 1500 feet AGL when you failed to take precautions to prevent collision hazards with other aircraft that may have been flying within the vicinity of your aircraft," the order states.


    "Trappy" has 20 days to file an appeal with the NTSB. His lawyers last week filed a motion to dismiss the case. He is believed to be the first person actually to be fined by the FAA for such a flight. The blog sUAS News reports that flights performed by the pilot and Team Blacksheep, which self-identifies as "R/C Daredevils," are the subject of "heated" debate in the R/C aircraft community.

    FMI: http://team-blacksheep.com/ http://www.suasnews.com/2013/10/2547...against-trappy
    I might not be very good, but I am fun to watch!

  2. #2
    eddieC's Avatar
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    The lessons here are:

    1. If you fly RC aircraft for pay, you need a minimum of a Commercial pilot's license.

    2. If you fly RC aircraft in a careless or reckless manner, you could be prosecuted.

    3. If you fly RC aircraft outside the (dubious) protection of a CBO, you could easily be in jeopardy of prosecution.
    I might not be very good, but I am fun to watch!

  3. #3
    Moderator daveopam's Avatar
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    If the allegations are true, it's guys like Trappy that are going to hurt us all.

    David
    I never want to see a crash. But I don't want to miss one either.

  4. #4

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    Years ago, the drug running pilots did not usually have a pilot's license.
    At the time, this exempted them from getting hit with the FAA's fines, etc.
    Naturally the other laws were more than enough to convict them for running
    drugs.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddieC View Post
    The lessons here are:

    1. If you fly RC aircraft for pay, you need a minimum of a Commercial pilot's license.

    2. If you fly RC aircraft in a careless or reckless manner, you could be prosecuted.

    3. If you fly RC aircraft outside the (dubious) protection of a CBO, you could easily be in jeopardy of prosecution.
    2. Darn, guess I'm illegal. So, being a noob at RC planes is illegal?

  6. #6
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    Thats this guy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9cSx...4M9zQ&index=26

    The video went viral... as well as some people on RCGroups going after him. This was almost 2yrs ago, but there was alot of people in an uproar... and the guy actually did an interview on one of the underground(read YouTube) RC channels, and was really very arrogant about the whole thing.. basically had the attitude that he could fly where ever he wanted.. and those that didn't like were just jeolous.. very arrogant.. and apparently isn't a US citizen.. Hes from Austria or one of those countries.. Ha.. he thought he'd never get caught..

    As cool as the video is.. I do hope they absolutely throw the book at him and give a bit of time in a small room with cement walls... he's that flippin arrogant I think.

    But yeah.. same guy.. and probably had a small crew to go with him. He was totally banned from RCGroups not long after this video.. not because of the video.. but it was his sheer attitude towards others and his derogatory and rude posts.

  7. #7
    DGrant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by collector1231 View Post
    2. Darn, guess I'm illegal. So, being a noob at RC planes is illegal?
    I wouldn't worry about being illegal... theres not alot of people that have done what this Trappy has.. and the thing is that guy has went out of his way to do illegal things... like overflying the Brooklyn brigde.. fly-bys of the Statue of Liberty.. you know.. stuff like that.. flying over crowded city streets... He was so out of control it was just a matter of time before someone caught up to him.. It just took a few years is all.

  8. #8
    eddieC's Avatar
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    Years ago, the drug running pilots did not usually have a pilot's license.
    At the time, this exempted them from getting hit with the FAA's fines, etc.
    Not so. All had licenses (I've known a few, plus how would they have learned to operate high-performance aircraft? ), and if you operate illegally in US airspace, licensed or not, you can be prosecuted by the FAA just as this unlicensed guy has.
    Check out the documentary, 'Cocaine Cowboys' for an interesting look at the 80's drug operations.
    I might not be very good, but I am fun to watch!

  9. #9
    scottrc's Avatar
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    Only thing that will stick is if he operated the lighter than air craft for direct compensation to take pictures. For that, he had to have a commercial license and permission from the UAV. All the other crap is media fodder.
    If you love your plane, set it free, if it doesn\'\'t return, you should have checked the battery.

  10. #10

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    He was taking pics for commercial use.

    FAA weren't offered a "cut" of the deal ... hence, the prosecution.

    Nothing to do with safety. Everything to do with the criminal Mafia that is the State ... entitled to a hefty proportion of everything you earn. Apparently.

  11. #11
    eddieC's Avatar
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    Only thing that will stick is if he operated the lighter than air craft for direct compensation to take pictures. For that, he had to have a commercial license and permission from the UAV.
    It wasn't 'lighter than air', where did you get that? And permission FROM the UAV, an air vehicle? Stop bandying phrases you know nothing about. The UAS regs are quoted elsewhere here, you might want to review them.

    Nothing to do with safety. Everything to do with the criminal Mafia that is the State ... entitled to a hefty proportion of everything you earn.
    Back away from the Fox channel! LOL. The FAA doesn't 'get a cut''. I've been a commercial pilot for over 30 years, and have never had to pay for anything beyond the actual flight training.

    The FAA thoroughly investigates before bringing an action. I'll bet 90% of the charges stick, the fine may get reduced with community service and a ban from operating any UAV's.
    I might not be very good, but I am fun to watch!

  12. #12

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    Well thank you Bob , there's 6;36 minutes of my life wasted watching that slimeball lawyer blather about how the FAA has no right to enforce it's own rules .....

    What trappy does has NO relation to MY hobby and I highly resent the "black eye by association" that my hobby gets from his antics . I hope both he AND the lawyer get 10K fines !!!!

    A great man on some other website maintains that FPV and good ol fashioned RC should be considered totally separate endeavors , with the AMA shunning anything to do with cameras on model aircraft , commercial operators or not . After listening to that lawyer trying to justify his position of the FAA having no say at what goes through OUR AMERICAN AIRSPACE , I now believe 100% that MY hobby needs NO association whatsoever with the flying camera crowd !

    PS to Bob , you sir , between here and the AMA forum , seem to have QUITE an interest in all things American with regards to our RC model aircraft operations . Now , I would NEVER be so rude as to suggest that you stick to the BMFA sites like some of the AMA forum regulars suggested to you recently in the "why is the AMA not growing" thread . But I WILL suggest that if you have SUCH a desire to be in on all things American , Hell , why not just move over here and live the American dream for yourself ?

  14. #14

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    Ha, ha, American Dream ... where you get a $10,000 fine for harming no-one.

    And where the modelling community cheers on the Govt. thugs who claim ownership of the very air.

    No thanks.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by bogbeagle View Post
    Ha, ha, American Dream ... where you get a $10,000 fine for harming no-one.

    And where the modelling community cheers on the Govt. thugs who claim ownership of the very air.

    No thanks.
    Hi Bob ,

    No reason to hate the system just cause it doesn't allow you endanger others with impunity !

    We have ALWAYS been a country of laws , , , JUST and proper laws to keep the less thinking crowd from visiting their damages upon other , innocent folks ! This notion of the United States as "the wild west" may have sold a few (hundred) crappy "oaters" (cowboy and horse movies) back when we were young , but the reality is that even in Washington's and Franklin's time you wern't allowed to endanger the general public and there WERE mechanisms in place to curtail such behavior .

    You will , of course , ask , "but how could trappys flights possibly endanger someone ?" all innocently ....

    And my answer will be to simply smile , not even try to explain that which SURELY to any thinking person would be a fairly obvious point , And to THANK the FAA for removing that which doesn't follow the established rules for being there . Yes , we the people DID create the FAA to establish order in the skies after the "barnstorming" follies of early aviation here in the US . As you may recall , unregulated use of the suddenly available for cheap WW1 surplus aircraft was responsible for a number of highly publicized incidents with the PUBLIC calling for something to be done . I'd rather not wait till it's the public calling for regulation on us due to the nasty incident that could happen with unregulated ANYTHING flying through the air . You'll say "but trappy is only ONE person , how big of a risk could his flight be ?" ...... Well , lets just multiply trappy X the number of these drones that are in private hands with no idea when any one of em is gonna accidentally drop into the middle of some expressway somewhere and cause a massive pile up of cars resulting in death . How innocent are we gonna look then ?

  16. #16

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    PS , that offer to move here is , of course , always open . Sure , ya may have to behave by following a few common sense rules , but then I suspect that merry old England may just have a law or two that you are happily complying with as we speak , yes ?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by init4fun View Post
    PS , that offer to move here is , of course , always open . Sure , ya may have to behave by following a few common sense rules , but then I suspect that merry old England may just have a law or two that you are happily complying with as we speak , yes ?

    Merrie Olde Englande has a plethora of "laws" which I'm actively trying to subvert.

    The only LAW that I recognise is the Non-Aggression Principle. As to the rest, I comply when I must.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by bogbeagle View Post
    Merrie Olde Englande has a plethora of "laws" which I'm actively trying to subvert.

    The only LAW that I recognise is the Non-Aggression Principle. As to the rest, I comply when I must.
    If they are unjust laws , rather than just break em , why not work to change them into something more workable and fair ? Surely not EVERY law in your country are of evil intent , SOME of em must be properly for the good of society ? Just so you , Mr. Bob Beagle , know , I am NOT any kind of "tree hugger" and believe laws for the protection of the self ARE unjust . My best example is that of Motorcycle helmet laws . I have ridden for years , and would NEVER ride without a helmet . But to have a law that says I MUST ? Why ? Who else will be hurt other than myself should an accident happen ? No one should force you to protect yourself against your own will , providing your the only one at risk . Now , if you ride "off road" , there is a law requiring that your muffler be equipped with a proper "spark arrester" to eliminate the chance of a forest fire . Someone who owns a house adjacent to that forest shouldn't have to bear the consequence of fire due to your not following proper law to curtail your bikes public hazzard . In other words , some laws to protect other folks from a person's improper actions are needed in ANY civil society , and trappy really has NO justification for coming to MY country and breaking the laws that MY fellow citizens have enacted to protect folks from exactly what he was doing , putting other folks at risk for his own financial gain .....

    PS , I sleep REALLY well at night knowing that Eskimos club Seals and that most endangered species DO , in fact , taste like chicken !!!!

  19. #19

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    Once you accede to the "precautionary principle", you are lost.

    There is no end to the regulation that may be imposed "just in case this or that happens".




    And, you will discover a whole new raft of legislation as a direct result of your dalliance with socialised medicine... Obamacare.

    Over here, the National Health Service is used as a stick with which to beat the populace. The logic goes like this ... "You can't smoke/drink/eat/whatever, because everyone has to pay for the treatment that you will receive." It's the perfect excuse for restrictions on just about all worthwhile activities. I expect it to be more assiduously applied to sportsmen and such-like, as the budgetary constraints become more apparent. I mean, Britain is just as bankrupt as the US.

    Enjoy.

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    i fly on the desert with a bunch of guys and no trouble most do not have [ama] or>any insurance>> 30 yrs out there and no trouble yet?

  21. #21

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    I do wish the person charged would be referred to as what he is..... an FPV pilot. While he is in fact controlling his aircraft remotely he is far beyond the range of line of sight flying which most would consider to be RC piloting as we have known it.

    Some may say there's no difference but I would beg to differ............I want nothing to do with the FPV side of piloting, only the RC side, and hope that those who do and behave like this individual are treated equally as tough by the FAA before a severe accident puts my ability to fly at risk

  22. #22

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    Throw the FPV pilots to the wolves... they are the source of all evil and will bring down the empire.

    Come on, there are sane responsible adults capable of operating an RC airplane using cameras and telemetry. I have seen enough RC crashes to know that you should not be flying around or over people. A congested urban environment is not the place to fly an FPV aircraft. The FPV aircraft's systems are not redundant and not built and maintained to the level of a licensed aircraft. There are places where this can be accomplished without harming anyone or anything, go there. To prevent everyone from flying FPV is as wrong headed as Trappy's arrogance of our laws. If there is not a law that fits, they repurpose other laws to cover the incident.

    The single biggest problem is "see and avoid". No pilot wants to hit an FPV and crash their aircraft as a result. There have to be some rules and licenses established. Right now, it is the wild west, but shortly the FAA issue regulations. If anyone is happy, the FAA will have failed. I just cannot comprehend why someone would fly off their 30 story balcony over people and traffic. Think people, just because you can, does not mean you should.

  23. #23
    SkunkWerkz's Avatar
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    Really bugs me that this guys was flying within 100 feet of an active heliport. I am a commercial helicopter pilot and have been for many years.

    As far as the charge of flying for compensation, anytime you are in any airspace doing anything for what in our FAA regulations calls "compensation or hire" which means if your getting paid, receiving beers for the work, getting any type of compensation, you must possess a commercial pilots license and medical certificate.

    Point is, if I'm flying a patient back to the hospital and a dji flame wheel hits my tail rotor, I'm going down. We fly low quite a bit and i mean below 300'. Sometimes lower during an off airport approach and patient pick up. That's a 3.5 million dollar chopper going down over a 1500.00 toy. I myself fly a DJI flame wheel with goggles out of sight and I do it in parks where I know that one of my fellow pilots isn't going to be making an approach or flying below 500' which we do all the time because helicopters are allowed.

    The reason they want a commercial pilot certificate is because one of the parts of that training is so that you learn airspace and their usage, types of airspace, flight altitudes and a ton of other safety information so you don't fly into other aircraft. How are you supposed to avoid other aircraft when you are only looking forward with limited peripheral view??

    You cannot fly a UAV safely within other aircraft's airspace without flight following and separation from a tower or air traffic control.

    I guarantee you that this will bring attention to the FAA as far as overall usage. Unfortunately, they have nothing better to do then regulate airspace and that includes rc aircraft. All they have to do is get enough complaints and be having a bad day and boom, recreational use of UAV's is gone.

    Sucks but from my side, I feel we as full scale pilots have enough to worry about than a model whacking our choppers. There's enough damn birds out there to worry about!

    Make sure you are operating within the laws. One bad apple can really screw it for everybody. Just my professional input.
    Last edited by SkunkWerkz; 10-20-2013 at 06:53 PM.
    Danny Diaz "SkunkWerkz"
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  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkunkWerkz View Post
    Really bugs me that this guys was flying within 100 feet of an active heliport. I am a commercial helicopter pilot and have been for many years.

    As far as the charge of flying for compensation, anytime you are in any airspace doing anything for what in our FAA regulations calls "compensation or hire" which means if your getting paid, receiving beers for the work, getting any type of compensation, you must possess a commercial pilots license and medical certificate.

    Point is, if I'm flying a patient back to the hospital and a dji flame wheel hits my tail rotor, I'm going down. We fly low quite a bit and i mean below 300'. Sometimes lower during an off airport approach and patient pick up. That's a 3.5 million dollar chopper going down over a 1500.00 toy. I myself fly a DJI flame wheel with goggles out of sight and I do it in parks where I know that one of my fellow pilots isn't going to be making an approach or flying below 500' which we do all the time because helicopters are allowed.

    The reason they want a commercial pilot certificate is because one of the parts of that training is so that you learn airspace and their usage, types of airspace, flight altitudes and a ton of other safety information so you don't fly into other aircraft. How are you supposed to avoid other aircraft when you are only looking forward with limited peripheral view??

    You cannot fly a UAV safely within other aircraft's airspace without flight following and separation from a tower or air traffic control.

    I guarantee you that this will bring attention to the FAA as far as overall usage. Unfortunately, they have nothing better to do then regulate airspace and that includes rc aircraft. All they have to do is get enough complaints and be having a bad day and boom, recreational use of UAV's is gone.

    Sucks but from my side, I feel we as full scale pilots have enough to worry about than a model whacking our choppers. There's enough damn birds out there to worry about!

    Make sure you are operating within the laws. One bad apple can really screw it for everybody. Just my professional input.
    QFT!

    I don't fly choppers, but I hate the idea of being on an approach and this dude with his quadcopter or whatever decides to take pictures to get some job. You hit the nail on the head, there are enough birds out there to make life difficult and I don't want RC to be part of the problem.

    My 'feeling' is that this guy NEEDS some cell time to let him develop some care and attention to details like safety.
    Jim Branaum AMA 1428
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  25. #25
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    Question:

    If you record your flight and post it on YouTube and receive a check from Google from advertising revenue is it "Commercial"?


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