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Old 29 July 2017, 11:12   #1
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Drone for Sailing Race Start Line Photo

I'm a WAFI on occasion, please don't hate me too much.

Our sailing club has an anniversary regatta this year followed by a very large open event the following weekend. There are some opportunities for some good photos.

If we were to buy a drone and stick a camera on it what is the cheapest we could do this for that is actually worth doing. Ideally without needing in the not too distant future to comply with CAA test rules so <250g? (Maybe that isn't even possible).

I'm thinking of a photo taken perhaps 50m upwind of the start line looking back towards the line as the "go gun" sounds. So we'd have 5 minutes warning of the start to get in position and hover. There will be multiple fleets who will probably get their 5 min warning from the "go gun" on the previous fleet.

I'm mostly thinking stills rather than movies. Mast heights are only 5-6m probably.

There should be no public in the 50m area. Would fly it back to the club property to avoid landing it near "publics" - but that might actually be an issue - could be 1.5 miles of cross water to do. Could land it on a safety boat but (a) Safety boat will have a priority for safety and (b) thats not a huge area and an pilot with no experience... ...gonna need a safety boat for the safety boat!

So the questions probably are:

Can a decent drone that is up to this kind of thing be had for not too much money (I can see drones from 50 on Argos)

Can a drone that doesn't weigh more than 250g be found that can do this?

Endurance - what's the solution? Spare batteries? Fly back, swap out battery, fly out again?

Stills - do you just take a movie and select a still?
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Old 29 July 2017, 12:03   #2
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So the questions probably are:

Can a decent drone that is up to this kind of thing be had for not too much money (I can see drones from 50 on Argos) (if you want usable pictures then no)

Can a drone that doesn't weigh more than 250g be found that can do this? (250g is a joke limit, you will need to go over that for anything worth having, 250g is literally toys in tesco)

Endurance - what's the solution? Spare batteries? Fly back, swap out battery, fly out again? (spare batts yes are the solution)

Stills - do you just take a movie and select a still? (depends on the camera, a decent one (i.e not a 50 quid argos special) you could take a still from the video but still option will be better as it uses all of the sensor so the resolution goes up.

you will need to land it on the boat, not impossible to do with some practice.

i would look for a DJI phantom 2, if you need to see what you are shooting then a phantom 3/typhoon q500 etc, i don't see the point in point and hope photography but it is a lot cheaper!

if you want something basic that you can put an action cam in- BAYANGTOYS X16 Brushless Altitude Hold 4CH 6-Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter RTF 2.4GHz

if you want to up the money then you can start getting brushless gimbals/better cameras/fpv etc.

keep in mind the cheaper fpv ones are wifi only transmission so you are limited to maybe 400m or so, plenty for your usage.

i stress though, you only get what you pay for with this stuff, there is no real "bargain" drones out there, they are cheap for a reason but if they go for a swim they don't hurt as much.
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Old 29 July 2017, 13:11   #3
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You'd be better finding someone who does it as a hobby and paying them 50!

Does the RYA have any rules about drones and races? British Cycling have specific advice for its commissaires on drones. You might need to get your race officers to buy into it.
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Old 29 July 2017, 13:15   #4
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You can't do that legally as you are not allowed to accept payment unless certified and if you are it will be substantially more than 50 quid.
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Old 29 July 2017, 13:48   #5
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A volunteer operator could work you know a drone flyer looking to Shoot some hobby footage. Worth asking in local model shops unless some wants a new hobby (plenty of people have drones already) I would look for someone that has decent gear to do it as a favour/practise
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Old 29 July 2017, 13:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xk59D View Post
You can't do that legally as you are not allowed to accept payment unless certified and if you are it will be substantially more than 50 quid.


I know this is your area so will have a better idea than me how likely it is to find someone willing to do it (rather than someone legal!)...

The rules defining commercial might not be quite as strict as you think - e.g. If you give someone permission to fly over your event and they offer to sell you a picture if you like one, is that still commercial?

However your point is very valid, as if the RYA or others who control the rules the club has to follow may be stricter on the interpretation...
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Old 29 July 2017, 14:22   #7
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they have been very careful with the rules around this as you may expect.

basically they didn't want to give loopholes like that as the 2 day course is 1000 ish and if that loophole existed then no one would do it. i am not saying it doesn't happen ofcourse..........that is a different thing entirely. you technically need a PFAW (permission for aerial work) from the CAA depending on your country to charge for anything and that comes via the licence.

i have filmed a golf course but i couldn't even accept a thank you drink legally as any form of payment for services for drone work requires a licence.

i should add, the way round the above if you find someone who is daft, sorry..kind enough to do this then if they are a member of the sailing club they can use the pictures for the clubs promotional purposes.

some info here- http://www.caa.co.uk/Commercial-indu...mmercial-work/

the actual extracts for those that can't be bothered-

The key elements in understanding this term are '…any operation of an aircraft…in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration'.

The term 'available to the public' should be interpreted as being a service or commodity that any member of the public can make use of, or actively choose to use, (e.g. because it has been advertised or offered to someone).

The essential question that needs to be asked is “what is the purpose of the (specific) flight?” i.e."If I were not receiving payment/valuable consideration, would I still be looking to fly?"
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Old 29 July 2017, 14:36   #8
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Poly - you are right the RYA does have guidance. Its erm rather vague...

Guidance for clubs on the use of drones | December 2015 | Club Room | e-newsletters | News & Events | RYA

But it does explicitly answer your attempt to circumvent the payment issue.

I think it is easier to film over a dinghy race rather than a cycle race. In a cycle race you are likely to be over other cyclists or over the crowd. In sailing there is usually no crowd that close, and you can plan to not be over the sailors.

The > 250g issue makes it a dead duck for me. It was an experiment rather than a commitment to doing courses etc. I was struggling to find a weight for the craft but that one Xk59D has linked to is 0.5kg, without the camera. I have a camera that would fit it. I suspect I'd need a second battery even with an 11 minute flight time, then need to get back to base, get it on charge, then if I want to get the next race have it off charge after < hour and get back out and be filming. This all feels like it makes the drone a full time part of the race rather than 10 minute of use at the race starts... so while a drone would give a different angle might as well put a big SLR on a rib and park in front of the line take a picture and head out.
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Old 29 July 2017, 14:43   #9
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hey bud,

i wouldn't worry about the 250g limit, that just means it has to be registered. the test thing will have to be an online tick box exercise when it does come in due to the shear numbers involved. what they were trying to do was allow the argos specials to fly right out the box so kids can fly their toys in back garden (<250g). the word in the model community is they are looking to up the limit but that may be a while off anyway, everything takes time with CAA/FAA.

if you buy the one i linked to, fire a gopro on it or the like and i'm sure you will get some usable pics, just set it to take a picture every 10 seconds and you are bound to get something usable even if you don't have FPV to see what is being shot.
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Old 29 July 2017, 14:50   #10
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Cool.

Well I still need to decide if I'm racing it...! If I'm racing it I don't think I can get away with flying a drone over the start line... will make an interesting discussion in the protest hearing!

(I am now imagining the future OppiParent will not come with Bins and a Dictaphone but a Drone and several batteries, ready to follow their darling round the course and then replay it to them pointing out the slightest flaws in their sail setting... ...before providing the SD card to be taken into the protest hearing because another boat had an overlap at 2.99 boat lengths as evidenced on the video... ARGGGGGHHHHHHHH)
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