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Thread: Rules For Cameramen

  1. #1

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    Rules For Cameramen

    Hey folks,

    Looking for a little insight on a project I'd like to take on during the summer.
    I've been a pilot now for a little over a year, but have very little pictures or video of me flying. I'd like to share with family and friends what I do for fun, and it's hard since I'm stationed in NC, while most of everyone I know is in CA or NY. The best I've been able to do is crap-for-quality cell phone footage and I want to do better.

    I have access to a GoPro for the typical awesome in-flight footage, and that's all well and good, but I was hoping it'd be legal for me to take on a few different vantage points. Mainly, what I'd like to do is post a camera man, near the runway, and video me flying by, doing perfectly normal procedures. Nothing stupid or fancy, just take-offs, landings, and perhaps a low-approach or two. Typical 'cleared for the option' maneuvers. All of these would be performed with safety in mind, regarding weather, altitude and speed.

    The airport in question is uncontrolled, and has very low traffic volume. In the year I've been flying, only once has there been another aircraft in the pattern with me. (A MV-22 to boot!)

    Could anyone point me in the direction of a FAR that regulates this? Or perhaps the answer is simple and you can tell me. Anything from permission from the field manager to a waiver or maybe just constant updates via UNICOM, I'm not sure.
    Any input would be greatly appreciated on the matter.

    Thanks for your time,
    Bill

  2. #2
    Joe Delene's Avatar
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    At a lower traffic, uncontrolled field I wouldn't worry about it to much. That means I would just station the camera man out near the approach end, out of the way, & have at it. Just brief him/her about staying out of the way & off taxi-ways & the runway.

    Then as far as your flying, just do your normal procedures, nothing out of the ordinary.

  3. #3

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    I was going to respond with the same info earlier, but, didn't really know how to word it.

  4. #4

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    Hey, cool, cool.
    Thanks for the info. I was a little worried the overwhelming response would be 'Hell no, are you out of your mind?!' NSA would be at my door in a few minutes and I'd go away. I've always been a little cautious when it comes to airports, I never want to even come close to breaking some regulation that would ground me, so I always triple check before I do anything. This is good news, and it will be a fun project. Thanks for the help!

  5. #5
    Jim Rosenow's Avatar
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    As you mentioned, contact the airport owner, if private, or airport manager, if public, before your cameraman wanders out on the airport. If only for liability reasons, odds are the airport property is posted No Trespassing, and there are folks who tend to get testy over that sort of thing. FAA/TSA rules not-withstanding, it's airport management/local law enforcement that will be your grief, if any, so smooth your way. A courtesy call can work wonders.

    Have fun....and let's be careful out there.

    Jim
    Last edited by Jim Rosenow; 07-18-2013 at 07:00 AM.

  6. #6
    Joe Delene's Avatar
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    Airports run the spectrum from up-tight D.C. area to laid back rural Midwest. The airport I'm at has above average activity, still an uncontrolled field. In the A.M. & P.M. I see folks walking their dogs along the edge of the property fairly often. The dogs are leashed or under control, never seen a problem. The dog walkers may even help some with the geese & other fowl. Yes, an unleashed doggy park would be a problem.

    Of course at most airports if you were to go ask if you could do something, many are spring loaded to say 'NO'. At the larger airports taking pictures of planes can even invite a police visit, being asked to move along. If someone starts nosing around just tell them you are making a commercial or something similar.

  7. #7

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    I think at our airport if one showed up with a camera or two on tripods to put on the edge of the runway the response to "whatcha fixin' ta do?" would be "Whall alright....Bill, Jim, y'all wanna get pitchers of your landings? This feller's settin' up cameras.

    "I'd set them a bit to the side for Frank if he's out here...the boy's a menace and I got a broken runway light to prove it."

    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  8. #8

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    Lots of good comments have been posted so far. I would think safety first in all your plans, whatever they may be. "What ifs" come to mind, what is I blow a tire on take off and the photographer is right next to the runway, could he run and duck fast enough if necessary. Here's a list of other things I would think about concerning the photography aspect. Pick a day when it's calm and smooth, not a gusty crosswind day, it'll help make you look good. Try and shoot in the morning or the evening for the best light, mid-day is too harsh with its bright sun and dark shadows. Try a spot somewhat down the runway from where you'll rotate, so he can get the takeoff run and initial climb. Find someone who can hold the camera steady and can pan it smoothly. Nothing ruins a shot more than jerky moves and unsteady hands. Along those lines think about using a monopod or tripod to help steady the camera. Don't waste time on long shots like 5 minutes of you on the downwind leg. Zooming in that far exaggerates any shaky hands, and watching any plane when it's a dot in the distance is boring. Try and get some shots of you around the plane like part of the preflight or taxiing out and the shutdown and climbing out. Use you imagination and have fun safely.

  9. #9

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    Well said Frank,

    Most of the "airports" I fly into you'd have to run around hangers and knock on doors to find someone to ask "permission"! CTAF is mainly guys talking to themselves in the pattern. We use 122.7 and 122.8 in lots of airports in ohio, I hear people all the time but they're miles away from my position 99% of the time.

    Joe

  10. #10
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Every airport in the US (at least the legally established ones) have a owner and manager contact in the airport master record (might not be up to date, but they had to file one with their notice to construct). Airnav.com is an easy way to access this information.

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