Hobbyists Must Fly VLOS in the US
- The aircraft must be visible at all times to the operator
- That the operator must use his or her own natural vision to observe the aircraft
- People other than the operator may not be used in lieu of the operator for maintaining visual line of sight
Under the criteria above, visual line of sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person view” from the model. If interested, you can find more details here.
How to Legally Use a Spotter
The only way to legally fly with a spotter is if:
- You have a Section 333 Exemption
- You have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA)
- You’re flying commercially under FAA Part 107
- You’re flying indoors (which is not regulated by the FAA)
Flying with FPV Goggles or Glasses
This topic often comes up when people want to fly with googles like the DJI Goggles. Unfortunately, most goggles completely block the operator’s view, so they do not allow the operator to maintain VLOS. Glasses like the Epson Moverio BT-300 are one potential option that allow the aircraft to be seen while wearing the glasses.