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Airport you can't notify... What do you do?

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by joet, Aug 15, 2016.

  1. joet

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    One of the "airports" within the 5 mile range of my home isn't an airport at all... Although technically it's registered as one. It's essentially a seaplane owner's house - he keeps his seaplane on the lake behind it. So there's no airport facility, and he hasn't answered the phone the several times I've called. There doesn't appear to be any other contact information.

    So, do I just send the guy a letter and tell him that from time to time I will be flying from my home? I'm unclear as to what lengths we are required to go to while "notifying" an airport.


    AirNav: 57FL - Lake Keystone Seaplane Base
    Google Maps
     
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  2. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I'd send him a friendly letter as a courtesy. Offer to shoot some pics of his area FREE and you might make a life long relationship. It's always good to have friends with AIRPLANES!
     
  3. joet

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    Granted, but then I wouldn't be flying as a hobby... :D #gottastudyforpart107
     
  4. sar104

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    The official FAA contact information is listed, so if you call and there is no answer then I would assume no operations are taking place.
     
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  5. Richard R

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    You are free to share your pictures with friends, family, etc just as you can from any other device. Neither you or your neighbor have any financial expectations from sharing.
     
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  6. N017RW

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    If you try to call before your flight(s) and get no answer at least you'll have a record of the attempt. That will CYA.

    Doubtful you'll ever see each other in the air anyways.
     
  7. Richard R

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    No one usually answers when I call the 'real' airport near my home. I leave a message on the answering machine and IHMO I have fulfilled the FAA notification requirement. I haven't gotten any blowback from them
     
  8. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Of course you are. So long as you're not getting ANY compensation, you're not bettering a business, and you're not promoting a business you're well within Hobby/Recreational.
     
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  9. joet

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    My understanding from the Google School of Drone Laws is that the FAA considers the standard to be the intent of the video... I.E. if I just go out and take some video of whatever for my own enjoyment and happen to grab a great view of his seaplane, he notices, and I offer it to him, then that's fine. However, once I do it as his behest - for compensation or not - the intent changes and that's all the FAA cares about. Someone on this forum mentioned the use of a Phantom for search and rescue on a volunteer basis; since the intent is not your hobby, it's commercial. I wouldn't ordinarily split such a hair myself, but apparently the FAA is trolling Youtube videos and fining people. At any rate, I digress. I may take a drive over there tonight and see if anyone is home, and bring a letter that outlines the particulars. I'm hoping to just give them one notification (I could fly at anytime within this area at this maximum ceiling) and call it good.
     
  10. sar104

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    The Search & Rescue situation is somewhat complex. If you work for an official agency and fly on SAR missions, then it is unambiguously not hobby use, even though it's not really commercial either. But many non-Agency SAR volunteers do regard SAR as a hobby, and since they are not being compensated or supporting a business, would argue that it is clearly non-commercial.

    We have taken a pragmatic approach - namely that if volunteers want to contribute to a search effort using drones then we allow that. I will put a TFR into place for those operations though, even though they will be staying under 400 ft AGL.
     
  11. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    You can take pictures for someone "as a hobbyist" so long as no one gets any form of compensation or business promotion from it. In fact you can take pictures (as a hobbyist) and give them to a person (no compensation) and later that person could decide to use them in advertisement. The INTENT of the flight was hobby and that's all that matters.

    SAR is 100% not hobbyist and the NASAR has confirmed this with a recent batch of releases and the FAA has made their point on this very clear as of late. That's a whole other topic and it has it's own thread already going so I'm not going to drag this one down into that particular ditch LOL.

    I've been "doing this" for years and if anything I am one of those who fly by the rules to a "T". It's been a huge change from the good ole days of having no rules to having a TON of rules (and soon to be actual LAW when Part 107 goes LIVE in a couple of weeks) but it's still a fun and rewarding hobby, business, and adventure all the way around.
     
  12. joet

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    Your comments are noted, gentlemen, with thanks.

    Anyways... Back to the original topic.. One of the heliports in my 5-mile bubble is the local County mosquito control agency. I stopped by there on the way to lunch and had a great conversation with them, ranging from what I intend to fly to where and when they fly (and they sometimes are just above the treetops, so it was a valuable conversation to have). We discussed drone flyers, and they thanked me for coming in and being forthcoming, and said that for every notification they get, there are dozens of drone fliers that don't notify them. They even asked if there was any information on registration and rules in the box! I assured them that there was.

    I mentioned the issue with this mysterious "seaplane base", and they brought up that they thought the pilot had died last year. Turns out he did: Lake Keystone pilot killed in Hernando County plane crash

    So, that problem is no longer a problem for me, although one wouldn't wish for this particular solution. So, I guess I will check with the FAA to confirm that this is no longer a registered "airport" and if that is indeed the case, send notification to Airnav.com and the like to let them know that they can verify and remove it.
     
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  13. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Well done. I'm always looking for any excuse to go visit anyone who flies things :)
     
  14. joet

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    I spoke to one of the FAA's UAS folks. He essentially said that although I didn't actually notify anyone despite repeated attempts (and it seems improbable that there is anyone to notify in this case), that I had done all I could and could commence flights. He had no insight into how the FAA certifies/recertifies airports and couldn't opine as to how or when this facility might be removed from the records.
     
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  15. CCrew

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    Thanks for that info. I have one airport near me that was a farm at the time of registration that was used by it's owner to fly from and is now a subdivision having been sold off in parcels. Would be interesting to know how often they're reviewed.
     
  16. N017RW

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    I'm assuming DJI uses some FAA d-base to obtain their info.

    Imagine the bureaucracy involved for the FAA to update it's database on this stuff.

    Does the previous land owner notify the FAA it's no longer an airstrip, does the new owner notify it is no longer an airstrip, or does it just expire if not a renewed process?

    This explains a lot of the reports of other abandoned or re-purposed air-traffic sites still showing up in NFZs, etc.
     
  17. joet

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    Oh, certainly. For me, it's a pain because there are a number of these "seaplane bases" in the area that are little more than some guy's house. This far, none of them seem to answer the phone when called. I take a measure of solace from the fact that their operations are infrequent enough to make their inability to be notified much less of a concern than it might be. Same with hospital helipads, whose administrators seem to go home by 5pm, which is about when I am heading out to fly.
     
  18. Richard R

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    I know someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think that we are required to notify helipad operators. It's still our responsibility to stay out of helicopters way! Careflight often flies over my house at altitudes that are, at least, pretty close to the max that I can fly and I'm more than 5 miles from the hospital. There is no direct number into the communications center where, I assume, they talk to the hell when it is inbound, so I'm not sure how to get through the hospital bureaucracy to get a notice to them!
     
  19. sar104

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    They should really stay above 500 ft AGL, even though helicopters are conditionally exempted from the FAA minimum safe altitude rules if they need to go lower, but this seems to be one of the more grey areas that has not been clearly addressed. The assemblage of rules, guidance and advice that currently "regulates" aviation, including UAS, is not fully specified or even entirely self-consistent. It still seems to rely on the application of common sense in many cases.
     
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  20. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I'm with sar104 on this one. Just because they "can" fly lower than 500 (or 1000 depending on location) doesn't mean they should except for taking off/landing. One a plus side those pilots in MediVac are usually some of the best and most experienced pilots around.

    I live about 2 miles from the local hospital and we get a TON of heli flights. I've spoken with their company and have worked out an agreement. When I'm flying anywhere but our local flying club I call Flight Watch and let them know my location, anticipated flight path & altitude, and length of flights. They take down my contact # and will give me a courtesy call if one of the 2 heli are dispatched in my area. I then follow up with a phone call when I'm done so they can cancel the UAS alert where I'm at. This has worked splendidly and they have had to call me on 2 different occasions when the MediVac was headed in my direction. Both times I was either already back on the ground of on my way to land when we got the call. If I had not been done I would have landed until she over flew the area just to be safe.