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Airspace Authorizations: Hobbyists & Part 107 Commercial

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by EndlessTrail, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. EndlessTrail

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    When I was studying for the UAS operators test I understood that operators under Part 107 were supposed to contact ATC to get permission for flights within controlled airspaces. Makes sense. Then after I passed the exam I read on an FAA web page that we should NOT contact ATC directly about airspace authorization and instead use the same web page as for Waiver requests. Did anyone else notice this opposing information? I have filed my first airspace authorization through the online form (was careful to click the checkbox for the authorization and not waivers). And the result is the next week I got a blanket response that airspace authorization is going to take up to 90 days just like waivers. And I missed some kind of cutoff date for the most recent batch of requests getting reviewed. I have also heard unofficially that the 90 wait may decrease over time as the process gets hammered out.
     
  2. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Prior to Part 107 Commercial Operators had to contact the tower. Part 107 introduced the Web Portal for Airspace Authorizations (also waivers but that's another topic).

    Depending on which airspace you're trying to get Authorization it could be a few weeks out. Also where and how high you're wanting to fly could delay your authorization (or get denied).

    Once the system is tweaked some authorizations could be almost instantaneous but that's only for the safe and "easy" ones. Those that are complex or don't fit into the "Easy Box" will need more information or could get kicked down to local for final approval/denial.

    If your "need date" falls outside of the start date for a specific Airspace it will get denied by default so don't ask for authorization in an area that isn't being processed yet.
     
  3. Enrico Schaefer

    Approved Vendor

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    The rules say ATC permission. The FAA wants to change the rules without going through the proper procedures to require ATC permission through the FAA.gov website. Some pilots are still calling ATC and getting permission. It is doubtful the FAA could violate anyone who calls ATC directly. The FAA is trying to get ATC to stop granting authorizations by phone and tell pilots to use the website.

    We offer free training to help pilots obtained airspace authorization through the website, as well as waivers. See the link below.


    Enrico Schaefer
    UAV Attorney
    www.dronelaw.pro

    Free Part 107 Waiver and Airspace Training Videos. https://www.dronelaw.pro/part-107-waivers/
     
  4. Robert P Stenerson PLS

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    I submitted a on-line request for airspace authorization (Class E to the surface) for a small photogrammetry mission, below 250 AGL, eleven miles from a class D airport two weeks ago. After submitting the request I received no acknowledgement like a tracking number. Hearing nothing back for a week I sent an email to the uashelp@faa.gov address and got a worthless canned response answering none of my questions or concerns.

    I don't know about you guys, but this doesn't impress me as being good. I'm thinking they used the same web contractor who rolled out the Obama care website . Also, when they quote 90 days out, who can be expected to conduct business with this? It burns me up as I watch Casey Neisbet on YouTube violate New York and LA Class B, clearly flying BVLOS, then manages to have a Fly away with a Magic Pro. Good grief!

    Sorry for the rant guys, just a little frustrated I guess.

    Go CUBBIES.
     
  5. GMack

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    Been there with the feds in a commercial nat. forest shoot permit process. It started in winter with the paperwork, ACORD25 forms from underwriter and naming them as insured for $4 million, still going on in May, they lost the check, stopped that payment, started again, then they had to get the local county involved and their sundry paperwork which then has to be forwarded back to the feds for final approval. So 90 days ain't nothing in dealing with the government. Absolutely awful when trying to plan something for weather conditions 3-5 months out too. Plus, every 2-3 week its more money for whatever.

    P.S. Ever stand in line in the SSI office for eight hours, and then told to come back the next day due to them closing? May as well bring your sleeping bag and food. No wonder people can go for years before getting audited by the iRS too. They ain't exactly efficient. And I thought the DMV was bad.
     
  6. N42742

    Approved Vendor

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    It was only opposing information in your particular training program. The FAA has stated from the beginning that for Part 107 ops, you should not contact ATC directly but use the online form at faa.gov/uas. The training program you used should have made that clear.
     
  7. EndlessTrail

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    _____
    Thanks for the Info Big Al!
     
  8. EndlessTrail

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    ---------------
    I had the same experience with regards to no immediate response. Whereas most commercial and government websites give an autoresponse to confirm a submission, order, etc there is no way to tell on this system whether they got your submission until you receive a reply days (or more) later.
     
  9. EndlessTrail

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    -----------
    hmm .. I had raised hopes for no reason.
     
  10. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Keep in mind it's a brand spanking new system and there are a LOT of bugs to work out. If we waited for the system to get tweaked before rolling it out we would still be waiting for Part 107 to go live and that was a no-go for most. As it is most Part 107 operations are a GO with the exception of "Controlled Airspace". Even though this may be very restrictive for some, the majority of Part 107 operations are going full bore with no hiccups.

    In time it will get better for about 75% of the requests. Keep in mind even after the system is tweaked and operating as designed that certain requests will either get denied immediately or get passed back down to local ATC to gather more information (which will cause delays). So don't think that every request will be granted because certain areas/circumstances will get denied.
     
  11. Falcon900

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    What exact Class D airport are you talking about. Class D is usually a much smaller radius than 11 miles.
     
  12. Robert P Stenerson PLS

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  13. Falcon900

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    Did you mean to type an answer?
     
  14. Robert P Stenerson PLS

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    It's Class E to the surface (dashed magenta aligned with main ILS approach path) for a class D airport. I'd be working 200AGL max, with a white anticollision strobe, and I would be monitoring with an airband HT, to both the tower and CTAF for traffic, for which I could easily abort and land.
     
  15. Falcon900

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    Ok, that's more understandable. From what I have read about the airspace authorization procedure, you will also be required to furnish a mobile phone # and have that phone available. In some areas, the area TRACON (approach control) may be communicating with the aircraft until the aircraft on the approach is handed off to the tower some where near the final approach fix.. Good luck.
     
  16. Robert P Stenerson PLS

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    Thanks BigAl07 for your reply, but I guess that's my gripe, unlike you who responded (thank you) this system gives the applicant deadening silence. Remember when they first started installing those crosswalk buttons, you'd press them but not really knowing if they were hooked up to anything especially after watching several cycles with no walk signal for you. What does it make you do, yep after a while you say screw it, and you jaywalk.

    I understand there are a lot of the moving parts to this, and as a Part 61 Private Pilot ticket holder, I'm all into compliance and safety, but this non status, non traceable, ninety days lead time system will encourage those with, let's just say, less scruples to play the unknowing hobbyist and just fly it and be done with it (aerial equivalent to the jaywalker.)

    This should be a trouble ticket type of system, wherein the applicant enters a request and it spits back a ticket/tracking number. Right now, how can we change or even withdraw a request without some kind of ID?

    I wouldn't mind if they denied my request, fine , then I'd know where I stand and can plan accordingly with my client. It's the cone of silence that's the ball buster for people trying run a civil operation.

    Best regards, and safe flying,
    RS
     
  17. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    I fully understand your frustration and completely agree with it. For what it's worthy they are listening to our "gripes" and each week they are taken into the weekly conference call on our behalf. Everything you mentioned is a valid and well known complaint with the system. All I can say is they really are listening and trying to work through the new problems as well as the existing problems as best they can.

    I don't know when any "corrections" will be implemented but rest assured that we are being heard and they are working towards our common goals. I feel the best about the FAA now than I have in... well decades LOL.

    Sincerely,
    Allen
     
  18. Robert P Stenerson PLS

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    They have my cellphone (RPIC) as it's part of the online request, but ATC is primarily radio guys, to quote FAA's Kevin Morris's Part 107 briefing, if they want me on the ground they can pick up the same mic they're used to using and just call me, and I can reassure them I'm getting down without them having to track down my cellphone. If you're curious, the airport is KERI.

    All the best, safe flying.
    RS
     
  19. SOCPilot

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    It's a fair gripe. In recent weeks, they started sending "receipts" of your submission and automated emails as you move throughout the process. They're a bit cryptic but much better than the deafening silence in the first submissions. I recently got a Class D airspace authorization within a couple of weeks, so they are picking up the pace.

    If it helps, I wrote a guide that walks you through the process. You can find it here. It's designed to make the process easier and gives you some templates to use and let's you track your submissions. I haven't updated it yet for the automated messaging. I'll be doing that this week.
     
  20. SOCPilot

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    I don't believe it says anywhere that you have to have the number available. In fact, the number doesn't even have to be for the pilot operating. Each responsible person is required to keep track of pilots and aircraft operating under the approval and that number must be consistent regardless of who is operating. It's bizarre. As others have pointed out, ATC is really radio driven but the process is designed such that a phone call wouldn't work during real operations. There are so many disconnects in this process...