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Confused on 333 and COA

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by packgreen49, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. packgreen49

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    I am registered with the FAA. I am within the 5 miles limit for flying. I don't want to fly for money. My problems are with helipads. What must I do to fly?
     
  2. rcheing

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    Contact the tower and let them know you're flying in the area or contact the helipads manager. The phone number should be listed in the B4UFLY app or Hover or UAV Forecast.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  3. packgreen49

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    I am not writing this from home, but I don't think Helipads have phone numbers. I have a heliports at a hospital. They had no idea of who I should contact.
     
  4. rcheing

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    Hi, in my area which is Boca Raton, FL the major airport is a Class D called "Boca Raton Airport". Every airport has their own procedures on how to contact them for UAV notification. The procedures are usually posted to their website, for example, the one near my home (within 3 miles) has the following instructions: Drone Notification Procedures. The one in Tampa, FL has a nice form you can fill out.

    There are also two other helipads near my home, one for a major hospital and another I believe is a corporate helipad. In the B4UFLY app, the phone numbers listed for those two helipads is the same number listed for the Boca Raton Airport. So in my case, I just follow the posted procedures and that satisfies my requirements to fly as a hobbyist within 5 miles of the airport and the helipads. You should check the numbers listed in the FAA B4UFLY app. Note that this app allows you to submit a form but it is currently only a test and does not satisfy the notification requirement...you will need to call. If no one answers, leave a message. Some people say leaving a message satisfy notifying them but for me it's not enough...I have to speak with someone or I won't fly, but that's my personal choice. In my case, I try to schedule my flights to when I know someone will be able to answer the phone.

    The 333 requirement and COA is needed if you are planning on flying for business. First, you would need to get the 333 exemption to get a blanket "permission" to fly at distances greater than 5 miles from an airport, then you need to apply for a COA to be able to do commercial flying within 5 miles of the airport. The COA is specific to the airport, if you have many, then you will need to submit one per airport. Then to be able to fly your commercial missions, you would need to hold a Sports Pilot Airman Certificate at a minimum. You would also need to post a NOTAM at least 24 hours before the mission and remain in contact with the tower and have a spotter.

    It is very complicated and asinine that as a commercial operator you have all this red tape but as a hobbyist, all you need to do is contact the tower and that's it.
     
  5. rcheing

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    By the way, this is exactly what I say when I call in case this helps:

    "Good afternoon Boca Tower, my name is Ricardo Cheing and I wanted to submit a UAV notification"
    "Hi....hold on sec (the controller is heard in the background directing flights)...no problem, where are you flying and how high?"
    "I'm going to be flying down the coast at Spanish River Beach for approximately 30 minutes and at or below 200 feet, of course if there are no objections"
    "Should be no problem, is your cell phone XXX-XXX-XXXX (reads from caller ID)"
    "Yes sir"
    "OK, so you'll be flying at or below 200 feet, down the coast at Spanish River Beach, for approximately 30 minutes starting from now?"
    "Yes sir"
    "Great, thank you for contacting us. Have fun and call us back when you're done"

    And that's all folks. They haven't asked me for my FAA registration number. Just the above. I never use the words "requesting permission" because I don't want to give them the impression that they are approving anything as the FAA guidelines clearly state notification. However, I do give them the option to object which they do have the right to do if they feel my UAV flight will interfere with their operations.

    I hope this helps.
     
  6. packgreen49

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    Well I am only flying as a hobby. I have no airport issues, but only helipads. I plan to talk to some FAA person tomorrow. I hope to get some help! Lol
     
  7. packgreen49

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    Today, I called the closest FAA to me. The person sent me information. The person could not or would not answer my questions. I have read most of what she sent me. I could not see where it addressed Helipads. I have sent an email about what should I do with Helipads? Maybe a letter stated I will keep it under 400 feet and in sight.
     
  8. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Regardless of what the MIN FAA requirements are you should take every precaution in this issue. Since you mention this is from a medical center (aka hospital) you probably already know MediVac flights don't fit into the "normal approach/departure" routine. They can appear literally from anywhere and almost any altitude. Making contact with the right person(s) is KEY to everyone's safety.

    I ran into this same situation because we have a medical center fairly close (7 miles) from my house. I had a client ask me about getting some aerial pictures of a building less than a mile from the medical center so I started searching for the right people to contact. Through some help of a paramedic friend on FB I was able to get the phone # to the company that dispatches the MediVac helicopter. Since the heli isn't based from my location no one there could help so we called the location where it is based and I spoke in great detail with the dispatcher. Here's what we came up with:

    Commercial:
    Call their # 24hrs in advance to notify of the location, altitude, time on and time off for the flight, and my personal contact information.
    Create a NOTAM no less than 24hrs prior and no more than 72hrs prior to the flight
    Call the dispatch upon arriving on scene to alert them I'm about to go up and leave my personal contact # in case they need to get with me quickly.
    Call the dispatch the moment I'm back on the ground and All Clear for the shoot.
    All of this is in ADDITION to any other requirements set for by the FAA.

    Hobby Flight:
    Call dispatch to let them know I'm on scene, where I am, how long I'll be flying, what altitude, and my contact # in case they need to reach me.

    Good luck and SAFE flights.
     
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  9. rcheing

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    I just helped you and so did BigAl. If you search the forums or FAA requirements, you would find the same information.

    The fact that you called someone in the FAA and they gave you information yet you still don't understand what to do in regards to helipads is troubling. Either you already made up your mind and will continue searching until you hear confirmation of what you believe or you don't like what we are telling you and will continue searching until someone tells you what you want to hear.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
    BigAl07 likes this.
  10. packgreen49

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    I am in Illinois. I have a Department of Transportation helipad close to me. I called them and they work close with the FAA. She said I can fly up to 400 ft and stay with the line of sight. So this might help others.
     
  11. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Helipads are tricky. I am in the land of helipads, Los Angeles. Most of them are for emergency use only, are not towered and with no active duty manager. The rest are active, e.g. hospitals, fire, police, and certain municipal locations. These are the ones you need to be very careful with.

    If you're flying commercially, your blanket COA will dictate how close you can get.

    If you're flying for hobby, it's a big grey area (the FAA should clarify this). If I am within 2 miles, I call them. If it's very active like LAPD Hooper, I double that.

    Also, if I am in a traffic area for helicopters as most of LA is, I won't ever ascend into open sky without an uninterrupted view. I use the buildings as cover and fly only in places no helicopter would voluntarily fly. I listen very carefully for approaching traffic and I have a VHF radio tuned into CTAF to monitor local activity. Any hint of a helicopter, I stop what I'm doing and look for it and if it's approaching I stay put or descend until it passes.
     
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