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Contacting Tower KDSM- anyone done this?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JackT, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. JackT

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    I live 3.5 nm from KDSM (Des Moines International). The red zone is just the airport. The regs say call the tower or controller within 5 miles. I'm afraid to do so, wondering if they may say don't fly. Anybody actually called KDSM or other controller?
    Thank you!
     
  2. Mark The Droner

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    If you search, you'll find threads with plenty of people who have called towers and it seems each and every time, the tower is friendly and has no problem with hobby flying. They just want to know when, where, how long, and how high.
     
  3. JackT

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    Thank you! Actually haven't figured out searching effectivly.
     
  4. Mark The Droner

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    Sometimes searching with google works best. Go to google and type:

    <keywords> site:phantompilots.com

    edit: except on google it will show
    a colon and the letter p instead of a goofy face haha
     
    JackT likes this.
  5. K1500Z71

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    This ^. You'll probably also find them to be thankful that you're being a responsible hobbyist by contacting them. I was the first person to ever do so with the airport near me and they were quite appreciative.
     
  6. 480sparky

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    I'm in your area, and I know a couple guys who call them on a regular basis with no problems.
     
  7. JackT

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    Thank you!
     
  8. -mike-

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    I live in Scottsdale Arizona within 5 miles of the Scottsdale Airport. I called them and they were very clear that they would not authorize any hobby flights in their airspace under any circumstances. Now I'm trying to figure out my next approach. The way I read the Public Law, congress did not give the FAA that authority; they just require me to 'notify' the airport and control tower. However the 'official' FAA 'interpretation' of the Public Law is that they retain the right to refuse permission to fly in their airspace for pretty much any reason. Any advice?
     
  9. Carloss66

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    I would probably go... I am sorry I was not clear sir. As per FAA regulations, this my call to let you know I will be flying my drone at... Again I am sorry, I did not call to get your authorization, I am calling just because the FAA requires me to you contact you. Have a nice day.
     
  10. Air Ontario

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    Call the tower at KDSM(they have control of airspace within 5 miles from the surface to 5000 ft.) if I remember correctly.

    Tell them exactly where you will be launching from, the max altitude you'll fly and the flight time duration(15 minutes or 2 hours for example)

    For example .....tell them you'll be operating a drone within a 1/4 mile radius of Holiday Park from surface to a max alt. of 400 ft from 8 am til 10 am today. Give them a contact number if you wish.
     
  11. buzo831

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    I'm having a similar issue at San Diego international. I got permission once, didn't get it again and apparently the original guy who gave me it got in trouble. I feel this is too much of a grey area. I know that all you have to do is notify but I thought they still have authority.
     
  12. -mike-

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    I spoke at length to the Scottsdale Airport Air Traffic Control Tower Manager last week. He is actually a great guy and spent a lot of time talking to me and exchanging emails. The end result however was that the airport is simply too busy to deal with all the calls they think they are going to be getting, and quite concerned about safety in the second busiest single-runway airport in the US. I was asking for a 400 foot ceiling, but I may go back to him one last time and ask for a 200 or even 100 foot ceiling and see if that would change his mind - but I seriously doubt it will. From his point of view, the FAA holds him accountable for maintaining a totally safe airspace environment at all times, and when I, and other hobby fliers, enter his airspace in an uncontrolled (and invisible) manner, then he simply cannot do the job he is charged with.

    On the one hand, I shared with him the full text of Public Law 112-95, Section 336 (where the keyword is 'notify", not 'ask permission') and forbids the FAA from making any rules beyond those in the Public Law regarding hobby aircraft. Then, the ATCT Manager shared with me the formal FAA "Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft" which states, in part, "Finally, the statute sets a requirement for model aircraft operating within 5 miles of an airport to notify the airport operator and control tower, where applicable, prior to operating. If the model aircraft operator provides notice of forthcoming operations which are then not authorized by air traffic or objected to by the airport operator, the FAA expects the model aircraft operator will not conduct the proposed flights. The FAA would consider flying model aircraft over the objections of FAA air traffic or airport operators to be endangering the safety of the NAS." This part of the FAA "interpretation" is clearly out of sync with the Public Law that Congress passed.

    The Scottsdale ATCT Manager agreed with my argument, but flatly stated he must obey the terms of the FAA Interpretation and could never permit such hobby operations in the current legislative and regulatory mess. Sorry, but no cigar.

    I honestly think that if I ignore the Tower's clear objections to my legitimate hobby flights, I may find myself in serious trouble, particularly if a single pilot complains of a close encounter with a 'drone' during his controlled operations.

    What we really need is for the larger drone manufacturers to band together to take the FAA to court and have their 'lawless' and erroneous "Interpretation" of the law overturned. Unfortunately, I did not win the lottery a couple of weeks ago, or I would do exactly that. However, as a poor fixed-income retiree, I simply can't afford the price of a long frustrating legal battle. Now, don't get me started on the National Parks flying restriction. Here in the West, you can rarely find another visitor in some of our National Parks, to annoy or harm.

    -mike-
     
    #12 -mike-, Jan 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2016
  13. buzo831

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    I'm in a similar situation except with the busiest single runway airport in the nation.
     
  14. -mike-

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    If you, or I, or anyone else has any useful and reasonable suggestions, I hope we will share them here for the entire group to see and adopt. The more details, the better! I would especially like to hear about any formal legal opinions, actual court challenges to the FAA, and/or any tried-and-true approaches for getting the ATCT Managers to realize that we can share the 5-mile Airport airspace safely with some minimal restrictions and guidelines. -mike-
     
  15. buzo831

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    I just know where I want to fly is not in the flight path. It's about 3 miles north and if a plane was ever operating at 400', let alone the 200' I just wish to operate at, there would be a lot more issues than that. The annoying part for me is that a little ways south of where I want to operate is a paved runway for model planes. Obviously, they haven't had an issue with them prior otherwise they would have never allowed them to build it. That part is just what gets me going.
     
  16. -mike-

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    Take a Google Maps Shot showing where you want to fly and where the "official" RC Model Airplane Runway is. Send the map to the ATCT Manager and ask why one is permitted and one is not? However, when the ATCT Manager removes the RC Model Airplane group's permission to fly from their field, you may have to move to another town (state?) to avoid the mob that will result. :) -mike-
     
  17. Magestri

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    It doesn't say ask permission, it says to let them know where you will be flying prior to flight.
    And if it is a permanent location, ie, your property, you can reach a mutual agreement on how you will always fly safely, and probably just get that in writing between both parties. Then you don't have to keep calling.

    "when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation (model aircraft operators flying from a permanent location within 5 miles of an airport should establish a mutually-agreed upon operating procedure with the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower"

    At least that is how I am interpreting it so far :)
     
  18. buzo831

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    The above post by Mike explains the reasons why I am doing as the ATC is saying.
     
  19. -mike-

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    Unfortunately, there are actually 2 separate federal rulings on this topic, and they directly contradict each other. As long both of these rulings stand, the ATCT Managers will take the easiest, and in their opinion, the safest, position and 'object' to any flights within 5 miles of the airports.

    First, there is Public Law 112-95, Section 336 (where the keyword is 'notify", not 'ask permission') and forbids the FAA from making any rules beyond those in the Public Law regarding hobby aircraft.

    Second, there is the FAA "Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft" which states, in part, "Finally, the statute sets a requirement for model aircraft operating within 5 miles of an airport to notify the airport operator and control tower, where applicable, prior to operating. If the model aircraft operator provides notice of forthcoming operations which are then not authorized by air traffic or objected to by the airport operator, the FAA expects the model aircraft operator will not conduct the proposed flights. The FAA would consider flying model aircraft over the objections of FAA air traffic or airport operators to be endangering the safety of the NAS."

    Although the FAA "interpretation" is clearly out of sync with the Public Law that Congress passed, it is, nonetheless, a clear statement of the FAA's position, and I am personally very concerned that the FAA's resources are far greater than mine if they decide to go after me after their Tower personnel 'objected' to my flying in their busy airspace. And, I think at some point the FAA will have to find a couple of individuals to prosecute to settle this issue.

    In my opinion, this is just one small example of an out-of-control Federal Executive Branch that constantly refuses to live within established Law and continues in many, many areas to legislate their self-serving agendas through 'rules', 'regulations', and 'interpretations' that are simply outside of established Laws.

    I believe that our only recourse is to somehow engage a group of RC manufacturers to band together to challenge what I consider is a lawless attempt by the FAA to disregard Public Law 112-95, Section 336, which specifically prohibits the FAA from making such a 'rule'. And ideas on that approach?
    -mike-
     
  20. RasterEyes

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    What about private airstrips with no tower to contact? Is there a ruling, or official opinion on the 5 mile rule when there isn't a tower?


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