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DC Area no-fly zones. IAD radius shows as 7 miles?!?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Duncan Campney, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. Duncan Campney

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    I have seen an official document on the FAA website that the total ban on UAV in a 30 mile radius of national airport has been lifted. However, the FAA's B4UFLY app has not been updated to reflect this fact. I live inside the 30 mile radius of National, but outside the 15 mile radius, so according to the printed information from the FAA, I am able to fly. However, the B4UFly app still shows the 30 mile radius, and so says I am in a restricted area and may not fly.

    Next, the no-fly radius shown in B4UFLY around Washington Dulles (IAD) now shows as 7 miles, even though everything I've seen in print is that it is a 5 mile radius. I am RIGHT at the edge of a 7 mile radius of Dulles, which (obviously) puts me well outside the 5 mile radius. Does anybody know why B4UFLY is showing a 7-mile radius?

    Next, what's the policy on small helipads? B4UFLY shows a helipad I've never heard of within a few miles of my house. How do I make sure I'm not in violation for flying within a 5 mile radius of this helipad?

    Finally, what about small local airports? In addition to Dulles, which is a major international airport, we have a number of small local airports in our area. There is a local quarry that I'd like to fly over, but it is about 2.4 miles from a small local airport. I'm not sure of the policy for flying in it's 5 mile radius. Can anybody shed some light on that?
     
  2. flpholt

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    yes cause b4ufly website is stupid check on uav forcast instead
     
  3. Mark The Droner

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    I'm 19 miles north of downtown DC.

    I don't think there's a single app that is in agreement with what is restricted, what is forbidden, what is allowed, etc. Personally, I agree with flpholt above. I think the B4UFLY app is stupid and stupid is the best word I can think of to describe it.

    IMO, what we should all adhere to is FAA document AC 9157A. Any conclusions we should make should stem from that document. I think what we are seeing in these different apps is different opinions based on what their take is on AC 9157A. And that includes the FAA employee(s) who designed the B4UFLY app.

    The DC SFRA is an SFRA and is different than non-restricted areas. If you look at the wording on the press release of February 9th, it says:

    FAA Updates DC-Area Unmanned Aircraft Procedures

    Here is the NOTAM document from which the above press release stems from: http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/media/sUAS_SFRA_FDC_6_2069_A0037_16.pdf

    It states:
    UAS OPERATIONS ARE PROHIBITED WITHIN DC SFRA UNLESS IN COMPLIANCE WITH ALL OF THE REQUIREMENTS LISTED BELOW.

    ...

    In order to fly, we must adhere to the requirements (not guidelines) mentioned, including flying VLOS, no more than 400 ft AGL, etc. These are not suggestions, they are hard rules. So that is what makes the DC SFRA different than other areas, and that may be why you still see a 15-30 mile radius around DC. Maybe.

    Why does Dulles have a 7 miles radius? I have no idea. Regardless, all you have to do is notify them that you want to fly.

    Policy on helipads? Lots of people have different opinions. My opinion is that this question hasn't been answered yet. Helipads is not mentioned in AC 9157A. I regard a hospital helipad as emergency services which IS mentioned in the document.

    Small airports - again - I would fall back in AC 9157A. Is it an airport? Yes or no? If it is, then you must notify if you're flying within five miles. Simple.

    AC 9157A attached.
     

    Attached Files:

    #3 Mark The Droner, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  4. Richard Walker

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    Contact your local POC for FAA. Almost all heliports are in class G airspace unless they are within the airspace of a higher class airport like a B or C or D, etc. I am told by the POC in my area that you can fly your radio controlled craft in class G airspace up to 400 feet and don't need to contact the parties at that heliport or non towered small airports. Glass G is actually 700 feet but 400 feet is the AMA limit and also the guideline of the FAA regs for UAS.

    You are wise to use the information regarding the small airports and helipads to keep a close eye on traffic and avoid it at all costs.

    Don't just take my word for it. Contact your local point of contact for FAA.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
    #4 Richard Walker, Feb 29, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  5. Mark The Droner

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    This is good news then. And certainly more reasonable than a blanket 5 mile radius around every unattended heliport and towerless airport in the country. I agree though, it's certainly a good thing to be aware of these areas.