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Dealing with local heliports

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by mchadwickclark, Feb 24, 2016.

  1. mchadwickclark

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    Has anyone worked with local heliports associated with hospitals or similar facilities that don't have a control tower in an effort to coordinate your flight activities? I have 4 within 3.6 miles of my home and am getting mixed messages from them about how much or how little they want to be apprised of my flights. One says as long as I am operating at or beyond 3 miles from them and within FAA guidelines, they are fine. One says they would prefer I inform the local airport which provides flight clearances for their activities but that airport says they only want to know of my flights within 5 miles from their own facilities.

    I get the impression those heliports aren't prepared to deal with us and would be ust as happy if we don't bother them. We, on the other hand, appear to have a FAA requirement to inform any airport facility within 5 miles of our activities . Thoughts or experiences in dealing with this issue?
     
    mschore likes this.
  2. MapMaker53

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    Since they have no control tower, they are obviously not actively involved in tracking air traffic in real time but maybe pass along information somehow to pilots before they take off - maybe posting a notice on a bulletin board. Seems the best they can hope for (if they care) is to know approximately where someone might be flying that day and about what time. Seems to me in a situation like this, you would simply be giving them a heads up and not really asking for permission like you would be asking in a control tower situation. Just my thoughts having had no experience with heliports yet.
     
  3. Mark The Droner

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    My opinion, and it's only my opinion, is it seems the FAA hasn't figured out how best to deal with the heliports issue quite yet. Therefore, I'm going to default to AC 9157A as I understand it. In that document, the requirements/rules/suggestions regarding heliports are vague at best. Therefore, in my situation, since any heliport within five miles is unattended anyway, and since these heliports are apparently "Class G (i.e. uncontrolled) airspace" , I am going to remain acutely aware of these heliports but I'm not going to bother trying to talk to them until I see explicit rules regarding heliports.

    www.airmap.io seems to support this idea.

    So I will wait for a clear policy from the FAA on heliports. Meanwhile, I will follow FAA rules for registered model aircraft.
     
    skyhighdiver likes this.
  4. mschore

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    I just recently installed the FAA B4UFLY app and found out I was technically not following the rules. The local airport is well away from my flying areas. However, within 5 miles I have to hospital helipads and two air fields (stress the fields aspect of it because they are nothing more than grass strips). I have no way to contact these places as mchadwickclark pointed out. One of the air fields is nothing more than a clearing and a corrugated metal hanger for one plane. Such nonsense. The people who gave the FAA this ability, i.e., Congress, have no idea what they are doing. Until I receive a warning I am going to continue to fly in the areas other than a "real" airport.
     
    skyhighdiver likes this.
  5. mchadwickclark

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    I am doing my best to at least make contact with our local heliports in a good faith effort which I will document for future reference if needed. If they are amenable to an understanding and we have an operational agreement as to if, and or when they want notification from me and I have contact information, we are good. If they don't want to work out an arrangement, I will have that documented as well and can show I exercised due diligence in my attempt. I figure it is worth a few hours of my time, just in case. I am hoping a later version of B4UFLY will serve as a flight plan and notifier in one to expedite information sharing.
     
    bradbrok likes this.
  6. Julian Noel

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    I was trying to contact someone at a heliport and the FAA contact information is bad. No one at the company seems to know who to contact. This is a stupid requirement, though it is nice to know where the helipad is.
     
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  7. bradbrok

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    Yeah, two heliports by me don't have good contact information. I went to one, and no one was even there. The local hospital heliport manager was quite helpful though.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  8. katzmix

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    I live in jersey. According to b4ufly, you cant fly anywhere. Everywhere i tap is a nfz
     
  9. mchadwickclark

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    Bradbrok, what did the manager say? Anything that might help us with this problem?
     
  10. bradbrok

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    Nothing really about heliports in particular, just more or less the usual approach of helis to their helipad. I just gave them my distance and radial to the nearest VOR, and had a chat about what kind of drone I was flying. He just told me where I should avoid flying if possible, and those places were less than a mile away from their heliport, but told them I wouldn't be flying that close to them at all.
     
  11. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    You're not asking for permission, you're only giving notice of your flight plans to towers. As far as hospitals go, they are not in the DJI no fly listings but you should avoid them if you can. I have one close to me but it rarely gets any chopper traffic.
     
    skyhighdiver likes this.
  12. Rostato

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    That's how I handle it.
     
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  13. Bill Richards

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    Well out of the four helipads close to where I am flying tomorrow 2 one being law enforcement was aware of what I was doing and thanked me for the call. The other two where clueless as to even knowing where to transfer me or who to talk with. So three calls same hospital that is my due diligence.
     
    Mark The Droner likes this.
  14. rtraviator

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