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FAA regs for beginners

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by DiverDan, Nov 19, 2015.

  1. DiverDan

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    Under current FAA regs, flying any sort of un-manned hobby aircraft within five miles of an airport requires tower notification. By the end of this year, it is estimated that there will be 750k-1m quadcopters flying in the US. Obviously my half-ounce Blade Inductix at half-an-ounce poses no problems to other aircraft, but my DJI Phantom 3 Pro at 2.87 pounds could, so I understand the requirement to notify the FAA tower when flying within five miles of a no-fly zone around that airport, but with some caveats.

    My home is about 3.3 miles from the edge of the DJI no-fly zone for Addison Airport in north Dallas. Extending a line from that runway north, the line is 2 miles from the straight approach/take-off line from my home, so I'm pretty much off to the side.

    Current FAA regs require me to notify the tower every time I plan to fly my hobby aircraft within 5 miles of that no-fly zone. Yet the no-fly zone at the near edge starts at 20 M and increases outward at a 15 degree angle, such that at one mile outside the circle, the allowed altitude is 1480 feet [1415 plus 20M]. At my distance, it's almost a mile, but FAA regs say I need to call the tower every time I fly in my back yard. But anything beyond 400 feet altitude is beyond current US regs, even outside any 5-mile zones.

    I want to become more proficient in my hobby, which is harder at age 75 for one who has never been a gamer, experienced with dual joysticks. The only way I can gain experience is to fly. The tallest tree in my yard is about 60-65 feet tall. Flying near my home lets me gain experience and become more competent in using the controls, and I never go above 100 feet.

    If the FAA wants me and everyone else within five miles to call the tower every time we want to fly, they need to hire enough people to look like a PBS pledge drive phone bank at every tower; unlikely to be funded.

    As a former scuba instructor with over 3000 dives, the important question is not 'how deep have you been", because my best dive ever was when I saw my first whale shark at about one foot deep. It's more "how competent are you", so "how high have you flown" is BS.

    I just want to become more proficient at flying my quad-copter safely, and be able to do so safely without overly restrictively regulation that ties up resources needed for other missions, both for me and for the FAA towers.

    How do we communicate this to the people now making the new rules?
     
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  2. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Phantom Pilots forum DiverDan. I hope that you will take advantage of the benefits that come with membership and that you will be able to use the forum for the exchange of innovative ideas and as a resource for current developments in Phantom quadcopter’s.

    If I read that correctly, you said you are outside the no fly area, so there would not be a need to call the local tower. I live in a similar situation (and a diver too[​IMG] ).
    If you regularly fly inside of the no fly area you may be able to work something out with the tower.
     
  3. DiverDan

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    Yep, I'm outside the no-fly area, and about 3.3 miles from the edge of the DJI circle for the zone. Even so, the FAA regs say I need to notify the Addison tower EVERY TIME I fly WITHIN FIVE MILES of the No-fly zone.

    I understand this is an insane level of over-regulation. I can probably call the tower and reach a reasonable agreement with them as you suggest, but my question is basically this: Why should I need to do so when my low-level training flights are below the height of the tallest tree in my yard?

    I'm flying responsibly and endangering no one. At the height I'm learning flight controls, a manned airplane would probably crash into my 65 ft pine tree before I would be a danger to it.

    So my question remains. What can we do as individual users to influence the FAA's new regs to introduce some sanity?
     
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  4. Bryce

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    I myself would not call them.... It's a waste of time in your case.
     
  5. kphantom

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    I wonder what the new geofencing DJI has planned from airmap will do to assist or hinder situations like this? The FAA rule for notification is not practical. I chuckled at Diverdan's analogy of a PBS phone bank at every tower :).
     
  6. QuadcopterFL

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    I think more accurately that you would contact the tower if: "you are IN the 5 mile radius"
    Maybe I am reading it wrong, but that is is how I understand it. Not a 5 mile radius outside of the 5 mile no fly zone.
     
  7. msinger

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    Can you post a link to this?
     
  8. tcope

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    I am also confused by this. No fly zones around airports go from the airport out into a large circle that extends to a 5 mile radius. If you are flying within this circle you need to call the airport tower. If you are flying 3.3 miles outside that circle, no need to call. If you fly 5 miles outside that circle, no need to call. There is no 20 miles or 15 degree angle.
     
  9. Lonewolf

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    When I visited Airmap, I saw a notice that you have to notify the tower & they provide the phone# for you to call when you click within the NFZ. Personally, I immediately thought the same thing as others, these towers will become besieged with calls. Especially so if a flyer only flies under 250ft for example & is 3.5 miles from the epicenter. Looking at the Airmap map zoomed out makes the U.S. Look like it's got the Chicken Pox!

    If a flyer decides to consistently or occasionally fly at the FAA guideline 400ft level then yes, I agree to call the tower. Otherwise, IMHO, this really is overkill. Especially with fixed wing single engine model airplanes without GPS. I fly my plane only a few hundred feet out and probably less than a 100ft high. But I have to notify a tower for this flight if I'm in a NFZ? Sorry, but again I say, in these situations it's overkill!
     
  10. Mark The Droner

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    My understanding is that the no fly zones (or NFZs if you want to call them that) have nothing to do with reality. Those changes to the firmware in our crafts were made by DJI before FAA put out recent clear rules governing model aircraft flights.

    If we're going to discuss FAA rules, we'd probably be wise to speak in FAA terms.

    Please see the attached document - specifically section 6.c.(5).

    As you can see, this document is dated September 2nd. It clearly states that a mutual agreement may be made between "the tower" and a model aircraft pilot. There is nothing in the document that states a requirement to call the tower each time you fly.

    Okay - now what are these areas called that are within five miles of an airport? I don't know. The areas don't seem to have a name yet. Nonetheless, I think it's clear that it is a flight restricted area for model aircraft - restricted meaning we are subject to certain limitations when flying in these areas.

    Now move on to section 6.d. of the document.

    In that section, it tells us that "The Administrator" may "pursue enforcement action" to persons who operate model aircraft in flight restricted areas and who endanger the National Airspace System (NAS).

    What is the NAS? From what I read in a pilot's site, he says the NAS encompasses "every cubic inch" of air in the nation. In other words, if you spit on the grass, you are spitting in the NAS.

    So let's say you live 3 miles from an airport but you're surrounded by 100 ft trees. And let's say you wish to fly your Phantom. So you fly it around at 80 ft. max height. Is there an issue?

    Technically yes, because you're supposed to get permission from the tower, but in reality no, because you are not endangering the NAS since no manned aircraft is going to be flying in your airspace.
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Othan1

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    Academy of Model Aeronautics

    I'm a member and they often request this type of information to bring to DOT and FAA to help create rules. They are pushing for exemption of registration for drone if one is an AMA member as well as helping create general rules for flight. An excerpt from a mailing just the other day so you can see they DO think your opinion is valid:

    AMA asks that its members review the questions and offer comments. The government website for this project is cumbersome and only allows a person to either type comments into a text box or to upload a file. To help, however, we are offering suggested comments to the questions we feel would impact our membership the most. Feel free to provide your own comments on the registration of model aircraft. We want the DOT to know your thoughts on registration, whether you think its beneficial and necessary to ensure for safe operation in the National Airspace System (NAS) or state any objections or limits you would have to a registration process. Discuss any concerns you might have or suggestions with establishing thresholds of who or what should be exempted from registration and what method of registration would you favor.

    And here is what they are asking for the members:

    During the task force meetings, AMA strongly argued for our members to be exempt from federal registration, as Congress intended with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft in the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. This special rule states that the FAA does not have the authority to promulgate any new rules on recreational users operating under the safety guidelines of a community-based organization such as AMA.
     
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  12. Lonewolf

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    Isn't that what I said in my above post?
     
  13. Lonewolf

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    I see. So does that supposed to mean that being an AMA member puts you ABOVE the average hobbyist flyer who DOES follow the FAA rules and flies safely at ALL times but, does NOT belong to the AMA? That makes AMA members exempt?
     
  14. Othan1

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    Above? No. I had to pay a membership fee to join AMA and the proposed rules are for the average hobbyist flyer to register with a gov't body for free. When that's mandated, does that make those who do not join AMA but do register with the gov't "ABOVE" those who do not but still fly safely?

    We're all in this together, working toward the same goal.
     
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  15. Mark The Droner

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    I was hoping this site had an Ignore button....

    Ahh yes. There it is. :)
     
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  16. Lonewolf

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    That's to be seen. Today, Best Buy (a audio/video outlet) is selling these Phantom's and some have mentioned seeing them selling them to 10 yr olds. Do you honestly think these kids are going to follow ANY rules?

    I've been flying model gas/battery planes for a very LONG time and have ALWAYS been careful. Moved to the Quad's then the Phantom when they first came out. These kids today buying these things will eventually ruin the hobby just like when the CB radio came out. EVERYONE had to have one and...the FCC had too much on their hands to control and well...again...you know the rest. I can only hope this doesn't ruin this hobby as well.
     
  17. Othan1

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    Fear is no valid reason to make laws or decisions. When the phone came out, kids'll always be talkin'! Ruinin' their lives! TV - ruining their lives, cars, computers, webcams...and so forth but society not only seems to survive, but thrive.

    So, I've spent my time worrying about everyone else so I'm going to try to focus on myself for a bit and just have fun.
     
  18. Lonewolf

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    Hmmm....And you don't think what you've said isn't and hasn't happened? Kids today are more obese than ever before. Why? All they do is nothing. That's healthy? You also say, "Fear is no valid reason to make laws or decisions" What color is the sky in your world? The US gov does this all the time. So just go with the flow and all will be fine, huh?. Yeah...heard that before. "Go with the flow like dead fish do." Say what you want. My contribution to this tread is done.
     
  19. Othan1

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    Heh. I think it's cute how you're looking for an argument that now has absolutely nothing to do with the original topic. I'll have to remember you. You're funny.
     
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  20. Bryce

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    I'm certain that no AMA member has ever flown their quadcopter over 400 feet.