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Flight planning with airspace authorization (part 107)

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by jofus, Sep 7, 2016.

  1. jofus

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    Hey, everyone. This is for the experienced commercial pilots. I've passed the Aeronautical Knowledge Test, waiting for my results to post so I can apply for my license, but I have a few questions regarding gaining ATC authorization through the Waiver/Airspace Authorization Portal.

    Let's say I am going to shoot a video of a property for sale that is in regulated airspace. I want to request permission well in advance if possible, but how quick is the turnaround for ATC authorization? Also, considering weather can affect my operation, how specific do I need to be with time and date? Can I request a whole week between the hours 1400-1700, for example, to ensure I can conduct my flight on a clear day?
     
  2. jofus

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    Beuler?
     
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  3. Richard R

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    I just submitted my authorization request to fly in the Class E (sfc) airspace at the airport in my town. I actually put in a request for operations covering a 3 month span! We'll see what feedback I get. By the way, when you are filling out the form putting in the Lat/Lon for your location, you have to type in the "N" and "W" even though they are shown in the space. They are in italics and will switch to normal font when you do. You will keep getting an error message that you haven't filled out the form until you do!
     
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  4. Phil Tuggle

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    Where is this form found, please? Not kidding here, I did not know there was one - So far, I have only needed authorization eight times - at three different airports (2 D's and one C airspace, including an AFB) and called the tower a few days before. Each time they said yes, and just to call again before takeoff and right after landing. They and I were very consistent in how it was done.

    Feel free to laugh and call me dumb but I did not know there was a form - Towers sure didn't mention it or hesitate in the slightest way. Eazy peezy. Now, having the 107 Cert, these communications must go in my log book...but a form? Whoops.
     
    #4 Phil Tuggle, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
  5. David T

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  6. Phil Tuggle

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    Thanks David! That is a pretty slick and easy form for sure.
    I see that we have to fill-in our 107 Cert Number when commercial anyway, and I only just got that today, so it all comes out nicely. Thanks again.
     
  7. Jkrens

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    Phil, just remember that the FAA wants you to submit requests as soon as possible. They say at least 90 days on their website. However, I have recently read that they will be using a phased approach based on airspace. Here is the estimated timeline for now:

    "
    Airspace Authorization: Users can operate their unmanned aircraft in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace without air traffic control permission. Operations in Class B, C, D and E airspace need air traffic approval. Users must request access to controlled airspace via the FAA’s electronic portal.

    The FAA will evaluate airspace authorization requests using a phased approach. Operators may submit their requests, but air traffic facilities will receive approved authorizations, if granted, according to the following tentative schedule:
    Class D & E Surface Area: October 3, 2016
    Class C: October 31, 2016
    Class B: December 5, 2016"


    So it looks like no commercial operation can take place in any controlled airspace until at least October 3.

    Also, keep in mind that you will no longer be calling the tower for 107 use.
     
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  8. Phil Tuggle

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    Wow! Yeah, I saw that in their press release of August 29, but honestly think it is a misstatement regarding the 90 days. Waivers, yes, but isn't that going a bit overboard for airspace authorizations with both D and E? Just asking - I know WE can't change it. Seriously, after a really thorough search in both the new Part 107 regulation itself and the body of knowledge questions, ONLY waivers seem to show the 90 day minimum. This is pretty upsetting - a showstopper in fact, for some of my hopeful work.

    To be sure, for folks like real estate photographers, 90 days is simply not workable, especially for SFC-Class E. In fact, I believe the Form route is probably fine, but not 90 days in advance. For example, I think it would be overkill for Darlington County (UDG) to need 90 days notice so I can shoot a tree-top photo a mile to the southeast, especially when the agent needs to get the photos online. That sort of airport would not be the exception to the rule, but more likely the most common circumstance.
     
  9. Stealth Tours

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    NOT ONE of these government organizations have thought out anything they put down on paper. NOT ONE of these have had a REAL JOB in the REAL WORLD. Originally, FAA wanted to put "N" numbers on our quad.'s....we registered more quad.'s than the combination of digits would allow. In the small business COMMERCIAL market, timing is everything to getting the job, completing the job let alone getting paid for it. The 90 days to respond, get the message to the ATC over the airspace being requested a waiver for is equal to being tasked in 2009 to DO SOMETHING and taking until 2016 to DO SOMETHING HALF A$$ED. When will these people realize WE PAY THEIR SALARIES....GRUDGINGLY.
     
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  10. Phil Tuggle

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    I think the 90 days AIRSPACE authorization is bogus.

    Tell ya what, I am going to go by the letter of what the published regulations say. That is, after all, the governing document, right? I am not a lawyer and simply want to operate safely - the main reason FAA exists, right? Flying Accident Avoidance.

    So, the final regulation still says this - and only this (as of September 6; See eCFR — Code of Federal Regulations):

    Section 107.41: No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

    -----------------
    I did find this section in the June Advisory Circular talking about possible letters of agreement, and it looks like one right way to deal with this 90 Day Airspace thing (which again, does not seem to be mentioned anywhere but that press release?).

    5.8.3 Recurring or Long-Term Operations. For recurring or long-term operations in a given volume of controlled airspace, prior authorization could perhaps include a letter of agreement (LOA) to identify shortfalls and establish operating procedures for sUAS. This LOA will outline the ability to integrate into the existing air traffic operation and may improve the likelihood of access to the airspace where operations are proposed. This agreement will ensure all parties involved are aware of limitations and conditions and will enable the safe flow of aircraft operations in that airspace. For short-term or short-notice operations proposed in controlled airport airspace, a LOA may not be feasible. Prior authorization is required in all cases.
    [and this, regarding WAIVERS only]
    5.19.2 Application Process. The application must contain a complete description of the proposed operation and a justification, including supporting data and documentation (as necessary), that establishes that the proposed operation can safely be conducted under the terms of a CoW. Although not required by part 107, the FAA encourages applicants to submit their application at least 90 days prior to the start of the proposed operation.

    I just can't find anything we are certified to, suggesting 90 days for the airspace authorization. The only things I can find is for WAIVERS (for exemptions to rules) where it always says "...encourages applicants to submit their application at least 90 days prior to..."

    NOT being a rebel here - just really confused and very concerned that someone may have decided to take the Control Tower or airport manager out of any sort of direct contact. For those thinking this is to reduce the burden on ATC, well, it won't; they still have to authorize the flight in their space if requested.

    Bottom line, WE MUST USE THE FORM - It is pretty slick, and I do like it - BUT IT SURE BETTER NOT TAKE 3 MONTHS/a doggone SEASON of the year passing to get airspace clearance on any but the busiest places. Sorry for the rant.

    UPDATE
    Not just to sit here and assume the worst, I just submitted the Form for Airspace Authorization for a nearby location, next Wednesday which I need to photograph pretty soon. We shall see...no worries. The funny part is, I know for a fact - via experience - it would easily work by phone.

     
    #10 Phil Tuggle, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
  11. GundoLarry

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    Guys, just performed two separate commercial sUAS flights in Class Delta airspace outside KLAX. We're less than 2 miles from Class Bravo.
    We called ATC (Old school). Did NOT use the web-based NAS request form.
    Tower gave us permission with zero drama after we relayed flight plan details.

    This actually happened, this is not my opinion, it's fact.
     
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  12. Phil Tuggle

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    THAT'S what I'm talking about - GREAT, Larry!

    It may be old school, but as in #4 post above I used the same process over and over - It works and it is quick and easy for us and ATC both. Why do folks want to complicate things if it really does not enhance safety? Employs more career bureaucrats, maybe.
     
  13. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
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    Airspace Authorizations (not WAIVERS) should be MUCH quicker. Waivers that's a whole other scenario well outside of what we are talking about. Let's not mingle terms and cause any more confusion than needed.

    And for those operating under Part 107 you do NOT want to go against the FAA directive to NOT contact ATC directly.
     
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  14. Phil Tuggle

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    Certainly not arguing here, we know it has changed to the Form in the past few days. That really wasn't available before (since June of last year in my case). The only thing I do question (in my own case) is the speed; There is no way the Form is faster than approximately 90 seconds in a phone call ...especially if whoever wrote that Aug 29 Press Release meant 90 days recommended for BOTH as they stated - surely they crafted that sentence incorrectly. We will see very soon.
     
  15. GundoLarry

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    Completely agree with Phil. Not trying to stir the crap. We were not aware of the flight until 24hrs prior to the flight.
    Within that scenario, we opted to call vs. fill out the form.

    I hope you're right about airspace authorizations being "MUCH" quicker. Sounds like an opinion and not fact, but we all hope you're right.
    DEFAULT position is to call (voice to voice) and prevent an incident. Period.
     
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  16. Phil Tuggle

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    Agreed. The LAW (or regulation -whatever) is what both we and the FAA staff must work from, right? Right now it still says this, and only this, regarding communication for controlled airspace authorization (it does not say how to, or how not to, do it):

    Section 107.41: No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).

    Just sayin'. Beats me how agencies work - I'm sure they mean well.
     
  17. Enrico Schaefer

    Approved Vendor

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    We offer free training for filing out the FAA Airspace Authorization form. Request a Waiver/Airspace Authorization – Small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) .

    We feel every pilot needs to know how to use the waiver/authorization website as part of their core drone business. As waivers start to be granted (we think many will be identical similar to the 333 exemptions), we will offer free training on those as well.

    https://www.dronelaw.pro/box/clkn/http/www.dronelaw.pro/part-107-waivers/

    If you are a Part 107 pilot, you need to be able to use the FAA waiver website. If you have a complex waiver request, then hiring an attorney to assist is always an option. We offer that service but ALWAYS encourage pilots to submit airspace authorizations 'in bulk' for controlled airspace for their primary markets.

    Fly Safe!
     
    #17 Enrico Schaefer, Oct 3, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
  18. Gene McMahon

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    I know this thread is a few weeks old, but I was recently directed to the FAA by an ATC in Texas, and asked to apply for a waiver. Here is some more info I found researching the contradicting procedures we are trying to follow:

    --------------------------------------------------
    FAA Order JO 7200.23 section 4(B)(1) (page 8)
    B. Facility Responsibilities
    1. General. In the event a Part 107 operator contacts an ATC facility directly for authorization, the facility must not issue authorization. The facility must direct the operator to the FAA UAS website, www.faa.gov/uas.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    49 U.S.C. 40103
    ...the FAA has the sole authority to regulate airspace, including airspace overlying an airport. While airport operators have the ability to manage operations on the surface of the airport, airport operators may not regulate the use of airspace above and near the airport.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    By the letter of the regulation, ATC does NOT have the authority to grant "legal" permission to fly under Part 107. Ironically, if flying as a hobbyist under Part 101, all it takes is a phone call to ATC, and they will usually say yes. My contact said ATC is not well trained on these regulations yet, so be careful. Hate to lose my certification because an ATC employee didnt understand the regulations. Unfortunately, the regulations will take some time to work out for everyone. It isnt a safety issue but a regulatory one. Flying under Part 107 does not make the airspace less safe than flying under Part 101. More often than not, the opposite is true. Worrying about my drone at 100ft, four miles from a small town airport, is like warning Captain Sully to not hit any fish on the Hudson.

    This is still new to ATC, the FAA, UAS operators, and public authorities, so be careful. You dont want to risk your commercial business because everyone doesnt know the rules. I have lost jobs to people willing to "fly recreationally" to shoot in a controlled area. It isnt worth the 1/2 of 1% risk of getting caught, to lose that part of my business. Since there are 5 morons for every responsible operator out there, creating the need for all of these regulations in the first place.