Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

How To Interpret Airport NFZ

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by BobMcKinlay, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. BobMcKinlay

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    19
    I'm visiting Northern Ohio and Cleveland Hopkins airport (CLE) has me questioning how to interpret NFZ's. There's nothing specific about CLE as the same question appears for many (all?) larger airport NFZs. I'm just not real familiar with CLE, so I want to make sure I get it right. BTW, I did call and got a "Huh?" response.

    So, here's the deal... we all know the airport NFZ's are "no flying within X distance of the airport" and "restricted altitudes of various flavors within Y distance". That's the gist of the NFZ's.

    But, take a look at CLE from the NFZ source of your choice (DJI, FAA's B4UFly, UAV Forecast, whatever). They all show the center of the NFZ from a specific point on the airport facility. In this case, I gather it's the center of the airport property. But the NFZ from that point barely covers all runways. Much less provide a safe buffer beyond them. Actually, the DJI NFZ doesn't even cover the entire runway (different center point).

    How do we interpret that? Shouldn't the NFZ be X distance from the nearest point on any runway?

    Common sense rules here, for sure. But...
     
  2. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Messages:
    2,362
    Likes Received:
    1,267
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    The distance "should" be from the Airport Reference Point (ARP) which is noted/defined in the Airport Facilities Directory (AFD) or the newly named "U.S. Chart Supplements".
     
  3. BobMcKinlay

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    19
    Fair enough. But, the ARP for CLE still puts the runways barely (as in maybe 100 yards or so) within the NFZ. Still confused.
     
  4. Mark The Droner

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    4,026
    Likes Received:
    1,177
    Location:
    Brookeville, MD, USA
    You're kinda mixing apples and oranges when you discuss DJI's no fly zones and FAA's flight restricted zones. They are not necessarily the same. Also, that graduated height limitation thing is something DJI made up, FAA doesn't recognize it.

    Let's keep things simple. You need to call if you're within five miles, right? Are you? If so, call. If not, don't call. If you're not sure, I suggest you call.

    That takes care of the FAA. Next you have to make DJI happy by getting self-certified to fly, if that's what your app/firmware insists you must do.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. BobMcKinlay

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    19
    The graduated height limit is a side effect of Glass G airspace, no? So, CLE (in my example) is a Class B and has a restricted inverted wedding cake above/around it. Everything under that cake is defined as Class G and fair game for us barring any other FAA mandates/recommendations.

    Calling doesn't make things safe. Sure, it may make me legal in the sense that I'm following proper procedure, but I'm pretty sure me talking to an FAA functionary who may or may not care/know/act on the information I'm giving them protects nobody and nothing.

    But whatever, IANAL and that's not the reason for my question. I'm back to being confused because NFZ's often times don't appear to protect the runways that they should. I would expect to see some language (and limitations built into DJI logic and NFZ info apps) along the lines of "within X distance of any point on a runway". You would then see very irregularly shaped NFZs.
     
  6. Mark The Droner

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2015
    Messages:
    4,026
    Likes Received:
    1,177
    Location:
    Brookeville, MD, USA
    You have a responsibility to apply common sense to your flight plan. For example, you're not going to fly in front of a runway.

    You call the tower and you advise them you are flying at such-and-such a place at such-and-such a height at such-and-such a time. The tower then makes any adjustments needed in directing traffic.