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New Phantom owner - I live near a tiny airport - what's best to do?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Porc, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Porc

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    Hi, please forgive me for a noob type of question. I have a Phantom 3 arriving tomorrow. I live 1.5 miles from a tiny airport. (I might as well say which one... Silver Ranch in Jaffrey, NH). It never occurred to me this could be any kind of issue, until in another thread someone pointed out that I'm supposed to notify the airport of every flight because I am within 5 miles of the airport.

    So, how do others handle this type of situation? Is this just a formality that everyone ignores and life goes on just fine? Or, are people really calling up their tiny unstaffed airport with the 2 Cessna's parked on it to let them know of a flight around their back yard?

    The airport has no tower. The plane pilots radio directly to each other to coordinate takeoff and landings. Their humble little web site gives a phone number but that's it: Silver Ranch Airpark, Inc., at the Jaffrey Airport in Jaffrey, NH If anyone routinely answers this number, I would be surprised. Is voice mail sufficient to "notify", or do I actually need to speak to a human?

    I can't emphasize strongly enough how ridiculous calling them every time would be. Here anyway, I would only fly around my 2 acre back yard and just to the tree tops, mainly for practice. My previous drone was just an AR Parrott and I literally couldn't get it much over the trees without it blowing away uncontrollably. (I had no idea I was a "law breaker" every time I went back and forth in my yard with that toy.) The occasional Cessna that flies by is at least 400 feet up there.
     
  2. PilotHarry

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    You can stay in your back yard below the tree line for sure if the DJI App allows you to. Thats not an issue. But if you want to go around at 150+ feet, you should get an air band radio to inform traffic.

    "Alert Area Traffic, Small UAV flying at 150 feet approximately 1.5 miles North of KAFN"
     
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  3. Zok 27

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    Drive over and try to talk to the folk at the airport. I'm a commercial pilot in my day job and most of us normal minded people who much prefer discussion and compromise as a way forward. I'm in the UK, but that would be my way to keep on the right side of the law. It is what would be expected on this side of the pond.

    If you can sort out workable routine, like a quick phone call to say where and when you are operating, that may well be enough to keep legal, safe and everyone happy.
     
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  4. Zok 27

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    The air band radio is a good idea, if you don't have R/T licence problem like we do in the UK. Over here you need a CAA R/T licence to come up on an ATC frequency.
     
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  5. bmcgnh

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    Location:
    Orlando, FL

    KAFN is an uncontrolled (no tower) airport with minimal traffic. There isn't much activity into the airport (at least not since New Hampshire Ball Bearing moved their flight operations out many years ago) . It's pretty much a recreational airport. Boston Center Gardner sector controls IFR traffic into/out of the airport; any traffic calls would be on CTAS/UNICOM.

    I'm not sure how close you are to the traffic pattern (aircraft should be 1,000 feet above the ground while in the traffic pattern before they begin their descent to final approach/land) but if you're on the approach/departure end (Kimball's or northeast of the lake) you may attract attention if you're up at 400' but down at tree top level? Anybody flying at treetop level 1.5 miles from the airport has much bigger fish to fry than your Phantom. :)

    I had a Parrot too... It's been hanging on a hook in the garage for years. THAT thing had a mind of it's own. EVERY flight with that thing was an adventure for sure...

    Is Atlas still launching their fireworks from Silver Ranch in August? You may be able to get some awesome video next year..
     
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  6. Porc

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    Interesting... I never thought about getting an air band radio, but that sounds like a good excuse to buy a new gadget/toy I don't need! I'm guessing a license is required? (Ham, or something else?)
     
  7. Porc

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    I may just do that someday, as I also like that approach. Finding someone actually there, however, could be another issue with winter on the way.
     
  8. PilotHarry

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  9. Porc

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    I'm not too close to the traffic pattern. When stuff takes off or lands from down my way, they are usually flying well south of me by a few hundred yards (hard to tell distance for sure), so I see them well over the trees a good distance away. I have a nice wide open yard with trees just at the edges, so there are good views towards the horizon, which is nice, so I can easily see them a ways away from the back deck. I rarely see planes directly over me, although when they do they are still well above the trees.

    My old Parrot is still fully functional, despite a number of hard landings, and the one time it lost control and floated into the trees, and amazingly survived the fall to the ground. I don't find it very useful though... can't really FPV, control via a tablet is painful, can't really get over 200 feet away, and loses control the moment I try to round the house with it, or just because it feels like losing control.

    Atlas last had the fireworks there in 2012. The following year, some miserable SOB mailed in bomb threats to several places, so they permanently shut down the fireworks. In 2014, they started them up again at the Cheshire Fair grounds. They charge $75/car now and it is a much smaller crowd.
     
  10. Porc

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  11. PilotHarry

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    If you don't know the CTAF (Common traffic advisory frequency) of your area, you can google the airport or buy a US sectional chart.
     
  12. G4driver

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    The big sky small bullet theory. Unless you are the guy who just had a mid air collision with an airplane and killed somebody.
     
  13. N5UGE

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    Speaking as a Private Pilot ...... Go to the airport, and talk to the Airport Manager, and any Pilots who may be hanging around. I'm sure you will find them to be friendly and eager to help you. Bring your Quad along to show them what you have. Pilots are always interested in anything aviation related. Don't be surprised if you're asked to do a little demo flight.

    Denis
     
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  14. bmcgnh

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    Good advice. I would be *very* leery about jumping onto an active ATC frequency (even if it's 122.8 UNICOM) and broadcasting about UAV activity in the area. I honestly believe those broadcasts will generate a *whole* lot more confusion (and FAA/media attention) then any improvement to safety. You could use a radio to monitor activity in the area--and maybe you could even pick up the automated weather (AWOS--I believe they use 135.87)

    Remember the FAA motto, "We're not happy unless you're not happy."

    And you're right--I'd bet they're going to want to see a flight. I know I would...
     
  15. yorlik

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    What does bigger fish to fry mean? We have a couple 'pilots' who routinely fly 10-50 ft above our treetops, and we are no where near an airport. Sunday one of them went around our home wings almost vertical and ju barely above hitting our trees. these guys are above the law so we can do nothing about it apparently. We had thought min height was 500' if they were not crop dusting....
     
  16. Porc

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    Except, that flight wouldn't be possible thanks to DJI FlySafe.
     
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  17. djphantom2015

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    I also made a video near a small (not that small airport) which is 1 mile away. What did I do? I phone the traffic manager and explained him what I wanted to do. He gave me a max height to operate and agreed to phone him when I start. That is what I did, and when I was finished I phoned him back and thanked him. All went well.
     
  18. SteveMann

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    If you do not have an FCC Station License it is absolutely forbidden in the US to transmit on aviation communications frequencies. People have gone to jail for this.
     
  19. Porc

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    I suspected that which is why I was asking if a license was needed... I would be surprised if I could just willy nilly chat with airplanes like it was a walkie talkie with only channel 14 (remember those?)

    Sent via Tapatalk on my Android phone. Good news; Tapatalk sucks less than it used to.
     
  20. SteveMann

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    On October 25, 1996, the FCC released a Report and Order in WT Docket No. 96-82 (text) eliminating the individual licensing requirement for all aircraft, including scheduled air carriers, air taxis and general aviation aircraft operating domestically. This means that you do not need a license to operate a two-way VHF radio, radar, or emergency locator transmitter (ELT) aboard aircraft operating domestically. All other aircraft radio stations must be licensed by the FCC either individually or by fleet.