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Notify airport operator and tower if flying within 5 miles

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mckquad, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. mckquad

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    Has anyone had experience with this FAA requirement? Locally, I just avoid flying anywhere this may be an issue. As I look further from home, there are places it would be fun to fly but fall within the 5 mile radius, mostly on that outer edge. These are usually small airports but do qualify as needing notification. Has anyone tried to notify? What was the response? How do you get the operator and tower phone number? I am interested in always being in compliance. Thanks.
     
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  2. JKDSensei

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    I have. Many times. Usually it's pleasant and no problem.
    Occasionally you'll get the obvious UAV hater. Just be professional.

    I simply call and when they answer say hello and tell then I am notifying them that I will be flying a MODEL AIRCRAFT so and so miles nw,sw,nw,ne of the airport etc between hours and will be staying below 350 feet.

    I often ask them (out of courtesy) if this will cause any inconvenience to airport operations.

    95% of the time they say thanks for the notification and that's it.


    Thanks for trying to do things the right way :cool:
     
    #2 JKDSensei, Sep 2, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2015
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  3. LUISMARTINEZ

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    Never a problem for me. Remember you are not asking for permission. But if they suggest a different location try to abide by their request.
     
  4. Tricky

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    I call often, as I fly at least once a week from this particular place about 3 miles from runway. Agree 100% with JKD above. I take it a step further and record my phone call to tower. I've only once been asked to provide a cell phone # to the tower. Generally pleasant, sometimes bewildered attitudes.

    I like this...I've been saying quad copter...no more of that!!
     
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  5. Zigs

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    I have notified airport operators in a couple different locations. They are small non-towered airports. Tell them where, when and how high you plan on operating. Both times I have been asked to avoid the approaches since there were operations taking place (crop dusters). Even at that keep your heads up and be alert. Crop dusters make some pretty sharp turns off the approach if that is an issue. I've found it a good habit to use the marker on the go app to draw lines not to go over.

    --zigs
     
  6. Bob Denny

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    My local airport tower manager has made me request by email. Problem is, I can't predict ahead of time when I will want to fly. All of my ops are at or below 100 AGL. My last email proposing to fly 3.7 miles from the tower at or below 100 AGL has met with silence. Looping an email seems a bit obstructionist. If the answer is no well then it's no.
     
  7. JKDSensei

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    All you need to do is "notify" the tower. You're doing that. Good job.
    You don't need to hear back.
    Why would they tell you "no"? If I was familiar with that airport and I knew the traffic fairly well and I knew of no reason, I'd question who and why.

    Congress has directed the FAA basically not to try to interfere with hobby model aircraft operation as long as certain criteria are met. One of those is to "notify" control towers under certain conditions.

    However, if a tower representative does say "no", the FAA expects you to comply and asserts authority to prosecute violations that it deems endangered the safety of the NAS.

    THIS is the albatross. It could depend on who was calling the shots in the tower. Someone in the tower "could" say you endangered the safety of the NAS simply because of minor incursions that never really put anyone at risk. For example lets say you never notified the tower, then crashed into a bystander and subsequently made the news. Now the FAA could investigate and say you never notified the tower and if they found you were inside a tower controlled airspace you could be in trouble.

    What the FAA is trying very hard to give itself is more enforcement authority. The FAA wants to clarify and strengthen it's ability to "go after and punish" model aircraft operators. In some cases for some operators, I can see why.

    http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf
     
    #7 JKDSensei, Sep 3, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2015
  8. JKDSensei

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    The biggest problem with NOT notifying the tower of an airport within 5 miles would be in case of an incident that cause Police or any kind of publicity.

    If it became know you did fly within 5 miles of a tower controlled airport without notification, the FAA does have the prerogative to take actions against you.
     
  9. Bob Denny

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    I was told by the local tower manager that he probably will not be authorizing sUAS operations in their Class D airspace. I understand his concern. I believe it is based on sUAS not being certificated. It's one thing to trust certificated pilots to do the right thing(s) and to run the risk of losing their license if they violate FAR including careless reckless. But it's another thing to bet his career on giving the OK to an sUAS pilot in the hopes that he will not cause a problem. It's too bad but that's the scene here in the Wild West.
     
  10. Xpeez223z

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  11. Vanjo Grale

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    I had to shoot a house right next to the Roanoke Island airport - was nervous about it, but called and they were very pleasant and had no problem with my under 100 ft flights. Definitely better to ask permission than forgiveness when it comes to aircraft safety!
     
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  12. redmoe

    redmoe Guest

    Bob I noticed you are in Mesa AZ. Which airport are you referring to? I have a general clear to fly below 200 agl about 4 to 4.5 miles south of gateway airport. Just wondering if you are working with them.
     
  13. herein2014

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    I notify airports all the time as well. I got email addresses for the appropriate POCs for every airport within 100 miles of me, created my own UAS Notification form, and submit it to the POC 3 days before I make the flight. In the form I include my Phantom's S/N, my email address, phone number, exact address of the flight, maximum altitude for the flight, and a Google map measuring the distance between the planned location and the airport I am notifying.

    This way I have a document trail that I can use in court if ever questioned on whether I got approval. I also then print out the form and carry it with me for that particular flight in case law enforcement has additional concerns.

    Two of the airports are large international airports and my first calls to their airport operations numbers were met with confusion and one of them told me it was completely banned and to contact the FAA. So I contacted my local FAA representative got his POC information, provided it to the airport ops mgr, who had a talk with him, and we've had a great relationship ever since.
     
  14. johan

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    There is no requirement for the tower operator to authorize your operations. The FAA has said you must notify only. If you notify and the tower operator doesn't like it, they can go pound sand.
     
  15. herein2014

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    johan is correct, I make clear on my form that it is a UAS Flight NOTIFICATION, not request. Here is a link to the full text of the current FAA circular:

    http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_91-57A.pdf

    Now with that being said, section 6d is where you may still get into trouble if the airport explicitly denies your notification. The airport could say you are endangering the safety of the NAS by proceeding with the flight. For example, any airport would explicitly deny a UAS Notification telling them you are going to fly right over the airport and down the runway. I am pretty sure they would use section 6d to prosecute you.
     
  16. Bret Lucas

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    I also had a house shoot in the Auckland Control Zone. In New Zealand we have a site that you can file a flight plan. You then get provisional approval from the tower and then on the day must call the tower directly 30min prior to getting airborne to get clearance. And then finally terminate your plan once landed. The exercise is straight forward with nil complications. The only issue is non aviators not understanding the culture of aviation communication between ATC and aircraft.
     
  17. Bob Denny

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    Falcon Field, and my intended ops are at or below 200AGL. I understand that the requirement is for notification. I am trying to build a good relationship and intend to pay a visit to the tower manager for further. An adversarial relationship could affect all sUAS operations in the area. I appear to be the first to have notified, and therefore I feel a responsibility to tread lightly and be diplomatic/respectful.
     
  18. redmoe

    redmoe Guest

    I applaud you approach. I tried to set a positive example with my local tower as well. If they have a concern I'd rather not cause problems.
     
  19. txdan2010

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    You can also contact the towers via Hover, the must have mobile app for drone pilots. In our no-fly zone maps (provided by AirMap.io) we include the phone number of each tower.
     
  20. ghinson

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    I live on an island that has a small, but very busy airport. About 75% of the island is within a 5-mile radius of the airport. Though the DJI No Fly zone only kicks in at about 1.2 km from the airport. I contacted the lead air traffic controller to ask if they want a call with every flight. His reply said no, that as long as I was not flying about 50 ft in the immediate area of either side of the runway, I should be good.

    Needless to say, I printed out this email and carry it with me in my case. Worry about whether or not this is adequate though. Any thoughts?