Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

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

Notify the control tower

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by ebfoxbat, May 3, 2015.

  1. ebfoxbat

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    10
    We're required to notify the tower if we're operating within 5 miles of an airport.

    Does anyone know how to actually go about doing so?
     
  2. Fyod

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    684
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Central EU
    You won't be able to take off... Have you read anything about restrictions?
     
  3. locoworks

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Messages:
    471
    Likes Received:
    10
    if you disable gps could you fly in a no fly zone??

    to contact a tower just phone them, all airports should have ATC listed somewhere in a phone directory or look online for your airport. where I am in the UK a retired ATC was flying his P2V+ V3 actually over areas of the airport he had worked at with full support of the tower. he was in 2 way coms with the tower and also had a scanner to listen to the RF at the airport so he knew when anything was incoming and would land in plenty of time.
     
    #3 locoworks, May 3, 2015
    Last edited: May 3, 2015
  4. ebfoxbat

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    10
    Just wondering how to do that. I'd like to show some coworkers my P3, but I'm within 5 miles of a small public airport with a tower. Even though I don't plan on being up near 400' I figured it'd be nice to know how to contact the tower and let them know. In this particular case it's near enough to a cell tower that low-flying aircraft wouldn't be an issue.
     
  5. landmannnn

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Coventry and Limoges
    I am quite certain if you called up any control tower the response would be "this is restricted airspace and you can't fly your toy". Unless they were former colleagues of course.
     
    rrmccabe likes this.
  6. ebfoxbat

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    10
    I don't think it's about getting their permission so much as it is about notifying them of the activity in the area they care about.
     
  7. Fyod

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    684
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Central EU
    They probably won't see it on radar anyways. The reason you call a tower is so they can arrange for other craft to fly in such a way that they don't collide. Calling them and telling them about flying a Phantom in restricted areas is just getting yourself into heaps of trouble.
     
  8. ebfoxbat

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    10
    Except for the part where it's in the FAA guidelines. We as a community should be doing everything we can to promote our ability to safely fly these in a legal manner.
     
    offthefront and cascadeflyer like this.
  9. Fyod

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    684
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Central EU
    It makes no sense. The FAA tells you to follow guidelines that pertain mainly to small aircraft. There is no use of the information for the tower, since they can't see you and can't call you back to give you instructions. Thus there's a high chance they'll just tell you not to mess around. Read the "pilots or operators" thread. We are not pilots until trained and permitted as such.
     
  10. ebfoxbat

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2015
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    10
    Fyod, you are incorrect. The FAA has new guidelines for drone use. They call them UAS. But the idea is that we should all be able to get along without causing any harm to human life. Of course I can fly without letting anybody know. That's what we've been doing all along. But we now have guidance. We have specific things we were asked to do, and we should do them.
     
  11. Fyod

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    684
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Central EU
    I don't follow the FAA procedures as I'm not in the US, would you care linking me to where it says to inform towers when flying in proximity with a <20kg UAS and where it says you actually can fly in their proximity?
     
  12. IrishSights

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1,410
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Bangor, Northern Ireland, UK
    Your country in Central Europe, whatever that is, will have a government body that will have specific information pertaining to your question. For example in the UK under 7kg do not have to let ATC know but it is advised as a courtesy to do so. At least that's what those with a Permit For Aerial Work from our CAA do. Recreational flyers should also inform ATC imo.
     
  13. johan

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    131
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    Somewhere in one of my old flight bags I've got a little pocket booklet that I bought from a vendor at a pilots convention eons ago. It lists one or more phone numbers for every ATC facility in the country. Not sure they're still being published today nor where you'd find one. I recall looking around online for an updated version of it some years back and not being able to find anything like it anywhere.

    Short of that, the FAA has a digital version of the airports and facilities directory available here: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/dafd/
    Put in the three letter airport identifier and you'll get a pdf on the page from the AFD book. That will get you a phone number to the airport manager who ought to have a way for you to get in touch with the tower.

    But like the others said, Unless I was going to be flying within 1.5 - 2 miles of airport property I probably wouldn't bother contacting them because I'm not likely to be a factor for any of their traffic beyond that distance at the 100-200 max altitudes I tend to fly.
     
  14. DrChris

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2015
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I'm new to Phantoms (flew Parrots in the past) and am learning a ton from this forum! Thanks all. I understand that the technical rule is 5 miles from any airport. One of the areas I'm interested in filming is between 4.5 and 5 miles from a very small general aviation airport (no commercial traffic). If I stay under 100' in this area, is it reasonable to 'skirt' the letter of the law in this case?

    It seems that (as one would expect), there are varying opinions here about how literally the rules need to be taken. I'm just curious as to everyone's general practice in this regard.

    Thanks!
    Chris
     
  15. Fawkes

    Joined:
    May 2, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    http://www.dji.com/fly-safe/category-mc

    Watch the video and check the map.
     
    Ian H and DrChris like this.
  16. Ideager

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2014
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Invercargill, New Zealand
    Maybe its a certain distance from the airport in other countries but in NZ there is a map issued by the CAA that shows the shape of the atc zone and if you are within it then you have to ring the tower and ask permission and ring again when your finished.

    They always say yes but I am not allowed to fly higher than 200ft over my house. Apparently this is because planes are allowed to fly as low as 300ft where I am.

    The atc zone is huge and probably most flights in NZ require permission but I don't think people know about this.

    I don't see the point of the system, all you need to know is the max height at your location to stay out of the way of aircraft.

    https://www.airshare.co.nz/maps
     
    Ezookiel likes this.
  17. DrChris

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2015
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    This is very helpful! Thanks very much! I think that clears up my questions exactly and means that the areas that I'd like to use (eventually, after much practice because they're close to water), are fair game!

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  18. johan

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    131
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    No doubt you'll get plenty of opinions on this, many of which will be along the lines of the regs are what they are and should be followed to the letter. And there is probably no small amount of wisdom in those opinions.

    That being said, my own opinion as an ex-commercial pilot and current Phantom enthusiast is that if a fixed wing aircraft is below 100' while still 4.5 miles out from an airport, then both you and that pilot have way bigger things to worry about than the fact that your 3lb plastic quad copter is flying somewhere in that particular chunk of sky.

    Now you should note that I said fixed wing. Though its rare, its not entirely unheard of to find rotorwing (i.e. helicopter) traffic down as low as 100' that far out from an airport. Your saving grace here is that down that low, they're probably not going to be moving all that fast and, giving that its a helicopter we're talking about, its going to make a fair amount of noise thus give you lots of warning that something's up in the neighborhood thereby allowing you to get your phantom on the ground long before its likely to be an issue.

    There are a few notable and very important exceptions to the above statement. The first is if that particular area, less than 5 miles from an airport though it is, happens to be on a published military training route or otherwise someplace the military conducts operations regularly. Down low and balls to the wall fast is how those folks love to operate. Even if you hear them coming, you might not be able to get out of the way fast enough. Its a risk you don't want to take.

    Another exception would be if there are regular glider operations anywhere in the area. You won't hear a glider coming and the glider pilots ability to take evasive maneuvers will be limited at best. And even though your phantom is very light, it could do a nasty job on the plexiglass windscreen of a typical glider and below 100' while presumably setting up for an off airport landing is not the time a glider pilot wants to have their windscreen cracked open and/or have a small remote quad copter, or pieces of it smack them in the face.

    And the third exception would be skydivers. Skydivers under canopy do make a bit of noise as the canopy flaps in the wind. But its not a ton of noise and could easily get missed if the winds were right and you were concentrating on other things. But like the glider pilot, a skydivers ability to take evasive maneuvers will be extremely limited.
     
    ebfoxbat, Fawkes and DrChris like this.
  19. wxman

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    2
    Download the Avare app. I have it on Android and it's free. Tells you your distance from nearest airport and gives you the phone number. And name of airport manager. Be aware that these kinds of maps are updated and this app may or may not be current. But still a good guide.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  20. SteveMann

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    652
    Location:
    Westford, MA
    It's currently not a requirement, but a guideline to advise ATC of your flight.
    When you call, tell them who you are, when and where you will be flying, and how high will you be going.
    Where you are is best given in statute miles from the center of the airport (that's how the FAA determines distance from an airport), and a compass direction. for example, "2 miles northwest of the airport at or below 100 ft AGL between 2 and 3 PM local". They would probably appreciate your cellphone number, just in case...

    For your reference:

    FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012
    Senate Bill, Section 607(g)
    SEC. 336. SPECIAL RULE FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT.
    (a)(5) when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the aircraft provides the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower (when an air traffic facility is located at the airport) with prior notice of the operation ...
     
    #20 SteveMann, May 5, 2015
    Last edited: May 5, 2015