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Obtaining permission to fly within 5 miles of an airport.

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by Grandpa Don, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Grandpa Don

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    I posted this question on the FAA web site, but so far I have not received an answer. I'll post it here to see if anyone here can provide an answer. I fly my done for recreation and have it registered with the FAA. I want to fly within 1 miles of a controlled airport on a search pattern. I will remain below 50-75 feet AGL. How do I notify ATC of my intentions and request permission? I am a licensed fixed wing commercial pilot with a portable A/C radio. Do I call them on the phone, or can I used the radio for contacting the tower? I may decide to fly only hours in advance. So a written request is out of the question.
    Even if you had permission, I would think it would be a good idea to monitor the tower frequency if operating under these circumstances. I have not flown near an airport yet, but may do so in the near future. If I get an answer from the FAA, I will post it here.
     
  2. joet

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    The FAA doesn't address this directly, but the consensus is to call the airport and tower (if applicable) via telephone.

    There are other threads on air band VHF usage for this purpose (don't) and what to do if you simply cannot contact the airport despite your best efforts (log the attempts and move on).
     
  3. Grandpa Don

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    Where are those threads? I'll like to read up on it.
     
  4. benp3s

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    Not a thread. It's on the FAA rules for UAVs that they email to you after registration if I remember correctly.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
     
  5. Phil Tuggle

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    Very easy. Simply go to Skyvector.Com and find the airport in question on the VFR chart. When you find the airport, click on the (usually) GREEN dot*; that will open a little dropdown list; click on the airport name there - it will probably be hightlighted in BLUE. That will open another page pertaining to the airport with every piece of information you could dream of, including phone numbers for the manager and/or the tower. Call the number and ADVISE them your intentions - when, location relative to the airport (e.g. 1 mile southwest), and what height you plan on flying, and that you want to get their authorization. They WILL say yes (unless you are in some glide path of course) and give you instructions to call them when you take off and land again. IF there is a restriction on the day you fly - they will tell you at that time not to proceed.

    * If there is no green dot - say the airport is uncontrolled or small - look up their phone number and just call the old fashioned way. Phone book, or enter airport info here: Airport/Facility Directory – Advanced Search
    In any case, ASK for authorization and instructions.

    Good luck.

    ****EDIT/UPDATE****
    We must all use the Form on the FAA Portal now for controlled airspace authorization, and Definitely, after October 3. I know, "everybody knows that;" Just mentioning here because I do not wish to mislead anyone.

    ****2nd EDIT**** "107's," YES, but ....Maybe Model/Recreational folks can still simply call ATC after October 3 ???? That one is a little muddy to me. Anybody know, for certain?
     
    #5 Phil Tuggle, Sep 5, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
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  6. jmc67

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  7. Grandpa Don

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    I contacted the FAA office, and received this reply:
    The law requires notification. However, the manner of notification is between the airport and the operator. The FAA does not have specific requirements on the notification process.
     
  8. JesterPhotog

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    Don, If you get your Part 107 you wouldn't need to notify Cal City Airport, as long as you were not in the controlled airspace. But it's work to get the Part 107. As far as doing a "search pattern", there might be different rules for you, seeing it might be for KCSD. But right now all you have to do is call the tower or airport operator and let them know where you will be. Be careful of that airspace up there. I think you might be in a "restricted" airspace because you are just north of Edwards AFB.
     
  9. Grandpa Don

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    Yes, there is a restricted area close by. It is Edwards AFB 20 miles to the southwest of me. The part 107 is not for me. I just do research for my own use.
     
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  10. JesterPhotog

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    Smart Man!!!! :)
     
  11. Unmannedsky

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    107 is a big improvement on the notification/permission side of the house for operating near airports but you still have other concerns if you are in the vicinity of an airport namely the 'interfering' clause. I wrote a short blog piece if you want to check it out; Drone Operations Near Airports.

    Anyone that checks it out I'd appreciate feedback on the blog. Thanks!
     
  12. Stealth Tours

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    The only item I can contribute concerning Cal. City Airport: got a birthday present to ride in the back seat of a T-6 out of there. North side is plane specific and south side is parachute specific. I wanted to do a "top gun buzz the tower" at the end and pilot said he would try and get north side permission but that for sure NO on the south side. I still have no knowledge how efficient this online request will be now that I am a Commercial Remote Pilot in Command.
     
  13. GMack

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    Don, that Restricted Edward AFB airspace is just west of town by a couple of miles too. It's an odd triangle ( VFRMAP - Digital Aeronautical Charts ), but you are out of it in California City proper. As to the Cal City airport, I don't think it has a tower so whomever you contact there likely runs the Unicom radio for the airport. It is under a MOA though, but its free 1,500 feet AGL and below. I would think the DJI Geo-fence would go off somewhere going east for the Restriced area, but don't know how tight it is to there odd-shaped perimeter.

    The airport in Kernville is much the same setup and the "airport operator" is the restaurant there where pilots call in to land and eat. If the waitress is busy, you won't get an answer. There is a forest service heliport there too, but all the heli fire pilots eat at the restaurant so they get the skinny. I've been there when some fighter jockeys out of Edwards or China Lake buzz the lake at maybe 150 off the water, pass over the airport, and hit there afterburners and climb over the mountains to the north. LOUD! and seems they don't follow the FAA rules by their scraffing runs and will run underneath the MOA AGL limits. I doubt if they call the airport either. There is also a RC flying field on the north-west corner of the lake and probably within the 5 mile airport rule too, but the wind is pretty rough there.

    I'm wanting to try Red Rock State Park since they have said the state parks do not ban drones unless the Super. of the area decides otherwise. Also some spot that looks like some Burning Man place up by Dunmovin off Hwy. 395 that butts up against the Restricted area around China Lake NWS. Fwiw, there is a drone manufacturer a mile or two south of China Lake so they must have some sort of waiver as they also teach fliers.

    Good luck!
     
  14. Grandpa Don

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    I am quite familiar with the Edwards area. I am a licensed commercial pilot, but have not flown since about 2001. Not current to say the least. Flew my C-210 down here many times in the past heading to Las Vegas or Ridgecrest. No tower at Cal City Airport. Lots of glider and parachute activity. I eat lunch at Foxy's every now and then. Never landed at Kernville airport, but also eat lunch there every now and them. I know what you mean by the winds up there, and those **** jets. They love to play over the lake. I recently contacted the FAA office to see if it was legal to use my handheld VHF radio to contact Ground Control for a drone flight. They don't seem to know if it is legal or not. This is their quote to me in an email when I asked about VHF radio use: "The law requires notification. However, the manner of notification is between the airport and the operator. The FAA does not have specific requirements on the notification process."

    At the very least I think I would like to monitor the tower when flying in a high traffic area. I rarely go about 200 feet AGL, but there are some Ultrlights out there that are lower than that at times. They also fly out of the CC airport. They must have some form of communications capability. I think there will be lots of changes for Drone pilots in the future.