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What if I fly in Class D airspace without permission?
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justin_mcvideo
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This might be one of those hot topics, hopefully we can keep our accusing finger holstered for a bit, as I think this question does need to be asked and discussed, without accusing everybody of being wreckless and law breaking.

I've done a search for Class D airspace but mostly came up with some 2016 topics.  It's likely the rules have evolved a bit, and maybe some of you even have some recent experience you'd like to share.

My question is, what if I do fly in Class D airspace without prior approval?  What happens?  Is there a fine?  Does my flight record send out a red alert to the authorities?  Does my 107 cert get revoked?

I ask because I do my preparation on new flight areas, I look at the map, but occasionally when I get there, as shown below, even though I'm outside of the radius I will still get the Class D airspace warning.  So what happens then?  And what happens if somebody does actually fly within the green circle?  It needs to be discussed and I don't mind being the villain to start the discussion.

Here is the flight I had this weekend, shooting in the canyon.  As you can see I'm about a mile outside what I thought was Class D, but I still got the warning.



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Eric13
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You were in a 'Warning Zone' as DJI describes it. Just on the edge but still inside:
Zones.jpg
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Eric13
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You were not in airpace D. You were good.

This is airpsace D at Airmap:
https://app.airmap.io/geo?41.188808,-111.955098,10.774242z

This is airpace D at Google Earth:

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justin_mcvideo
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Eric13 Posted at 2018-4-23 08:34
You were in a 'Warning Zone' as DJI describes it. Just on the edge but still inside:

Thanks Eric, I must not have seen that warning zone.  I don't think it was in the DJI Go app.  

So, when it says I must be authorized to fly there, is that truly the case?

And what does happen if I fly inside the actual Class D airspace.  I'm curious what if somebody has total disregard for the warnings, what happens if they blatantly launch from what they know is Class D?  Does the log get sent from the DJI GO app?  Does somebody find out?  Is there a fine, a loss of 107 certification... just curious what actually happens.

Thanks
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justin_mcvideo Posted at 2018-4-23 08:48
Thanks Eric, I must not have seen that warning zone.  I don't think it was in the DJI Go app.  

So, when it says I must be authorized to fly there, is that truly the case?

Warnings can also come up when you start outside a certain airspace and the drone travels into it.
Did you get that message when you took off or during mid-flight?
[Edit: Deleted text about D in Germany...]

See the map under the following link. The red numbers show you the max allowance (ceiling) in ft.
It also shows you that D is not zylindrical but rather a funnel.
See FAA UAS Data on a Map
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Mark The Droner
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As far as I know, the Geo map does not differentiate between pilots who have a 107 and pilots who do not.  I believe to geo app is set up with the assumption you're flying recreationally which would mean you need to notify the airport/tower if within 5 miles.  I think the app is warning you of that fact even if it doesn't necessarily apply to you.  If an airport is a certain size, it may insist you go through the approval process with DJI.  But my understanding is the radius is always five miles per Sec 336.  

Re the logs, nothing gets sent to anybody.  

Obviously, if you are flying 107 and you deliberately fly in controlled airspace without authority, you're taking a legal risk.
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justin_mcvideo
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Thanks for the feedback.  I'm going to play the bad guy here, even though this is not my intention, but just out of curiosity what if I launch in controlled airspace and I just keep ignoring those warnings?  

I guess I'm asking because I see flights on social media near my home town that I know are in Class D, and I assume they don't get permission, they justify it as a quick 30 second flight with "it will be ok because this is great footage".  Is there truly no consequence for flying in Class D airspace unauthorized?  
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justin_mcvideo Posted at 2018-4-23 09:39
Thanks for the feedback.  I'm going to play the bad guy here, even though this is not my intention, but just out of curiosity what if I launch in controlled airspace and I just keep ignoring those warnings?  

I guess I'm asking because I see flights on social media near my home town that I know are in Class D, and I assume they don't get permission, they justify it as a quick 30 second flight with "it will be ok because this is great footage".  Is there truly no consequence for flying in Class D airspace unauthorized?

I'm sure that there is a consequence if you get caught, cause an accident, or are reported.  I imagine that the FAA would review each case individually and you could either get fined, lose your license, or in the most extreme cases face jail time.  

This page documents the penalties that 24 drone operators faced in 2014-2015.  https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xyga8a/faa-drone-fines

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Mark The Droner
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justin_mcvideo Posted at 2018-4-23 09:39
Thanks for the feedback.  I'm going to play the bad guy here, even though this is not my intention, but just out of curiosity what if I launch in controlled airspace and I just keep ignoring those warnings?  

I guess I'm asking because I see flights on social media near my home town that I know are in Class D, and I assume they don't get permission, they justify it as a quick 30 second flight with "it will be ok because this is great footage".  Is there truly no consequence for flying in Class D airspace unauthorized?

It almost sounds like you don't understand the hobbyist rules.   Hobbyists don't need authorization to fly in Class D.  

If you want to "play the bad guy", then first you need to tell us what the bad guy is flying so that we can apply those rules to the flight.  

Is the bad guy flying Part 107?  Or is the bad guy flying Part 101?  We can't answer your questions without knowing what rules the bad guy is following or not following.  

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A CW
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The enhanced warning zone is safe to fly in but you'll need to agree to a pop up disclaimer and it's best not to continue too far into the direction of the restricted zone under DJI's GEO. If you fly into the yellow ring your drone will auto land and you won't even be able to RTH as that is a restricted zone.
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justin_mcvideo
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Mark The Droner Posted at 2018-4-23 10:58
It almost sounds like you don't understand the hobbyist rules.   Hobbyists don't need authorization to fly in Class D.  

If you want to "play the bad guy", then first you need to tell us what the bad guy is flying so that we can apply those rules to the flight.  

OK let's say I were flying 107, somebody pays me 20 thousand dollars to fly within 2 miles of the airport, and I'm thinking the rules don't apply to me and it will be awesome footage and it will get a lot of likes on Facebook.

So I would clearly ignore the warning before launch, and I keep ignoring the warnings as they pop up.  I stay below 400 feet (hey at least 1 rule is being followed) and I come back to land after a few minutes of flying.

I'm just curious, does the FAA only find out via word of mouth, such as a witness, or if I couldn't help brag about my breaking the rules?  Or is there some record that is sent from the DJI GO app?  I assume the FAA could query our flight records if there was ever an investigation.

Just curious about the actual penalties, and how they come to the FAA's attention, that's all.  I think it's a question that everybody has wondered but nobody dares to ask, lest these intentions are implied upon them.  

Once again I have no interest in breaking the rules, but in the case of this weekend where I was warned, and I was certain I was good to go, I went ahead and flew.  So it just got me thinking of penalties, that's all.

Thanks
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justin_mcvideo Posted at 2018-4-23 11:20
OK let's say I were flying 107, somebody pays me 20 thousand dollars to fly within 2 miles of the airport, and I'm thinking the rules don't apply to me and it will be awesome footage and it will get a lot of likes on Facebook.

So I would clearly ignore the warning before launch, and I keep ignoring the warnings as they pop up.  I stay below 400 feet (hey at least 1 rule is being followed) and I come back to land after a few minutes of flying.

That is a good question.  As far as I know there is not a "centralized" method to report air violations to the FAA (and I've done a fair amount of Google searching).  I would suspect that if your client is using the video for commercial reasons and someone reports it or the FAA questions it on their own accord, the FAA is going to determine if it was captured legally (by a 107 pilot who was operating in controlled airspace with an authorization).  If they find probable cause that that is not the case, they will ask the client to remove the video and the FAA will open a case in which the PIC will be need to turn over his or her flight records.  The result of that investigation will determine fines and penalties (if any).  But again, this is pure speculation.  
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Mark The Droner
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I'm just curious, does the FAA only find out via word of mouth, such as a witness, or if I couldn't help brag about my breaking the rules?  Or is there some record that is sent from the DJI GO app?  I assume the FAA could query our flight records if there was ever an investigation.    Just curious about the actual penalties, and how they come to the FAA's attention, that's all.  I think it's a question that everybody has wondered but nobody dares to ask, lest these intentions are implied upon them.  

Yeah, twenty grand would be very tempting.  

I've heard that if somebody notifies the FAA of a flight that they believe is against the FAA rules (for example a youtube video is sent to FAA), the FAA is obligated to investigate fully.  This is what I've read in the forums and it seems to apply from what I've heard on youtube too.  

Re penalties, see the link in Post 8.  It's a classic article that's been posted several times in the two forums.  

DJI doesn't send anything to anybody that I've ever heard - unless, of course, there's an incident (e.g. the DJI Phantom/army helicopter collision near NYC but that had nothing to do with logs being sent anywhere).  

Below is an example of a flight that somebody turned into FAA.  FAA investigated.  He was not fined as he didn't break a Part 107 rule regarding height or trespassing or anything else, but he did make an error in that his aircraft was not registered under 107 (he had his hobbyist FA number on it) so he was given only a warning for that.  No fines.  He made another video several months ago describing the letter he received from FAA.



Here's his vid describing the letter he received from FAA


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Jerkman Posted at 2018-4-23 11:35
That is a good question.  As far as I know there is not a "centralized" method to report air violations to the FAA (and I've done a fair amount of Google searching).  I would suspect that if your client is using the video for commercial reasons and someone reports it or the FAA questions it on their own accord, the FAA is going to determine if it was captured legally (by a 107 pilot who was operating in controlled airspace with an authorization).  If they find probable cause that that is not the case, they will ask the client to remove the video and the FAA will open a case in which the PIC will be need to turn over his or her flight records.  The result of that investigation will determine fines and penalties (if any).  But again, this is pure speculation.

Unless you voluntarily expose yourself.
The 'Remote Identification' is in the app and it used to be on by default.
In the past few weeks it stayed 'Off' both on Android and iOS:
https://www.dji.com/newsroom/news/dji-introduces-voluntary-flight-identification-options-for-drone-pilots
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justin_mcvideo Posted at 2018-4-23 11:20
OK let's say I were flying 107, somebody pays me 20 thousand dollars to fly within 2 miles of the airport, and I'm thinking the rules don't apply to me and it will be awesome footage and it will get a lot of likes on Facebook.

So I would clearly ignore the warning before launch, and I keep ignoring the warnings as they pop up.  I stay below 400 feet (hey at least 1 rule is being followed) and I come back to land after a few minutes of flying.

Aloha Justin,

     My friend and neighbor and I live on the 5 mile radius of a military airport, Class D zone.  When I used the B4UFly app, I moved the launch spot further and further away from the D zone line and it still registered (even a half mile away).  Now, when I take off, I just get a warning that I am flying in Class D airspace.  Interestingly, I can fly using Intelligent Flight Modes away from the Class D airport but if I try to use them flying back toward my launch spot, the option is denied.  Same acreage, different direction, different status.

     If the military had its way, all the zones that are on Oahu would prevent all drone flying.  Fortunately, the military airfield is closed on Sundays so we can fly over our beautiful Kaneohe Bay if the weather is also beautiful.

     My friend is Part 107 certified and we have been through the regulations in close detail.  The FAA does make flying in No-Fly-Zones possible for commercial operators.  You just have to fill out a waiver and show that you know what you are doing and know how to fly safely.  Class D airspace is even less difficult with a call to the tower of the airport managing the airspace.  Instead of making all ninja, just call the tower and get permission.  If your record is clean, you will get permission and instructions that relate to your flight needs to the extent allowable by the safety regulations in place.  If they deny you permission capriciously, you can appeal to a higher authority.

     Even commercial flying in National Parks is available if you go through the correct process.  Accountability is the key word here.  The governments that control access to the airspace want to know as much as they can before they allow you access.  They are responsible if they give you access and you somehow screw up something.

     Hope this helps!

Aloha and Drone On!
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Eric13 Posted at 2018-4-23 09:07
Warnings can also come up when you start outside a certain airspace and the drone travels into it.
Did you get that message when you took off or during mid-flight?
[Edit: Deleted text about D in Germany...]

Aloha Eric,

     Mahalo for posting the interactive map.  Bookmarked it!

Aloha and Drone On!
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Start by a close reading of the User Agreement documents and the terms of using the DJI systems, then you will know a little of what DJI might do.
Then realize that when you sync your flights, you send all information of your flights to DJI providing them access to track you in case a investigation should be started.
Do some research on the AeroScope system that has now been implemented in ou,rt AC's making them send out the position of AC and location of the RC inclusive your DJI account ID (email) to be retrieved at a distance up to 30 km/18 miles. also read this thread that subjects the AeroScope system.
Add to all the above that you possibly walk around with a Phone and other devices that will be logged and can be tracked not to forget cameras all around. Now be asured, if you do something really stupid you will be found sooner or later if someone want to find you.
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Cetacean Posted at 2018-4-23 12:46
Aloha Justin,

     My friend and neighbor and I live on the 5 mile radius of a military airport, Class D zone.  When I used the B4UFly app, I moved the launch spot further and further away from the D zone line and it still registered (even a half mile away).  Now, when I take off, I just get a warning that I am flying in Class D airspace.  Interestingly, I can fly using Intelligent Flight Modes away from the Class D airport but if I try to use them flying back toward my launch spot, the option is denied.  Same acreage, different direction, different status.

Thanks for that!

When calling the tower, would they authorize you for that day the same if you were hobbyist or 107?  If I'm 107 certified but I'm just flying for enjoyment that day, does my 107 cert matter, would I still classify it as 107?

I do need to get familiar with the process of calling the tower for future flights.

Thanks
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Mark The Droner
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A 107 pilot may fly his 107 registered aircraft under Part 101 rules provided his whole flight is recreational/fun.  This means his flight was intended to be recreational, he then flies for recreation, and the flight ends as a legitimate Part 101 recreational model flight.  I confirmed this with FAA quite a while back.  He wouldn't need to register as a hobbyist since his AC is already marked.

If a pilot is flying 101 within 5 miles of an airport, he must notify the airport/tower (see Sec 336), and he can do that with a phone call.  However, if the airport is class B, it's a little more complicated.  The pilot must first learn the boundaries of the Class B lower tier (it may be awkwardly shaped and will almost certainly be beyond the 5 mile radius) and he must then get clearance / authorization from the tower for flying in that Class B lower tier which he may attempt to get with a phone call.  

If a pilot is flying 107 in controlled airspace, he must plan his flight well in advance and then get authority to fly using a method outlined on the FAA site (such as using the online portal).  He may not call or contact the airport/tower directly for authorization.

https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/

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Browsing the above emails I get the idea that for many flyers the FAA is a big unknown.  I have dealt with them for over 40 years and for the most part have found them to be fair, as long as you don't flagrantly violate the rules and try to operate safely.  There is no drone police but if you are observed flying in areas where you shouldn't be and identified to the FAA, you may get a call or letter asking you to explain yourself.  Depending upon the severity of your infraction, you could face license suspension, revocation and/or fines....potentially heavy ones.  If your actions put the lives of others at risk, it could become a criminal matter. If you don't have a Remote Pilot Certificate, don't assume you are immune from FAA or law enforcement if you do something stupid.
Airspace can be confusing - as I said, I've been navigating thru it for over 40 years.  I find the best reference to be the FAA's own Sectional Aeronautical Chart, which you can view for free at <https://skyvector.com/> or <http://vfrmap.com/> - it helps to know the IDENT of an airport in the area you are interested in.  Airspace, landmarks, radio frequencies, and other information useful to the drone pilot may be found on these charts.  Looking at the attached map excerpt, you will see that the area you are interested in encompasses Salt Lake City Class B (base should be above your altitude) Class D (dashed blue line) from Ogden-Hinckley and Hill AFB and a slice of surface Class E (dashed Magenta Line) - all of which require prior authorization.  Outside of those areas you are fine.  Close doesn't count - you have to be inside for it to be an infraction.  Holders of certificates issued under part 107 should be able to read aeronautical charts as they are the ultimate authority, not any product from DJI or other third-party. Anyone who plans to operate near congested airspace areas would do well to familiarize themselves with it.
Tim Juhl - Commercial Pilot / Flight Instructor
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Oldav8tor
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Pardon me if it seems I'm beating the subject to death, but I thought I'd share a little more info about operating near airports.  The vast majority of airports in the US are uncontrolled, and have no control tower. These are shown on sectional charts as Magenta circles (solid if paved - open if not.) Blue circles are airports with control towers.  In most cases, the airspace over uncontrolled airports is class G, with class E beginning at either 700 or 1200 agl.  The exception is found at airports with certain instrument approaches, in which the Class E extends all the way to the surface and is indicated by a dashed Magenta line.  When class E extends to the surface, you DO need permission from Air Traffic Control to operate within the Class E.  If there is no surface Class E, a courtesy call to the airport manager and vigilance to avoid conflicts with traffic at the airport is in order.  Clicking on the airport symbol (VFRMAP) or on the Airport Tab (Skyvector) will give you more info about the airport, including the phone number of the manager.
Looking at the attached chart excerpt, you see how such areas are depicted.  Also of interest, you'll note a couple of Wilderness areas also depicted.  
Tim


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Mark The Droner
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Hi Oldav8tor - thanks for the input.

May I draw your attention to Sossamon Field - 57NC?

It's a small airport which wasn't coming up on the vfrmap, but you can find it near Bryson City, NC.

My assessment is that the airspace in and around that small airport from the surface up to 700 feet AGL is all Class G.  Would you agree?  

What are your thoughts on the SNOWBIRD MOA?  It's seems odd to me that drones are not allowed at Smoky Mountain National Park, and yet an F/A-18 Hornet can happily careen by at tree top level doing the speed of sound.  

Thanks!

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You are correct.  Class E airspace within the soft edge of the magenta boundary begins at 700 feet agl while outside the hard edge it begins at 1200 feet agl.  The airspace around the airport is class G. I can't imagine many instances where drone operations would ever extend into a MOA.  For example, I believe Snowbird begins at 11000 feet.  That said, you will notice there is an IR route passing near the airport along which military aircraft can fly at low altitudes and high speeds.  The grey line marks the center but the actual route is several miles wide.  IR and VR routes are published on sectional charts and while drone operations are not prohibited around them, you would do well to keep your eyes open.  You will notice the boundary of the national park is just a short distance north of the airport.  57NC is probably registered with the state of North Carolina and because of it's private nature, not necessarily on sectional charts.  When I entered the ident 57NC, it did show up on skyvector.com -  I hope this helps  :-)
Tim
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You are correct.  Class E airspace within the soft edge of the magenta boundary begins at 700 feet agl while outside the hard edge it begins at 1200 feet agl.  The airspace around the airport is class G. I can't imagine many instances where drone operations would ever extend into a MOA.  For example, I believe Snowbird begins at 11000 feet.  That said, you will notice there is an IR route passing near the airport along which military aircraft can fly at low altitudes and high speeds.  The grey line marks the center but the actual route is several miles wide.  IR and VR routes are published on sectional charts and while drone operations are not prohibited around them, you would do well to keep your eyes open.  You will notice the boundary of the national park is just a short distance north of the airport.  57NC is probably registered with the state of North Carolina and because of it's private nature, not necessarily on sectional charts.  When I entered the ident 57NC, it did show up on skyvector.com -  I hope this helps  :-)
Tim
BTW - I'm happy to answer airspace questions and the like.  I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions of my own after my drone arrives and I attempt to fly it.
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Yes, very helpful.  That IR route runs along the river.  Makes sense they would fly low there.  There are steep western NC mountains on both sides.  

OTOH I was there last summer for a week and didn't see a single military jet.  Just 2-3 small planes a day was all I saw from our high mountain cabin vantage point.  

I would imagine if military jets were flying fast and low, they'd have a TFR in the area right?

Thanks for your help.
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Oops!  To answer your other question - I find it difficult to understand why they allow low-level routes thru national parks and wildlife areas while restricting general aviation and drone ops.  The aforementioned FA18 would be much more intrusive.  That said, operating in a manner respectful to other visitors is the proper way to go.  History has shown us that regulations arise from a few bad operators doing something stupid and I'm afraid there are many such people who own drones.  The fact that you are on this forum and asking the questions you do shows that you do not belong to that group.
Tim
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Mark The Droner
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What drone are you getting?  Will you have a 107?  
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Geez!  How did I get a double post?  Newbie mistake I guess.  Anyway, to answer your question they would not establish a TFR when the IR or VR route is hot.  About the only way to find out if anyone is flying it is to call the Center Radar facility that controls that area or the controlling authority listed for the MOA.  With aircraft like I fly it isn't much of an issue as we are usually higher than the jets would be.  The exception might be when taking off or landing at an airport nearby or conducting low-level operations such as Search and Rescue.  We have a VR route near my home airport which sees a lot of use by A-10's.  They usually fly in pairs with the wing man responsible for watching for traffic.  I doubt they would see a drone.... full size aircraft can be hard enough to spot.
Tim
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I recently got the 107 Remote Pilot Cert.  Not too hard for a licensed pilot. After a lot of research I ordered a Phantom 4 Advanced. The pro would have been nice but couldn't justify the extra $$.
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Mark The Droner
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Okay - but surely 57NC would be notified of the military jets, right?  So if I called them, they'd advise me.

If you make a post and then don't see it, press F5.  It will magically appear.  

You're reading the P4A manual right?  Twice?  Have fun!  
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Sorry for all the posts but I thought I needed to clarify something about low-level routes.  Low-level means they can be flying below 1500 agl.  In Michigan I've seen them below 500 feet on occasion but most of the time they're around 1000 feet, which wouldn't be a factor for Drone operations.  I suspect in mountainous terrain they would tend to fly higher rather than lower.
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Mark The Droner
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Thanks for the clarity
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Oldav8tor Posted at 2018-4-24 16:24
Geez!  How did I get a double post?  Newbie mistake I guess.  Anyway, to answer your question they would not establish a TFR when the IR or VR route is hot.  About the only way to find out if anyone is flying it is to call the Center Radar facility that controls that area or the controlling authority listed for the MOA.  With aircraft like I fly it isn't much of an issue as we are usually higher than the jets would be.  The exception might be when taking off or landing at an airport nearby or conducting low-level operations such as Search and Rescue.  We have a VR route near my home airport which sees a lot of use by A-10's.  They usually fly in pairs with the wing man responsible for watching for traffic.  I doubt they would see a drone.... full size aircraft can be hard enough to spot.
Tim

Aloha Tim,

     Mahalo for the input.  Very down to Earth.  As for the A-10, a micro drone like we fly might be confused for a snack.

     BTW, your opening statement about the fairness of the FAA is spot on.  Mahalo again!  Because the FAA is pretty much an unknown to many of the drone enthusiasts that visit this Forum, the trust in the fairness of the FAA has not been built up by experience in a group like this.  It is good to hear from someone with your experience.

     Welcome to the Forum!  Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

Aloha and Drone On!
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justin_mcvideo Posted at 2018-4-24 08:23
Thanks for that!

When calling the tower, would they authorize you for that day the same if you were hobbyist or 107?  If I'm 107 certified but I'm just flying for enjoyment that day, does my 107 cert matter, would I still classify it as 107?

Aloha Justin,

     Mark and Tim seem to have answered your concerns, so I will defer to them.

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-4-24
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Oldav8tor
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Depends on the tower - One located at the center of class B or C airspace would be less likely than a quiet little tower which only had class D airspace around it.  Towers tend to take the character of the tower chief and the folks who work there so I would suggest a call to them before you have a need, just to get a feel for them and establish a line of communication.  Ask for the tower chief or shift supervisor.  The fact that you have a Remote Pilot Certificate might  reassure them somewhat because they would assume you understood airspace and operating procedures better than someone who is strictly a hobbyist. What they really hate is when an approaching aircraft radios in to report a drone flying alongside.  

As to your second question, if you are strictly flying for recreation, you can choose which set of regs to operate under.  It doesn't really matter if you have a Remote Pilot Certificate or not.  That said, I think the rules in part 107 provide a good basis for conducting safe operations.  Here's a link to some info that might be helpful  https://www.aopa.org/go-fly/airc ... one-near-an-airport
2018-4-24
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Mark The Droner
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Sorry - I'm having trouble understanding the above post.

Depends on the tower - One located at the center of class B or C airspace would be less likely than a quiet little tower which only had class D airspace around it.  Towers tend to take the character of the tower chief and the folks who work there so I would suggest a call to them before you have a need, just to get a feel for them and establish a line of communication.

Not sure what question this is answering.   If it's answering a 107 flight question, the FAA does not want the pilot to call the tower directly to gain authority to fly.  See post #19 above.  If it's a 101 flight question, the pilot does not need authorization to fly in controlled airspace, he merely needs to "notify" the airport/tower of his flight plan if he's within five miles.  The exception to that is Class B airspace in which case he must get authorization from the airport/tower.   

As to your second question, if you are strictly flying for recreation, you can choose which set of regs to operate under.  It doesn't really matter if you have a Remote Pilot Certificate or not. That said, I think the rules in part 107 provide a good basis for conducting safe operations.

I don't follow you.  How can a remote pilot fly under the rules of Part 107 if he isn't certified to fly under the rules of Part 107?  

Thanks
2018-4-25
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Oldav8tor
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Ok - I missed a couple of questions. First - Low level routes - Mark, 57NC nor any other airports along the low-level route would be notified.  You might try calling 1-800 wxbrief and see if the FSS people could check for you.  Problem is, the FAA seldom gets more than 15 minutes notice themselves.  The other thing - USAF operates on UHF so you won't hear them talking on normal aviation frequencies.  Unless you are in a very sparsely populated area, it is uncommon to see them below 500 feet.  That said, I remember seeing a B52 on an IR route pass under me while I was flying over Lake Michigan.  He was low enough he left a wake on the water!
The second question - If you have a Remote Pilot Certificate you may choose to operate under FAR 107.  If you do not have the RP Cert, by definition you are a hobbyist and would fly under 101.  My understanding (any lawyers out there?) is that if the proposed flight is purely recreational, you can choose to fly under 101, even if you have the RP Cert. Getting certified doesn't mean you give up your right to fly for fun. Example, I have a Commercial certificate, but I can choose to operate as a private or sport pilot by choosing to follow those regs instead of those that pertain to commercial operations.  When I fly for business, I meet commercial regs.  When I fly for pleasure, I'm flying essentially as a private pilot. This link might help a bit https://dronebusiness.center/faa ... ed-fly-model-11793/
As to getting ATC approval.... good luck.  FAA is trying to standardize an approval process but it doesn't look like it will be very timely.  The people who work for a particular ATC facility may not even be aware of what part 107 has to say about ATC permission.  Depending who you get when you call, you may find a friendly guy who is willing to work with you or someone who can't believe you are bothering them with such a matter and just refuses to give you any kind of help.  FWIW - across the country there are FAA offices called FSDO's, short for Flight Standards District Offices.  Each office should have someone designated to handle matters relating to drones and part 107.  I just went down and met with the guy for SE Michigan about a week ago.  Anyway, such individuals might be willing to answer some of your questions and help you out.  Unfortunately, I think that to much of the FAA, Drones are seen as an unwanted distraction that they're not totally happy to have to deal with.  I suspect it will be awhile before procedures are in place to allow for quick and easy access to airspace other than G on other than a piecemeal basis.   
Sorry for being so long-winded but I hope I've helped.  Just look at the RP Cert as a way to expand your drone flying opportunities, not restrict them  :-)
2018-4-25
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Genghis9
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Mark The Droner Posted at 2018-4-25 03:43
Sorry - I'm having trouble understanding the above post.

For IR and VR routes, also known as MTRs, they are managed and scheduled by a nearby military installation, nearby could mean a couple of hundred miles away, read that as those routes are owned by such & such AFB or NAS or MCAS etc.  Those bases are responsible for keeping the routes updated through the CHUM system as well as scheduling and therefore deconflicting their use by other flyers wishing to use the route.  It's not likely civilian aircraft will fly these routes as a scheduled event, however, the CAP will do so to conduct route surveys etc.  Otherwise any military aircraft can schedule the route, assuming the route structure is compatible with the aircraft's performance capabilities i.e. you wont see a C5 flying a route designed for fighter use.  The owning base has priority of use, so an F18 field means you'd likely see mostly 18s flying it.  Route width can vary from about 4 miles left & right of center, as the typical, to usually not more than 10 miles each side or some variation thereof i.e. 2 miles left and 8 miles right, this info can be found in the DoD's pub AP-1/B for North America.  The MTRs are depicted on FAA VFR sectionals, center line only depicted.
The IR routes are established to allow use in IFR conditions, and as such are deconflicted by the regional CTR, while the VR routes are VFR only.  Weather conditions and surface factors & terrain (example: noise complaint) determines how low the aircraft will be.  All routes are surface to X, but typically tactical aircraft are between 200 & 400 AGL when in clear conditions, while on IR routes they can be at 1000 AGL or higher in IFR conditions; although they can fly lower if able to remain clear of clouds.
Routes are opened at least 15 minutes before scheduled route entry (standard minimum scheduled interval is about 15 mins between flights but can be higher) and they close 30 minutes after or unless center notes a cancelation, a verified exit, or the aircraft abort the route early and notifies center accordingly.  Yes, routes have scheduled hours of operation as well as days for use, although most routes can be flown any day of the week and some are 24/7/365.  All routes activation should be updated by NOTAM and they are required to be filed by flight plan which notifies center of the route activation, this may not be the case for some VR routes.  Although all military flights are required to file an IFR flight plan.  For the times they are flying under a VFR flight plan the route use may not be noted until the flight activates it when calling in to flight svc.  Meaning all area Flight Service stations should have updates for the routes in their area of responsibility, contacting them can also get you updated info on route activity, just realize they don't know and thus can't tell you IR 200 is going to be used by a flight of 2 F-15Es two weeks from now, only the scheduling agency can do that and they wont tell you that without a need to know, meaning the soonest flight service and the NOTAM system will know is when the flight's flight plan is filed and in the system.
It is wise to avoid these routes mainly M-F day or night and if you are going to be operating near them contact flight service, and yes the local tower should know and in some cases the flights are required to contact the tower near a route for some fields, but not necessarily all, using some established point to ensure they know they are flying by their area.  Many general aviation pilots fly in these route areas and seem to be oblivious of military aircraft in their vicinity, very dangerous.
2018-4-25
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Genghis9
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Oldav8tor Posted at 2018-4-24 17:20
Sorry for all the posts but I thought I needed to clarify something about low-level routes.  Low-level means they can be flying below 1500 agl.  In Michigan I've seen them below 500 feet on occasion but most of the time they're around 1000 feet, which wouldn't be a factor for Drone operations.  I suspect in mountainous terrain they would tend to fly higher rather than lower.

Greatly depends on the weapon system...
Aardvarks could fly lower than 500 AGL in mountainous using TFR
BUFFs in the Big Horns could fly 500 to 600 AGL
at RF a hell of a lot lower than either of those at times, mountainous or out on the valley floors and the flats
2018-4-25
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Oldav8tor
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Ghenghis9 knows his stuff  :-) This is what we usually see. I taught a LtCol with this outfit how to fly.  Sometimes I see them near my little private strip which is near a VR route.


2018-4-26
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