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For Those In The Know about flying within 5 mi of Class C
648 14 2018-5-28
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Oldmaninwva
First Officer
Flight distance : 8726381 ft
United States
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My first opportunity to actually HAVE to call the tower of an airport near my hometown...  Here's what went down...

First off, I live and fly in the U.S. so the U.S. FAA rules are what this email os about.

Called the tower, advised the person answering that I would be flying my drone within the 5 mile radius and gave him the location.  My takeoff was actually over 2.5 miles away from airport center and positioned over 300 ft BELOW the runway altitude. (airport sits on a hilltop).   My target photo intrests and personal boundaries of my flight would keep me over 2.25 miles away from the airport and less than 300ft above takeoff point.  No TFR's in affect for the area I was in.


The tower rep stated that I needed to get a waiver to be able to fly and to go to the FAA website to do that...  I told him that I was using the FAA app B4UFly and all it states was that I just needed to advise him of my flight.  Even mentioned that I was a recreational flyer (but I did have myself registered with the FAA under section 336).  And once again told him that all the FAA guidlines told me to do was notify, which is what I was doing.  He asked how long and how high, to which I replied, less than an hour and well under 400ft agl.


His response was then "heck you wont be interferring with anything we're doing so have fun but keep an eye out for local med choppers"  Roger That... (even attempted to notify the local hospital but no answer)


Now I get back to my vehicle and see that I had a voicemail from the same guy I talked to from the tower stating that his boss told him thatower guys t I DID need a waiver and that I was not authorized to fly within the 5 mile radius. Uhhhhh..  Too late....

My question for those in the know....  From what I can see on the FAA site, the requirement for the waiver for Class C only applies to Part 107 flyers...  I am thinking that the tower guys are confusing the two and going with the requirement for Part 107....  Going to the FAADRroneZone site and logging in under the section 336 portal where I am registered has no waiver links that I can see.


Am I right or wrong here?



2018-5-28
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DJI Natalia
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Please be guided by our rules and regulations when flying the drones near the airport.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/dji-bra ... 4/regulation-US.pdf
2018-5-28
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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You're right, they're wrong.  You just have to notify.  

Class B you would have to get the tower's approval for the flight and that can be done with a phone call.  But this was apparently not the case.  

They are thinking the Part 107 rules are for everybody and they are not.  They were probably briefed on the relatively new rule that Part 107 UAS pilots have to get FAA approval though the online portal - the approval of which eventually gets sent to the airport/tower - and that Part 107 UAS pilots may not call the tower directly to get approval.  That's true.  But they likely read it quickly and didn't realize it applied only to Part 107 pilots.  It certainly doesn't apply to model pilots.

Good luck
2018-5-28
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Oldmaninwva
First Officer
Flight distance : 8726381 ft
United States
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DJI Natalia Posted at 2018-5-28 12:04
Please be guided by our rules and regulations when flying the drones near the airport.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/dji-brandsite-document/flysafe-policy/flysafe-%E5%90%84%E5%9B%BD%E6%B3%95%E8%A7%84/regulation-US.pdf

No disrespect Natalia, but those are not YOUR regulations....  those are the U.S. FAA ...  DJI is not a government agency capable of instituting regulations anyway.


Thanks Though
2018-5-28
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Oldmaninwva
First Officer
Flight distance : 8726381 ft
United States
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Mark The Droner Posted at 2018-5-28 12:46
You're right, they're wrong.  You just have to notify.  

Class A you would have to get the tower's approval for the flight and that can be done with a phone call.  But this was apparently not the case.  

That's exactly the way I understand it..  The next time I need to call them I will mention that I operate under Part 336 and maybe that might jog their memory.  Flying below the elevation of the airfield it's not like they're gonna see it on the radar anyways..  

Thanks
2018-5-28
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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That's exactly the way I understand it..  The next time I need to call them I will mention that I operate under Part 336




Section 336.  ;-)  

Part 101

"Part 101" may serve you better when communicating with them because they are used to dealing with FAA phrases.

My pleasure, sir
2018-5-28
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TheLazyC
First Officer
Flight distance : 934400 ft
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United States
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I am a license SEL/SES pilot and also hold a Remote Pilot certificate. With flying as a pilot of aircraft, Class C means communication, you only have to communicate with tower, you do not need permission. I am trying to find if this hold true for sUAS. I found this article on the AOPA site https://www.aopa.org/go-fly/airc ... one-near-an-airport
2018-5-28
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RMJovo
First Officer
Flight distance : 1517644 ft
United States
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I live in St. Paul,MN and where I fly is class D airspace I call the tower and tell them the location & GPS location the max altitude time and duration of flight, I the call the hospitals security and tell then my cell phone number so that can call me if they have a inbound chopper (this is a procedure the hospitals in our area have worked out with us) I have no problems at all.
2018-5-28
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Oldmaninwva
First Officer
Flight distance : 8726381 ft
United States
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Thanks for all the info folks....  I will now be better prepared when the next opportunity presents itself to speak to the tower.
2018-5-29
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david_eberhardt
lvl.2
Flight distance : 51486 ft
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It is quite clear that your Tower doesn't know the rules, which is quite shocking. I'd call your nearest FAA FSDO office and see if they can help educate them. The FAA website is quite clear regarding what recreational flyers must do and that is simply give them advance notification like you did.
2018-5-29
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EdM
Captain
Flight distance : 1298970 ft
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david_eberhardt Posted at 2018-5-29 01:30
It is quite clear that your Tower doesn't know the rules, which is quite shocking. I'd call your nearest FAA FSDO office and see if they can help educate them. The FAA website is quite clear regarding what recreational flyers must do and that is simply give them advance notification like you did.

Probably the first time they have got a call regarding a drone flight.  
2018-5-29
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Oldmaninwva
First Officer
Flight distance : 8726381 ft
United States
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Latest update..  at the recommendation of forum user david_eberhardt I did call the local FSDO by website email (easier for them to pass on the entire story if need be).  He responded back about an hour later, pretty much saying that my understanding of the rules were correct but that he would let another person that has the responsibility for the UAS guidlines contact me and we will discuss my email.
Feel confident that my next contact with that tower will go smoother.
I wonder if Faxing the notification in to the tower would suffice as notification..  I did read somewhere that leaving a voicemail would suffice.

Will update after the next contact.

Thanks Again guys
2018-5-29
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Oldav8tor
lvl.3
United States
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Do not be surprised that the FAA controllers are not up to date on the fine points of drone operations under part 107 vs 101.  Drone operations are so far down on their list of priorities that until individual controllers have to deal with it, expect confusion. Unfortunately, they would prefer not to have to deal with us.  Fortunately, pros that most of them are....they'll eventually get with the program. I think you did the right thing by talking to the FSDO.  Main thing - be cool, respectful and pick your battles.

As to Class C = communication....partly correct.  Regs also require aircraft operating inside the boundaries of Class C to have an operating Radar Transponder with altitude reporting capability.  Your drone does not show up on radar and since you are not in two-way radio contact with the tower they are not able to separate you from other traffic.  Stay well below 400 agl and you and ATC should get along just fine.  Be aware that aircraft on final approach (visual or instrument) can easily be below 400 feet within a mile of the airport's boundary so expect more concern from FAA about such operations.  We must never create a collision hazard...if that means no flying in certain areas, accept it.
2018-5-29
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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Oldav8tor Posted at 2018-5-29 19:21
...Regs also require (manned) aircraft operating inside the boundaries of Class C to have an operating Radar Transponder with altitude reporting capability.  ...

I did not know that in regards to Class C, thanks for the info.  It looks to me like DJI isn't going to allow us to fly within a mile and a half or so of Class C anyway - looking at the geo map (e.g. Bradley International in CT)...

...and it appears to me if we fly a little further out, it will be with a stepped max height limit... as explained in the manual.

https://www.dji.com/flysafe/geo-map

Thanks again


2018-5-30
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Oldmaninwva
First Officer
Flight distance : 8726381 ft
United States
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Talked with the local FSDO today and at the end of the conversation we both felt good about the call..  He was impressed with the amount of knowledge that a "recreational drone operator" had about the airspace and it's use.  So I told him that based on the other drone owners that I have personally dealt with they are all on that same lever of understanding about the safety aspects of drones and airspace.

He mentioned that he now sees a need to give the tower folks a bit of training on what to expect and definitely what questions to ask for future calls, he admits that they really had no clue and were winging it when I called.  Hopefully the next time will be smoother.


He did leave me with a link that goes to the FAA sites about restricted airspace and UAV's  that would be  https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/airspace_restrictions/faq/     I must admit I was not aware of that page.  

Sooo all is well and good with the FAA in my neck of the woods so thanks again guys for the ideas.

2018-5-31
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