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UK Drone Op’s don’t pay to fly in Airport FRZ’s!
750 6 2023-2-18
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Webevision
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Hello,

For any Op’s based in the UK you can stop paying to fly in Airport FRZ’s (Flight Restriction Zone)  as we are now armed with the wonderful CAP 722C 2nd Edition - December 2022. (I’ve put a link to the CAA pdf below.)

Specifically you need to jump to 3.2 which states

3.2 Airspace Access Charging

The establishment of an airspace restriction means that the sponsor is responsible for
managing it, and not that the sponsor ‘owns’ it; airspace is a State asset. There should be
no reason for a Sponsor to charge for access to airspace for UAS. Whilst some burden of
work may exist in processing applications for UAS access to airspace, it is envisaged that
this will not require an undue burden on the Sponsor and should incur negligible time or
cost.
Any such cost should not be passed on to UAS operators, or manned aviation operators -
in the case of an airspace restriction which facilitates UAS flight by restricting manned
aviation.

I’ve just had an arm wrestle with Cambridge Airport, as their FRZ virtually covers the whole of the City of Cambridge, where I have a job booked for next week. They initially wanted to charge me £60 inc VAT for a permit to fly, which they then claimed was an admin fee. The thing is if I was a Heli or Light aircraft flying from another airport and just wanting a jolly over the same airspace all I would have to do is contact the ATC an hour or so before I approach and it wouldn’t cost me a bean. It’s basically Drone apartheid, and totally unfair.

I likened this practice to me standing in my street with a fluorescent tabard and trying to charge anyone who drove a car or bike down it. Purely because I seem to represent some kind of authority. But in Cambridge Airports case Instead of Highway robbery it’s Skyway Robbery!

I’ve had the same ding dong with London Heliport a while ago, although  the job eventually didn’t happen,  so I never really managed to apply the CAP722C ruling.

If you do find yourself in a battle you can complain to the CAA here, which is section 3.1 of the CAP

Note: Airspace Access Complaints: An airspace user may report issues with access to an airspace restriction to the CAA. Such a report may be made to the CAA General Aviation and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Unit here. The CAA will assess every complaint, and if required, investigate further.  

We need to nip this money grabbing practice in its tracks, because as soon as one outfit thinks they can get away with it the rest will follow. So don’t take the easy route with the ‘Can’t be arsed, the client will swallow it’ approach as this will only make things worse.

Cheers Phil




2023-2-18
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Blériot53
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Interesting reading.  Not for nothing are we seen as Rip Off Britain.
2023-2-18
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Neico
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There is something similar in NZ here but I'm not sure where it operates. I believe it operates over DOC land (dept of conservation) especially where rare birds etc are nesting. For my own due care I just dont go anywhere near any airport or wildlife sanctuary. $60.00 I believe and they issue a restricted number of "licences" at any particular period - no idea how they police their "licences".

A very limited Gentleman once rebuked me for flying near an area marked "emergency helicopter landing area". It also marked the area as overflow car parking. In over twenty years I have seen the zone used for a rescue chopper once and even then it was deemed the patient should be transported by road ambulance. Car parks over flow is in the Summer when the crowds descend on the spot. Uninformed swimmers who panic at anything like a knee high wave. We do our best. I dont go there in summer for the reason of the crowds but also for the reason that where I swim/free dive, the danger to the uninformed is significant.

The baseline for me is if I hear a chopper or any aircraft at all and it's off the usual flight paths or lower or I can see it intending to be closer, I get out of the sky.  Fact is the new NZDF choppers would go near the declared area - trees and these are bigger machines than the rescue people use. They land on the beach further up where life guards have cleared an area. I know this because some well meaning tourist reported me as a drowning candidate and fair enough, it would have looked dodgy. Dodgy enough for the ground operators to call in a chopper - only the NZDF ones would have been fast enough and that's what arrived - just I was strolling back out of the water.

But you put it exactly - "if I was a Heli or Light aircraft flying from another airport" .... but we're getting there I feel, the public arent running to get there shotguns so much. The Police are really only interested in trespass not in the fact of it being a UAV. They also know me of course as a responsible flyer - which is safe.

2023-2-18
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DAFlys
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Flight distance : 93526483 ft
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Thanks for the info.  So far it's not been a problem but good to know.
2023-2-19
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Depp
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Flight distance : 1868796 ft
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Germany
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Very interesting. I only once asked a nearby RAF tower if I could fly in their zone and after asking a few question (when/how high...) they said: go ahead.
2023-2-19
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Montfrooij
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Netherlands
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Thanks for sharing!
2023-2-20
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Prezzodrone
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Flight distance : 8533 ft

United Kingdom
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Thanks for the tip.  
2023-3-1
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