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FAA No Fly Rules
2588 11 2016-11-30
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tundrwd
lvl.2
United States
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I’ve been reading up on the US FAA “no fly rules” (hobbyist, not 107), and quite honestly, find them confusing, and possibly contradictory.  To be honest, I haven't run down the 80-100 other regs I keep running across (and many seem to mix hobbyist/commercial regs in the same breath).  I will, but right now, am just trying to clear some fog...

The general HOBBYIST rule is “no flying within 5 miles of an airport”.  Fine - but what constitutes an “airport”.  Within the 5 mile zone, I’ve got at least 4 private “airports” (so named, and nothing more than mowed grass strips for ultralights, J3s, and Cessna 150s, etc.).  I KNOW that 2 of them haven’t been used in years, and of that, the owner of one has been deceased for at least 12-15 years, and doubt it's still used, or has been in that time.  Even alive, he didn't use it very much the last several years of his life.

All of these would normally be in what would be considered Class G airspace, yet the hard rule remains “no flying within 5 miles of an airport”.  And if you want to fly, you are supposed to call (that’s not clear if that is hobbyist, or commercial…) the manager, owner and/or tower.  As if you were going to file a pseudo-VFR flight plan.  (I know a lot of the lingo, but have been out of touch with most specifics for a very long time).

So - NO flying within 5 miles of ANY airport, or anything named an “airport”?  If that’s so, then that knocks out 70-80% of the US airspace, since there are LOTS of private airports all over, and you can’t take off/land in a National Park, and the BLM has restricted use of much of the western US as well (no motorized vehicles - the Phantom has a motor, so…)  I can’t believe that’s the real case, but…

NO flying within 5 miles of any Class A,B,C,D,E airport?  Is that what they really mean?  And class E is the shaded magenta line, or the dashed magenta line?

Does “airport” in this sense mean “airspace” (so that the rules for a drone, stay less than 400 feet AGL, mean that it’s ok to fly within E/G airspace, except for the “dashed magenta lines” on a sectional?)

My son-in-law got his commercial drone cert a month or so ago (I intend to get mine in the next couple months), and the study site he used keeps sending email updates on “new” FAA interpretations/policies/etc.  He said he's called a couple local towers, and they are confused as well.  Seems like no one really knows what is supposed to happen.

So - can anyone clear some of this confusion?

2016-11-30
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DRONE-flies-YOU
First Officer
Flight distance : 1182441 ft
United States
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BLM just doesn't allow 2-strokes.  As long as you have a green or red sticker (in California at least), you're good.  Bunch of tree huggers go out in the desert & count how many tortoises there are in the middle of the hot day; then attribute the low count to dirtbikes.  SMH

Airspace.  THIS easily summarizes what YOU need to know.  Don't fly around the ends of the runway heading of an airport and don't go higher than 400 feet above the ground.  If the app lets you take off, you're good pretty much.  
Add me as a friend so we can PM if you want more info.  I'm not typing a lot of content HERE.
2016-11-30
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Mike-the-cat
Captain
Flight distance : 14411854 ft
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Singapore
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Hence the new deal in Go App 4. Read the legalese there. I have a post on this.

The hobby's growth has overtaken the capacity of lawmakers to deal with potential hazards and its simply natural to be overly conservative for starters.

DJI being the market leader is trying to rein things in but I tell you, its going to be difficult with so many new flyers around.
2016-11-30
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tundrwd
lvl.2
United States
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I've read and read, and some things make sense, others don't.  Sorry it's been a while to reply, I've been tied up for almost a month.  I've come to some conclusions, which I won't put out here.
2016-12-29
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Augustus Brian
Second Officer
Flight distance : 397592 ft
United States
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tundrwd:

FWIW, I live within 2 miles of a major air force base. According to the FAA rulebook (for hobbyists and 107s), I call the tower, inform them of my desired flying location(address or long/lat), intended max altitude and planned max distance from home point, name and contact #(sometimes), the length of time I will be airborne, and request permission to fly. It has always been granted except for once when there was a TFR in place. As a courtesy, I also call the tower when I've ultimately landed. I'm now on a first name basis with many of this particular tower's personnel, so there's that.

When I'm not flying over my home, there is a park just inside the 5 mile limit (4.8). Many UAVs fly there, but I'm the only one (that I'm aware of) that requests permission from the tower, prior to my flights. By the book, Scottie.

If I'm beyond 5 miles, I do not have to, need to, (or desire to) contact ATC.

Some airport towers have recently established a special call-in number specifically for UAVs.

I recently needed to launch from within 2 miles of an extremely major (hub) commercial airport. I researched and eventually found the correct tower contact; he was initially somewhat resistant, but when he returned the call (likely after consultation with others), he was friendly and quite helpful. I was granted take-off rights under the same rules as with the air force base.

Courtesy goes such a long way in these unsure times. With it, people tend to ask questions and gain information. Without it, people in sentry positions tend to block entry, sometimes flagrantly.

I'm very glad I do not live in NY or DC.

Keep Smiling,

Augustus
2016-12-29
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Augustus Brian
Second Officer
Flight distance : 397592 ft
United States
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tundrwd:

Also, someone on this forum mentioned a very good free app, UAV Forecast, that includes a map of your area overlaid with NFZs and other, configurable data. It exceeds the FAA's B4UFly app, by leaps and bounds, in terms of both performance, information and reliability.

Keep Smiling,

Augustus
2016-12-29
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RicknCovington
lvl.3
Flight distance : 171 ft
United States
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The FAA b4ufly app is worthless.  All it tells you is the coordinates and name of the airport/heliport.  It should give you the airport manager or air traffic control manager (if there is a control tower) contact number.  The Knowb4youfly airspace map will give you that information though.  And according to the rules, yes, you do have to contact the airport manager/operator, even if it is just a grass strip.  The rule says "notify"; it doesn't say must have approval.  Like is mentioned by another poster, most of the time it is just a minor formality, and they will usually not have any objections.
2016-12-29
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RicknCovington
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Flight distance : 171 ft
United States
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Actually, Class D airspace is a 5 mile radius around any airport/heliport, and is from the ground up to around 2500' AGL.  Class G is outside that 5 mile radius, upto 700/1200ft AGL.  It is because of the Class D airspace, that requires the airport notification.  As for the notification/approval, again it is just notification, not approval.  Meaning, you call and discuss your flight plans, try to work out any concerns, and if they still object, say thank you, hang up and fly anyway.  If they have an objection and feel you created a safety hazard to the flying public, then they will file a complaint with the FAA.  If the airport has a Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), then you are obligated to notify them; if not then you contact the Airport Manager.  You can find info on the airport at FlightNAV, as well.
2016-12-29
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AlaskanTides
Second Officer
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United States
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RicknCovington Posted at 2016-12-29 10:46
Actually, Class D airspace is a 5 mile radius around any airport/heliport, and is from the ground up to around 2500' AGL.  Class G is outside that 5 mile radius, upto 700/1200ft AGL.  It is because of the Class D airspace, that requires the airport notification.  As for the notification/approval, again it is just notification, not approval.  Meaning, you call and discuss your flight plans, try to work out any concerns, and if they still object, say thank you, hang up and fly anyway.  If they have an objection and feel you created a safety hazard to the flying public, then they will file a complaint with the FAA.  If the airport has a Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), then you are obligated to notify them; if not then you contact the Airport Manager.  You can find info on the airport at FlightNAV, as well.

So where exactly did you get this information regarding Class D Airspace  around every airport may I ask?
2016-12-29
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flyfishnevada
lvl.2
United States
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Not legal advice.  Don't take it as such.

Use common sense.  Don't fly at the end of runways.  Don't exceed 400 feet.  But I seriously doubt I'm going to call a tower if I'm flying around my local park at 30 feet.  If an airplane hits my drone in that situation, its on them and they've got bigger problems than my drone.  Now, if I plan to fly close to the local international airport, I'll call.  I don't expect to want to do that, however.

It's not as if the FAA has agents sneaking around watching you fly your drone.  I'd guess that 99.9% of the time, no one knows your drone is even in the air.  Even if DJI reports flight data to the FAA, they have neither the budget or the staff to track down potential violations.  Again, use common sense.  Don't do anything to endanger yourself or others.  Don't fly in air traffic corridors.  Don't exceed 400 feet.  Don't loose visual contact with your drone.
2016-12-29
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fanse31c24c8
lvl.2
Flight distance : 70748 ft
United States
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RicknCovington Posted at 2016-12-29 10:46
Actually, Class D airspace is a 5 mile radius around any airport/heliport, and is from the ground up to around 2500' AGL.  Class G is outside that 5 mile radius, upto 700/1200ft AGL.  It is because of the Class D airspace, that requires the airport notification.  As for the notification/approval, again it is just notification, not approval.  Meaning, you call and discuss your flight plans, try to work out any concerns, and if they still object, say thank you, hang up and fly anyway.  If they have an objection and feel you created a safety hazard to the flying public, then they will file a complaint with the FAA.  If the airport has a Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), then you are obligated to notify them; if not then you contact the Airport Manager.  You can find info on the airport at FlightNAV, as well.

Close, but not really.  Class D airspace is only around an airport with an "OPERATING" control tower.  If the control tower is not in operation or after hours, the Class D airspace does not exist.  Contacting an airport manager is of no use, they do not control the airspace.  Only the control tower, if operational, controls the airspace.  Many small airports and most helipads, are uncontrolled airports and require no clearance or notification to fly.  That being said, use a little common sense around an airport and stay away from the centerline of the runways and the 2 mile rule and 400 feet rule is warranted.  The last thing that anyone wants is to hit a manned aircraft with a drone.  It would be bad for the entire community.
2017-1-5
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RicknCovington
lvl.3
Flight distance : 171 ft
United States
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fanse31c24c8 Posted at 2017-1-5 00:22
Close, but not really.  Class D airspace is only around an airport with an "OPERATING" control tower.  If the control tower is not in operation or after hours, the Class D airspace does not exist.  Contacting an airport manager is of no use, they do not control the airspace.  Only the control tower, if operational, controls the airspace.  Many small airports and most helipads, are uncontrolled airports and require no clearance or notification to fly.  That being said, use a little common sense around an airport and stay away from the centerline of the runways and the 2 mile rule and 400 feet rule is warranted.  The last thing that anyone wants is to hit a manned aircraft with a drone.  It would be bad for the entire community.

I was incorrect about the Class D airspace definition.  But...you DO have to notify ALL airport and heliport operators, REGARDLESS, if there is no ATCT there.  I just got off the phone with a fine gentlemen at the FAA UAV Helpline and asked them.  If it has an ATCT, then you have to call the ATCT Manager.  If there is no ATCT, then you call the Airport Owner or Airport Manager.  Answer is straight from the FAA Helpdesk guy on the phone.
He also reiterated that we are not asking for permission; but we were notifying them we would be in the local airspace, and be sure we are not interfering with any other known aircraft operating in the area.
2017-1-13
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