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Call the tower or submit FAA Authorization/Waiver request?
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fans63009dec
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Until recently, when flying within 5 miles of a small airport or class D area the plan was to notify the tower. I read that everyplace and it even says to do so on the AirMap map that the FAA uses on its B4Ufly app.  Now all of the sudden I'm hearing the FAA wants ALL flights in ALL airspace other than G to go through the Authorization/Waiver application request portal on FAA.gov.  Where I live, the area is covered in class D space and I could notify the tower and fly without delay.  Now by going through the FAA request portal, it could take up to a month or more to get authorization.  Is anybody else seeing this?  What gives?

2017-1-5
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Mooney
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Notify or request permission?
2017-1-5
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fansa84fe8a4
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I heard some FAA guy mention getting a two-way aircraft radio and calling the tower instead of the phone.  One of these gizmos:  http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop ... nd-transceiver.html

Might be easier to do as it records your location in its GPS.  Just call saying: "I'll be using an aerial drone at the Toyota dealership 2 miles south of you at 150 feet for 20 minutes at 1PM" and see what they say.
2017-1-5
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fans63009dec
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fansa84fe8a4 Posted at 2017-1-5 09:10
I heard some FAA guy mention getting a two-way aircraft radio and calling the tower instead of the phone.  One of these gizmos:  http://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/yaesu-fta-750l-airband-transceiver.html

Might be easier to do as it records your location in its GPS.  Just call saying: "I'll be using an aerial drone at the Toyota dealership 2 miles south of you at 150 feet for 20 minutes at 1PM" and see what they say.

That is basically my normal procedure but I just call the tower on the phone.
But now the FAA wants ALL flights in ALL airspace except for G to go through the Waiver Request Portal on FAA.gov.  It was always my understanding that you only needed to do the waiver request for larger airports and class B airspace.  So now if I call the tower at smaller airports (class D) and even if they are good with it, it seems that I'll be breaking the FAA requirements... I suppose the FAA is trying to frustrate the hell out of folks in an attempt to just make them give up. Is there anyone here who has a clear understanding of this?
2017-1-5
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Daroga
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Where exactly are you "Now all of the sudden I'm hearing the FAA wants ALL flights in ALL airspace other than G to go through the Authorization/Waiver application request portal on FAA.gov"?

For aircraft less than 55 pounds but greater than 0.55 pounds, the FAA grants two groups of remote pilots ->
Fly for Fun (hobbyists) & Fly for Work (professional).

The Fly for Fun group is granted permission per Public Law 112-95, Section 336 – Special Rule for Model Aircraft FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, which requires that we:

  • Register our aircraft if over 0.55 lbs.
  • Stay 5 miles away from airports without prior notification to airport and air traffic control
  • Must follow community-based safety guidelines
  • Aircraft must be under 55 lbs.
  • Must keep the aircraft in sight (visual line-of-sight)
  • Must ALWAYS yield right of way to manned aircraft
  • Must notify airport and air traffic control tower before flying within 5 miles of an airport

The Fly for Work group is granted permission per Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulation (14 CFR) Part 107,
which requires that the remote pilot:

  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Must obtain a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate
  • Must be vetted by the US TSA
  • Aircraft must be less than 55 lbs.
  • Aircraft must be registered if over 0.55 lbs.
  • Remote pilot must perform aircraft preflight check to ensure aircraft integrity and flight safety during operation
  • Must fly in Class G airspace unless specifically waivered by FAA
       Part 107 Waiver/Airspace Authorization requests are made via the online form submitted here ->
       Click here to see the Part 107 Waiver/Airspace Authorization webpage.
       The waiver form states: This form should only be used to request waivers or airspace authorizations under Title 14 CFR Part 107;
                                          it is not for modelers or hobbyists flying in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (P.L. 112-95, Section 336).
                                          Approved Waivers can be viewed here.....

Yes, the FAA would like for all of us to get Part 107 certification.


2017-1-5
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fans63009dec
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Daroga Posted at 2017-1-5 09:35
Where exactly are you "Now all of the sudden I'm hearing the FAA wants ALL flights in ALL airspace other than G to go through the Authorization/Waiver application request portal on FAA.gov"?

For aircraft less than 55 pounds but greater than 0.55 pounds, the FAA grants two groups of remote pilots ->

I'm quite sure there are very few Commercial flyers out there that are submitting a waiver/authorization to fly in a class D airspace for a real estate shoot that wants the shots yesterday. Commercial and residential agents can't wait up to a month for a decision, construction projects can't wait up to a month. you'd go out of business very fast.  So I'm guessing that I'm banging my head against a rock trying to keep legal while most others are just kind of ... out of sight out of mind.
2017-1-5
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Daroga
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fans63009dec Posted at 2017-1-5 09:55
I'm quite sure there are very few Commercial flyers out there that are submitting a waiver/authorization to fly in a class D airspace for a real estate shoot that wants the shots yesterday. Commercial and residential agents can't wait up to a month for a decision, construction projects can't wait up to a month. you'd go out of business very fast.  So I'm guessing that I'm banging my head against a rock trying to keep legal while most others are just kind of ... out of sight out of mind.
Edited....

For the sake of argument, Class B, (not D) airspace generally provides a transition/step-down at 1200' and 700' into the Class E controlled airspace at the airport. While I surely need to consult the appropriate sectionals, more often than not, I can safely fly in the Class G airspace below the class B airspace and film my customer's property as long as I stay below the controlled Class B  airspace.

If I actually need to climb into class B or enter the controlled class E airspace, I definitely need to request authorization to protect the controlled aircraft, as well as my own VFR aircraft from collision....
2017-1-5
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fans63009dec
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Daroga Posted at 2017-1-5 10:42
For the sake of argument, Class D airspace generally provides a transition/step-down at 1200' and 700' into the Class E controlled airspace at the airport. While I surely need to consult the appropriate sectionals, more often than not, I can safely fly in the Class G airspace below the class D airspace and film my customer's property as long as I stay below the controlled Class D airspace.

If I actually need to climb into class D or enter the controlled class E airspace, I definitely need to request authorization to protect the controlled aircraft, as well as my own VFR aircraft from collision....

Class B is generally stepped (upside down wedding cake).  Class D is almost always straight up from the SFC.
2017-1-5
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fans63009dec
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Daroga Posted at 2017-1-5 10:42
For the sake of argument, Class D airspace generally provides a transition/step-down at 1200' and 700' into the Class E controlled airspace at the airport. While I surely need to consult the appropriate sectionals, more often than not, I can safely fly in the Class G airspace below the class D airspace and film my customer's property as long as I stay below the controlled Class D airspace.

If I actually need to climb into class D or enter the controlled class E airspace, I definitely need to request authorization to protect the controlled aircraft, as well as my own VFR aircraft from collision....

Perfect example of me banging my head against a rock trying to be "legal". While I'm turning down projects because they are in Class D airspace, other guys are taking the jobs thinking they are flying legally because they don't understand or are oblivious to airspace rules.
2017-1-5
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Daroga
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fans63009dec Posted at 2017-1-5 11:17
Class B is generally stepped (upside down wedding cake).  Class D is almost always straight up from the SFC.

Sorry, I'm just plain stupid. You are correct about Class D, usually SFC to 2500'.
Does not Class D revert to G or E when the tower is closed for airports having Class D airspace?
Mind if I correct the previous post?
2017-1-5
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fans63009dec
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Daroga Posted at 2017-1-5 11:43
Sorry, I'm just plain stupid. You are correct about Class D, usually SFC to 2500'.
Does not Class D revert to G or E when the tower is closed for airports having Class D airspace?
Mind if I correct the previous post?

No biggie, it's my frustration with the FAA making it complicated. Another frustration is you can look at a dozen different maps and get a dozen different boundaries for the different airspace classes. The FAA should publish ONE definitive GO TO map for drone flyers.
2017-1-5
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MJones
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I am always amazed at Daroga's very concise explanations.  Very well done, Mr. Daroga!

I do wish to point out the weight limit for hobby or recreational use of the aircraft is not "less than 55lbs."  The Public Law 112-95, Section 336 – Special Rule for Model Aircraft FAA Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft states that a hobby aircraft is one that is "not more than 55 lbs."  So according to the statute, a 55 lb aircraft (but not more than 55 lbs.) can be a hobby or recreational aircraft.  However, the registration rules require ALL aircraft weighing more than 0.55 lbs to be registered...except you can only use the online form for "less than 55 lbs" and must use the standard paper form for 55 lbs or more.  

Now here is another point to consider.  14 CFR Part 107 applies to ALL sUAS "weighing less than 55 lbs."  There is no 0.55 lb. lower limit!  The rule applies to ALL sUAS weighing less than 55 lbs.  The 0.55 lb lower limit applies only for registration.  Don't you love it??

With regard to airspace, I would also like to mention that the ONLY airspace requiring prior ATC authorization while operating under Part 107 is B, C, D,  "or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport..."  That means you are restricted from class E only if it goes to the surface.  Operating in class E airspace that, in some areas, begins 700 feet above ground level is not in this list.  So thinking you can only operate in class G is not entirely correct.  In fact, according to the rule, you can operate in Restricted or even Prohibited areas if you obtain permission "...from the using or controlling agency, as appropriate."  Those using or controlling agencies are usually NOT the FAA.

Yes, for sure, it is the wild west for UAS at the moment and there are many circumventing the laws and making it difficult for others trying to do the right thing.  But, in time, the Pinkertons will arrive   Sorry for the US specific reference!  
2017-1-6
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AlaskanTides
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With regard to airspace, I would also like to mention that the ONLY airspace requiring prior ATC authorization while operating under Part 107 is B, C, D,  "or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport..."  That means you are restricted from class E only if it goes to the surface.  Operating in class E airspace that, in some areas, begins 700 feet above ground level is not in this list

So if you can only legally operate 400' AGL...... And Class E Airspace starts at 700'AGL... Are you not officially operating in class G airspace?
You are letting yourself become confused about what airspace you are operating in....
2017-1-6
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MJones
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Hi AlaskanTides,

For work under 14CFR Part 107, you are not restricted to 400 feet AGL.  If your mission is to inspect a tower that rises 500 AGL, and you remain within 400 feet of that structure, you are permitted to fly to 900 AGL, 400 feet above the uppermost point.  In some locations, you would no longer be in class G airspace.  Very thoughtful of the FAA.  Manned aircraft cannot be any lower than 500 feet above that tower (in sparsely populated areas)  so there is still a 100 foot buffer..

Regards,

Mike
2017-1-7
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E.finlay
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On line is the only authorized way to request permission to enter controlled air space.  
2017-1-8
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E.finlay
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fans63009dec Posted at 2017-1-5 09:34
That is basically my normal procedure but I just call the tower on the phone.
But now the FAA wants ALL flights in ALL airspace except for G to go through the Waiver Request Portal on FAA.gov.  It was always my understanding that you only needed to do the waiver request for larger airports and class B airspace.  So now if I call the tower at smaller airports (class D) and even if they are good with it, it seems that I'll be breaking the FAA requirements... I suppose the FAA is trying to frustrate the hell out of folks in an attempt to just make them give up. Is there anyone here who has a clear understanding of this?

Drone U has a good video with an FAA guy explaining the procedure and what's going on with it.  They know it's broke, but can't figure out the best way to fix it.
2017-1-8
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RichJ53
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Daroga Posted at 2017-1-5 09:35
Where exactly are you "Now all of the sudden I'm hearing the FAA wants ALL flights in ALL airspace other than G to go through the Authorization/Waiver application request portal on FAA.gov"?

For aircraft less than 55 pounds but greater than 0.55 pounds, the FAA grants two groups of remote pilots ->

Very nice explanation Terry

Thank you for sharing
Rich
2017-1-8
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fans63009dec
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RichJ53 Posted at 2017-1-8 20:47
Very nice explanation Terry

Thank you for sharing

So any kid ("hobbyist") can go fly near airports as long as they have notified the tower while a part 107 holder with knowledge and experience is blocked for weeks waiting for a go or no go.

Just amazing.
2017-1-10
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fansdbce68d7
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Since no one is citing actual FAA sources of info, here is my take. The official Part 107 regs state you must have "prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC)". No specific requesting authority or process is defined in the actual Part 107 regs. It is only the FAQ where they state you must submit online through the port ONLY. I do not believe the FAQ constitutes law. I think if you comply with the letter of the Part 107 rules, you have at least a defensible position if someone tries to prosecute you. i.e. if you contact ATC for permission to fly in the airspace in question, and they give it to you, the FAA cannot say "you are in violation of the FAQ and we have grounds to prosecute". If it's required knowledge or law, it has to be in the FAR's, how else can you know, with certainty, what is law and what isn't?

Official Part 107 regs (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text ... div5#se14.2.107_143)

§107.41   Operation in certain airspace.
No person may operate a small unmanned aircraft in Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport unless that person has prior authorization from Air Traffic Control (ATC).


From the FAA FAQ (https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/)

How do I request permission from Air Traffic Control to operate in Class B, C, D, or E airspace? Is there a way to request permission electronically?
You can request airspace authorization through an online web portal available at www.faa.gov/uas/request_waiver.

Can I contact my local air traffic control tower or facility directly to request airspace permission?
No. All airspace permission requests must be made through the online portal

2017-3-22
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fans41779ada
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Face it, if near the boundary of Class D airspace, anyone noticing you, vs. "getting caught" if doing a Real Estate shoot at 150' is close to zero.  Overflying planes won't notice.   ATC won't notice.  150' at 5 miles from an airport is a dire emergency for an airplane.  Someone would have to "rat you out" to someone who cares enough to follow up on it.   So if you're "law abiding" you are at serious disadvantage to scofflaws using good old common sense.  I don't think anyone could argue the shoot is dangerous to aircraft operating from the airport in the Class D space.
2017-6-1
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fans1f456478
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fans63009dec Posted at 2017-1-5 09:55
I'm quite sure there are very few Commercial flyers out there that are submitting a waiver/authorization to fly in a class D airspace for a real estate shoot that wants the shots yesterday. Commercial and residential agents can't wait up to a month for a decision, construction projects can't wait up to a month. you'd go out of business very fast.  So I'm guessing that I'm banging my head against a rock trying to keep legal while most others are just kind of ... out of sight out of mind.

Can't wait a month?   Then join the rest of us Part 107 law abiding PILOTS and plan your missions.  Because if you are shooting for a real estate client then you're commercial and need to be a real pilot to be legal.  There's a reason FAA doesn't want any yahoo out there buzzing around without knowing what they are doing.  I suspect you're not a pilot because of the basic questions you are asking.  If you are a Certified Remote Pilot, then you have more learning to do.
2017-6-29
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MAStetz
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fans1f456478 Posted at 2017-6-29 08:37
Can't wait a month?   Then join the rest of us Part 107 law abiding PILOTS and plan your missions.  Because if you are shooting for a real estate client then you're commercial and need to be a real pilot to be legal.  There's a reason FAA doesn't want any yahoo out there buzzing around without knowing what they are doing.  I suspect you're not a pilot because of the basic questions you are asking.  If you are a Certified Remote Pilot, then you have more learning to do.

I think there's a couple in this post that has learning to do. As a Part 107 i can legally fly a lot closer than a five mile radius from a major airport, Need to learn to read those VFR sectional charts, all though i may have to file a waiver if i need to fly into controlled airspace and the hobbyist still only has to call ATCT if they do take the phone call they will get a deny. not only that, they have to call EVERYONE with in a five mile radius every time they want to fly!! I'll pass on that. and as a professional, if you cant get a shot of a house with a 50' AGL (that's the closet I can get to KCLE with no need for FAA clearance and i can see the airport from there)
2017-9-10
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Necron99
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The lake where I live is within that 5 mile radius of KMCI...SFC to 8000 feet.  My waiver gives me 100 feet on the north part of our lake and 300 feet on the south part of our lake so I can take video of our sailing clubs and other events.  I still call Kansas City Approach (816-329-2710) which I believe is a consolidated number for the entire Kansas City area when I fly.  They've always been super awesome about things.  Never had a problem.  Doing a real estate gig within that area in about 15 minutes and I'll call them even with my waiver and let them know what I'm doing.  I'm sure with the influx of these types of requests this will only get easier for flyers as well as admin in the days to come.  Nobody wants  it to be problematic.
2017-10-8
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nweuaspilot
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I submitted a waiver request on 7-20-17 to fly in class D airspace and almost 4 months later still waiting authorization.
2017-11-13
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T.J. Del Santo
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I was told by an ATC supervisor that we commercial drone pilots need authorization through the online process....meaning we can't call up that day and ask for permission to fly in our local Class C airspace.  .  I got permission a couple times until I ran into the supervisor.   I KNOW that all I need to do is to request permission but whatever.  I think the process is changing very soon

The only issue I worry about when only going up 50-100feet in controlled airspace is a fly away.  They are increasingly rare, but they still happen.  

2017-11-15
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fansa4595228
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fans63009dec Posted at 2017-1-5 09:55
I'm quite sure there are very few Commercial flyers out there that are submitting a waiver/authorization to fly in a class D airspace for a real estate shoot that wants the shots yesterday. Commercial and residential agents can't wait up to a month for a decision, construction projects can't wait up to a month. you'd go out of business very fast.  So I'm guessing that I'm banging my head against a rock trying to keep legal while most others are just kind of ... out of sight out of mind.

That is why you request airspace authorization for next year, now. Dont wait until they request it to get approval.
2017-11-28
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nweuaspilot
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I submitted a waiver request on 7-20-17 to fly in class D airspace and it has been 7 months and still waiting for an authorization.  I have even called my local FAA office.  Every so often I get a email stating:

Hello,

Unfortunately, a substantial update is not available for your request. It is currently in the queue of applications being processed. At the moment, we do not have a timeframe of when it will be completed. Due to the volume of applications received, it is taking longer than 90 days to provide a response but we are processing applications as quickly as possible to improve the wait time.


Kind Regards,
ATO Part 107 Authorization and Waiver Team
ATO Emerging Technologies Team
Federal Aviation Administration

2018-2-22
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