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  1. RBC

    RBC

    Joined:
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    I thought this information would be helpful for those of you who are hobbyists and/or want to fly within 5 miles of an airport.

    I initially called the FAA UAS Help Desk to get some questions answered. Because I have 2 airports within 5 miles of where I live and fly my H, I was concerned to know more about the notification rule. The person I initially spoke with was not an expert on the rules and chose to weave her own interpretation. By the way, the people manning this desk are not FAA employees but are contractors trained to answer questions about small UAS for callers.

    One airports near me is a semi-active Army Heliport and the other is a small air park that is part of a residential community with its own runway. I had already called the air park and to inform them I was flying a drone in my community 3 miles from their airport. I had also called the Army Heliport several times and got a voicemail message and left messages about flying a drone in my community within 5 miles of their location. I had not heard back from the Army Heliport at that point so I wanted to confirm with the FAA my right to fly in my community. The FAA contractor on the help desk said if I had not heard back from the Heliport, I did not have their permission to fly, I asked her to cite the rule that stated this. She said it was printed on my FAA registration. I told her all that said was that I had to notify the airport within 5 miles. She said the airport was under no obligation to respond to me and if I had not heard from them I had no right to fly. So I called one of the FAA field offices in my city and spoke to their UAS expert. He told me the only obligation a UAS hobbiest has is to inform the air operation within 5 miles of where you are flying. There is no obligation to get their explicit permission allowing you to fly. If you leave a message and they do not call you back, you have fulfilled the FAA requirement of notification. If they later call you back and object, then you need to comply or risk being fined by the FAA. However their objection has due explicitly explain what the safety concern is; they must support their position. After all of this, I was finally able to reach the Army Heliport. I explained where I lived and asked if this would be ok to fly. The official I spoke with told me their helicopters fly at 500 ft and therefore he did not see any concern. He asked if the H had an altimeter and I told him it did as well as had a governor so it would not fly higher than 400 ft.

    So, the good news, I am still free to fly my H in my community. Everyone fly safely!
     
  2. Hychewright

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the information RBC.
     
  3. Danny Baur

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    Thanks for the info brother... I'm calling my local community airport by the end of the month.. I have plenty of places to fly, but where I like to test color is at the schools. 2 miles from the small airport.
     
  4. BobW55

    BobW55 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Melvin Michigan, In the thumb
    To really cover your butt,
    Go to the local airport with a map printout that shows the airport and your house.
    highlight the area around your house with a note that simply states DRONE ACTIVITY, 0 to 400' AGL and the possible times you may be flying.
    Most local airports have a bulletin board for posting such info.
    The local ANG base may be a harder nut to crack, and may take several phone calls or a visit to get through. I would be worried about flying under the helicopter downwash.
     
  5. RBC

    RBC

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    I fly LOS unless I lose sight of it and if so I do a RTH. I've only seen military helicopters once flying over my area. Two were in formation. I think the chances of being under helicopter wash are less than a near miss with a crop duster. But I know I need to keep my eyes wide open as anything is possible. LOL.
     
  6. n3srj

    Joined:
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    Location:
    suncoast of florida
    Great info RBC. I live less than 3 miles from a Medical Heli based at our city hall. No tower no nothing..I contact the local fire service.