Altitude limit again?

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I realize the FAA recommends flying below 400 feet altitude but I’ve read here of drone pilots going 400 feet over the tallest structure in the area. I have a ham radio tower and antenna that extends 130 feet up so am I allowed to fly 530 feet around this structure? And, if correct, how far away from this structure can I maintain this altitude?

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Jim
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Hi Jim,

Yes you are correct. That applies to both Section 336 and Part 107 pilots. You can fly up to 400 feet above the top of that structure as long as you are within a 400 foot radius of the structure. So in your case it would be a max altitude of 530 feet within 400 feet of the structure. One other important part is that you can do so as long as you are not entering any other type of restricted airspace.
 
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That applies to both Section 336 and Part 107 pilots. You can fly up to 400 feet above the top of that structure as long as you are within a 400 foot radius of the structure.
Can you point us to the document that states this for Section 336?
 
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Things can and most likely will change with the new FAA re-authorization. However until the FAA works out its new regulations, it is still operating under the same rules as before. Under Part 336, we needed to operate under rules/suggestions provided by community-based flying organizations. Typically the AMA is the organization everyone goes by, and the one also mentioned by the FAA.

On the FAA Drone Zone site, they specifically list the altitude restriction of 400 feet. Look here ---> Recreational Fliers & Modeler Community-Based Organizations

Step 2: Review the rules states:
  • Fly at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace (Class G)
So neither the FAA nor the AMA list this 400 foot rule above structures. However it has been widely accepted as the norm. Since we are still flying under Section 336 and since it is allowed for Part 107 pilots, then it seems that recreational pilots also can. Yes I know it's not written in stone and if you want to be totally safe then just stay under 400 feet period.

I know there may be disagreement and this is my view. I think we can all agree however that the intent is to keep everyone safe. All tall structures are clearly marked on sectional charts. All manned aircraft pilots should be reading these charts and never fly lower than 500 feet above such structures. If you don't agree with my interpretation, I respect that and I understand that it can be interpreted that Section 336 pilots can never fly above 400 feet.
 
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Things can and most likely will change with the new FAA re-authorization. However until the FAA works out its new regulations, it is still operating under the same rules as before. Under Part 336, we needed to operate under rules/suggestions provided by community-based flying organizations. Typically the AMA is the organization everyone goes by, and the one also mentioned by the FAA.

On the FAA Drone Zone site, they specifically list the altitude restriction of 400 feet. Look here ---> Recreational Fliers & Modeler Community-Based Organizations

Step 2: Review the rules states:
  • Fly at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace (Class G)
So neither the FAA nor the AMA list this 400 foot rule above structures. However it has been widely accepted as the norm. Since we are still flying under Section 336 and since it is allowed for Part 107 pilots, then it seems that recreational pilots also can. Yes I know it's not written in stone and if you want to be totally safe then just stay under 400 feet period.

I know there may be disagreement and this is my view. I think we can all agree however that the intent is to keep everyone safe. All tall structures are clearly marked on sectional charts. All manned aircraft pilots should be reading these charts and never fly lower than 500 feet above such structures. If you don't agree with my interpretation, I respect that and I understand that it can be interpreted that Section 336 pilots can never fly above 400 feet.
Actually under current regulations (Section 336) there is no general altitude limit at all, because the AMA doesn't include one (except for within 3 miles of airports). There has never been any reference or guideline from either the AMA or the FAA on recreational flights above structures.

http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/files/2016/07/FAA-400feet.pdf
 
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Actually under current regulations (Section 336) there is no general altitude limit at all, because the AMA doesn't include one (except for within 3 miles of airports). There has never been any reference or guideline from either the AMA or the FAA on recreational flights above structures.

http://amablog.modelaircraft.org/amagov/files/2016/07/FAA-400feet.pdf
True the 400 foot altitude is a recommendation, but is one that is widely accepted in order to ensure the safety of everyone in the NAS. We all want to stay safe and make sure we don't cause any issues that hurt all of us. The 400' limit is listed on the FAA website as I pointed out. What drone pilots want to do past that is up to each individual.
 
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Although 336 does not have a set altitude limit, that pdf @sar104 linked specifically says that the FAA indicated repeatly not to fly above 400' and if by doing so you cause an accident, the FAA will bring the firm hand of the law upon you.
 

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True the 400 foot altitude is a recommendation, but is one that is widely accepted in order to ensure the safety of everyone in the NAS. We all want to stay safe and make sure we don't cause any issues that hurt all of us. The 400' limit is listed on the FAA website as I pointed out. What drone pilots want to do past that is up to each individual.
I wasn't addressing what the FAA might want, or what might be safe. I was responding to the comments regarding the asserted legality of recreational flights remaining within 400 ft above a structure - in terms of legality, there is no such provision because there is no legal altitude limit.
 
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Although 336 does not have a set altitude limit, that pdf @sar104 linked specifically says that the FAA indicated repeatly not to fly above 400' and if by doing so you cause an accident, the FAA will bring the firm hand of the law upon you.
And they will do that whatever altitude you are flying at. If you cause an accident or near miss then the fact that you were less than 400 ft above a structure or, in fact, less than 400 ft above the ground, is not going to protect you from the FAA.
 
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Good info. Thanks folks for the information I live out in the country and the only other low air traffic we have had in past 26 years was a local crop duster and he died. My drones are the only air traffic out here.
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Jim
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I had someone come after after I posted these photos. “I’m reporting you to the FAA because you keep breaking rules. This building is over 500 feet tall, you clearly are above 400 ft”

I replied, “Yup. Suck eggs”
(The illustration Anisa provided previously shows why)

IMG_0113.jpg

IMG_0382.jpg
 
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Things can and most likely will change with the new FAA re-authorization. However until the FAA works out its new regulations, it is still operating under the same rules as before. Under Part 336, we needed to operate under rules/suggestions provided by community-based flying organizations. Typically the AMA is the organization everyone goes by, and the one also mentioned by the FAA.

On the FAA Drone Zone site, they specifically list the altitude restriction of 400 feet. Look here ---> Recreational Fliers & Modeler Community-Based Organizations

Step 2: Review the rules states:
  • Fly at or below 400 feet when in uncontrolled airspace (Class G)
So neither the FAA nor the AMA list this 400 foot rule above structures. However it has been widely accepted as the norm. Since we are still flying under Section 336 and since it is allowed for Part 107 pilots, then it seems that recreational pilots also can. Yes I know it's not written in stone and if you want to be totally safe then just stay under 400 feet period.

I know there may be disagreement and this is my view. I think we can all agree however that the intent is to keep everyone safe. All tall structures are clearly marked on sectional charts. All manned aircraft pilots should be reading these charts and never fly lower than 500 feet above such structures. If you don't agree with my interpretation, I respect that and I understand that it can be interpreted that Section 336 pilots can never fly above 400 feet.
I agree with you... You see 400ft AGL (above ground level)... NOT ASL (above structure level)
 
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When I was studying for the 107 test I only used material from the FAA website and I DJI recall learning the 400 ft above and away from a structure rule. I can't remember if or where it is in the actual regulations. I will duff through my study notes and see if I can find it.
 
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Here in Canada the maximum flight height is 400ft AGL in uncontrolled airspace, If you wish to conduct flight operations in Controlled airspace or higher than 400ft AGL you are required to apply for a SFOC and have ROCa Certification.
 
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When I was studying for the 107 test I only used material from the FAA website and I DJI recall learning the 400 ft above and away from a structure rule. I can't remember if or where it is in the actual regulations. I will duff through my study notes and see if I can find it.
Come on - you are Part 107 certified and you don't know where to find the regulations?

§107.51 Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.

§107.51 Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft.
A remote pilot in command and the person manipulating the flight controls of the small unmanned aircraft system must comply with all of the following operating limitations when operating a small unmanned aircraft system:​
(a) The groundspeed of the small unmanned aircraft may not exceed 87 knots (100 miles per hour).​
(b) The altitude of the small unmanned aircraft cannot be higher than 400 feet above ground level, unless the small unmanned aircraft:​
(1) Is flown within a 400-foot radius of a structure; and​
(2) Does not fly higher than 400 feet above the structure's immediate uppermost limit.​
(c) The minimum flight visibility, as observed from the location of the control station must be no less than 3 statute miles. For purposes of this section, flight visibility means the average slant distance from the control station at which prominent unlighted objects may be seen and identified by day and prominent lighted objects may be seen and identified by night.​
(d) The minimum distance of the small unmanned aircraft from clouds must be no less than:​
(1) 500 feet below the cloud; and​
(2) 2,000 feet horizontally from the cloud.​
 
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I realize the FAA recommends flying below 400 feet altitude but I’ve read here of drone pilots going 400 feet over the tallest structure in the area. I have a ham radio tower and antenna that extends 130 feet up so am I allowed to fly 530 feet around this structure? And, if correct, how far away from this structure can I maintain this altitude?

Thanks
Jim
WA5TEF
For HAM radio towers, the limit is 73 feet above. (inside joke. ;) )

Bill
N2ASA
 
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