B4UFLY "Good to go!" vs FAA rule 14 C.F.R. § 107.41

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A buddy of mine got a scary letter from the FAA charging him with various drone flight violations. Ignoring all else I'd like to focus your attention on one specific item and ask your opinions.

They looked at a video he posted on YouTube and recognized a very well known public location, super easy to know that this was where the video was taken. No debate on this point. Among their complaints they listed rule "§ 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). "

They are claiming he flew his drone in Class D airspace. His GPS coordinates for take off/landing (and he never flew more than a few hundred feet in any direction from there) are:
LAT: 42.56705
LONG: -82.63438
According to B4UFLY that area is "Good to Go!" Also The update DJI Go software did not present any warnings or notices about the area.

This is a portion of the official FAA Sectional Chart for this area - you'll notice a black mark just to the upper left of the E in "harsEns island" - that's the area of the flight in question:
moot.png


You tell me - is that in Class D (or any other) airspace? Is it in airpace where prior ATC authorization would be required?
 
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I've never come across the term "MODE C" before, but according to the sectional charts legend it is the same as Class C Airspace, and it looks like your friend was in it. I never rely on an app (or the Chinese) to tell me where I can or can't fly. Best to understand how to read a sectional chart and refer to it before any flight.

Capture.PNG
 
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I've never come across the term "MODE C" before, but according to the sectional charts legend it is the same as Class C Airspace, and it looks like your friend was in it. I never rely on an app (or the Chinese) to tell me where I can or can't fly. Best to understand how to read a sectional chart and refer to it before any flight.
Where do you see this area on the map? Why isn’t it processed by any app?
 

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I've never come across the term "MODE C" before, but according to the sectional charts legend it is the same as Class C Airspace, and it looks like your friend was in it. I never rely on an app (or the Chinese) to tell me where I can or can't fly. Best to understand how to read a sectional chart and refer to it before any flight.

View attachment 116022
Mode C just means that any manned aircraft flying into that airspace is required to be operating a Mode-C Transponder.
 

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Best to understand how to read a sectional chart and refer to it before any flight.
^^^^^ This . . .

One day everything will be electronic and synchronized but until then you've gotta learn and become intimately familiar with the Sectional Charts.

I was on the phone with someone with the FAA today and it was interesting to learn that the FAA UAS Division is currently training more field agents. The office I spoke to was tripling in size and they are 100% UAS driven. This might be a more common "event" in the near future.
 
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If your buddy was in the area highlighted he was definitely not in class D airspace. This is class G up to 699’ with overlying class E at 700’.
IMG_0721.jpg


He also was no where close to Mode C Veil which is perfectly legal to fly in as long as you are not in class B,C,D or class E surface airspace.
I fly inside Miami International Mode C Veil 100% of the time.
IMG_0705.jpg
 
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^^^^^ This . . .

One day everything will be electronic and synchronized but until then you've gotta learn and become intimately familiar with the Sectional Charts.
I couldn’t agree more. I DO know how to read a sectional chart, at least I believe I do. I asked two pilots out of the local Airbase (Selfridge) and they flat out stated that this was not Class D and certainly not C. I’m asking here just to get other opinions. The FAA is staffed with humans who can make mistakes.
 
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If your buddy was in the area highlighted he was definitely not in class D airspace. This is class G up to 699’ with overlying class E at 700’.
That is exactly what I read it as. Class G up to 699’

I believe this will be easy to prove to the FAA and dismiss this part. The other violation... yea, he’s bummin’

Thing is, they assess the maximum penalty per violation so he’s looking at 6 of these at $1437 each. Eliminating these will drop the fine in half.
 
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I've never come across the term "MODE C" before, but according to the sectional charts legend it is the same as Class C Airspace, and it looks like your friend was in it. I never rely on an app (or the Chinese) to tell me where I can or can't fly. Best to understand how to read a sectional chart and refer to it before any flight.

View attachment 116022
I agree
 

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The FAA is staffed with humans who can make mistakes.

Very true. I've actually been in conversations where someone in another district was given point blank wrong information. We got to the bottom of it and there was some "additional training" given out to the employee.
 
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Mode C just means that any manned aircraft flying into that airspace is required to be operating a Mode-C Transponder.
I stand corrected. The legend is confusing. Looking at the larger area shows that "MODE C" applies to the inner side of that ring anyway, not the outer side where the text lies. Jeez.. They couldn't use a different color for that MODE C line and text -- like maybe green?
 
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While I agree with @MapMaker53 about always referring to the actual sectional charts, I'm not sure how that reconciles with the letter from the FAA. Zooming out from the small section that @Drestin Black showed, you can see that large Mode C area. However if the FAA letter says he flew into Class D airspace then I just don't see that at all. The flight was well outside the Mount Clemens Class D airspace. The flight logs should show that clearly. Also due to the very distinct land mass features, even the flight video will show that he was nowhere near the Class D airspace.

However you haven't told us the whole story it seems. If there were multiple violations in the letter from the FAA, what were they? What was he doing? You (or he) may feel that the other items are not important to this matter but I think it's always important to know the whole story.
 
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I've never come across the term "MODE C" before, but according to the sectional charts legend it is the same as Class C Airspace, and it looks like your friend was in it. I never rely on an app (or the Chinese) to tell me where I can or can't fly. Best to understand how to read a sectional chart and refer to it before any flight.

View attachment 116022
I fail to see how this flight was in “mode C/class C space” . Llooking at the lat/long, this flight was more than 30 mile from the Detroit airspace. The magenta c means there is ctaf frequency for the airport.
 
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While I agree with @MapMaker53 about always referring to the actual sectional charts, I'm not sure how that reconciles with the letter from the FAA. Zooming out from the small section that @Drestin Black showed, you can see that large Mode C area. However if the FAA letter says he flew into Class D airspace then I just don't see that at all. The flight was well outside the Mount Clemens Class D airspace. The flight logs should show that clearly. Also due to the very distinct land mass features, even the flight video will show that he was nowhere near the Class D airspace.

However you haven't told us the whole story it seems. If there were multiple violations in the letter from the FAA, what were they? What was he doing? You (or he) may feel that the other items are not important to this matter but I think it's always important to know the whole story.
I was not trying to conceal/confuse anything by being zoomed in on my original crop from the full Detroit Sectional Chart, let me include a larger version. Perhaps it's my old or uneducated eyes but can you please show me where you see this Mode C Area that intersects with the area of the flight (Just to the North West of the letter "E" in "Harsens Island")
asdf.png


I do not have permission to share the rest of the details of the letter but he was flying over a group of boats (his friends and his own) and therefore over people (107.39). That's the other violations (one for each of the 6 flights they found video for). In this post I am focusing on the question, did he fly in an area that required prior authorization from ATC (107.41)
 
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I was not trying to conceal/confuse anything by being zoomed in on my original crop from the full Detroit Sectional Chart, let me include a larger version. Perhaps it's my old or uneducated eyes but can you please show me where you see this Mode C Area that intersects with the area of the flight (Just to the North West of the letter "E" in "Harsens Island")
View attachment 116039

I do not have permission to share the rest of the details of the letter but he was flying over a group of boats (his friends and his own) and therefore over people (107.39). That's the other violations (one for each of the 6 flights they found video for). In this post I am focusing on the question, did he fly in an area that required prior authorization from ATC (107.41)
I did not mean you were trying to conceal anything with the zoomed in map. Only from the fact that you did not share the full details of the FAA letter or the nature of the other violations.

The Mode C veil is irrelevant to this conversation because it does not restrict a drone from flying there. It just means that all manned aircraft entering that area must be using a Mode C transponder.

The FAA stated your friend was flying in Class D airspace. If he truly flew only in the area you marked on the map then that is not the case. Your friend should provide the full logs for those flights to prove where the drone was at all times during the flights. That should prove that he was not in controlled airspace at any time. Of course by doing so, he needs to make sure that he does not incriminate himself on the stated violations or any others. Was he always outside of Class D airspace? Was he always below 400 feet AGL? Was he always flying in VLOS? If he did break any of those other rules then the flight logs would only make the situation worse in some ways. If there is any doubt about regulations that were or were not broken then perhaps your friend should first obtain legal counsel before taking on the FAA.

It just seems odd to me that the FAA would even pursue the matter unless they were somehow very sure that he entered Class D airspace.
 

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I fail to see how this flight was in “mode C/class C space” . Llooking at the lat/long, this flight was more than 30 mile from the Detroit airspace. The magenta c means there is ctaf frequency for the airport.
You missed post #11 where he said, "I stand corrected"
 

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I've been wrong before (and will be again) but if everything is as stated above (I'm not doubting you at all DiB) then I do believe the FAA is mistaken. The ~107.41 will probably be dropped but ~107.39 is gonna leave a mark.

Suggest your friend get an AVIATION attorney today and don't try to battle this one alone. Anything he says can and WILL BE used against him.

With the right representation this could be "pleaded" down to much less than it is at the moment. Make sure he stays on top of it because it won't go away and ultimately they will garnish his wages for the fines.
 
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What I’d like to know is if the FAA is looking at videos to go after violators in order to generate funds for new field agents or was this someone that may have filed a complaint against your buddy.
For anyone who post videos just make sure you’re flying within the regs before you post.
 
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BigAl07

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What I’d like to know is if the FAA is looking at videos to go after violators in order to generate funds for new field agents or was this someone that may have filed a complaint against your buddy.
For anyone who post videos just make sure you’re flying within the regs before you post.

I'd say that BOTH scenarios are currently happening. We know, for a fact, that the FAA does (or at least has) visited this very forum and gathered some information in their research. And we also know that many complaints are being filed against "supposedly" illegal flights. I've filed a few of those complaints myself over the last couple years. Ironically I've been on the receiving end of that as well. Someone (most likely a local competitor) filed a complain that I was flying w/o having my Section 333 Exemption. Of course he was wrong but they had to investigate none-the-less.
 
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I'd say that BOTH scenarios are currently happening. We know, for a fact, that the FAA does (or at least has) visited this very forum and gathered some information in their research. And we also know that many complaints are being filed against "supposedly" illegal flights. I've filed a few of those complaints myself over the last couple years. Ironically I've been on the receiving end of that as well. Someone (most likely a local competitor) filed a complain that I was flying w/o having my Section 333 Exemption. Of course he was wrong but they had to investigate none-the-less.
That’s interesting, what Drestin Black’s friend might not realize is that the $1437 fine for violating 107.39 would be imposed on every head he flew over.
Just something for all who fly over people to think about.
My advice to them is Don’t fly over people, and if you do, brush up on your editing skills before you post a video.
 

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