Class E Surface area extensions ...

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There have been various discussions about the 107.41 airspace known as " ... or within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace designated for an airport ...".

In general, IIRC, the consensus has been that you cannot fly in the Class E surface extensions, which typically are the instrument approaches to Class D airports. There are not that many actual Class E airports.

But then I received a newsletter article from Rupprech Law ( Section 107.41 Operation in certain airspace. (2018) ) quoting an FAA memo clarifying this. To wit, the 107.31 surface Class E language only applies to a Class E airport itself, not any Class E surface extension to a Class C or D airport. This would be quite different that what we have been thinking.

Here's what I see as the relevant part:

"Therefore, effective immediately, we only need to provide authorizations for Class E airspace if the airport itself is a Class E airport. When processing applications verify that the requested airspace is listed in FAA Order 7400.11, paragraph 6200 or is indicated on a VFR sectional chart as indicated in the attachments. If the requested airspace is not listed or depicted then an authorization is not required under 14 CFR Part 107.41. The request can be cancelled and inform the applicant that an authorization is not needed for Class E extensions to Class D/C airspace."

Comments?

ETA: Merced in CA (KMCE) is one example of a Class E airport while Modesto (KMOD) just to the NW of it is Class D with Class E extensions. Complicating that is Castel (KMER) a Class D airport that has overlapping airspace with KMCE.
 
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There are not that many actual Class E airports.
Unfortunately, there are several around us and we've had to get waivers or plan around them. With the LAANC system coming online, it's not as much of an issue as it had been in the past.
 

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Wow awesome! We have several class D's here with E extensions, good to know, thanks for sharing.
 
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I also enjoy the legal steps that continue to impact drones. As for this particular point, I will request to fly in all Class E airspace until the FAR's tell me that I don't have to. I won't stop because a lawyer, or a memo, says I don't need to. I fly by the FAR's and not by well meaning articles and website posts.
 
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sar104

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I also enjoy the legal steps that continue to impact drones. As for this particular point, I will request to fly in all Class E airspace until the FAR's tell me that I don't have to. I won't stop because a lawyer, or a memo, says I don't need to. I fly by the FAR's and not by well meaning articles and website posts.
It would be nice if the FAA were to issue a public statement clarifying the situation but, to be fair, the memo in question is an official FAA memo to the department responsible for authorizations specifically stating that only Class E around Class E airports requires authorization. That's pretty definitive.
 
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It would be nice if the FAA were to issue a public statement clarifying the situation but, to be fair, the memo in question is an official FAA memo to the department responsible for authorizations specifically stating that only Class E around Class E airports requires authorization. That's pretty definitive.
^^^^ Bingo

Such an authorized memo is usually a vanguard to a change in legal documents. If they go to the effort to release such a memo you can bet that they are also (behind the scenes) working to update the FARs to reflect this change. It just takes time and a lot of it to change a FAR unless it's Life or Death situation.
 

sar104

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^^^^ Bingo

Such an authorized memo is usually a vanguard to a change in legal documents. If they go to the effort to release such a memo you can bet that they are also (behind the scenes) working to update the FARs to reflect this change. It just takes time and a lot of it to change a FAR unless it's Life or Death situation.
I guess they may or may not actually update 14 CFR 107, since the memo is simply interpreting the wording in it, rather than saying that the wording is incorrect.

I don't think I really understand the basis for that interpretation, since I can't see the fundamental difference between surface Class E around a Class E airport vs. surface Class E around Class C or D airports. The original goal was to prevent traffic conflicts in controlled airspace, so the distinction seems somewhat arbitrary.

Previous explanations for the rather convoluted Class E language in 107 centered on concepts such as not requiring authorization in non-surface Class E when flying within 400 ft of tall structures.
 
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It would be nice if the FAA were to issue a public statement clarifying the situation but, to be fair, the memo in question is an official FAA memo to the department responsible for authorizations specifically stating that only Class E around Class E airports requires authorization. That's pretty definitive.
I am not saying that you should not do it. I am saying that I will continue to do it until the FAR's say I don't have to. If something goes bad, I will refer to the FAR's and some others may feel it is better to refer to this memo. No problem.
 
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^^^^ Bingo

Such an authorized memo is usually a vanguard to a change in legal documents. If they go to the effort to release such a memo you can bet that they are also (behind the scenes) working to update the FARs to reflect this change. It just takes time and a lot of it to change a FAR unless it's Life or Death situation.
Works for me. My waiver was for the class e extensions at my local airport. Couldn't cover the entire area with one waiver and had to compromise on the max altitude. This frees me up quite a bit.
 
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The way the FAA deals with regulations is that when questions arise, the office of the FAA Chief Counsel will issue an opinion which is essentially an interpretation of what the reg is supposed to mean. These are not necessarily widely published. Absent an opinion, each regional FSDO (Flight Standards District Office) is pretty much free to interpret the regs as they see fit. When I needed an interpretation I asked the AOPA (Airplane Owners and Pilot's Association) who either already had a copy of existing interpretations or would hopefully drive into DC and ask for an answer. AOPA is expanding to include Drone pilots and FWIW, they are an excellent advocate when it comes to dealing with the FAA.
 
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....AOPA is expanding to include Drone pilots and FWIW, they are an excellent advocate when it comes to dealing with the FAA.
Yes they are.
 
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There are some really good organizations out there like AOPA and the AMA, but they are not drone advocates. Drone pilots represent a great deal off money, in the form of memberships, and these groups want that membership, but I don't see them doing much other than watching the show.
We need a organization that advocates for our 'unique' brand of aviation and these groups have prior commitments that will always take preference over drones.
 
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There are some really good organizations out there like AOPA and the AMA, but they are not drone advocates. Drone pilots represent a great deal off money, in the form of memberships, and these groups want that membership, but I don't see them doing much other than watching the show.
We need a organization that advocates for our 'unique' brand of aviation and these groups have prior commitments that will always take preference over drones.
I think you are correct that drone pilots would be best served by an organization that is dedicated to serving their needs, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. It takes time, money and dedication to a goal to put such an organization together - for instance, AOPA started in 1939 and has taken many decades to grow into the organization it is today.
 
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I think you are correct that drone pilots would be best served by an organization that is dedicated to serving their needs, but I don't see that happening anytime soon. It takes time, money and dedication to a goal to put such an organization together - for instance, AOPA started in 1939 and has taken many decades to grow into the organization it is today.
I agree with what you are saying. However, after being a member of the AOPA for a long time, I know that they have at least some internal conflicts between general and commercial aviation representation. I just don't see drones getting any meaningful support form the AOPA. I believe that they do deserve a chance to try, but the proof is in the actions.
 
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I received a notification to this effect from the FAA when I applied for an authorization to fly within the airspace around KAPA (Centennial Airport). My authorization request included a bit of the Class D airspace around the airport, but it was mostly within the Surface Class E extension for the landing approach to one of the runways.

The response from the FAA took a long time, but they gave me more than what I had requested. They provided a wide-area authorization for the entire Class D airspace up to the altitude limits on the UAS Facility Map, rather than just an authorization for the small slice of Class D airspace I had requested. With respect to the Surface Class E airspace, they provided a response via email that said "It has been determined that Part 107 Authorizations are not required for Surface E Extensions to Class C and D Airspace. Part 107 is still required for activity at a Surface E Airport."

Of course, with the expansion of LAANC, this issue will probably become moot.
 
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I agree with what you are saying. However, after being a member of the AOPA for a long time, I know that they have at least some internal conflicts between general and commercial aviation representation. I just don't see drones getting any meaningful support form the AOPA. I believe that they do deserve a chance to try, but the proof is in the actions.
Flockshot - all good comments - I agree with you. I remember being disappointed years ago when AOPA moved away from features for SEL pilots to more high end aircraft. They strike a better balance today but you are correct to be concerned about how much they will truly embrace drone pilots and their needs. That said, many years ago I was Ops Officer and Chief Check Pilot for CAP in the state of Michigan. In my responsibilities of "standardizing" other check pilots, I had many interactions with AOPA where they got the info (ie. legal opinions) I needed so that the guys I worked with had the information they needed to do their jobs correctly. Lets push them a bit and see how they do.
 
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My local airport is even more of a queer duck. When the Guard moved out, they closed the tower thus reverting the airport back to a non-controlled Class G airport. However, since instrument approach plates are still being published for it, they kept the Class E sfc extensions in place! Those extensions are where my authorizations covered.
 

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Hey there, Richard. When your authorizations expire, no need to renew them.
 
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Thanks, I knew that thanks to the recent "clarification" by the FAA.
 

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