FAA no fly regs confusion

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I’ve been reading up on the US FAA “no fly rules” (hobbyist, not 107), and quite honestly, find them confusing, and possibly contradictory. To be honest, I haven't run down the 80-100 other regs I keep running across (and many seem to mix hobbyist/commercial regs in the same breath). I will, but right now, am just trying to clear some fog...


The general HOBBYIST rule is “no flying within 5 miles of an airport”. Fine - but what constitutes an “airport”. Within the 5 mile zone, I’ve got at least 4 private “airports” (so named, and nothing more than mowed grass strips for ultralights, J3s, and Cessna 150s, etc.). I KNOW that 2 of them haven’t been used in years, and of that, the owner of one has been deceased for at least 12-15 years, and doubt it's still used, or has been in that time. Even alive, he didn't use it very much the last several years of his life.


All of these would normally be in what would be considered Class G airspace, yet the hard rule remains “no flying within 5 miles of an airport”. And if you want to fly, you are supposed to call (that’s not clear if that is hobbyist, or commercial…) the manager, owner and/or tower. As if you were going to file a pseudo-VFR flight plan. (I know a lot of the lingo, but have been out of touch with most specifics for a very long time).


So - NO flying within 5 miles of ANY airport, or anything named an “airport”? If that’s so, then that knocks out 70-80% of the US airspace, since there are LOTS of private airports all over, and you can’t take off/land in a National Park, and the BLM has restricted use of much of the western US as well (no motorized vehicles - the Phantom has a motor, so…) I can’t believe that’s the real case, but…


NO flying within 5 miles of any Class A,B,C,D,E airport? Is that what they really mean? And class E is the shaded magenta line, or the dashed magenta line?


Does “airport” in this sense mean “airspace” (so that the rules for a drone, stay less than 400 feet AGL, mean that it’s ok to fly within E/G airspace, except for the “dashed magenta lines” on a sectional?)


My son-in-law got his commercial drone cert a month or so ago (I intend to get mine in the next couple months), and the study site he used keeps sending email updates on “new” FAA interpretations/policies/etc. He said he's called a couple local towers, and they are confused as well. Seems like no one really knows what is supposed to happen.


So - can anyone clear some of this confusion?
 
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I really havn't looked too hard, but DJI go geofencing may show you on display map a red no fly radius. I have flown within 4 miles of a controlled airport ( low to the ground short flights) and djo go will state what class airspace it is and won't let you take off if its too close.
 
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an airstrip is not an airport.
In fact should you ever get to trial that will save you. The interstate sections that are airstrips is classified, so you have no way of knowing if you are flying within 5 miles of one.

They are confusing and contradictory so no mater what you do they can use the laws to bend you over if they want. Where is the NOW gang? women can't fly drones in the beltway, that is unconstitutional since women can fly them in other states.
 
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My understanding if your using the B4U Fly app and have made an attempt to contact the "airstrip" you are good. If it is currently in use they would need to have an active phone number for just such a case. I have two ultra light airstrips near my house. I have called one and they said they could care less what I fly or where and the other does not have an active phone number.

Pretty sure it is like most other laws. It's not important until something bad happens and it's important.

Just make an attempt to call them. Then you should be good.


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First, the current rules for hobbiest state that if you are going to fly within 5 miles of an airport, that you to call the airport or tower and let them know. You aren't asking for permission, just notifying, even in controlled airspace (class b, c, d and e). Class E usually starts at 1200 ft agl. The magenta vignet indicates where Class E comes down to 700 agl, still to high to be a concern. The dotted lines indicate Class E down to the surface. For all controlled airspace, you need to talk to the controlling tower or air traffic control before flying ( still supposed to be a notification for hobby fliers). And as long as you are following the guidelines of a recognized community group (such as the AMA) you are good to go. Note, the FAA doesn't require you to be a member, just to follow their guidelines. Of course, everyone, including pilots of manned aircraft have to obey no fly zones and areas under temporary flight restrictions. There has been a lot of hashing this out, but it really shouldn't b that difficult to 'play by the rules"
 
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Mark The Droner

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Click the magnifying glass icon on the upper right of your screen.

Search Part 101 and then read it and related documents.

That's all there is to it!
 
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Check out the Airmap app, for more info on airports, TFR'S, restricted are, etc.
Select commercial or recreational layer, it helps a bit.
As mentioned above, recreational 101 can be more permissive than commercial 107.

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an airstrip is not an airport.
In fact should you ever get to trial that will save you. The interstate sections that are airstrips is classified, so you have no way of knowing if you are flying within 5 miles of one.

They are confusing and contradictory so no mater what you do they can use the laws to bend you over if they want. Where is the NOW gang? women can't fly drones in the beltway, that is unconstitutional since women can fly them in other states.

Ok - that I understand and agree with. But is "airport" in name only? Looking at Airmap, they list an "airport" that is nothing more than a grass strip. This is a list of "public and private airports" in my county: Butler County Public and Private Airports

You'll notice one on the list that is named "Patty Field Airport - 9K6". Sits almost next to "Captain Jack Thomas-El Dorado Airport EQA". Airmap (clock on "Recreational - 5 Mile Radius" shows Patty Field Airport as a "public" airport (I assume), it is listed as public, but it's a grass strip (look at Google Maps Sat view). Interestingly, the two "muni" airports for August don't turn up until you also click on the "Recreational" box. Click on "Show Private", and the area is blanketed with overlapping circles. So - according to what you've said, those aren't "airports", yet I've got a few sources calling them "airports".

First, the current rules for hobbiest state that if you are going to fly within 5 miles of an airport, that you to call the airport or tower and let them know. You aren't asking for permission, just notifying, even in controlled airspace (class b, c, d and e). Class E usually starts at 1200 ft agl. The magenta vignet indicates where Class E comes down to 700 agl, still to high to be a concern. The dotted lines indicate Class E down to the surface. For all controlled airspace, you need to talk to the controlling tower or air traffic control before flying ( still supposed to be a notification for hobby fliers). And as long as you are following the guidelines of a recognized community group (such as the AMA) you are good to go. Note, the FAA doesn't require you to be a member, just to follow their guidelines. Of course, everyone, including pilots of manned aircraft have to obey no fly zones and areas under temporary flight restrictions. There has been a lot of hashing this out, but it really shouldn't b that difficult to 'play by the rules"
I've read "105.pdf" from AMA("Academy of Model Aeronautics National Model Aircraft Safety Code Effective January 1, 2014"), and A.2.(d) says: "Not fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator."

Is it 3 miles, or 5 miles? This is where confusion starts to creep in - it seems that we've contradictory ideas and interpretations of what is what, and what your definition of "is" is.

I really havn't looked too hard, but DJI go geofencing may show you on display map a red no fly radius. I have flown within 4 miles of a controlled airport ( low to the ground short flights) and djo go will state what class airspace it is and won't let you take off if its too close.
After reading posts of incorrect data being used (hopefully corrected), not sure how much faith I want to put into that alone.

My understanding if your using the B4U Fly app and have made an attempt to contact the "airstrip" you are good. If it is currently in use they would need to have an active phone number for just such a case. I have two ultra light airstrips near my house. I have called one and they said they could care less what I fly or where and the other does not have an active phone number.
Couple things here - the B4UFly app has gotten extremely poor reviews - so again, not sure what to think here. Another for the one who said they "could care less" - do you still call them each and every time you fly? That day they might not have cared, but some other day might be different.

Pretty sure it is like most other laws. It's not important until something bad happens and it's important.
This, unfortunately, is the conclusion I'm coming to.

Not trying to make it sound as if I don't care - I do, and I'm trying to be legal, but it seems that trying to do so may be a mess to get "straight". I continue digging.
 
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Is there a way to notify the FAA that a charted airstrip no longer exists? The FAA and other apps show I'm close to one, but it was turned into a gravel pit about four years ago.
 

Mark The Droner

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Couple things here - the B4UFly app has gotten extremely poor reviews - so again, not sure what to think here.
Allow me to clear it up for you. The B4UFly app sucks. I suggest you use airmap.io.

But is "airport" in name only? Looking at Airmap, they list an "airport" that is nothing more than a grass strip. This is a list of "public and private airports" in my county: Butler County Public and Private Airports

You'll notice one on the list that is named "Patty Field Airport - 9K6". Sits almost next to "Captain Jack Thomas-El Dorado Airport EQA". Airmap (clock on "Recreational - 5 Mile Radius" shows Patty Field Airport as a "public" airport (I assume), it is listed as public, but it's a grass strip (look at Google Maps Sat view). Interestingly, the two "muni" airports for August don't turn up until you also click on the "Recreational" box. Click on "Show Private", and the area is blanketed with overlapping circles. So - according to what you've said, those aren't "airports", yet I've got a few sources calling them "airports".
It's up to you to read Part 101 and other documents associated with it. Then you must make sense of it the best you can.

Personally, I consider anywhere that planes take off and land an airport. Especially if they are marked as such by airmap.io.

I consider the "private airport" thing as kind of a fly in the ointment. Personally, I don't keep the "Show Private Airports" box permanently checked on the airmap app. However, I do click it to take a look at it. Then I unclick it. Note that airmap's explanation next to the box doesn't try to guide us on whether to check it. The way I read it, it seems they're not sure whether to include them or not, so they leave it to us. I consider it important that I am aware of the private airport, and so I make myself aware.

I've read "105.pdf" from AMA("Academy of Model Aeronautics National Model Aircraft Safety Code Effective January 1, 2014"), and A.2.(d) says: "Not fly higher than approximately 400 feet above ground level within three (3) miles of an airport without notifying the airport operator."

Is it 3 miles, or 5 miles? This is where confusion starts to creep in - it seems that we've contradictory ideas and interpretations of what is what, and what your definition of "is" is.
What AMA is discussing is a height limit. Yes indeed, you must notify if you fly higher than 400 feet within 3 miles of the airport, per AMA's Safety Code. Don't confuse this with your requirement to notify if you fly at any height within 5 miles of the airport, per Public Law 112-95 Sec 336. Both of these items are encompassed in FAR Part 101.
 
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There is a lot of flat out incorrect information on this thread. Don't trust any app, or any post you read on a forum to keep you safe and compliant. Study the regulations and the sectional navigation charts, and when in doubt, pick up the phone and call the tower or airport manager. They are just as confused as you are at this point (I have called a bunch of them), but they are always glad to hear from me, and helpful. I just tell them I want to be safe and compliant, and they are extremely helpful after that. If it is on the sectional chart, it is an airport. For commercial missions in any controlled airspace, you must now file for clearance on the FAA website. There is the potential that it may take up to 90 days to get a response.
 
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Hi,

The way that I have dealt with this in the past was to use B4UFLY and notify any airport (small, large, helipad, whatever) and notify them. It is easy to get the contact info from skyvector or other online source. In my neighborhood, there is only one heliport within 5 mi. I called to notify him and asked if he needed to be notified each time (he was very nice to talk to and told me that it wouldn't be necessary). I have discovered airports that are no longer in use or developed into something else, you can cross those off of the list. (It would be nice to have a way to let them know ...).

I really don't notify at all now that I have my 107 cert. If I am in an urban area with heliports (hospitals), I let them know even though it is not a mandate and apply for airspace waivers when needed. If you are in controlled airspace, it would be a lot less hassle to go to a location outside the perimeter and fly.

Bob


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