Help regarding the Cape Cod Canal

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Hi everyone! I have been flying for over 3 years now. I live in Plymouth, MA and my back yard is basically the Cape Cod Canal. The Army Corp of Engineers has seen fit to once again report me to the FAA. An investigation was done...again...and once again the ACE say you cant fly a drone in or around the cape cod canal...INCLUDING a mile after the canal ends into cape cod bay. Excuse me? According to multiple pilots I have spoken to over the past month..including a few that literally TEACH classes on when and were to fly..AND 3 former personnel of the FAA the canal is NOT a no fly zone. The airspace is NOT restricted in ANY way. Apps, websites, charts...NOTHING! Simply put, they do not have the authority to what would essentially be closing the airspace around or on top of the canal. I understand wanting people to maintain a safe distance from infrastructure such as the bridges but to try and tell people what to do essentially over public property/airspace....nope. The canal is public - when one wants to go through it (unless you are a large vessel) you simply get in your boat and go. If you want to take a nice walk along the bike path(s) you can... 24/7 365 days a year. You can do this with no checking in, no gates, no locks, with or without camera's with super zoom lenses...yet I cant fly a drone after the breakwater ends on the Sagamore side...or at Massachusetts Maritime Academy and beyond on the Buzzards Bay side? I am oh so tired of arguing with "drone police" and people who think they know what the rules are. Can someone please help me and or back up my point of view? An example of my work
 
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All I can find is that the state of Massachusetts bans drone flying over Cape Cod national seashores. I don't believe that applies to the canal itself and I also found the ACE self declared ban under section 36 of the CFR.
 
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ok but what about them saying they can tell us what to do 1 mile after what is essentially the canal ends?
You should contact them for that. I don't want to give you bad information. Awesome video by the way.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New England District
696 Virginia Road
Concord, MA 01742
978-318-8238
[email protected]
 
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ok but what about them saying they can tell us what to do 1 mile after what is essentially the canal ends?
§ 207.20 Cape Cod Canal, Mass.; use, administration, and navigation. (a) Limit of Canal. The canal, including approaches, extends from the Canal Station Minus 100 in Cape Cod Bay, approximately one and six-tenths (1.6) statute miles seaward of the Canal Breakwater Light, through dredged channels and land cuts to Cleveland Ledge Light in Buzzards Bay approximately four (4) statute miles southwest of Wings Neck.

https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Portals/74/docs/Navigation/MA/CCC/CCC_Navigation_Regs_33CFR_ChapterII_Part207.pdf
 
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I’m a commercial pilot, and I cut my teeth - so to speak - flying the Cape and Islands routes for years during my early days. There used to be a Restricted Area at the east end of the canal, and if I recall, it was a microwave antenna that could be a hazard to fly over. It always creeped me out being anywhere near it. This was years ago, so it may not be there anymore. If it is, it would be on a current aviation sectional chart, and if it is, I would keep some distance.


You say an investigation was done - twice - due to the Corp reporting you to the FAA, but it was the Corp that disallowed any flights. At this point, since the FAA has been involved, I would dig deeper and talk with them and contest the Corp’s limitations. All else being equal, it should really be the FAA who makes the final decision, and any document restricting such flights should be on their letterhead. And, as it could turn out, any document allowing for such flights - following two investigations - should be on their letterhead as well.

I would ask them to quote what specifically you are in violation of flying there, and if they cannot tell you, ask them for a letter stating that flights there are not in violation of FAA Regulations as of the date it was written.

Squeaky wheel, right?
 
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So, here is that portion of a current sectional. R-4101 would be a concern along that portion of the canal. I would not go there, and if that is where you have flown, a complaint was warranted. Yellow areas are congested areas and need to be avoided as well. Both bridges would need to be avoided, although you could probably go beneath them.

As I see it, as long as you were flying from property that was legal to be on and fly from - such as your own property or property that you have permission to use - you are good to go. Other than R-4101 and generally accepted practices regarding avoiding overflights of persons and property, there are no FAA limitations that I can see. Sorry ACE! you do not regulate the airspace well above your projects. The FAA does. And believe me, after at least two reports and investigations related to your flying there, if the FAA thought there was a violation, you would have been fined.

Cape Cod.png
 

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First off WELCOME to the forum.

Hi everyone! I have been flying for over 3 years now. I live in Plymouth, MA and my back yard is basically the Cape Cod Canal. The Army Corp of Engineers has seen fit to once again report me to the FAA. An investigation was done...again...and once again the ACE say you cant fly a drone in or around the cape cod canal...INCLUDING a mile after the canal ends into cape cod bay.
So you're saying it's been "tested" 2x now and the ACE are still able to say you can't fly? Sounds to me like they have a valid reason or the FAA would step in and ALLOW the flights. I'm not sure your plight is going turn out the way you want it to.

As already stated above, the ACE do have a standing "allowance" from the FAA to "self declare" an area as "Sensitive Infrastructure" and they do get to define the distances to/from the area.

According to multiple pilots I have spoken to over the past month..including a few that literally TEACH classes on when and were to fly..AND 3 former personnel of the FAA the canal is NOT a no fly zone.
Unfortunately I see many, Many, MANY people who are "Teaching This" that can't even find a sectional chart let alone be able to read one. I see "instructors" almost on a daily basis who are "Self Appointed" and are clueless about just about every aspect of sUAS operations outside of charging and launching the aircraft. It's scary to be honest with you.

Also you'll be surprised how many FAA employees (past and PRESENT) know very little about sUAS operations what so ever. Just having those initials on your resume does not indicate any knowledge of sUAS operations or restrictions.

Your information needs to come directly from your local FAA or it's not worth the paper it's written on. Your best bet would be to go visit your local FSDO and sit down and let them explain to you what is restricted, why, and get it in writing. Anything else you hear or read is just hearsay and worthless in supporting your case.
 
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I found this on a website regarding the restricted airspace designated R-4101...

"Operating Concept: The Massachusetts Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Center (MA UASTC) coordinates all non-military Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flight operations at Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC). In an agreement among the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment), the Massachusetts Army National Guard (MAARNG), and the Massachusetts Air National Guard (MAANG), the MA UASTC utilizes facilities within Camp Edwards Training Site, Otis ANGB, and the restricted air space (RAS) designated R-4101. MA UASTC invites other UAS organizations to utilize these facilities on a cost reimbursable non-interference basis."

R-4101
 
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Hi PO3SMITH,



Couple of thoughts regarding flying over the Cape Cod Canal:



First, flying over the canal has been forbidden for as long as I’ve known.



Second, there may be a number of reasons that the canal operators don’t want you flying over the canal; hazard to navigation, seamen, radio/radar equipment,



Third, there may be a number of reasons the Army Corp of Engineers don’t anyone flying over any of their installations like confidentiality. That may not apply to a space as open as the canal, but other spaces, so they just make a blanket ‘forbidden.’



Fourth, getting on the scope with the FAA is usually not a good idea, however you get their attention.



Fifth, Einstein defined idiocy as trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.



Sixth, you are near Cape Cod; there are plenty of interesting, legal places to fly. I’m looking forward to my week there later this summer.



Seventh, what you are sometimes doing is perhaps not the best public relations for drone pilots.



Eigth, there is a high powered radar near the canal. It is for defense of the east coast. I don’t think I’d want my drone near that, nor the other way around.



Your work is really cool, I don’t have the nerve to fly my P4 over water like that. Nice colors.
 
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So you're saying it's been "tested" 2x now and the ACE are still able to say you can't fly? Sounds to me like they have a valid reason or the FAA would step in and ALLOW the flights. I'm not sure your plight is going turn out the way you want it to.
Conversely, if he was investigated once and there was a problem, I can guaran-dang-tee you the FAA would have let him know - probably rather unpleasantly with a fine. The apparent fact that there was an investigation and nothing seems to have come from it speaks volumes.
 
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What about flying over lengthwise edges of canal?
May not produce as dramatic a visual result, but...
 
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Back to the #5: Einstein's definition was not "idiocy", it was "insanity". Just sayin ... :oops:
 
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I've flown in that area before. I didn't know we aren't supposed to. Did the FAA contact you after the investigations and if so, what did they say?
 
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I flew there 2 years ago and there was a sign stating that you could not fly drones there. I did not see it but some kind folks pleasantly let me know.
 
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Generally, all flights over ACE projects are prohibited. I'm not sure why this doesn't show up on most apps.

Here's some inf:
https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Portals/74/docs/Recreation/CCC/nodroneccc2018.pdf

36 CFR § 327.4 - Aircraft.
ONLY the FAA has authority to establish NFZ or TFRs. The ACE does not possess such authority:

"§ 327.4 Aircraft.
(a) This section pertains to all aircraft including, but not limited to, airplanes, seaplanes, helicopters, ultra-light aircraft, motorized hang gliders, hot air balloons, any non-powered flight devices or any other such equipment.

(b) The operation of aircraft on project lands at locations other than those designated by the District Commander is prohibited. This provision shall not be applicable to aircraft engaged on official business of Federal, state or local governments or law enforcement agencies, aircraft used in emergency rescue in accordance with the directions of the District Commander or aircraft forced to land due to circumstances beyond the control of the operator.

(c) No person shall operate any aircraft while on or above project waters or project lands in a careless, negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger any person, property or environmental feature."

Unless the OP was operating in a careless, negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger any person, property or environmental feature, he was not in violation and 36 CFR is not applicable. What am I missing?
 
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So, here is that portion of a current sectional. R-4101 would be a concern along that portion of the canal. I would not go there, and if that is where you have flown, a complaint was warranted. Yellow areas are congested areas and need to be avoided as well. Both bridges would need to be avoided, although you could probably go beneath them.

As I see it, as long as you were flying from property that was legal to be on and fly from - such as your own property or property that you have permission to use - you are good to go. Other than R-4101 and generally accepted practices regarding avoiding overflights of persons and property, there are no FAA limitations that I can see. Sorry ACE! you do not regulate the airspace well above your projects. The FAA does. And believe me, after at least two reports and investigations related to your flying there, if the FAA thought there was a violation, you would have been fined.

View attachment 110408
Exactly where, on the sectional, is this canal?
 

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