Insane Amount of Time Needed for "107" Airspace Authorizations?

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Is anyone else experiencing excessively long waits for FAA Airspace Authorizations? I have have submitted only two (both were filled out absolutely perfectly). Right now, this is simply not practical for my Class D Airspace, which contains a ton of residential neighborhoods (I shoot real estate).

The first submittal was too early for the beginning Class D submission date as it turned out and I received a reply in a few days stating such.

But, the more recent submittal (9 November) has never gotten a reply (yes I checked spam folder)... AT ALL beyond the immediate acknowledgement that the request was received, thus:

FAR to be Authorized: P107
Date Submitted: 11/09/2016
Status: SUBMITTED

Then, NOTHING. It is now November 28, and well past the requested date window.

Is everybody getting this slowness? If so, what is the solution - how can I speed things up? Again, please assume the online form is filled in perfectly...IT IS.

Thanks for any tips, tricks, thoughts, comments, advice!
 
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Sadly, it's SOP for dealing with the government. I got a photo permit once for the forest and it took 4-5 months and then was too hot and the river dried up so that was a loss of money. Even my SSI stuff often takes months, or they lose it, or it sits somewhere while someone goes on vacation and the sub doesn't know how to do it. First state pension check took 9 months too.

Enjoy the wait. After all, they are hard at work. :rolleyes:
 
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Are you referring to a certificate of waiver for specific airspace? I haven't personally applied for one (yet), but I was told the recommendation is to start the process 90 days out and it could take that long or could be much shorter.

Sorry if I'm off the mark. Good luck.
 
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my first airspace authorization took about 60 days, but I submitted it in September. Second one has been for about 3 weeks and I have received a couple of emails indicating the it is moving through the system ( sort of like a glacier moves downhill).
 
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I believe the timeframe is can be a quick as 2 weeks or so, depending on the location of the ATC/airport. The initial FAA recommendation is 90 days.
 
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This is a real issue for me as well. I live in a class B area that is very populated with high end homes. The class B airspace extends to a 7 mile radius. My clients (also real estate) want aerial photos and I can't comply. I know there are "rebels" out there taking the business and in turn developing relationships. Puts those really trying to comply out of business. Class B is not even being considered yet by the FAA. Making regulations that put small business out of business is very frustrating. I just hope the reported "instant authorization" process comes soon. Any advice is appreciated.
 
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Yeah the official FAA timeline is 90 days. I've seen some in a couple of weeks.

What I recommend is to submit requests for areas you think you may want to operate in. You can submit for up to four years.
 
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What I recommend is to submit requests for areas you think you may want to operate in. You can submit for up to four years.
Good luck with that!

The FAA requires the exact location where you will be flying, as well as a radius of the area. The waiver is for one specific operation. They prefer a longitude/latitude for location. They also require risk mitigation procedures, etc.

You can't just say, "Hey FAA, I'll be in the KLAX area in three years, shooting real estate". ;)
 
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Actually, you can and I have, not for four years but for several months with no limitations on number of uses. I pick out the areas I may want to operate and ask for them. One request can cover several neighborhoods. I've done a few this way.

For example this one is for seven months. I've never seen anything saying that it is for a single operation and I have several approved without a single operation. The operation is described as something like "photo and video operations at and below 200 ft". I have had them limit a few more than I asked for (slightly different radius or altitude) but not so much that it was a problem.

If it helps this is what I've followed and it has been successful so far. I had a couple turned down that I got aggressive on but I'd almost expected that.

View media item 2599
 
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Agree with SOCpilot. I just got my Authorization request to operate randomly within a portion of a Class E (sfc) airspace sent back. The comments was that authorizations were for specific locations and events. to cover a large area with flights throughout over a longer period of time, they suggested that I resubmit as a waiver request - implication was that that could be approved.
 
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To be clear, my requests are all still for a specific area. Just for the time period I put in a long timeframe and the operation was a vague description. Like I said, the only time I got it kicked back was when I asked for too big of an area or something else that they didn't like. It's not perfect but if you know where your market is and your likely to work, you can have what you need in advance. Otherwise, like the OP said, the timeline is too long to make it workable and you'll have people working outside of the rules.
 
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Agree with SOCpilot. I just got my Authorization request to operate randomly within a portion of a Class E (sfc) airspace sent back. The comments was that authorizations were for specific locations and events. to cover a large area with flights throughout over a longer period of time, they suggested that I resubmit as a waiver request - implication was that that could be approved.
The FAA has not provided enough information for pilots to fully understand the various strategies for filing airspace authorization request, waivers and combinations. While the FAA has said that it only wants request for specific dates and times at narrow locations, it's daytime waiver is for all of class G. There are other instances where broad authorizations or waivers were granted. There are many others which are getting kicked back because they are not specific enough. So far, it is unclear what strategy is appropriate.

The FAA has also been silent as to whether or not things are going to get better or worse while they develop their grid map and app which would theoretically spit out approval or denial is in real time, near instantaneously. That app is apparently 8 to 12 months away. They have added staffing to handle waiver and authorization requests.
But the million dollar question is whether or not they're going to pick up speed as they get better at it and add staff or, alternatively, going to slow down because of the volume of requests that are being submitted. We have asked these questions directly of the FAA and hope to have a response by next week.


Enrico Schaefer
UAV Attorney
www.dronelaw.pro

Free Part 107 Waiver and Airspace Training Videos. Part 107 Waiver & Airspace Training Videos - Hire a Drone Law Attorney - Fly Under FAA Part 107
 
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I'm not sure if my specific scenario applies but I'm curious if anyone here has ever applied for a waiver for flying over people/non-participants. A few things I am going to be doing is shooting weddings and also golf courses. Golf courses will be shot mainly early AM or late in the day so I more than likely would fly over an occasional person or two, but weddings would be different. I've been told that I could apply for this waiver and just have the dates extend 2 years out so I don't have to apply for every single event....Or do I? At the time I would apply, I wouldn't know how many or even where they would be. Not to mention one could end up requiring an airspace authorization which would throw a wrench in to the plan.

Thoughts?
 
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The FAA is not currently giving permission for these types of requests for flights over people. However, they have indicated that they will start doing so some time in the indefinite future. So there may not be much harm in asking. It is unclear whether not they will require A specific location in specific date a flight for this type of waiver, although the FAA has said that it wants you to be specific on time and location. It is also possible that they will be more inclined to grant these waivers when you are flying people who have been advised of the flight prior to operation and have the opportunity to go under a structure. When you are flying over people who neither new nor consented, it is likely going to be tougher.I wouldn't indicate to a customer that you're going to be able to do the operation at this point. The FAA is supposed to put out notice of a proposed rule for flights over people soon which would presumably be different then the waiver process.


Enrico Schaefer
UAV Attorney
www.dronelaw.pro

Free Part 107 Waiver and Airspace Training Videos. Part 107 Waiver & Airspace Training Videos - Hire a Drone Law Attorney - Fly Under FAA Part 107
 
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Hi Enrico,

Great information - appreciate the response. Right now, I have nothing planned/booked rather just trying to understand the process a bit better and to see if anyone has been in a similar boat. So it sounds like as of right now, even though it's still a valid waiver to select they may be denying most or all at the moment....Or being very picky.

Thanks.
 
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If I may ask a quick follow-up question on this topic. Would one be allowed to not necessarily fly directly overhead, but perhaps at a certain distance "around," or a certain radius of the non-participants?
 
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If I may ask a quick follow-up question on this topic. Would one be allowed to not necessarily fly directly overhead, but perhaps at a certain distance "around," or a certain radius of the non-participants?
That's been the interpretation that I have seen, that the requirement is to not be directly overhead. I don't think the FAA has weighed in one way or the other. I'd make sure that you contingencies in place in case of loss of power or a flyaway. I would also make sure that wherever you are flying is far enough away and in a position that if something happens you aren't likely to hurt anyone. Honestly, should be doing that anyway.
 
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The FAA is not currently giving permission for these types of requests for flights over people. However, they have indicated that they will start doing so some time in the indefinite future. So there may not be much harm in asking. It is unclear whether not they will require A specific location in specific date a flight for this type of waiver, although the FAA has said that it wants you to be specific on time and location. It is also possible that they will be more inclined to grant these waivers when you are flying people who have been advised of the flight prior to operation and have the opportunity to go under a structure. When you are flying over people who neither new nor consented, it is likely going to be tougher.I wouldn't indicate to a customer that you're going to be able to do the operation at this point. The FAA is supposed to put out notice of a proposed rule for flights over people soon which would presumably be different then the waiver...
Thanks Enrico. I know CNN got one (it was pretty restrictive). Has this changed since then? I would expect it to be some time before a final rule was published, which could be held up even more with the change in administration.
 
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Yep, I am in complete agreement and I fly as safe as possible anyways..But I haven't been near people as of yet. I have liability insurance as well in case god for bit something should happen.
 

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