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Positive Experience with ATC at local Airport

Discussion in 'Rules and Regulations' started by bicyclenut, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. bicyclenut

    Mar 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Chicago, IL Far West Suburbs
    As I live about a mile from a medium/small (200-300 flights a day) airport I decided it was a good idea to speak directly with management and/or the FAA control tower to determine what preferences and criteria they have for drone flying in the immediate and 5 mile range of the airport.

    On my first attempt I was unable to speak with anyone as a supervisor was not on-site. Yesterday I was able to speak with airport management and they set me up to meet with a FAA tower supervisor 15 minutes later. I met with the controller in charge in the FAA tower on site and she went over the details, preferences and restrictions they had for locations nearby and flight paths for runways. I was surprised to learn I was the first drone operator to contact them and they were very thankful that I did and glad to see I had already registered with the FAA. She printed me some information and promised to forward some documents and diagrams of the airfield with zones of altitude restrictions, etc. I was provided with the phone number to call and information to provide and how they would use it to inform pilots using the airspace.

    I was quite surprised in the interest and how helpful and receptive they were to provide information and work with me to insure safe flying for everyone. I was even given a tour of the control tower and an explanation of what they do and some of the information they monitor and provide from various sources. Year ago I had the opportunity to see the inside of Chicago Center (ZAU) as a kid pre 9/11 days but this was on a smaller scale plus better view to the outside that just radar screens, etc. Overall, it was a very positive visit and experience and I am glad I was able to do this in person.
    Malcolm Reynolds and NADM like this.
  2. Gary M

    Jan 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Cool deal! I have had similar positive experiences with several airports so far.
  3. Mark The Droner

    Aug 26, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I found my nearby very small airport with google and went to the website. From there, I messaged them from the Contact Us box and told them I regularly fly in such-and-such an area at 400 feet AGL and no higher than 1000 ft above sea level (their elevation is 615 ft) and do I need to contact them each time I fly? The area I fly is 4-5 miles from them and not aligned with the runway. They emailed me back and were very friendly. They answered "yes" and told me I could simply send a text before I fly. So I do. A typical text is "Hey it's Mark and I'll be flying over Gregg Rd. in a few mins - thanks". It's all they need. Pretty simple.
  4. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 5, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Western North Carolina
    Excellent thread. I've found that is I make initial contact and I act professional and courteous I get the same in return. Thus far I've had zero negative interactions with any airport authority.

    One thing that helps is to go into the meeting knowing what you're talking about but being open to their input and suggestions. Go in guns blazing, spouting rules & regulations, and telling them what you're rights are and they are likely to tell you exactly what their full authority really is when it comes to their airspace.
  5. jmc67

    Jan 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Anyone from NY contacted La Guardia or Kennedy airports and got denied? How about any of the airports in the hudson valley like Stewarts airport, Dutchess county airport? Just wondering.
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