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Thread: Fighting stupid with stupid

  1. #1
    Navigator Sbatty's Avatar
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    Fighting stupid with stupid

    Last night I was zipping around the neighborhood with a 250 size mini quad thinking about the recent FAA notice. Now my quad weighs a little over a pound, I was flying LOS, and never even exceeded a height of 20 feet, but I realized that if the new FAA interpretation was enforced I would be required to call the local airport every time I step out and fly. You see, I live within 4.5 miles of an tiny podunk airport. That is when it hit me -- at the extreme anyone who puts anything in the air within 5 miles of an airport may have to notify the FAA anytime they want to fly. This is not limited to radio controlled aircraft, but taken to the extreme could conceivably cover control line, kites or even those giant foam gliders that every one of us begged our parents to buy us from that guy flying loops in the mall.

    I went back and read the Notice of Interpretation last night and confirmed my suspicion. To accomplish its desired result, the FAA relies exclusively on Section 336 to define model aircraft with no regard for history or common usage. This is where they have screwed up.

    You now have 24 days to register written comments that will be cataloged and ignored. There is no lobbying group powerful enough to protect this hobby from the FAA. The only hope is to actually demonstrate to the FAA that its current position is untenable through a little civil OBEDIENCE.

    In my practice I represent a lot of railroad workers. Very few industries can compete with the modern railroad in the number of safety rules that employees are expected to follow. In fact, there are so many rules that following each and every rule to the letter is practically an impossibility if the railroads are to function efficiently. This inefficiency is occasionally used by the unions to their advantage during disputes. When the union members want to slow the railroad's productivity (without getting fired for insubordination) they will shift into a mode of "100% rule compliance." Every "t" is crosses, "i is dotted and production slows.

    So what would happen if every person involved in model aviation, not just FPV, but LOS, control line and even kites started notifying the FAA every time they put an aircraft in the air within five miles of an airport. Since it may be difficult to know if you are within 5 miles of an airport, I would suggest that everyone call in your flights to all of you local fields just to be sure. Additionally, as we also know that FAA has argued that our models are dangerous even in rural areas because aircraft could be flying below 400', so I would suggest that everyone notify the FAA even if you are out in the middle of the country, because you can never too be sure.

    The FAA is pulling a fast one by fighting us with the statutory definition, so the only way to win is to actually show the FAA that its definition is flawed.

    So, for the next 24 days go fly. Fly you planes, multicopters, helicopters, gliders and kites. Fly safe. But most importantly always let you local ATC know when and where you are flying no matter how minor your "aircraft", how low you fly or your distance to the airport. You never can be too safe. I am charging my 1s batteries for my Blade MSRX right now because I am sure my local airport manager (a friend) will appreciate my call at 6:00am tomorrow.

  2. #2
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    The worse part is they clarified the definition of notify to, ask their permission.
    If an airport manager is against R/C, they can just say. Sorry I don't want you flying your stuff on your own property 4-miles from "my" airport.
    With many small town airports you'll have a hard time even finding the person you need to notify.
    I really believe the FAA decided to make everything everyone does illegal so if they see ANYTHING they don't like they can prosecute.
    This battle is going to go on long after the comment period is over.

  3. #3
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    so does this mean that I can't fly my quad 25 days from now ever again in my own back yard??

  4. #4
    Navigator Sbatty's Avatar
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    Not at all. Just that you need to notify any airport within 5 miles of your backyard and hope that they don't say no.

  5. #5
    I Drink to Forget PDXDave's Avatar
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    You know, I was just thinking about this the other day, so I looked up the "airport operator" at a few of the fields around where I usually fly. One of them is the state aviation department, and the other is the Port of Portland airport division...and -- being government offices -- neither of those numbers is manned on the weekend.

    For those of you wondering where to find the number for the airport operator, it's listed in an FAA publication you can access online called the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD). Call 'em every time you even think you'll fly.
    Shut up and fly.

  6. #6
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    Why not call the tower directly, the airport operator doesn't control traffic. They just see that the day to day operations of the airport are tended to. Mowing the lawn, general maintenance, etc.

  7. #7
    I Drink to Forget PDXDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelsup View Post
    Why not call the tower directly, the airport operator doesn't control traffic. They just see that the day to day operations of the airport are tended to. Mowing the lawn, general maintenance, etc.
    2 reasons. One is that most airports aren't tower controlled. The other is that my recollection of the rule "interpretation" is that it requires notification of the operator and tower "if applicable" ... which I take to mean if the airport has a tower.
    Shut up and fly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDXDave View Post
    For those of you wondering where to find the number for the airport operator, it's listed in an FAA publication you can access online called the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD). Call 'em every time you even think you'll fly.
    Thanks for the tip on where to find the operator.
    Here's the link.
    http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/fligh...products/dafd/

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