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Flying rc airplanes under 1/2 lb near airports

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#1
So, I have looked everywhere, including the FAA website, and cant find the answer to this question. I just got a UMX Turbo Timber and it weighs just a few ounces, so doesn't need my FAA registration number on it as it is under .55lb. But, I dont see if I need to follow the same rules as I do for larger aircraft, like flying within 3 miles of airports and such. There are some great little parks near some airports around here that are perfect for flying this little guy. Anyone know? It would be impossible to cause damage to anything with this little foam airplane, maybe it could poke your eye out if you got hit just right...
 

Piotrsko

Well-known member
#2
Technically, a 1/2 lb hitting the window on a flying plane is probably going to damage it and cause consternation and much travail even if it doesn't. Otherwise, I have experienced people flying kites , rockets, and other junk in the park on right crosswind of a local airport and no one seemed to care that I was in the pattern including the Feds.
It is legal after posting a NOTAM and notification/ approval of the airport.
At right crosswind I was was still above 300ft agl.
YMMV
 
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nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#3
The worst event I had as a pilot of a 172 was on 3 mile final, at Harvey field in Washington State, a hot air balloon popped up right in front of me and I had to perform emergency evasive maneuvers. They do have the right of way, but jeez, he must have seen me and could have waited a few seconds...I did see them on the ground and was being very cautious, good thing I was... I can imagine a kite could cause some issues too...probably worse than the little 4 oz Timber...
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#4
So, I have looked everywhere, including the FAA website, and cant find the answer to this question. I just got a UMX Turbo Timber and it weighs just a few ounces, so doesn't need my FAA registration number on it as it is under .55lb. But, I dont see if I need to follow the same rules as I do for larger aircraft, like flying within 3 miles of airports and such. There are some great little parks near some airports around here that are perfect for flying this little guy. Anyone know? It would be impossible to cause damage to anything with this little foam airplane, maybe it could poke your eye out if you got hit just right...
If you do not want to see restrictions applied to the sub-500 gram drones then I would avoid any controlled airspace. A 500 gram drone has some very hard spots and even a potential explosive element. A bird strike involving a bird under 500 grams can still cause an in-flight emergency and be considered as a serious and life endangering incident.

Just avoid controlled airspace or the authorities will come down on you like a tone of bricks!

Otherwise, Have fun!
 

evranch

Well-known member
#5
Going to agree with Hai-Lee here, with all the airspace available that's not near airports I would try to find somewhere else to fly.

However, with a micro like that as long as you keep your altitude below the treetops I doubt anyone would care. Just don't be that guy that lets the wind take it and causes an incident. Our hobby doesn't need that kind of publicity right now.
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#6
Ya, I know common sense prevails here, but I just cant find the law governing rc planes under half pound. I think they are good to go anywhere you want like it’s the wild west for micros!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#7
While there may not be a law against it, it's for the best if you just don't do it. If a bird going through a jet engine can cause failure, pretty sure that an RC aircraft will bring one down too.

I'd suggest finding somewhere else to fly that might be safer, especially given the climate for hobbyists right now.
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#8
The closest park is 3 miles out from Seatac. So jets will be at around 2000-5000 feet by then or landing 1500feet. I dont think if I even tried I could get the Turbo Timber to fly that high, plus I keep it under the tree tops at around 50-75 feet max. Even if I lost control it would not go that high as failsafe is set to off. Plus, since its a class B airplort there is no helicopter of GA traffic to worry about. Im just wondering if you can legally fly a classification “toy” in the 3 mile zone without notification. There are no rules I can find about toys. IE: kites, toy balloons, rc under .55 lbs, ect.
Plus in Seattle, it is really difficult to find places to fly, even in the burbs it’s hard to find flying areas. Thats why I’m into float planes for larger stuff as lakes are plenty-full and public waterways are fair game for flight.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#9
The closest park is 3 miles out from Seatac. So jets will be at around 2000-5000 feet by then or landing 1500feet. I dont think if I even tried I could get the Turbo Timber to fly that high, plus I keep it under the tree tops at around 50-75 feet max. Even if I lost control it would not go that high as failsafe is set to off. Plus, since its a class B airplort there is no helicopter of GA traffic to worry about. Im just wondering if you can legally fly a classification “toy” in the 3 mile zone without notification. There are no rules I can find about toys. IE: kites, toy balloons, rc under .55 lbs, ect.
Plus in Seattle, it is really difficult to find places to fly, even in the burbs it’s hard to find flying areas. Thats why I’m into float planes for larger stuff as lakes are plenty-full and public waterways are fair game for flight.
There are several parks within 5 minutes of me - yet I'm also by a municipal airport. I'm also close to Camp Pendleton, which is a no-fly zone unless you're military aircraft. And, my nearest RC flying field is 15 mi. and roughly 30 min. away. I drive that distance because I want to be the legal flier, and not be hassled by government officials. In my opinion, if you want to fly safely, you should be flying away from the airport.

Ultimately, you're going to do what you're going to do, but I don't recommend flying near SeaTac, regardless of whether it's under .55 lbs or not.
 

nhk750

Aviation Enthusiast
#10
I fly a 60 size electric float plane at a lake that has rules about no internal combustion engines and the cops questioned me the other day asking if I had a gas motor in that thing. They didn't seem to care I was only a mile from a GA airport, but the lake has 200 foot trees surround it and I never fly above the treeline. I did talk to the administration at the uncontrolled airport and they said they didn't care as long as I stay below the tree line and do not interfere with other planes and also it is a really small slow landing strip that is located 300 feet higher than the lake. It's crazy around here, there are so many airports and if you followed the rules you could never fly and might as well give up the hobby. That is why I got a little micro, so I could fly more often and at my lunch at work really quick to get a flying fix.

You got to remember, I have a years of experience in rc now and am also a GA pilot and all these new rules are crazy, so I will fly when I can and be safe.