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Not really new, I am trying to get back into the hobby, my first post here and its a question.

kBONGy

Junior Member
#1
I have a small RC plane (scratch built, all my planes are) and it is just 1.8 oz. in total weight and I know it does not need to be registered to the FAA. But my flying field (baseball park) is within 5 miles of an airport. Do I need to contact the airport everytime I plan to fly for fun? (that is if I am not flying indoors)
 

Chappie66

Active member
#2
I have a small RC plane (scratch built, all my planes are) and it is just 1.8 oz. in total weight and I know it does not need to be registered to the FAA. But my flying field (baseball park) is within 5 miles of an airport. Do I need to contact the airport everytime I plan to fly for fun? (that is if I am not flying indoors)
Although not 100% sure, the following link is a good place to start looking, https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/.

I did notice the following excerpt:

Option #1. Fly in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95 Section 336). Under this rule, operators must:

  1. Register their UAS with the FAA
  2. Fly for hobby or recreational purposes only
  3. Follow a community-based set of safety guidelines
  4. Fly the UAS within visual line-of-sight
  5. Give way to manned aircraft
  6. Provide prior notification to the airport and air traffic control tower, if one is present, when flying within 5 miles of an airport
  7. Fly UAS that weigh no more than 55 lbs. unless certified by a community-based organization
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#3
Technically, yes, every time you fly, if you are within 5 mi. of an airport, you are supposed to notify the air traffic control tower.

THAT SAID!!!!

There are regions which may have waivers or "fly under X number of feet and it's ok" regions. My father's RC aircraft field in East County San Diego is within 5 mi. of a small airport, one Gillespie Field. When they applied with the AMA for club charter, and the city granted them the park land for their runway and flying area, they also gave them a waiver to fly there. It's generally not a problem because their club flies at the mouth of a box canyon area; if you keep your planes below the tops of the hills surrounding the runway, you have nothing to worry about. Full scale aircraft aren't going to come in and fly through the little canyon area; it's somewhat narrow and the guys in the Cessnas and Beechrafts are more trying to get OVER those hills, so the full sized vs the RC aircraft are never really in competition for airspace.

Are you supposed to notify every time? Like I said, technically, yes, but it may be more hassle than it's worth. I'm going to tell you this - use common sense. If you are not flying in the landing path or takeoff path of an active runway, or directly in an area where planes are lining up for final approach, and if you DO see planes/helicopters coming and you get out of their way or land, you shouldn't have an issue. Oh, and if you are flying lower than treetops or adjacent buildings/structures? You probably won't have to worry about it - pilots are going to be more worried about hitting the 20 story office building or a giant tree, than a midair collision with your aircraft. :) Don't give them a reason to worry, and you should be fine.
 
#4
Here's a story of what happened to us when notifying an airport...

So we live in a more rural part of the country and we were at my in-laws house. It is located about 2 miles from a small airport (Cessnas, etc). Wife had only had her new DJI Phantom 3 maybe a few months. We notified the airport about us flying the drone and the person there seemed surprised that we called him to notify him of this...but also glad that we did. Basically he just gave us the impression to use common sense. We flew the drone, and when we she was doing a RTH the drone was right above us coming straight down. A Beechcraft suddenly appeared directly overhead maybe anywhere from 50-100 feet above the drone. We couldn't see him at first due to the house, treeline, and school close by. And we could barely hear him as his engine throttle was down pretty low. Freaked us out and luckily no damage.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#5
Here's a story of what happened to us when notifying an airport...

So we live in a more rural part of the country and we were at my in-laws house. It is located about 2 miles from a small airport (Cessnas, etc). Wife had only had her new DJI Phantom 3 maybe a few months. We notified the airport about us flying the drone and the person there seemed surprised that we called him to notify him of this...but also glad that we did. Basically he just gave us the impression to use common sense. We flew the drone, and when we she was doing a RTH the drone was right above us coming straight down. A Beechcraft suddenly appeared directly overhead maybe anywhere from 50-100 feet above the drone. We couldn't see him at first due to the house, treeline, and school close by. And we could barely hear him as his engine throttle was down pretty low. Freaked us out and luckily no damage.
Sounds like a pilot who didn't like the drone in the air. I've encountered that a couple of times out at my field; we've had helicopters come and fly directly over our field and hover, trying to figure out what we're doing. We've got a big 600' runway and a separate heli area, and they seem curious as to what the heck we're doing out there.

While we like full scale pilots, I also have a beef with ones who want to stop us from flying just because they're in a bigger bird. . Unfortunately, all I can do is sit around and say, "Share the Air, dudes!"
 

AkimboGlueGuns

Biplane Guy
Mentor
#6
If you call up the tower this first time you fly they will likely remember that you are flying at the particular site. Here in ND we're about 3 miles from the 20th busiest airport in the world and anytime we try to call tower we can get out "Hi, this is so and so from the UND RC club..." then the phone clicks and they hang up. Tower usually has better stuff to do than worry about you, so that's nice. Just build that relationship up and there shouldn't be any issues. Most of the time they probably wont care, and they most likely won't ever ask you to not fly/stop flying.
 

kBONGy

Junior Member
#7
Thank you, everyone, for replying to my query. I now registered with the FAA under Section 336. Got my number, printed it and stuck to my planes. It is a hassle to call every time, but do need to abide. And that is the least I could do to the RC community to appease those on top.

Again, thank you.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#8
New laws have been signed so alot of what we took as optional like registration are now mandatory and new laws will be written.

Section 336 has been repealed and we now fall under FAA governance.

Not sure how fast or how active enforcement will be but expect less leniency about flying.