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What constitutes Micro? And other questions.

#1
Hello everyone, this was probably already mentioned somewhere, but what constitutes a "Micro Aircraft" and an "Ultra Micro Aircraft"?

In this regards, I was also wondering about something that has much to do with regulations. Basically I know that the FAA doesn't require registration of any aircraft under 0.55lbs, and doesn't care if you fly in your house, but what about flying these tiny things in your backyard? It seems to me that the regulation still pertains to registering anything over 0.55lbs, but it also seems that you have to notify any airport and control tower within 5 miles of wherever you, that you intend to fly your aircraft even for a tiny 8" foam flyer in your backyard below the treetops and roof level. Can anyone verify or correct me on this?

Seriously if I have to notify them of this, then I think the pilots of ANY Potential aircraft has much more to worry about at this altitude than a tiny foam RC airplane. I'm sure most people would just say, "heck with them, fly it anyway". But I'm always worried about the one person who whines and complains about everything and just wants to give people like us a hard time.

Some would say, "just go where you are at least 5 miles or more away from any airport". Well, that is often hard to do as there are so many supposed "airports" around me it's ridiculous, even though there is rarely an airplane within 5 miles of me. The app "B4UFLY" shows me airports that I don't believe exist, like a heliport in a trailer park! Seriously someone has a heliport in a trailer park???

Anyway, This whole FAA thing recently has me irritated that I haven't been out to fly in over a year because of the difficult language in the regulations. I can't believe that anything so small and/or flown so low is a hazard to aircraft so far away.

If this post belongs somewhere else, please let me know and I'll move it where it truly belongs. Thank much everyone.
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#2
Well thankfully that whole registration thing was recently dropped so that is one less thing for you to worry over. As far as calling airports I hear that everyone that has done so has had no problems with the airports telling them not to fly. Most times they have to get a supervisor because they have no idea how to handle us. Once they realize you are not on approach and are below 400 ft they seem to go Ehh.. have fun.

Follow the basic common sense rules after that and you should not have any problems.
 
#3
Oh, well that's great! :cool: I thought I heard something about the registration thing, but I wasn't sure.
Would you or anyone else know how to contact some supposed airfields like "Life-Flights" or "CareFlights" I ask this because there are two hospitals near me that have heliports, but they aren't used constantly like an airport, and they don't really have a control tower. At most they have a dispatcher, but they don't have anything to do with watching or regulating air traffic. The only active airport/airfield near me is a military (Air Force) base, and they don't have all that much traffic.
 
#4
Oh one other thing, if I'm flying at an approved AMA flying field, do I need to go through all the Control Tower contacting? I think there is one or two fields near me that I can join and they can give me keys to open the field when no one else is there, but I don't know if they just have an ongoing agreement, or if they have to initiate contact every time an RC aircraft goes up.
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#5
There should be a number listed in the phone books for the base directory who could put you in contact with the Tower at the Military air field. I am not sure on the others as they are sporadic use and as you said no one to call. Just be aware of what is flying in your area and follow the rules or if you are worried land until they pass just to be sure.

As far as any agreements you would have to ask the club leaders or other members if there is a standing agreement. It still doesn't hurt to call them to CYA. Think of it as positive promotion of the hobby for the rest of us. The more responsible pilots they come in contact the more respect we all get as a whole for the hobby. Usually they only want to know general area and altitude and how long you expect to be in the air. No need to call every flight.. It would be like "I am at our field under 400 ft for the next four hours" for example. They will probably want your contact information and will soon get to know you as you call in regularly.
 
#6
So why is the FAA registration website for drones still up? I looked at their site just a few minutes ago and they still say that anything over 0.55lbs must be registered, along with all the other rules and guidelines for flying. When I googled it, I get plenty of sites talking about what is required and what isn't in registering an RC aircraft.
 
#7
I just imagine them asking what I'm flying, where and how high, then saying "seriously dude you called us about that??" But I'm sure better safe than sorry.
It's funny, because I used to fly in the wide open fields next to the Air Force museum, and I had gone inside to ask before flying and they always say, we don't know of any rules prohibiting that, so go ahead. Then more recently I noticed a sign at one gate that said drone flying is prohibited, but no one ever said anything to me or even cared to ask. They usually just watch and comment on my airplane. That's it. I won't do that every again, unless they have an open flight day.
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#8
Again.. Its common courtesy. As far as flying the sign says AT the museum.. not NEAR the museum correct? If they liked you before they will still like you now. Just ask at least once to be clear on boundaries so now one gets in trouble.
 
#9
Well actually, the Air Force Museum is on part of the Air Force base, it's a separate section open to the public, but the other parts of the base, (which require DoD Identification), the sign is posted. I'm an Army Reservist, so I access the base every so often. I just noticed the sign a month ago when accessing the restricted part, but I had been flying at the field next to the Museum for years, and I always ask. There are a couple of very large fields next to the museum, (and yes they are technically on the military base), but they often have RC fly-ins there. I also go there often to fly kites, and I've always asked and they don't care, but then I was confused when I saw an article in our local paper that stated that in essence "the Air Force museum, on a rare occasion, opened the base up for the public to fly kites there". I thought wow, the museum people always tell me they aren't concerned with me flying a kite or flying a small RC aircraft, but it seems posted signs nearby counter their statements to me.
Anyway, I'll be flying somewhere else now. I don't need someone to finally show up and arrest me for violating something.

Thanks for all the information.
 
#10
I am looking to build some micro flyers. I've got a few manufactured ones that don't fly anymore due to the dead (built in) lipo battery. I thought I'd take the electronics out of them and use them in some newer micro birds. I got, (and built), a MiG 2.88 from FRC Foamies. They have the plans tiled to print out for the large size and then they also have the plans on two "letter-sized" pages for reference. Well, I printed out the "letter-sized" pages and cut out the foam plane from those. It makes a neat little, (probably only 6" to 7" wingspan), jet, but with a small micro-motor and simple servo's it should make a nice little micro flyer for the backyard or indoor gym. I have already tested it without electronics and it flies very nicely.
If anyone is curious about this plane, just google or bing FRCFoamies.