There is still confusion among the recreational flyer community concerning the notification of airports. The requirement to notify any airport/heliport within 5 miles was created in 2012 (Section 336). Congress rescinded that requirement in 2018. When the law was changed, persons flying under the newly created Exception for Limited Operation of UA were required to obtain an airspace authorization from the FAA before operating in controlled airspace. The FAA determined that airspace authorizations in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and surface area Class E) must be obtained via LAANC or the FAA’s DroneZone (in the case of non-LAANC capable airports) or operated within a Fixed Flying Site.
Additional information about how the FAA reviews and approves airspace authorization requests is available in:
Recreational flyers (and part 107 operators) do not need airspace authorization if flying in uncontrolled (Class G) airspace.
IS A PREFLIGHT REQUIRED FOR A DRONE FLIGHT?
The answer depends upon the rules or statutes that govern the flight. In the case of recreational flyers operating under the Exception for Limited Operation of UA, the flights must comply with the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). The agency is in the process of developing an application and review process for CBOs. In the interim recreational flyers are directed to follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
For drone flights operating under Special Authority for Certain UAS, 49 USC section 44807 as a civil or public operator, they must follow the requirements of §91.7 to ensure no person operates the aircraft unless it is in airworthy condition. Additionally, certificates of waiver or authorization (COA) require a preflight “to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is in a condition for safe operation.”
For flights operated under 14 CFR part 107, §107.49 requires the remote pilot in command to:
- Check local weather;
- Check airspace;
- Inspect and confirm the functionality of drone and ground control station;
- Confirm the location of persons and property on the ground;
- Check for other ground hazards;
- Confirm adequate power requirements; and
- Ensure all crew members are briefed about operating conditions, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, potential hazards, and contingency procedures.
For more information, see AC 107-2A, Chapter 5. Also, Appendix E of the advisory circular contains a sample preflight assessment and inspection checklist.
Flite Test Community Association (FTCA) is designed to be the hub where the people identifying with the community can rally together to promote the future of model aviation. Their vision is simple, they want to bring hope for the future of the hobby. That is why their motto is “Bringing Hope to the Hobby”.
Hobby and recreational users of UAS are required to follow the guidance of AC91-57A (available for download below), which the FAA released on September 2, 2015, and then updated on January 11, 2016 due to a typographical error, which replaces AC91-57 of 1981
AC 91-57 - the former Model Aircraft Operating Standards - this has been cancelled, and replaced by
AC-91-57A on September 2, 2015 and then again with
AC 91-57A with change 1 on January 11, 2016
Concerns raised over FAA’s UAS registration plan - UAS Magazine
FAA - 2014 - 0396 - Interpretation of Special Rule for Model Aircraft
March 21, 2016: In this document below the FAA interprets the model aircraft registration rule
Feb 18, 2017 - Getting to know more about the FPV world of UAS
Had a very interesting chat with Sean Wendland
Why isn't the UAS world enbracing this more?
Aren't these people the future of BVLOS?
Article from Feb 2014 - The Little-Known Feud That's Shaping the Future of Delivery Drones
Article from May 2014 - THE DRONE REVOLUTION
Sarah Nilsson, J.D., Ph.D., MAS
602 561 8665
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