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Though I am new to the world of commercial drone photography and only last year passed and received my FAA and NC sUAV license, I have been a commercial photographer for over 35 years, based in Charlotte NC. My son and I are working toward creating a spin off of my business with drone work and creating professional results. With all the present and future construction and development near uptown, we have been asked to take on several projects in the area which means asking for an FAA authorization to fly in Class B airspace this Spring. Charlotte uptown (and the immediate vicinity) is all in Class B being within 5 miles of the airport, including my studio building and the nearby projects my client needs drone work done of. Challenging for sure if you abide by the rules. Many other commercial drone operators that have done work in this same area and had their work used by developers, are either skirting the law or possibly have gotten FAA authorization. Its impossible to tell but my guess is they are NOT getting the proper authorization. Thats not how I do business and will be submitting my first request in the next couple of days to ask for authorization. I have been reading through most, if not all the forum threads related to people making requests. Most are in Class C and D and have not found anyone mentioning that they received FAA authorization for Class B airspace. Has anyone??? Alan pointed me to some great examples of how other people have worded Authorization requests and I plan on applying parts of their language and how best to approach mitigating any and all safety concerns but it will be an uphill battle I expect. Because my studio building for over 30 years, is in the exact area I will be doing the work, I am very familiar with all the low level helicopter traffic that routinely fly there. Both of the local tv news operation helicopters (one of which I know the pilot of and have hired in the past fly me to do aerial work), the police helicopter and an air ambulance for a major hospital. Like I said, I really will need to do a great job in explaining all the safeguards I will take and show them I understand the challenges and will plan accordingly. Here are a few of the items I plan on including in my description and work flow. Any added suggestions or comments will greatly appreciated! • PIC will be myself, along with 2 VO's • I plan on having a vertical limit of 200ft AGL • Will always remain within VLOS • I expect to only fly for a max of 1 hour once a month for the next 6 weeks • I plan on posting a NOTAM via www.1800wxbrief.com 24 hours prior to flying. • I will list the Lat/Long of the location with a full description of surrounding streets and locations I have permission to take off from. My plan is to also use my contacts to reach out to the news pilots I know and even discuss with them. Get their input and if there are routinely flying at a particular altitude when this close to our uptown. In the past year, Charlotte has unfortunately had several incidents with hobby drone pilots coming way to close to both police and news helicopters. Add to this, my youngest son is a Army Black Hawk pilot, I will do this right or not at all. Thanks and look forward to any input and comments!
Next question, waivers. I guess these are on an as needed basis? You don't get a waiver that lets you fly above crowds from now on because you've proven that you can fly safely? What about the job that pops up and a client needs you to do a fly over of the homecoming football game that is tomorrow night? No way to plan for that? Jake