Ed O'Grady

VERY IMPORTANT RE WAIVERS

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To add to this, the FAA press release says as of yesterday, oct 24, they have issued 81 airspace waivers for Class D and E surface operations.  They go on to say that 36 waivers have been granted for other aspects of part 107.  That adds up to 117 but on their website through the 24th, there are a total of 121 waivers none of which are for airspace. Probably as simple as their Public Affairs office screwing up the numbers but it's certainly interesting to watch.

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Everyday (or almost every day), FAA posts on their website the waivers granted under Part 107.  I have been following them closely everyday since August 29.  These are not airspace authorizations but simply waivers granted.  Today is the first one posted for operations from a moving vehicle or aircraft (107.25) that I have seen.  The only reason I even mention it is that some of the provisions of the waiver are very specific and here it is.

107W-2016-00792_Helicopters West_CoW.pdf

 

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On 11/30/2016 at 10:11 AM, Ed O'Grady said:

Today is the first one posted for operations from a moving vehicle or aircraft (107.25) that I have seen.

Great find.

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Does anyone have a sense as to whether the FAA will grant a blanket waiver for operations in surface Class E or Class D airspace?  I ask because the VAST majority of the airspace I need to fly has controlled airspace at the surface.  Their website asks for a specific lat/long, but it's not quite that simple since almost everywhere I need to fly is controlled.  I would perpetually be requesting waivers.  I guess giving them a specific location could work if it didn't take 90+ days for authorization.  Most clients want the product well before then....

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Hey @Hawg97, short answer is yes and no.

Be specific in your waiver request about the areas you'd like to be approved to fly in. I wouldn't ask for too much at first. The turnaround on these is getting faster and faster. It's not taking 90 day anymore.

Wish I had a clearer answer for you. I haven't yet applied for airspace authorization and will try to find a few of our community members who have to hop in here to respond if they know anything different.

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This is an area that I have some familiarity with.  To start, understand that my local airspace is Class E surface during daylight hours (there are slight seasonal adjustments to that but thats close enough).  The request was for an area 3 miles in diameter beginning at a point somewhat north of center of the 5 mile radius of the airport.  I actually got a phone call from the contractor assigned to the request and we spent some time discussing how we could reach an agreement on the authorization.  He explained that the grids that the airport facility had provided to FAA headquarters (that's my wording - his was something like that) indicated that the lowest clear airspace was zero feet AGL (over the runway) so therefore he could not provide authorization much better than that.  My response to him was that that did not provide me any relief whatsoever.  So the best we could come up with was a 1 mile radius at a point 4 miles north of the airport and a 100 ft AGL limit - beyond that distance form the airport I would be in the clear (Class E 700 ft).  He spent the entire afternoon getting all the forms set up and forwarded to me and I was quite impressed but frankly, not thrilled about the actual authorization.  For the moment it works for me but the goal is a real time online process to handle this.  This guy was a reread ATCS (controller) and working for a contractor from home.  He told me that the initial authorization would not prevent me from requesting another so I accepted it and decided I would proceed from there.  I would be very interested in hearing how others have fared with similar authorization requests.

 

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Does anyone have a sense as to whether the FAA will grant a blanket waiver for operations in surface Class E or Class D airspace?  I ask because the VAST majority of the airspace I need to fly has controlled airspace at the surface.  Their website asks for a specific lat/long, but it's not quite that simple since almost everywhere I need to fly is controlled.  I would perpetually be requesting waivers.  I guess giving them a specific location could work if it didn't take 90+ days for authorization.  Most clients want the product well before then....

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Thanks, guys.  I'm afraid I probably was not specific enough for the FAA.  We'll see, but frankly I am attempting to get some type of clearance in all of the surface Class E airspace around me.  We'll see what happens.  I'll report back on the process and ultimate result.  Thanks again.

 

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Please do report back and good luck!  Is the class D airspace down to surface?  When you get your response, it would be very interesting to see the sectional along with the specifics of your request and FAA's ultimate decision.  I wish we could see some of the approved airspace authorizations along with the rejected ones.  It would help us all understand what FAA is really looking for.  Good luck to you and Please keep us posted!

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Attached is the area of the Kansas City Sectional where I fly.  You can see it gets a little crazy with the Class C, surface E and D airspace all around each other.  By far, the lion's share of the flying I need to do falls within the surface Class E of KVBT and the Class D of KROG (surface to 39').  My first request was kicked back because I apparently checked both the authorization request box and waiver request box accidentally.  Even though I was explicitly clear as to what I was looking for, it confused the heck out of the FAA!  :D

I also spoke with an FAA reviewer and re-submitted my request.  My initial request is only for a waiver to fly in all of the surface Class E of KVBT.  Depending on how that goes, I will request the Class D waiver too.  The reviewer did not discourage the request and re-enforced the need to specifically answer the Performance Based Standards.  I am cautiously optimistic based on the proposals I put forth in my request - which frankly are more stringent than hobbyists need to follow.

Will update when I get their answer.

KC_Sectional_KVBT.jpg

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I will be very interested in seeing what they do.  Not to be a party pooper but I doubt that they will give you ALL of the Class E sfc airspace that you have requested but who knows!

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An excellent article on this subject.

https://medium.com/@paulalexander_3193/how-one-faa-order-is-inhibiting-the-drone-industry-from-truly-taking-flight-and-making-every-us-1bb23f08f890#.bsqz0qt0z

I, for one, am tired of FAA excuses. It took them 3 years to get part 107 out; I guess we are supposed to wait another 3 years to fix this 90 waiting period. The waiver website is so poorly designed it doesn't even tell you if your application was received or went into the ether. Even Domino's confirms your large pepperoni is on it's way. Then there is no way to save a copy of your application. I have written my state Senator, but I realize it is going to be a long time for this to be fixed, and we are supposed to remain calm while we lose money.

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Here's my update....It's now been almost 90 days since I have filed my first waiver request.  Still no contact from the FAA specifically regarding the request.  I have submitted my request twice and finally got an email - once I hounded them to death - that said it was in the queue.  I also notice that the FAA website has not updated their "waiver requests granted" website since 1/23/2017.  Anybody hearing anything about what they are up to?

This entire process is absurd.

Edited by Hawg97
fixed sentence

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If you are looking for an airspace authorization, it should be handled quite promptly these days - perhaps 30 days or so.  However, if you are requesting a waiver from part 107, for example daylight operations, then as best  as I can tell that is on hold.  I have spoken with several FAA inspedtors from both ATL FSDO as well as AFS-800 in DC and I believe that the Presindential Executive order regarding new regulations and its interpretation by OMB has placed that all on hold.  I can't sear to it, but that's what I've been told.

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Brilliant. Only a beuaracratic agency within the federal government would interpret a Presisential order specifically to " lower regulatory burdens on the American people by implementing and enforcing regulatory reform"  as instruction to stop granting relief from their burdensome regulations.  Plus, I think that order only went into effect on Feb 24, so I'm not sure why they would have stopped in January. 

I think the entire process is as bad or worse than anticipated. 

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Well, I can't really get a definitive answer from FAA. Around Feb 1, after 7 days of not seeing any waivers posted on the FAA website, I tried to contact them directly.  At first I was told they just were not posting the newly granted waivers on the website.  But subsequent to that, I was given other answers.  The last one was that thyer were processing them but not actually releasing them. So I honestly am not sure what is going on.  I can tell you with certainty that they are continuing to "disapprove" waiver requests because I just recently got one!

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I continue to get responses and approvals for airspace "Authorizations". You'll have a better chance asking to get an auth as opposed to a waiver. 

[rantmodeon] My most recent frustration is a pending denial, simply due to proximity to an airport. I would be 1.75NM from a Class C airport and wouldnt need to be more than 100-200FT AGL. If we are supposed to be integrated into the NAS, why bother if the local ATC is just flat out denying requests? Its not going to encourage people to fly legally. [rantmodeoff/]

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