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Hi all,

I have a question about filming a property near a private airport so I'm posting it here to just sort of check my thinking and make sure I do the right thing.

I have been asked to take photos of a property near this address:  5260 W Hunt Hwy, Queen Creek, AZ 85142

If you look at the graphic here (http://bit.ly/2jSPJoL), or type the address into AirMap (https://app.airmap.io/), you will see that the location is just outside the Class D airspace of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport, but it is very close to a private airport - Pegasus Airpark (https://skyvector.com/airport/5AZ3/Pegasus-Airpark-Airport). AirMap makes this very confusing because it's clearly not a Class D airspace but clicking the "Commercial" box shows a circle around the airport that indicates "areas around airports where commercial operations of drones may be restricted or require notice or authorization." Not exactly super clear.

I *think* this means that I DO NOT need to apply for a waiver, but I DO need to contact the airport before flying. Do I have that right?

Thanks for any thoughts or feedback,

Chris

 

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YES I love questions like this. Appreciate you taking the time to include screenshots and your full line of thinking, @Chris H. Super helpful.

So AirMap is a GREAT airspace research tool, but that "Commercial" checkbox was built for the legacy 333 exemption process and flight limitations / parameters. So in this case, at that address, which is in Class G uncontrolled airspace, you're good to fly without any kind of notification / permission if you're operating under Part 107. Of course, being so close to an airport, it's a good idea to get a sense of what the manned aircraft traffic looks like, their operating hours, any other quirks, and some might recommend getting a radio to tune into the local frequency to be even more situationally aware for incoming air traffic.

If you're flying under recreational rules, you'd want to contact Pegasus to let them know what you're up to. You don't explicitly need their permission, just required to "give notice" - so a voicemail or email would suffice unless I'm mistaken. Here's what the FAA says about recreational flight on their website:

Quote

 

Airports

Recreational operators are required to give notice for flights within five miles of an airport to BOTH the airport operator and air traffic control tower, if the airport has a tower. However, recreational operations are not permitted in Class B airspace around most major airports without specific air traffic permission and coordination.

 

 

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Alan,

I can't thank you enough for taking the time to respond. It's so helpful. I love this new industry (new for me) and want to make sure I am following the rules as best as I can. It gives me great peace-of-mind to be able to post this type of question here and make sure I'm understanding things correctly. Really appreciate it.

Thanks again!!!

Chris

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Hi all,

I just wanted to share some addition info about my filming this property. I honestly don't want it to sound like a rant - I just wanted to continue this discussion a bit.

I filmed the property this afternoon. When I went to buy insurance, Verifly said I was in a "restricted area" and would not let me buy the insurance. Then, when I went into the DJI app, it warned me that I was in a Class D airspace. These types of things are frustrating because it makes me feel much less confident about flying. And it's hard to be relaxed and creative and focus on the photos/videos I'm shooting when I'm worried about the police showing up, or the FAA fining me, because someone called to complain. Plus, I really would have liked to have had insurance while I was flying today.

I was thinking I would email Verifly just to let them know and see what they have to say. As far as the DJI app, I guess it just assumes I'm flying under recreational rules and that's why it warned me, but even then, I wasn't in a Class D airspace, I was just near a private airport.

Appreciate any thoughts or comments.

Thanks,

Chris

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The DJI warning is common, so long as you know you were outside the 5 NM radius you were ok. If you are inside a red no fly zone DJI will not let the motors start. I f you are outside the NFZ, DJI will not let the bird fly into it.Are you familiar with Sectional charts? If not, this is a good reference. You may want to contact Verifly. May I make a suggestion? When asking airspace question it is helpful to include coordinates so we can offer more accurate advice.

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Thank you for taking the time to reply. In my original post, I gave the address for the property that I filmed and explained that I used AirMap to check the airspace. I also gave a link to the private airport I was filming near (Pegasus Airpark) on SkyVector, the reference you recommended. So, yes, I had checked the SkyVector section chart as well.

Here are the coordinates for the property: 33°12'03.2"N 111°37'21.5"W

Chris

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Thanks for the update, Chris! Curious to hear how your call with Verifly goes. If you have trouble getting through, let me know and I can try and put you in touch with my contact there.

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19 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

Thanks for the update, Chris! Curious to hear how your call with Verifly goes. If you have trouble getting through, let me know and I can try and put you in touch with my contact there.

Alan, I will do that! And I will definitely update this thread with whatever I learn from Verifly. As always, thanks for your help!

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Here is a summary of my communication with Verifly.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

My email to Verifly:

Hi guys,

On this past Tuesday (1/31/2017), I filmed a property at this location:

Address
5260 W Hunt Hwy, Queen Creek, AZ 85142

Coordinates
33°12'03.2"N 111°37'21.5"W

I have a UAV Pilot Certificate and I was operating in a commercial capacity. I was outside of the Class D airspace of Mesa Gateway Airport. Although I was near a private air park (PEGASUS AIRPARK - https://skyvector.com/airport/5AZ3/Pegasus-Airpark-Airport), I believe I was in Class G airspace. As I usually do, I went to purchase Verifly insurance before my flight, but the app said I was in a “Restricted Area” and did not allow me to purchase insurance. I looked but couldn’t find a way to bypass this warning and make my purchase. I don't understand why I wasn't able to purchase insurance in that area. Even if I were operating under recreational rules, I was clearly outside the Class D airspace for Mesa Gateway and I would only have needed to notify the private air park that I would be flying in the area.

Is this a bug in the application, or am I misunderstanding something about the airspace I was in?

Thanks,


Chris

 

Verifly’s Response

Chris,

Have you checked using the latest version of the app from the app store or google play? If not please try again - unless there is a TFR you should be able to unlock the airspace.

 

My Follow-up Email

I just checked - the app updated itself just yesterday. I put the address in and it now offers me insurance but it's $25/hour and it still tells me that I'm near an airport and that coverage is available for authorized pilots only. When I click on the coverage options, it tells me "Flying here requires authorization."

I'm glad that the app now gives me an option for buying insurance, but I still don't understand why the app is treating that airspace as something special. My understanding is that, under recreational rules, I would simply need to notify the private air park, and if I'm flying under Part 107 as a certified pilot, I don't have to do anything. Sorry, I'm just trying to make sure I understand.

 

Verifly’s Response

Chris,

You are right and all the app is asking you to do in that case is affirm you have 107 or have the proper atc permission under the recreational rules. There are also situations where pilots are authorized via a 333 or waiver if the coverage area is in controlled airspace.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So that's the resolution - partially a problem with my app needing an update. My iPhone is usually good about applying updates automatically but I guess in this case is was a few days late :)

 

Chris

 

2017-02-05 13.41.31.png

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