Michael Mazur

Flying professionally in New York City

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Hello all,

I am a part 107 certificate holder located in Los Angeles. I have some questions about an upcoming shoot that I've been hired to do in New York City.
 
A high-end property management company has hired me to shoot drone footage of three of their buildings in New York City at the end of July. 2 of the buildings are in midtown and 1 of them is in the financial district. I have a few specific questions regarding these properties...
 
1. According to Airmap, there is a permenant TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) around the southern part of Central Park extending about 10 blocks south of the park. I imagine that this is because of Trump Tower but I can't be sure. It seems difficult to believe that this large area of Manhattan is permenantly off-limits even when the President is out of town. Does anyone have any information about this?
2. The building in the financial district (55 Broadway) appears to be in class G airspace which seems hard to believe. My general question about flying professionally in NYC is if there are additional, local actions that need to be taken even after obtaining an FAA part 107 waiver?
 
Does anyone have any information or experience flying for clients in Manhattan? I would appreciate any and all help.
 
Thanks!

Airmap_Screenshot.png

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It's not permanent, it's a Temporary flight restriction in place until further notice and presumably for as long (or short!) as he remains President.  The President has not been back to Trump Tower since being sworn in, but his wife and son continue to live there.  I think you are correct about being in Class G but that is a complicated piece of airspace.  I think I know the job you accepted and the 2 midtown properties are within the TFR zone.  I lived there all my life until 5 years ago (before I had any drone interest) but I'm not up to date on any NYC local regulations.  I guess the first issue would be getting the Airspace Authorization for the TFR zone.  As far as NYPD goes, if they get involved in your flight, I don't think they will care about your Part 107, an Airspace Authorization from FAA, a letter from Santa, or anything else.  

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16 hours ago, Michael Mazur said:

Hello all,

I am a part 107 certificate holder located in Los Angeles. I have some questions about an upcoming shoot that I've been hired to do in New York City.
 
1. According to Airmap, there is a permenant TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) around the southern part of Central Park extending about 10 blocks south of the park. I imagine that this is because of Trump Tower but I can't be sure. It seems difficult to believe that this large area of Manhattan is permenantly off-limits even when the President is out of town. Does anyone have any information about this?
2. The building in the financial district (55 Broadway) appears to be in class G airspace which seems hard to believe. My general question about flying professionally in NYC is if there are additional, local actions that need to be taken even after obtaining an FAA part 107 waiver?
 
Does anyone have any information or experience flying for clients in Manhattan? I would appreciate any and all help.
 
Thanks!

Airmap_Screenshot.png

The TFR is in effect until Trump decides to move his residence and then another will be placed over that until he moves again or dies. Same thing is in effect over the Bush residence here in Dallas. Every living President gets one. Ours only goes up to 3000 ft if memory serves. The TFR in this case means you can't fly within the area without express permission (I would guess in this case it would be a joint effort by FAA and USSS). Without express written permission (always think CYA in these instances) it would be in your best interest to ensure that you give it a wide berth.

As far as flying downtown in a major metropolitan area, the potential to break one of the cardinal rules and fly over people (and moving vehicles) is too likely unless you either get permission to shut down the street while you are above it and get crowd control to keep people outside of the fall line (which in NYC is not very likely as well). I am not saying that you would not be able to pull it off; just that the odds of it happening is not very great. And that does not take into account any of the state or local laws and ordinances that may or may not be in place....

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Oof, tough airspace. I'm not sure how to get around that TFR. It's not impossible, but you'd need to get in touch with someone at the FAA as soon as possible.

That said, I'm pretty sure that flying a drone anywhere in Manhattan is illegal. I'm not sure where the published ordinance is, but I've spoken with the police and parks department before and gotten multiple responses from those two organizations. 

Also just found this: http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/5521/drones

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All of this gets dangerously close to "legal" advice which should never be given or accepted online..

Local law enforcement and municipalities are restricting airspace that they aren't authorized to regulate.  Unfortunately the only way to challenge much of this is through civil disobedience.

Probably a bad analogy but a lot of people are told by officials that it's illegal to shoot video or pictures in a shopping mall, it's actually legal as long as your tripod doesn't touch the floor.  Maybe it's a similar thing here, municipalities can't restrict airspace so they restrict where you can launch from, what if you hand launch and the drone never touches the ground?

As an industry we have very few options, we can form an organization whose charter it is to take on these sorts of issues, we can take them on through civil disobedience or we can hope there are more individuals like John Taylor willing to fight in court.

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Hey everyone,

I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of the feedback. Ultimately, I decided to pass on the job as it was way too difficult to set out a clear plan to my client.

19 hours ago, Flightlutions said:

If you're planning "an upcoming shoot" in NYC, I'd recommend checking with the New York City Mayor's office to see if a permit is required.

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/mome/permits/permits.page

Thanks for sharing this. I have looked through this before and there is literally nothing written here about drones. I really wish there was a clear resource put out from New York City about how to fly for commercials, films, and television legally. 

My first experience using this forum was pretty great. Thanks everyone who took the time to help!

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1 hour ago, Michael Mazur said:

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to say that I appreciate all of the feedback. Ultimately, I decided to pass on the job as it was way too difficult to set out a clear plan to my client.

Thanks for sharing this. I have looked through this before and there is literally nothing written here about drones. I really wish there was a clear resource put out from New York City about how to fly for commercials, films, and television legally. 

My first experience using this forum was pretty great. Thanks everyone who took the time to help!

I would have passed on the job as well.  Couldn't imagine trying to get a business going in NY City with current rules and regs.

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7 hours ago, Juggernaught said:

I would have passed on the job as well.  Couldn't imagine trying to get a business going in NY City with current rules and regs.

That's the point of 107.   No one who has a 107 should have to choose between doing their job and having to pandor to this hysteria!

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