Ken L

FAA Beyond-sight waivers

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With the great help of Allan's prep course, I passed the FAA remote pilot exam, 98% score. I remain grateful for not just the well designed course, but for Allan's personal help and encouragement in prepping for the exam.  I took no less than 3 of the online prep courses and Allan's was by far the best.

I'm the pilot for one of the first Nevada state agencies to set up a UAV program. Our first UAV model is the birdseyeview Firefly6 VTOL mapping machine.  The state managers have asked me to find out the phone no, name, and title of the FAA person that would take the call of a high ranking state authority, such as the head of the states emergency management team, and could facilitate giving a temp beyond line of sight waiver in the event of a emergency event in Nevada, such as a major flood or wildfire. I've just been getting the run around when I call the various phone nos listed on the FAA website. We believe that an FAA official approved beyond sight UAV waivers for gov agencies during the recent massive flooding in Texas. Id appreciate even a clue about how this process works.

Also, can somebody confirm that to even start the process of applying for a waiver, an applicant must first get the FAA to email them the link to an extensive online app. Ive been told that the waiver app posted on the website is not the actual app that a serious applicant needs to complete.

Ken

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 The person you want to talk to to get information from the FAA is your local Flight Standards District Office in Las Vegas.  Google Las Vegas FSDO and it should have the contact info.  That would be your best bet going agency to agency and bypassing public common numbers.

 

To be honest as a state agency you guys could be bypassing 107 all together and operate on a Public COA which is more involved on the front in, but could set up procedures on the back end that make it less intrusive to doing 107 and the waiver process. 

Edited by Shaun135
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Thanks Shaun. We've considered operating under a public (gov) COA. However, as with many gov and private organizations, our UAV use is just too limited now to justify the expense and time req to obtain a CoA.

Does anyone know of a specific agency that has recieved permission to fly out of sight just during the temp period following  a disaster? 

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That makes sense.

 

I am not aware if the ECOA's wavered LOS ops.   I would check with the Vegas FSDO, see if they can get you in touch with the higher ups.

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We've been in touch with the Vegas FSDO, but I doubt we asked the right question and our staff likely has not been persistant enough.

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Hmm. usually the FSDO is generally good about working with state agencies, especially the state Emergency Management office.  In fact I am quite surprised that this office does not already have a direct line with the appropriate higher ups at the FAA.  It seems like for other than drone stuff, FAA coordination is paramount when dealing with the state EM agencies during national emergencies.  I would be persistent with the FSDO.  I do know from the inside, that the FAA going through a major staff realignment.  They are doing away with the Regional Offices and giving the local FSDO's more direct access to the federal headquarters.  In the past the local FSDO's had a chain of command to their regional offices.  The director at my FSDO showed me the new chart. 

 

If the FSDO is not getting you results, maybe you need to send a request for this information through the sUAS help desk on the FAA website.   

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We have participated in a couple of Coastal Tridents, an exercise testing the Emergency Managment Plan of all the major ports on the west coast.  This includes every Federal, State and local agency, the FAA was uncooperative to say the least.

I get why other government agencies wouldn't just ignore the FAA, but in an actual emmergency?  

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