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jonathan atkin

Flying a Drone in Provincetown, Massachusetts (Class E Airspace)

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RE CLASS E AIRSPACE:

 

Over the past Labor Day weekend  I flew in Provincetown, MA, or "PTOWN."  Interesting drone issues on the very tip of Cape Cod. a town that swells to many thousands of day trippers and summer residents, guests far beyond its base population. PTOWN supports a very active PVC airport, called Ptown Municipal Airport, aka "MUNI."  Ptown is officially in Echo Airspace, "unregulated under 700" feet but according to the sectional: down to 500 AGL.  However "unregulated" aside, the double whammy is the airport proximity, as it is very close to anywhere in town. But its easy to stay away from it as it is on the far end of "Race Point." . One restrictive bit of geography is the entire area features the National Cape Cod Seashore, a National Park, which prohibits all drone over flights, launching or landing in the National Seashore.   And the sectionals clearly show those boundaries.  There are sections of Ptown where drone flight is permitted, and other areas "down the road" with less restrictions. To fly "in town" the MUNI airport requires pilots to check in with a very gracious airport manager, Arthur "Butch" Lisenby.  Because Ptown is grappling with drone permitting, "Butch" requests notification on planned flights as well as a heads-up to the Ptown Police Department.  Early morning flights are generally permitted: hence no people.   MUNI and the PD were gracious and appreciative.  While I informed both "MUNI" & the  PD prior to each flight, they became a tad annoyed at my frequent calls.  They would have preferred a "shot list" with times and locations in one call or so.   However, I was flying ad-hoc, with high winds often changing my plans.  The DJI Geo Fencing had to be alerted to allow flight & became annoying, as I had PERMISSION!  And I had gone to the website to register my flight plans but evidently my time frame didn't "take" &  had to re-do the request every morning.   OF course the big brother of DJI had no idea I was fully permitted by local authorities.   LOL.   Fortunately wifi was readily available to get into the DJI system, where I was already registered.  Hands down,  the Ptown Police  were sweet, acknowledged they were trying to find a good "middle ground" to insure drones weren't over people etc.  Hats off the "MUNI manager Butch and Ptown PD. and Chief Jim Golden and his dispatch PO Sara Bartholomew.  

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Lightroom (170901_Provincetown_821.DNG) copy.jpg

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@jonathan atkin, it's refreshing to hear that P-town's folks are so helpful re drone flight.  But I'm puzzled by something.  As I look at the US Park Service maps as well as the sectional, it appears to me that the entire area near P-town is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  Doesn't that prohibit drone landings and takeoffs without a special use permit from the US Park Service?

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Ed:  Much of Ptown area is  National Seashore, but the town itself and its piers and marinas are NOT.  SkyVector clearly marks what is and what is NOT. If you follow the heavy blue lines that encompass the seashore, you will see the town itself and the monument is NOT in the National Park. You can fly into Truro as well....its tricky.  I did fly at the town dump...frankly, I don't think that was in the seashore area, but after all it was the dump....with great solar panels.  Airport and PD said, no problem.  They are the rule makers. (PVC (airport is owned by the National Park Service btw...so hey, if the airport says it's ok that seems to be fine.  Fair disclosure:  While I don't know the PD or "Butch" personally, my twin has had a condo in PTOWN  for over 12 yrs and I am known by a few well placed folks in town, that said, I don't think I was given any special consideration. 

Ptown.jpg

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Thanks Jonathan for your reply.  I suspect if it was a real problem for the Park Service, the US Park Police would be all over you!  I have the HIGHEST regard for them and have had quite a few interactions with them over the years - they are the BEST!  Really glad that the P-town folks are so cooperative.  Have only been up there twice - once when I was 5 years old and again about 5 years ago. 60 year gap in between! Great place.  Watch out for Pave Paws!


 

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