Orangutan39

B4UFLY question

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Hey all, 

I decided to download the B4UFLY app from the FAA. When I checked a certain area I wanted to fly my UAS, the app indicated that there was a heliport 4.55 miles from my location and that I needed to let the airport manger know I would be flying my UAS near the heliport. I was skeptical so I checked my FlyQEFB app that I use for manned flight. The updated aeronautical chart did NOT indicate any heliport whatsoever in the area that the B4UFLY app indicated. I also checked an outdated paper copy of the aeronautical chart in my area and no heliport. Do I fly based on the information I found out? Thoughts? 

Thanks, 

Chris

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I just checked B4UFLY app for areas I fly in & to my complete shock The Morristown NJ airport is not shown on the map.  This is a fairly substantial private airport that is controlled.  I've flown into & out of it several times.  The airport is in the list of airports but there's no tag for it on the map.  You can actually see the runways if you zoom in on the (google, I think) map. This is a huge failure, and it means to me, at least, that the app is not to be trusted.  I'm scheduled to fly about 3-4 miles from the airport next week, and there's potential for getting my butt in a sling.  I'll stick with Hover, which both shows the airport and gives you the tower's phone number.

Edited by Silk Purse
puctuation

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In my humble opinion, we have become overly reliant on "apps" and come to believe that "there's an app for that!" If UAV flyers want to be respected and welcomed to the aviator family then we have to behave like professionals. Manned aircraft pilots are required to rely on the most up to date sectional chart as published by the FAA for their flight information . They are available for free:

https://skyvector.com/

 

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I respectfully disagree.  I've been flying hot air balloons since the 80s and am familiar with sectional charts.  They are completely inadequate for lighter than air as well as UAV flights.  The charts are designed for use by fixed wing pilots who fly a pre-planned route from landing field to landing field.  I take off my balloon from my backyard and never know where or even how far I'll be flying.  The charts don't give a very good idea of where you are or how far away that controlled airspace is.  I simply cannot use sectionals for my UAV flights.  Furthermore the FAA in its new regs refers to us as "operators" not "pilots".  That's a distinction with a huge difference.  While I certainly agree that we should fly safe and be respectful of other aircraft, we need to realize that  we are flying brand new technology, and we need new tools. 

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Perhaps we are not referring to the same thing. The original question was about the reliability of the B4UFLY app from the FAA to locate heliports, not to navigate. I don't use sectionals to fly UAVs, only to locate airports and determine airspace restrictionsas you stated they are pretty useless for that purpose. . Nothing is more reliable than sectionals for locating airports/heliports and controlled airspace, or I have been using the wrong references (first soloed in 1969, private in 1970, commercial pilot license in 1976). When I fly my UAVs I rely on the map on the DJI GO app which is quite accurate for our small scale needs.

On a different topic, I seriously doubt the FAA will accept an airspace incursion by "blaming the app" (for 333 operators only, as we should know better). Hobbyists can still use ignorance as a defense. Once the UAV operator permit comes on line I'm guessing knowledge of sectionals will be a part of the written exam and blaming the app for an airspace violation will likely not "fly"

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The issue that I have seen with trying my B4UFLY app over this weekend and then comparing that information to paper sectionals, skyvector.com and my FlyQEFB app, is that the B4UFLY app has indicated a heliport at hospitals and various other locations in the area where I live when none was indicated on any aeronautical sectional chart.  The B4UFLY app is what the FAA provides for UAV users, but the information contradicts itself for pilots that use the sectionals. I agree that that over use of apps can be a problem, but this is the app that the FAA gives us as UAV operators. I am more inclined to follow what is on the sectional over the FAA app because it makes more sense too me. In reagrds to navigation of manned flight, If I looked at my sectionals and did not see a heliport on the sectional along my flight path I would have no idea it existed and would plan my flight without being able to take the heliport into consideration. Just my thoughts.

Thanks, 

Chris 

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I would go with the most safe option here, as each app and the sectional charts all have different perspectives, i check in on both hover, B4UFLY, as well as, file with 1800wxbrief.com (LL/LM system). I have noticed that B4UFLY tends to have more detail on commercial heliports (i mean the ones at the top of business centers and hospitals and the like) Most of which have no ATC / tower. 

Also on a practical note since that is in coordination with the FAA it seams like a good fall back to use since they should in theory be making sure it has all the necessary data. I think this falls under the all things in moderation and CYA clauses of life. If it makes you feel any better i live with in five miles of 2 smaller airports, about 8 business/hospital helipads, an Army national guard training center, and a Soldier systems center with active heliport, and i think runway, though ive never been on it as it is a military base.  I think  as long as you are doing your due diligence, and are taking precautions to ensure safe flights, yielding way to all manned operations you should be alright. I would also say it is best to set up a standing agreement with each place so that you do not need to re-notify each flight.

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I'm coming in late on this but IMHO the B4UFLY app is garbage. I'm located near Ft. Campbell, KY and I've been flying this area for almost 20 years as an Army aviator and to my surprise the app told me that there was a private airfield located within our KHOP Class D airspace. I traveled to the so-called airfield and found it to be a housing area with a large pond. I wasn't sure who I should notify, the HOA or the massive amount of turtles floating around on a log. This is not the first issue with it either. I rely on good ole fashion VFR sectionals and websites like skyvector. Peace

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The best use, i think, for B4UFLY is to cover your butt.  I keep it on my phone and take a look before flying, but the information it provides is hopelessly inaccurate.  As I posted above the app ignores a controlled airfield near me and if I relied solely on B4UFLY I would run the risk of getting into the deep stuff.  The app also does not distinguish between controlled and uncontrolled airfields. If the FAA or some local authority comes down on you, it's a good thing to be able to say, "I checked it on the FAA app," but for all real life situations Hover is my go-to.

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8 hours ago, flyingmonkey said:

I'm coming in late on this but IMHO the B4UFLY app is garbage. I'm located near Ft. Campbell, KY and I've been flying this area for almost 20 years as an Army aviator and to my surprise the app told me that there was a private airfield located within our KHOP Class D airspace. I traveled to the so-called airfield and found it to be a housing area with a large pond. I wasn't sure who I should notify, the HOA or the massive amount of turtles floating around on a log. This is not the first issue with it either. I rely on good ole fashion VFR sectionals and websites like skyvector. Peace

Did you notify the chief turtle?

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