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Uses of Drones?
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Ron..NE ILL..10/48
Posted 9/16/2018 06:10 (#6990531 - in reply to #6984491)
Subject: RE: Uses of Drones?

Chebanse, IL


I assume your regional airport is tower controlled? But, regardless, all is not lost. Have you tried this from AOPA? Basically first contact the a-p manager, then if there is a tower, he'll put you in contact with them. One thing that would help you in talking to them is to tell them you have a hand-held aircraft frequency radio which would allow you to monitor their frequency, or even respond if contacted by tower personnel. 

Contacting air traffic control

Air traffic control numbers are not publicly available, so the best way to find this number at an airport is to get in touch with the airport manager and ask if there is a control tower and what the phone number is. It is important to call ahead as airport managers are not normally available 24 hours a day and usually have many responsibilities. Air traffic controllers also can be very busy, so there may be cases in which controllers ask you to call an administrative number, which may result in your drone flight being delayed unless you have provided some lead time to allow them to respond.

Air traffic control is responsible for collecting the following information when contacted:

  1. Geographic location and operating area dimensions
  2. Altitude at which the operations will be conducted (not to exceed 400 feet above ground level)
  3. Number of drones and operators
  4. Time and duration of activity
  5. A method to determine when activity begins and ends
  6. A real-time contact for any required communications

Current FAA guidance states “when notified of a model aircraft operation, the ATC manager or airport management may deny operations if they impact the safety of other operations at the airport. Specific reasons for the objection should be provided to the person notifying the ATCT [Air Traffic Control Tower] or airport management at the time of the request and documented.” The FAA requires controllers to record any drone activity and any operational issues that it causes. Air traffic control will not use the word “approved” in communication with a hobbyist operator but the lack of a denial constitutes the operation may proceed.

Long-term drone operations near an airport


If a hobbyist or group of hobbyists wishes to fly near or on an airport on a long-term basis, the FAA recommends formulating a letter of agreement to establish the procedures and reduce the workload for both parties. A letter of agreement usually states where the hobbyists can fly, any restrictions, what notification requirements exist, and any other procedures. A letter of agreement can be established with the airport operator and, if applicable, the air traffic control facility. An example letter of agreement with air traffic control and additional information on the process is provided by the FAA.

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