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Old Jan 22, 2011, 10:02 AM
Just trying to get a nut.
scrtsqrl's Avatar
United States, VA, McLean
Joined Oct 2006
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Mini-HowTo
Know your airspace

Best to know the airspace you are operating in.

Fully recognizing that more regulation is soon to be established, for now here are the only no kidding "rules" that the FAA has regarding model aircraft.

FAA Advisory Circular 91-57
-Its primary intent is to seperate full scale from model aircraft.

That said, in order to avoid contact with full scale aircraft, it is best to know where and how full scale aircraft use airspace.
  1. First, know the defenitions of airspace.
  2. Know how to read aerospace sectional charts.
  3. With that, understand the airspace around you (Skyvector.com). Here's a quick guide to use this site.
Though full scale rules do not apply to model aviation, you must understand them if you intend to fly in anything other than a known RC Model field (where full scale pilots and air traffic controllers expect and avoid model aircraft).

Once again, the intent is to avoid contact with full scale aircraft, who ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY.

Why?

Because there is likely a soul in it.

Hope that helps...

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Old Jan 22, 2011, 11:22 AM
Tesla's Workshop
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USA, CA, Torrance
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A long overdue thread! Thank You !!!!

Jeff
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 11:52 AM
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when i was getting my private license im still technicallly a student pilot, i was flying to colledge station and when the tower controllers say watch out for drones from the north of the field i was looking really hard for them but did not find what so ever. and i was approaching to the pattern. how was i suppose to see and avoid fast moving drones since they are half the size of my rental plane? it concerns me about fpv myself even though i want to get into it. but i am a safety freak and ill reseach more than i need to in order to make sure my activities are safe and efficient. know your resources!!!!! i cant stress the fact how many idiots out there get close calls near aircraft every now and then. anyways fly safe.
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 12:55 PM
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Portland, OR
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Aren't we supposed to have aceiling of 400 feet? As long as you are not anywhere near an airport, that should keep people safe. RIght?
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 01:14 PM
Just trying to get a nut.
scrtsqrl's Avatar
United States, VA, McLean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBFlyer View Post
Aren't we supposed to have aceiling of 400 feet? As long as you are not anywhere near an airport, that should keep people safe. RIght?
In theory yes...but it is not that simple. There are always exceptions, which is why it is prudent to do a bit of research before you chuck your plane into the sky.


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Old Jan 28, 2011, 01:16 PM
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It might just be me in this catagory, but I have no need to go over 400 anyway. 400 feet is pretty high.
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 01:17 PM
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haha doesnt help when pilots go out flyin below radar over your model field when you have a guy up with a gasser hovering at the same altitude he was at about 250 ft...
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 01:19 PM
Just trying to get a nut.
scrtsqrl's Avatar
United States, VA, McLean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBFlyer View Post
It might just be me in this catagory, but I have no need to go over 400 anyway. 400 feet is pretty high.
I adhere to this limit as well. With my set-up DL, I can get out to about 2-3 miles without issues...any further than that, flying becomes a chore...
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 01:35 PM
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I agree! To each his own though... I prefer trying to drop "bombs" on specific targets and see who actaully hits it. stuff like that...
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 05:01 PM
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Thanks for the post. I looked up where I'm flying and found that there's a boundary of class E airspace descending from 1200' to 700' AGL close to where I fly. However, in further reading, I found that planes are not allowed to fly below 500' above houses, people, etc. per FAR 91.119.

Now I get the 400' AGL Rule for R/C planes. As long as an R/C plane is less than 400' AGL in Class G airspace, it should never encounter an aircraft.

Another guideline I think should be mentioned is that R/C planes should stay out of Class E airspace all together. If ultralights and paragliders aren't allowed in Class E that is below 400' (only that which is near airports), then R/C planes should stay out too.

Knowing that planes need to stay above 500' AGL is a great relief, and I finally feel safe getting into FPV knowing that there is at least a 100' clearance between me and the lowest flying aircraft.
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 05:18 PM
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One even better point, since I live in a town, planes are only allowed 1000' AGL per FAR 91.119 This was a concern for me at least because in the summer several scenic flights operate around the island, and I didn't want to risk a collision, and always having to watch for planes like a paranoid schizophrenic would have ruined the experience. So now I know I'll have at least 600' separation between my plane and any air traffic. Hooray for FAR 91.119!
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WBFlyer View Post
It might just be me in this catagory, but I have no need to go over 400 anyway. 400 feet is pretty high.
Let's not kid ourselves, 400' is not very high at all. In fact I live in a development with houses packed in tightly and 400' is only 4x my back yard width. This is the main area of contention as the FAA thinks we are all flying under 400' AGL, but current AMA rules only state 400' within 3 miles of an airport. We have a small hill near our field and the tops of the trees are 230' AGL, so 400' is not even twice the height of trees on one side of our field. When anyone flys up fairly high to do a nice spin or inverted harrier, you are normally breaking or coming extremely close to the 400' AGL mark. This is not just an FPV issue, but also a normal RC aircraft issue. Almost all Glider flying would be illegal if the 400' limit were followed as a hard ceiling. I am an instrument rated pilot and feel that the FAA should simply push GA limits up to 1500' AGL except when around 3 miles from an airport. Most landing patterns around airports are 1000' anyway. Obviously crop dusters and helicopter would have exceptions and the standard right of way rules would still apply. I never simply cruised around at 500' AGL in my plane. Too many towers and other problems, not to mention lack of height if an engine problem occured.
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 09:13 PM
Just trying to get a nut.
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That altitude is a guideline...if you are clear of any real traffic, I don't think anyone's going to give you a hard time for busting it. If you run into someone, then that's another story...
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 10:17 PM
KB3VOJ
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Currently it is covered under Advisory Cirular AC91-57 which you can read here

http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgAdvisoryCircular.nsf/0/1acfc3f689769a56862569e70077c9cc/$FILE/ATTBJMAC/ac91-57.pdf

and it is not law, however, some of the drafts of the upcoming sUAS rules that will be posted under the Notice of Public Rulemaking in June (nobody knows what is really in there until that time) may make this law which is where my comments come in on this being a big area of contention for the AMA. The AMA and modeling as a whole has basically been operating under a sort of don't ask don't tell policy since 1981, where the FAA can claim they told everyone to fly under 400' and the AMA cleverly turned a period into a comma to the AC so it read to fly under 400' when within 3 miles of an airport when you can clearly read that the AC did not restrict the 400' recommendation to just that constraint.
Anyway this is a showdown that may or may not happen but as modelers whether you are an AMA member or not you should be concerned about it and check the wording of the law when it is released for comment. If it is restrictive, especially the ceiling, write you congressman. My entire point in this is that 400' AGL is not very high as was stated and could become a big problem, especially if everybody has the attitude that it is plenty of height.
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Old Jan 28, 2011, 11:00 PM
Crashy McLandington
Northern Colorado
Joined Dec 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llamero View Post
Thanks for the post. I looked up where I'm flying and found that there's a boundary of class E airspace descending from 1200' to 700' AGL close to where I fly. However, in further reading, I found that planes are not allowed to fly below 500' above houses, people, etc. per FAR 91.119.

Now I get the 400' AGL Rule for R/C planes. As long as an R/C plane is less than 400' AGL in Class G airspace, it should never encounter an aircraft.

Another guideline I think should be mentioned is that R/C planes should stay out of Class E airspace all together. If ultralights and paragliders aren't allowed in Class E that is below 400' (only that which is near airports), then R/C planes should stay out too.

Knowing that planes need to stay above 500' AGL is a great relief, and I finally feel safe getting into FPV knowing that there is at least a 100' clearance between me and the lowest flying aircraft.
Keep reading, full size craft do NOT need to stay above 500 feet. It is legal to fly 5 feet up in the right areas!
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