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Old Mar 28, 2011, 06:06 PM
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Club Field, AMA and no fly areas?

Hey,
Trying to gather information on what soaring clubs have done regarding how they fly around congested areas.

The AMA guidlines state "1. All pilots shall avoid flying directly over unprotected people, vessels, vehicles or structures and shall avoid endangerment of life and property of others."

I'm not sure if NOT following the above would nullify AMA liabiity insurance.

I know with soaring activities this is a bit impractical, but we are trying to figure out if soaring clubs adjacent to housing or business areas have been able to acquire waivers, secondary insurance or what to protect their activities.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
BK
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 06:37 PM
turn, turn, turn.
Athol, Massachusetts
Joined Oct 2005
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We don't fly over houses or people in contests....we have no fly zones, or fly zones that are height restricted.
That is, no low flying over the tents or people.

If this means cutting off part of the field, then so be it.
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 09:23 PM
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Kenny,
Whatever you do, don't look at an aerial picture of ......
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Old Mar 28, 2011, 09:49 PM
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Bk,

At the AMA national flying site RC soaring goes on. That event should be covered by AMA insurance right?

The general rule of thumb is don't fly low over people involved in the contest. Low is genaralyy 2x tent height Don't fly low over buildings. If you are high up who is to tell if you ate flying directly over a structure or not ?

Ryan
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Old Mar 29, 2011, 01:16 AM
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Seattle
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I'm not necessarily trying to find out prudent safe flying protocols (thanks for the recomendations)-I'm trying to figure out how strict the AMA requires you to follow their guidelines in order to be covered under their site waiver. A phone call to AMA indicated that the no fly areas (as stated in the above quote from their guidlines) extends all the way up above the restricted areas. So if this is the case and as Ryan mentions at the AMA Nats site soaring occurs over other areas (buildings, people, etc), what are the actual restrictions?

Just trying to figure out if the self-imposed no-fly zones we have instituted at our new site due to neighbors is something we can adjust or negate when hosting a large event. And if the AMA wouldn't cover us, what sort of other insurance waivers are available?

Thanks,
BK
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Old Mar 29, 2011, 01:48 AM
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Guidelines are just that, Guidance. They do not represent absolutes as a law might.

The field layouts in the AMA materials are suggestions for possible field layouts, they are not absolutes. The absolutes come into play (for example) in the pylon racing rules where actual minimum setback distances are described. Those rules are for the safety of people on the ground.

Flying as if the wings may fall off at any time and you will stay home and watch TV ... fly with reasonable risk, that is what your homeowners and then the AMA insurance are about.

tk
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Old Mar 29, 2011, 07:57 AM
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United States, IN, Indianapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belouder View Post
I'm not necessarily trying to find out prudent safe flying protocols (thanks for the recomendations)-I'm trying to figure out how strict the AMA requires you to follow their guidelines in order to be covered under their site waiver. A phone call to AMA indicated that the no fly areas (as stated in the above quote from their guidlines) extends all the way up above the restricted areas.
BK,

TK gives good advice. He has CDed many contest and is a past president of the LSF.

What you were told by the AMA customer service group is of course what they are going to tell you. They are going to suggest very conservitive guidelines. They are guidelines and suggestions as TK points out.

It is up to you what you want to do. I have flown plenty of contests where flying was say 1500 feet from a residence and flying over that area was OK as long as you were high. When you are high there is no way to really know if you are flying directly over a person anyway. Maybe you are a little to the left or the right.

Ryan
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Old Mar 29, 2011, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belouder View Post
snip
A phone call to AMA indicated that the no fly areas (as stated in the above quote from their guidlines) extends all the way up above the restricted areas. snip

Thanks,
BK
If it's really ALL the way up, we'd better nip this SETI* thing in the bud. As soon as they discover anything, our hobby will be dead. ;-p





*Search for Extra Terrestrial Ingelligence
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Old Mar 29, 2011, 10:14 PM
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The impetus for this is a neighbor to our new flying site that has raised issues with overflight (of any kind). We are prudent about how we operate with regards to flying over their property, but our self-imposed restrictions would make it nearly impossible to host a major thermal event.

So I'm trying to figure out what other clubs have done in a case such as this to appease neighbors, follow the AMA guidlines, protect the club legally and yet still be able to host a major event that is not hampered by excessive no-fly zones. Part-time no-flys? Extra insurance? Drawing a line in the sand stating "We are operating in a safe manner", etc?

If we adhere to what the neighbor is demanding, our flying area is seriously limited. We have height restrictions (not lower than a certain height-currently winch launch height) but the demand is NO overflight whatsoever. So we're trying to gather info on how situations such as this have been addressed. Another interesting fact about this area is the FAA deams this an area for training of small aircraft and allow pilots to fly down to 500 ft above the valley-right over the neighbor's property.

Anyway, it's sticky and we do the right thing. Just trying to figure out who's version of the right thing is the best way to go.

BK
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 08:07 AM
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United States, IN, Indianapolis
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BK,

Have you flown with SASS? Any large flying event Carnation would probably be ideal anyway.

If you have a neighbor that has explicitly asked for no overflying of his property ever I think your best course of action is just to not fly over his property. Maybe you fly around his property, if that is possible (depending on how much he has).

It's a pain but something you probably kind of have to live with. I have flown contests that have had similar limitations. You want to find the best possible consistent and fair way to enforce it the no fly zone. Maybe setup sights and have a contestant/club member man the sights. Inconstent enforcement of a no fly zone is going to be the biggest turn off for people. If you are consistent with it I think any reasonable person would be OK with flying a contest at your site.

Ryan
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Old Mar 30, 2011, 10:39 AM
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USA, IL, Wheeling
Joined Jan 2003
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In the case of a determined neighbor as you seem to have, I would perhaps try and explain the insurance coverage, invite him to see operations at your field, get him some buddy-box time. Explain close up what the models are like, how light they are, try to minimize what your impact might be.

If your neighbor is dead set on claiming his "air rights", you may not have any recourse except to make his property a no-fly zone ... and we can argue air rights all day ... they are, for the most part, a non-issue from recent court decisions, the air is the air and the property owner does not own anything above his home ... else he could try and tell the airlines or those training Cessnas to stay away from his home.

This sounds like a situation where your club needs to be a better neighbor than your neighbor will be.

Keep us informed of your progress, best of luck to you!

tom
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Old Apr 01, 2011, 08:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by belouder View Post
Hey,
Trying to gather information on what soaring clubs have done regarding how they fly around congested areas.

The AMA guidlines state "1. All pilots shall avoid flying directly over unprotected people, vessels, vehicles or structures and shall avoid endangerment of life and property of others."

I'm not sure if NOT following the above would nullify AMA liabiity insurance.

I know with soaring activities this is a bit impractical, but we are trying to figure out if soaring clubs adjacent to housing or business areas have been able to acquire waivers, secondary insurance or what to protect their activities.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,
BK
Our glider club has not sought any wavers or secondary insurane and don't feel we need to. The statement is, " All pilots shall avoid". It does not say, "cross the line and we abandon you".

You will note that glider fields are often much larger than power fields for this reason. We tend to range out more. Our field has about 1/2 mile of woods on three sides.

If you can't avoid flying over homes and such then you may want to look into another location. Or stick with smaller gliders which will present less temptation to range out far. For example, 2M gliders can't be flown out as far as 3M gliders and 1.5M hand launched gliders are shorter range still.

Electric gliders add a safety factor in that, if you fall short of the field you can power up and get back. So, if you are that tight you may want to restrict your gliders to e-gliders.

One of our local power fields is on 1/4 mile from a major highway. They do not allow pure gliders for this reason. Electric gliders are fine.

You can restrict gliders to foam e-gliders which are less likely to damage things if they fall from the sky. And, there is the motor factor there again.

Somewhere, some day, one of those planes will fall from the sky in the worst place possible. How are you going to minimize the chance of this happening? How are you going to minimize the damage when it does happen?

The AMA rule calls on the pilot to be responsible and use good judgement. One does not avoid the need to be responsible and use good judgement by having supplemental insurance. Ultimately, if you hurt someone or damage their property you can expect trouble and you should step up and take responsibility for your actions. But avoiding such siturations is the most responsible thing you can do and that is what the AMA clause calls on you to do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by belouder View Post
I'm not necessarily trying to find out prudent safe flying protocols (thanks for the recomendations)-I'm trying to figure out how strict the AMA requires you to follow their guidelines in order to be covered under their site waiver. A phone call to AMA indicated that the no fly areas (as stated in the above quote from their guidlines) extends all the way up above the restricted areas. So if this is the case and as Ryan mentions at the AMA Nats site soaring occurs over other areas (buildings, people, etc), what are the actual restrictions?

Just trying to figure out if the self-imposed no-fly zones we have instituted at our new site due to neighbors is something we can adjust or negate when hosting a large event. And if the AMA wouldn't cover us, what sort of other insurance waivers are available?

Thanks,
BK
Ultimately asking here will get you opinions. Asking the AMA will get you facts.

Do you want to make your decisions based on opinions or facts?


"You see, your Honor, these guys on RC Groups said ..."

"Toss the guy in the slammer!"



Quote:
Originally Posted by belouder View Post
The impetus for this is a neighbor to our new flying site that has raised issues with overflight (of any kind). We are prudent about how we operate with regards to flying over their property, but our self-imposed restrictions would make it nearly impossible to host a major thermal event.

So I'm trying to figure out what other clubs have done in a case such as this to appease neighbors, follow the AMA guidlines, protect the club legally and yet still be able to host a major event that is not hampered by excessive no-fly zones. Part-time no-flys? Extra insurance? Drawing a line in the sand stating "We are operating in a safe manner", etc?

If we adhere to what the neighbor is demanding, our flying area is seriously limited. We have height restrictions (not lower than a certain height-currently winch launch height) but the demand is NO overflight whatsoever. So we're trying to gather info on how situations such as this have been addressed. Another interesting fact about this area is the FAA deams this an area for training of small aircraft and allow pilots to fly down to 500 ft above the valley-right over the neighbor's property.Anyway, it's sticky and we do the right thing. Just trying to figure out who's version of the right thing is the best way to go.
BK
Buddy have built a great case for why this is a TERRIBLE location for RC Soaring. Fly parkflyers, maybe DLGs and leave the high flying thermal gliders to other locations. Sounds like a great site for a Park Pilot club.

You MUST respect your neighbor's property and that property includes the air above him. If he calls the cops or takes you to court, you will likely be kicked out of your flying field.

You have absolutely no rights whatsoever when it comes to full scale aircraft. No matter what happens, you are wrong. Whether you hit one or cause him to have to "see and avoid" if he raises an issue, you are wrong. This is like hitting someone in the rear with your car. Guilty until proven innocent.

Parflyers sound like fun!
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Old Apr 01, 2011, 09:43 PM
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United States, MA, Waltham
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Ed,

I guarantee you that during a contest people are going out further than half a mile. When I was younger, I flew a Sagitta 600 so far out that my observers (for level 3, as I recall), who were 1km out, didn't see it until it was coming back.

I don't see where the AMA has a monopoly on facts, either, unless you're asking about the legalities of the insurance.

It's good to be prudent, but nothing is just black and white except the pages in a book.
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